Radio Frequency Beacon Receiver

The Space Dynamics Laboratory, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have teamed together to provide a cost-effective, portable ground-based radio frequency beacon receiver (RFBR) system capable of characterizing ionospheric parameters, including total electron content (TEC) and amplitude and phase scintillation. The system, composed almost entirely of COTS parts, can be configured to receive RF beacons transmitted by systems using frequencies from VHF to S-band.

By monitoring the effects of the ionosphere on multiple frequencies, parameters can be derived to determine ionosphere-induced degradation of communication/navigation signals across the electromagnetic spectrum. Additionally, these parameters can be used by assimilative models to improve ionospheric specifications and forecasts.