|Estimation of Ionospheric Layer Height Changes From Doppler Frequency and Time of Flight Measurements on HF Skywave Signals
|Year of Conference
|Cerwin, S, Collins, KV, Joshi, D, Frissell, NA
|HamSCI Workshop 2021
|Scranton, PA (Virtual)
The HamSCI community has been studying apparent frequency shifts in the reception of HF skywave signals from radio station WWV in Ft. Collins, CO. WWV is a standard time and frequency station with atomic clock accuracy. If the receiving station uses a GPS Disciplined Oscillator (GPSDO) for a frequency reference, the atomic clock accuracy on both ends guarantees any observed frequency shifts are attributable only to propagation effects through the ionosphere. Causes for frequency shifts in the received signal are recognized as complex and varied. A leading candidate is Doppler shift resulting from dynamic changes in refraction layer height. These, in turn, are caused by the diurnal transitions between night and day, passage of an eclipse shadow, and ionospheric disturbances originating from solar flares or X-ray events. For the case of changing refraction layer height, an analysis of Doppler frequency and Time of Flight (TOF) data can estimate the changes in skywave path length between the transmitter and receiver. This data can be used in conjunction with an assumed geometric model and propagation mode to infer the corresponding height profile over time. This paper postulates one possible mechanism for observed frequency swings and presents supporting experimental evidence. Comparisons between the calculated height profile derived from Doppler data and data from ray trace programs and ionosonde measurements are given.