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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 –

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ELECTRONICS AND

6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

COMMUNICATION ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY (IJECET)

ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print) ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online) Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME: http://www.iaeme.com/IJECET.asp Journal Impact Factor (2014): 7.2836 (Calculated by GISI) www.jifactor.com

IJECET

© I A E M E

by GISI) www.jifactor.com IJECET © I A E M E THE IONOSPHERE AND RADIO PROPAGATION Geeta

THE IONOSPHERE AND RADIO PROPAGATION

Geeta Rana 1 ,

M K Yadav 2

1 Department of Physics, K L Mehta Dayanand College for woman, Faridabad, Haryana 2 Department of Humanities and Applied sciences, YMCA University of Science and Technology, Faridabad, Haryana

ABSTRACT

Ionosphere is an important component of the upper atmosphere and of the solar terrestrial. It plays a unique role in earth’s environment because of its strong coupling quality to the regions below and above it. Ionosphere plays a significant role in radio communication and has great intrinsic scientific interest which makes it of extensive study during past 50 years. So various topics concerning the propagation, generation and detection of high frequency radio waves in the ionosphere has been discussed here. It has been practiced to know, what happens when radio waves interact with ionosphere, how their refraction takes place, and what are the conditions necessary for radio communication etc.

Keywords: Ionosphere, Radio Communication, Solar Terrestrial.

INTRODUCTION

THE IONOSPHERE

Our Earth is surrounded by a beautiful and protecting layer called atmosphere. Scientists divided this atmosphere into seven layers or regions which are different from each other in terms of temperature, pressure, humidity level & the natural events that occur in them. All these layers which cover a distance of about 3000 km are named as troposphere, stratosphere, ozonosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere and exosphere, on going from earth towards sky. Each layer plays an important role i.e. formation of rain clouds, prevention from harmful radiations reaching on the Earth, reflecting radio waves and inactivating meteors. Out of these layers one of the important layers is ionosphere which plays a significant role in the completion of many activities embedded in our daily life. The ionosphere is a layer which strongly couples with the thermosphere and magnetosphere. Several photochemical, chemical, dynamical and electro dynamical processes take place in this layer. As a result, exchange of mass, momentum and energy occurs here in a complex manner [13].

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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

The ionosphere extends from about 50km altitude to about 600km where it merges with near Earth’s space environment. The ionosphere is a charged environment where the air is sufficiently ionized and the ionization is done by both, electromagnetic radiations and particles coming from the Sun. Due to this ionization, the Earth's upper atmosphere (ionosphere) gets consist of free electrons and ions [7]. The reason for the presence of free electrons in the ionosphere is that at these altitudes the density of the Earth's neutral atmosphere is sufficiently low that collisions between particles happen far less frequently than in the lower atmosphere. So, here the free electrons live much longer before they get recombined. The ionosphere possess varying rate of absorption of EUV (extreme ultra violet) radiations by different atoms / molecules. As a result, different ionization peaks or layers are formed, which are called as D, E, F1 and F2 layers [1].

are formed, which are called as D, E, F1 and F2 layers [1]. Figure (1): Ionospheric

Figure (1): Ionospheric layers

LAYERS: VARIATION IN TEMPERATURE AND ELECTRON

DENSITIES

LAYERS: VARIATION IN TEMPERATURE AND ELECTRON DENSITIES Figure (2): variation in electrons, ions and neutral

Figure (2): variation in electrons, ions and neutral particles with temperature.

D-layer :- The D-layer is located, lowest among all the layers and it does not have any exact starting point. It is characterized by the small ion densities and collision frequencies of electrons and ions with the neutral particles. Hence, it has low values of neutral temperature (T n ), ion temperature (T i ) and electron temperature (T e ) (9). As in D-layer, the recombination rate is higher and ionization is very low hence the high peak value of ionization density reaches about 90 km, which may drop to 60 km, due to enhanced solar x- ray flux. This layer exists mainly during the day and disappears at night which allows radio waves to penetrate into a higher level of ionosphere. [3]

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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

E-layer :- Above the D-layer, there is E-layer (also called Kennelly-Heaviside layer). In the E-layer, neutral temperature (T n ) and ion temperature (T i ) are nearly the same while the electron temperature (T e ) starts to deviate to higher values during the day time (9). Here, after sunset the electron density falls by a factor of 10 or more within a very short time. E-layer also disappears like D-layer after Sunset.

