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Open AccessArticle

Design and Validation of Probes and Sensors for the Characterization of Magneto-Ionic Radio Wave Propagation on Near Vertical Incidence Skywave Paths

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Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (CSAOS), Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
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Telecommunication Engineering (TE), Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500AE Enschede, The Netherlands
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Grup de recerca en Tecnologies Mèdia (GTM), La Salle-Universitat Ramon Llull, Quatre Camins, 30, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
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Spectrum Management Department, Radiocommunications Agency Netherlands, P.O. Box 450, 9700AL Groningen, The Netherlands
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Data Science–Data Management & Biometrics (DS/DMB), Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500AE Enschede, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(11), 2616; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19112616
Received: 14 April 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 June 2019 / Published: 9 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors, Control, and Telemetry)
This article describes the design and validation of deployable low-power probes and sensors to investigate the influence of the ionosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field on radio wave propagation below the plasma frequency of the ionosphere, known as Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) propagation. The propagation of waves that are bent downward by the ionosphere is dominated by a bi-refractive mechanism called ‘magneto-ionic propagation’. The polarization of both downward waves depends on the spatial angle between the Earth’s magnetic field and the direction of propagation of the radio wave. The probes and sensors described in this article are needed to simultaneously investigate signal fading and polarization dynamics on six radio wave propagation paths. The 1-Watt probes realize a 57 dB signal-to-noise ratio. The probe polarization is controlled using direct digital synthesis and the cross-polarization is 25–35 dB. The intermodulation-free dynamic range of the sensor exceeds 100 dB. Measurement speed is 3000 samples/second. This publication covers design, practical realization and deployment issues. Research performed with these devices will be shared in subsequent publications. View Full-Text
Keywords: deployable; magneto-ionic; magnetic field; polarization; fading; ionosphere; radio wave propagation; Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS); circular polarization deployable; magneto-ionic; magnetic field; polarization; fading; ionosphere; radio wave propagation; Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS); circular polarization
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Witvliet, B.A.; Alsina-Pagès, R.M.; van Maanen, E.; Laanstra, G.J. Design and Validation of Probes and Sensors for the Characterization of Magneto-Ionic Radio Wave Propagation on Near Vertical Incidence Skywave Paths. Sensors 2019, 19, 2616.

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