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Obstacles along radio wave path causes:

1. Signal reflection
2. Signal diffraction
which results in obstruction loss that depends on type of earth surface where
reflection/diffraction occurs.
Maximum on smooth surfaces like water, flat terrain at grazing angles.
Minimum on sharp projections like mountain peaks (knife-edge effect) at grazing angles.
r Dir
ect r


Reflected ray:
1. is undesirable
2. is strong if reflection surface is sooth
3. travels a longer path than direct ray
Reflected ray- Direct ray = Path difference



Path difference causes:

1. constructive interference
2. destructive interference

At the Rx end

At point of reflection, indirect wave undergoes

- Attenuation
- phase shift
As described by the reflection coefficient, R
R= e
where = change in amplitude
= phase shift on reflection
and depend on:
1. Wave polarization
2. Angle incidence
3. Dielectric constant of reflection surface
4. Wave length of the signal.
For wave frequencies, two general cases occur:
1. R = -1 for horizontally polarized waves with small angle of incidence i.e. the
reflected wave suffers no change in amplitude but has a phase shift of 180. This
is true for all terrain.
2. R = -1 for vertically polarization with grazing incidence for all terrain with
increasing angle of incidence decreases, reaching zero around = 10,
Path difference is given by:
= (r1+r2) r
usually r1, r2 , r are not accurately known
Therefore path difference is approximated to
= 2h1h2/D
Phase Change of the reflected wave relative to direct wave is the sum of
1. Phase difference due to path difference
2. Phase change due to reflection

Total phase shift is therefore given as

= 2/* +
At the receiver Rx, direct and reflected waves from a composite signal whose field
strength c is given as
c= D + R in vectorial form, where
D = field strength for Direct wave
R= field strength for reflected wave.



EC2 = ED2 + ER2 + 2 ED ER Cos

EC= ED 1 + 2 + 2 Cos
Where 2 = ( ER/ ED) 2
EC = Minimum when
= (2n +1) where n is an integer
EC = Maximum when
= 2n
For wave paths, angle of incidence at reflection is usually small. Hence = 180 or
Hence Rx signal minima (or nolls) occur when
= (2n +1) = 2 * / + , or =2n (/2)

Therefore received signal nulls occur when path difference is an even multiple of a half
wave length.
= (2n +1) /2 for signal maxima (odd half- )
Since = 2h1h2/D, a relationship between relative received power and antennae heights
may be determined.
The resultant is a height pattern as shown below.


Relative Rx power
P = pitch of height pattern
Dp = Depth of height pattern
Height pattern is useful in determining vertical antennae height spacing in space

Also in finding the effective reflection coefficient.

And in finding the path difference in the actual radio hop.

a) Depth of Height Pattern Dp= 20 log (1/1- )

b) Pitch of height pattern
P1= d/2 h2 for site A
P1= d/2 h1 for site B
Where Site A = site of Tx and Site B = site of Tx

Radio waves travel in straight lines in free space.
They are however bent or refracted when traveling through the atmosphere due to
changes in index of refraction.
Refractive index = velocity of propagation through a medium velocity of propagation in
free space.
Causes of change in refractive index:-atmospheric temperature
-atmospheric humidity


If a wave traverses two media whose refractive indices are n0 and n, then Snells law,
h0 Cos 0 = n Cos = Constant
Assumption: flat earth surface i.e. medic is parallel.
For real atmosphere, air layers form concentric and continuous strata over earths surface.

In this case,
n0 a Cos 0 = n (a+h)Cos
a = effective radius of earth
n0 = refractive index on the earths surface
h = elevation at an arbitrary point
h = refractive index at elevation, h
a + h = radius of curvature of the air stratum at elevation, h


Re-writing, n0 Cos 0 = n (1+h/a) Cos

or n0 Cos 0 = (n+h/a) Cos (since n1)
Hence for spherical strata
m = n+ h/a
= modified refractive index
In the troposphere
h/a 0
thus m1 since n1
For example, if
h= 300m,
then n =1.000313
and m = 1.000360
These are inconvinient figures. It is more advisable to use modified figures such as
N= ( n - 1) 106
M= ( n+ h/a - 1) 106
So that we obtain
N= 313
M= 360
We may also write
M= N + (h/a) 106
M is called Refractive modulus
N is called Radio refractivity
when applied to radio propagation.
Under agitated atmospheric conditions, the coefficients of change of N and M to the
height h are given by
dN / dh= -0.039/m
dM/ dh = 0.118/m


Due to refractive properties of the atmosphere radio waves under standard atmospheric
conditions are known to propagate drawing a circular area with a radius of curvature is
larger than that of the earth.
Radio waves

Earth surface

To account for atmospheric refraction radio path analysis, it is convenient to replace the
true earth radius a by an effective earth radius, ae and to replace the actual atmosphere
with a uniform atmosphere in which radio waves travel in straight lines.
The effective earth radius factor, K is then given by
K = ae /a

It may be shown that K= 1/ 1+ a (dn/dh) 10-6

with a = 6370 Km
K= 157/ 157+ (dN/dh)
dN/dh- the N gradient per Km
Under most atmosphere conditions,
dN/dh= -39 units/km
so that K= 157/157-39=4/3
K=4/3 is widely used in propagation analysis.