F-layer :- The F-layer is also known as Appleton layer which has the highest concentration of charged particles. In the F-layer, up to the height of 250km, thermal coupling between the ions and neutrals is so good that ions temperature (T i ) is equal to the neutrals temperature (T n ). At greater heights this coupling becomes worse, but coupling between ions and electrons improves. Hence T i >T n . T i increase with increasing altitude, while T n becomes constant with altitude and at very high altitudes T i and T e values are nearly equal (9). Although changes happen in the F-layer during day time but still it remains constant relative to other layers and extreme ultra violet (EUV) radiations are absorbed here. It has two parts, the lower F1layer and the higher F2 layer. The F2 layer is more electron dense than F1 layer. The peak density of electrons in F1 layer is at about 200 km, which is more pronounced in summer and during high Sun spot numbers. The F2 layer exists both during day and night. In F2 layer the peak density of electrons is at about 300 km during day time and at higher altitudes. The F layers are responsible for most of the sky wave propagation of radio waves.

IONOSPHERIC PLASMA

The Ionosphere consists of charged ions and electrons. The Ionosphere do not behaves like a pure gas because the number of ionized particles is very large there, hence it is reasonable to consider it as fourth state of matter i.e. plasma. Ionospheric plasma is one of the closest naturally occurring plasma. The Ionospheric plasma is defined in terms of four main parameters like electron density, electron temperature, ion temperature and ionic composition [2].The ionosphere is mainly affected by certain natural phenomena’s like solar flare, sunspot, magnetic storms and sudden Ionospheric disturbances. The solar flares can be classified as X-class flares, C-class and M-class flares, according to their intensity. Out of these flares the X-class flares can easily penetrate the ionosphere. The solar flares take place at the surface of Sun where a huge amount of energy (about 6×10 25 J) is ejected. In this ejection a large amount of electrons, ions, and atoms reaches to the surface of earth which can affect the ionosphere [12]. Actually, these varying solar activities control Ionospheric parameter. The variations in solar activity produce variations in neutral density, temperature and densities of electrons and ions, neutral winds, and electric fields in the ionosphere

[13].

The X-ray produced due to the solar flare increases the ionization in the lower region of ionosphere (D layer). This change in the electron profile of ionosphere is known as Sudden Ionospheric Disturbances (SID) [12]. This disturbance phenomenon (SID) includes sudden cosmic noise absorption induced by sudden electron density enhancement in the D layer, short wave fadeouts, sudden phase anomalies, sudden increase in TEC (total electron count), sudden frequency

disturbances.[13].

As the solar activity rises and falls in a cycle over a span of around 11years. So when the Sun is at its most active phase it is called the solar maxima. During this period dark spots arise on Sun’s surface and these dark spots erupt tons of hot plasma into the space. If this erupted plasma hits (ionosphere) or earth, it can harm astronauts and can disrupt radio wave communication, electrical

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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

grids and short out satellites. During Solar minima, Sun calms down and both Sun spots and eruptions happen rarely. The sun spot numbers are therefore used to predict Ionospheric parameters

[4].

RADIO COMMUNICATION AND IONOSPHERE

Maxwell was the first person who developed the “THEORY OF ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION” in 1871. Maxwell claimed that the electromagnetic waves can undergo reflection, refraction, & absorption like light. Further, Marconi conducted experiments with wireless telegraphy and in 1896 Marconi succeeded in sending signals through a wireless telegraph up to a distance of few kilometers. In 1902 Oliver Heaviside of England and Arthur E Kennelly of United States explained the existence of an electrically conducting layer, known as ionosphere. The ionosphere can effect radio propagation from extremely low frequencies (<3 kHz) to super high frequencies (>30GHz) (5). For frequencies which are below 30 MHz , the ionosphere acts as a helpful aid for the radio propagation but for the frequencies which are above 30MHz , it acts as a source of band pollution.

REFRACTION IN THE IONOSPHERE

A radio wave is an electromagnetic wave. When a radio wave reaches in the ionosphere then its refraction, reflection or absorption may take place. Refraction is caused due to the abrupt changes in the velocity of upper part of radio wave as it enters in a new medium .The refraction of radio wave depends upon the following factors.(1) The ionization density of Ionospheric layer. (2) The frequency of radio wave. (3) The angle at which the wave enters the Ionospheric layer.

