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The ionospheric propagation of low- and very-low-frequency radio waves over distances less than 1000 km

The ionospheric propagation of low- and very-low-frequency radio waves over distances less than 1000 km

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In the last few years a large part of the radio research at the Cavendish Laboratory has been concerned with the propagation of waves of low and very low frequency. The paper constitutes a summary of the results of the various experiments, which are described in detail in separate papers, some of which are as yet unpublished.3–10The results of various independent methods of measuring the apparent height of reflection of the waves show that waves of 16–30 kc/s are reflected as if from a sharply bounded horizontal surface situated at a height of (72 ± 3) km when the sun is overhead. The apparent height of reflection varies regularly with the angle of the sun and its variation may be summarized by an equation. The waves of frequency 30–150 kc/s appear to be reflected from a height of about 75 km at oblique incidence, but there is some evidence that they may be reflected from as much as 10 km higher at vertical incidence.The polarization of the waves at all frequencies is found to be approximately circular at steep incidence, but at oblique incidence (65 ) waves of a frequency of 16 kc/s are linearly polarized. No measurements of polarization at oblique incidence have been made on the higher frequencies.The absorption of the waves changes very rapidly with frequency—on a summer day the conversion coefficient varies from about 0.15 at 16 kc/s to 0.002 at 70 kc/s. Important differences in behaviour near sunrise are observed on all frequencies at steep incidence and oblique incidence. The effects of a sudden ionospheric disturbance on the reflected waves are discussed and interpreted as implying a decrease in the apparent height of reflection; the amplitude of the reflected wave is scarcely altered on 16 kc/s, but is much decreased on higher frequencies.Finally, the present state of the theory of reflection of very long radio waves is discussed very briefly.

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