Impacts of ionospheric scintillations on GPS receivers intended for equatorial aviation applications

Impacts of ionospheric scintillations on GPS receivers intended for equatorial aviation applications

A. O. Akala,1,2 P. H. Doherty,1 C. S. Carrano,1 C. E. Valladares,1 and K. M. Groves3

1Institute for Scientific Research, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA. 2Department of Physics, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria. 3Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, USA.

RADIO SCIENCE, VOL. 47, RS4007, doi:10.1029/2012RS004995, 2012

Correspondence to:

 A. O. Akala,
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Key Points:


Abstract:

This study examines the impacts of ionospheric scintillations on GPS receivers that are intended for equatorial or transequatorial aviation applications. We analyzed GPS data that were acquired at Ascension Island during the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) campaign of the solar maximum year of 2002. Strong scintillations impacted the receiver-satellite geometry, leading to poor dilution of precisions and positioning accuracy. In addition, deep signal fades (>20 dB-Hz), leading to navigation outages were observed during most of the nights of the campaign. Under quiescent conditions, the C/No of satellites fluctuated slowly between 50 dB-Hz and 35 dB-Hz baselines for both L1 (1.5754 GHz) and L2 (1.2276 GHz) signals, depending on the satellite’s elevation angle. The satellite’s elevation angle and the effective scan velocity of the satellite’s ionospheric penetration point (IPP) with respect to the magnetic field and plasma drift influenced the rate of fading of satellite signals.

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