DENSITY OF IONOSPHERE

the wave enters the Ionospheric layer. DENSITY OF IONOSPHERE Figure (2): Effect of ionization density on

Figure (2): Effect of ionization density on radio waves

The ionosphere has variable density layers as shown in fig (2) .When a radio wave enters into the region of increasing ionization density then there occurs an increase in the velocity of upper part of wave due to which it tends to bend back towards low density region that means towards earth.

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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

When the wave is in the highly dense or maximum ionized portion of the layer then refraction occurs more slowly because the density of ionization is almost uniform. Now as the wave reaches to the layer of decreasing ionization density, the wave bends away from earth because of decrement in the velocity of upper part of wave and hence, it goes into space.

FREQUENCY OF RADIOWAVE

wave and hence, it goes into space. FREQUENCY OF RADIOWAVE Figure (3): “Reflection” of radio signals

Figure (3): “Reflection” of radio signals by the various layers of the ionosphere

Each Ionospheric layer has a maximum limit of frequency, at or below which the radio waves can be transmitted and refracted back to earth .This maximum frequency is known as critical frequency of that particular layer. When a radio wave of higher frequency as compared to the critical frequency of a particular layer, is transmitted then it will get pass out through that layer. While, if the same wave enters in an upper layer of higher critical frequency, it will be refracted back to earth [8].

ANGLE OF INCIDENCE

The refraction of radio wave also depends upon the angle with which it enters the Ionospheric layer.

upon the angle with which it enters the Ionospheric layer. Figure (4): Refraction of radio waves

Figure (4): Refraction of radio waves with different incident angle

The wave A enters the ionosphere with a very vertical incident angle where it bends slightly and then goes into space. For the same wave if the incident angle is reduced than earlier, the wave (B) strikes the layer and gets refracted back to earth. Wave C strikes the layer at the smallest angle at

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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

which it gets refracted and still returns back to earth. Hence it shows that the angle of incidence of any transmitted wave should not be greater than the critical angle otherwise, it will lost into space. Moreover, there is also a relationship between the frequency of radio wave and it’s critical angle. With the increase of frequency of radio wave the critical angle must be reduced for refraction to occur .As shown in fig (5), 2MHz wave gets refracted back to earth but a wave of 5MHz (of higher frequency and lesser incident angle, with dotted line) do not gets refracted. However the same wave of 5MHz (with solid line) gets refracted, when the angle is still reduced.

solid line) gets refracted, when the angle is still reduced. Figure (5): Combined effect of critical

Figure (5): Combined effect of critical angle and frequency on radio waves.

SEVERAL HOPS

of critical angle and frequency on radio waves. SEVERAL HOPS When the signals undergo multiple reflections

When the signals undergo multiple reflections between the ionosphere and the earth’s surface, to reach at a larger distance on earth then it is referred to as multiple hops. If a radio signal is to be transmitted from one station to the other side of the globe then considerably large distance will have to be spanned by the signal. This world-spanning propagation requires several reflections in between the earth’s surface and the ionosphere. When a radio signal returns to Earth from the ionosphere, the Earth’s surface acts as a reflector and returns the signal back to the ionosphere, where it is reflected back to Earth yet again. In this way signals can travel around the globe (sometimes in several directions!).[11] The wave can travel greater distance if the hoping takes place in the higher region of ionosphere. For example F2 skip can travel up to 2500 miles while E skip can travel up to 1200 miles.

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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

If the two signals reach the receiver in-phase (both signals are at the same point in the wave cycle when they reach the receiver), then the signal is amplified. This is known as an “up fade.” If the two waves reach the receiver out-of-phase then the strength of the final signal is weakened. If the two waves are 180º out of phase when they reach the receiver, then they can completely cancel out each other out so that a station does not receive a signal at all. A location where a signal is canceled out by multipath is called a “null” or “down fade.”The nature of the Earth’s surface also has an effect on hoping. Desert areas are poor reflectors, but oceans are quite effective. This means that the signals bounced off from the Atlantic Ocean, for example, will be stronger than those reflected by areas such as the Sahara desert.

