Equatorial ionospheric disturbance observed through a transequatorial HF propagation experiment
A transequatorial radio-wave propagation experiment at shortwave frequencies (HF-TEP) was done between Shepparton, Australia, and Oarai, Japan, using the radio broadcasting signals of Radio Australia. The receiving facility at Oarai was capable of direction finding based on the MUSIC (Multiple Signal Classification) algorithm. The results were plotted in azimuth-time diagrams (AT plots). During the daytime, the propagation path was close to the great circle connecting Shepparton and Oarai, thus forming a single line in the AT plots. After sunset, off-great-circle paths, or satellite traces in the AT plot, often appeared abruptly to the west and gradually returned to the great circle direction. However, there were very few signals across the great circle to the east. The off-great-circle propagation was very similar to that previously reported and was attributed to reflection by an ionospheric structure near the equator. From the rate of change in the direction, we estimated the drift velocity of the structure to range mostly from 100 to 300 m/s eastward. Multiple instances of off-great-circle propagation with a quasi-periodicity were often observed and their spatial distance in the east-west direction was within the range of large-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances (LS-TIDs). Off-great-circle propagation events were frequently observed in the equinox seasons. Because there were many morphological similarities, the events were attributed to the onset of equatorial plasma bubbles.