Geophysical Interpretation of Digital Ionosonde Signatures

Period of Performance: 04/15/2002 - 02/15/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Scion Assoc.
439 Fillmore Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Principal Investigator


The high-frequency ionosonde is a familiar instrument in radio science and an essential asset for operational propagation prediction. However, the capability of the typical ionosonde is under-utilized: it provides a vast amount of information about the ionosphere and its dynamics, extending from short- through very large spatial scales, but little advantage is taken of these data. We propose a merger of software and hardware that can significantly expand the capabilities of the ionosonde as a scientific and operational support instrument. A complex echo recognition approach to data processing has been proven by many years of HF radar science using the NOAA Dynasonde. The technique utilizes the full complex signal returns, resulting in ionogram data of outstanding resolution and precision. In trade for this enhanced function, the processing algorithms place stringent requirements on receiver hardware phase performance. We outline the software tasks necessary to adapt the approach to real-time operation in a generalized, network-based user interface. The hardware effort will specify the receiver performance necessary to meet data processing requirements, considering existing and new receiver designs, with an emphasis on the digital detection portion of the system. The proposed approach provides a cost effective means to obtain significant performance improvement from an asset that is essential to operational DoD systems and to radio science research.