ABSORPTION

The ionosphere is usually considered as an area where radio waves of the short wave bands are refracted or reflected back to Earth. However, it is also found that signals get reduced in strength or attenuated as they pass through this area. The major factor that has the greatest adverse effect on radio waves is ABSORPTION. Absorption results in the loss of strength of received signals and in their ability to communicate over long distances. Most of the Ionospheric absorption occurs in the lower regions of ionosphere (D layer) where ionization density is greater. There is some absorption in the E and F layers also, but the level of absorption is very much less than that experienced in the D layer and it can generally be ignored. When a radio wave enters the D layer, it loses some of its energy to the free electrons. If these free electrons do not collide with gas molecules of low energy then most of the energy lost by radio wave is reconverted into electromagnetic energy and the wave continues to propagate with little change in its intensity. However, if these high-energy free electrons collide with other particles (molecules, ions or electrons) then most of the energy is lost, resulting in absorption of energy from the wave and this is manifested as a loss in the strength of the signal [7]. The absorption of energy or the amount of lost energy depends upon the number of collisions between the particles. In turn, number of collisions also depends upon other factors. The first one is presence of other molecules, electrons and ions. As in D layer greater is the ionization density, greater is the probability of collisions and as a result greater will be the absorption of radio wave. The second factor is frequency of wave .The amount of Ionospheric absorption varies inversely as square of the frequency of transmitted wave, that means if frequency of wave is doubled then the absorption will reduce by a factor of four. And that is why the lower frequency waves are more attenuated than the higher ones, while the HF signals get succeed to propagate beyond D layer.

CONCLUSION

Although nowadays most of the long distance radio communications or communication of radio waves having frequency more than 30MHZ, is done with the help of satellites, but the Ionospheric radio communication still provides cost effective means of radio communication. In fact, the radio communication through the ionosphere plays an important role in the study of structure of the ionosphere. Artificial satellites imitate the Ionospheric layer and acts as a reflector for the radio waves. These waves are reflected only when they are within their coverage area. But these artificial satellites also have some limitations, as they have limited coverage area, their cost is very high and they last for about 25 years. Unlike artificial satellites, the ionosphere (that covers whole of our planet) acts as a natural satellite for all the radio waves having frequency less than 30MHZ. Because of this characteristic of the ionosphere, we do not require to focus at certain point. Moreover, maintenance

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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), ISSN 0976 – 6464(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6472(Online), Volume 5, Issue 11, November (2014), pp. 09-16 © IAEME

and energy supplements are not needed as these are provided by the nature itself. The atmosphere or the ionosphere is available for us as long as the Earth exists. Exploring new facts about the universe, makes us realize that not a single matter is meaningless or useless in this universe. Therefore, we must understand that the universe is packed with wonderful favors and blessings which are addressed directly to humanity.

REFERENCES

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wikiionosphere. [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/plasma(physics). [3] Prof. kjell Ronnmark (2003) lecture notes on space physics from, the sun to the aurora. [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/solar flare /sunspots. [5] General article on ionosphere and its influence on radio communications by R S Dabas. [6] www.maisonthenezay.fr.pdf radio wave propagation (by M H BARRINGER). [7] www.radio-electronics.com Antennas and propagation, Ionospheric absorption of radio signals. [8] Mukumu. E.pdf (2006) space physics 5p project, Radio waves in the ionosphere. [9] Utd500.utdallas.edu/ionosphere.htm, William B. Hanson centre for space sciences. [10] MICHAEL.C.KELLEY (The earth’s ionosphere) (Plasma Physics & Electrodynamics). [11] Antenna and wave propagation by SISIR K. DAS, ANNAPURNA DAS. [12] Ionospheric disturbances due to solar activity detection using SDR by DIVYA HARIDAS, K.P SOMAN & SHANMUGHA SUNDARAM. [13] Space physics and Space weather geophysics, Solar activity effects of the ionosphere: A brief review by, LIU LIBO, WAN WEI XING, CHEH YI DING & LE HUI JUN. [14] Srijibendu Bagchi, “Cognitive Radio: Spectrum Sensing and Performance Evaluation of Energy Detector Under Consideration of Rayleigh Distribution of the Received Signal”, International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology (IJECET), Volume 2, Issue 1, 2011, pp. 17 - 23, ISSN Print: 0976- 6464, ISSN Online:

0976 –6472.

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