Interferometric evidence for the observation of ground backscatter originating behind the CUTLASS coherent HF radars
Interferometric techniques allow the SuperDARN coherent HF radars to determine the elevation angles of returned backscatter, giving information on the altitude of the scatter volume, in the case of ionospheric backscatter, or the reflection altitude, in the case of ground backscatter. Assumptions have to be made in the determination of elevation angles, including the direction of arrival, or azimuth, of the returned signals, usually taken to be the forward look-direction (north) of the radars, specified by the phasing of the antenna arrays. It is shown that this assumption is not always valid in the case of ground backscatter, and that significant returns can be detected from the backward look-direction of the radars. The response of the interferometer to backscatter from behind the radar is modelled and compared with observations. It is found that ground backscatter from a field-of-view that is the mirror image of the forward-looking field-of-view is a common feature of the observations, and this interpretation successfully explains several anomalies in the received backscatter.