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ENRI -Pub-2003-4

Observation of Ionospheric Scintillation on GPS signals in Japan

Keisuke Matsunaga

Presented at: ION NAVIGATION, The Journal of the Institute of Navigation

Ionospheric scintillation is rapid amplitude and phase fluctuation of trans-ionosphere radio waves due to local irregularity of ionosphere. At low magnetic latitudes, amplitude scintillation often occurs after sunset around equinox periods, especially in the maximum of solar activity. GPS signal fading due to scintillation can cause receiverfs loss of lock. In order to assess the effect of ionospheric scintillation on MTSAT Satellite-based Augmentation System (MSAS), Electronic Navigation Research Institute (ENRI) has conducted observation of ionospheric scintillation since March 1999. Strong scintillation was observed. Some of them continued over 10 min with elevation mask 15 deg. The number of satellites tracked by receiver distinctly decreased by 1-4 for about 3 h when strong scintillation occurred. This result indicates that ionospheric scintillation have the potential to affect GPS and has to be taken into account for SBAS operation in the area near the magnetic equator.
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