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Ionospheric Constraints on VHF/UHF Communications Links during Solar Maximum and Minimum Periods

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An extensive VHFUHF scintillation data base covering the frequency range of VHF to a few gigahertz has been utilized to determine the magnitudes of phase and intensity scintillations and their temporalspatial structures during the sunspot maximum and minimum periods. The equatorial portion of the study has been based on geostationary satellite observations at Huancayo, a station on the magnetic equator, and at Ascension Island, which is an equatorial anomaly station having an extremely disturbed irregularity environment. The high- latitude part of the study is based on quasi-stationary satellite measurements at a polar cap location Thule and two auroral locations Goose Bay and Tromso . The Tromso observations are augmented with the Defense Nuclear Agency HiLatsatellite beacon measurements during the solar minimum period. The data indicate a strong solar cycle control of scintillation activity at all locations, resulting in a drastic reduction of the magnitudes and occurrence of scintillations during the current solar minimum period. This pattern is consistent with both a reduction of F region ionization density and a reduction of irregularity generation in the solar minimum period. At the magnetic equator the magnitude of scintillations at 1.5 GHz seldom exceeds 3 dB with the percentage occurrence 2 dB varying from 70 during high sunspot conditions to 30 during low sunspot conditions. At the crest of the equatorial anomaly, on the other hand, during the solar maximum in 1979, fades of 20 dB at 1.5 GHz are observed 30 of the time. Reprints.

Subject Categories:

  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics
  • Radiofrequency Wave Propagation

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