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Historical Overview of HF Ionospheric Modification Research,

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Radio waves have inadvertently modified the Earths ionosphere since the Luxembourg observations of Tellegen in 1933 and perhaps since Marconi in 1901. The history of ionospheric modification by radio waves is reviewed, beginning with Marconi, describing the Luxembourg effect and its explanations, and its early use to deduce the properties of the lower ionosphere in the 1930s. ne measurements became more sophisticated in the 1950s, leading to the call for high-power high-frequency modification experiments in the upper ionosphere. Beginning in 1970, radio facilities became available of sufficient powers to induce changes in the ionospheric plasma detectable by a wide array of diagnostic instruments and techniques. A summary of these effects is presented based upon work up to 1990. These studies were originally motivated as a means of better understanding the natural ionosphere using a weak perturbational approach. However, a rich spectrum of nonlinear wave-plasma interactions was quickly discovered and ionospheric modification research became strongly motivated by issues in basic plasma physics. The ionosphere and near-Earth space are now exploited as an exceptional plasma laboratory-without-walls for the study of fundamental plasma processes requiring large spatial or temporal scales. Here we present a brief overview of these processes and phenomena, illustrated using results obtained from the Arecibo ionospheric modification facilities. The lessons learned and phenomena explored thus far offer many opportunities for controlling the ionospheric environment critical to many civilian and military telecommunications systems, both to disrupt systems normally operational and to create new propagation paths otherwise unavailable.

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  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Radiofrequency Wave Propagation

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