Welcome to SuperDARN!
SuperDARN stands for Super Dual Auroral Radar Network. The network consists of over 30 low-power HF radars that look into Earth's upper atmosphere beginning at mid-latitudes and extending into the polar regions. The radars operate continuously and observe the motion of charged particles (plasma) in the ionosphere and other effects that provide scientists with information on Earth's space environment. The knowledge gained from this work provides insight into space weather hazards including radiation exposure for high-altitude travelers and disruptions to communication networks, navigation systems (GPS), and electrical power grids.

The SuperDARN Research Group at Virginia Tech (VT) collaborates with an international community of scientists and engineers to operate radars and share data. The VT Group operates five radars. For a summary of the radars and their affiliations, visit the Radar Maps/Tables/Links web page.

SuperDARN - An NSF Geospace Facility
The U.S. component of SuperDARN is funded by the National Science Foundation under the Geospace Facilities (GF) program as a collaboration between Virginia Tech (lead institution) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). The primary SuperDARN web site is hosted by JHU/APL. Supporting web sites are hosted by MSI/SuperDARN partners at Dartmouth College and University of Alaska Fairbanks. Click logos for access.

VT SuperDARN student Nathaniel Frissell makes working trip to McMurdo Station, Antarctica

By: miker  on: Mon., Dec. 15, 2014 04:10 PM EST  (114 Reads)
Dec 12 Post: The repair of the McMurdo station radar is well underway and likely to be completed early next week, ahead of schedule. Major repairs are being made to the main antenna array during this trip, including the raising of the new reflector curtain, replacement of a reflector curtain support pole, and leveling of all antenna poles. Repair work on the electronics has also been completed.

During off hours, team members have taken advantage of many of the recreational activities McMurdo Station has to offer. This includes hiking, listening to science lectures, and visiting the New Zealand Scott Base research center. Nathaniel, an avid amateur radio operator, also enjoys operating the KC4USV amateur radio station.

Photo: Nathaniel (center) poses at the McMurdo station sign with fellow Virginia Tech grad student Peter Marquis (left) and postdoc Zhonghou Xu.

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SuperDARN-Related Article Provides Cover Page for JGR October issue

By: miker  on: Thu., Dec. 04, 2014 02:40 PM EST  (83 Reads)
An article lead-authored by graduate student Christer van der Meeren of the Birkeland Centre for Space Science at the University of Bergen has been selected to provide the cover image for the October 2014 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics. The article examines the occurrence of GPS scintillations and irregularities in relation to a tongue of enhanced ionization that extends into the nightside ionosphere at polar latitudes.

The cover image shows a sequence of maps of total electron content (TEC) obtained from GPS measurements with simultaneous convection patterns obtained from analysis of SuperDARN velocity data overlaid. The circle indicates the field of view of instrumentation located on on Svalbard.

Christer is advised by Prof. Kjellmar Oksavik. The figure was generated with the help of the on-line GPS/TEC plotting tools developed by graduate student Evan Thomas at Virginia Tech and collaborators at MIT Haystack Observatory.

Australian SuperDARN Researchers Win Awards for Excellence in Engineering Innovation

By: miker  on: Tue., Dec. 02, 2014 01:59 PM EST  (113 Reads)
Australian SuperDARN researchers lead by the La Trobe University group and PI John Devlin have been recognized with prestigious awards for excellence in engineering innovation in connection with the design of the Buckland Park digital radar. In September they received the 2014 Victorian Engineering Award for Excellence. In November they were presented with the 2014 Australian Engineering Excellence Award for Innovation. Announcement of the latter can be found on the 'Engineers Australia' web site:
http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/awards/2014-australian-engineering-excellence-awards-winners(external link)

Congratulations to John and the entire Buckland Park team!

Photo: Antenna towers of the Buckland Park radar viewed against the setting sun.

First Light at the Hokkaido West SuperDARN radar!

By: miker  on: Fri., Aug. 22, 2014 10:22 AM EDT  (511 Reads)
PI Nozomu Nishitani of the Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory (STELab) in Nagoya is pleased to announce that the Hokkaido West radar started operation on October 24, 2014. The first echoes were received after extensive testing by the Japanese licensing authority.

Nishitani-san would like to thank all the people who contributed to the completion of the new radar, in particular, Mick Parsons from Leicester University, who travelled all the way to Japan to make final installation of the radar, and Pasha Ponomarenko and Alexey Oinats, who happened to be staying at Nagoya University during this period and helped with setting up and calibration.

Congratulations to Nishitani-san, and to the Hokkaido West radar team!

Photo: Main array of 16 transmit / receive antennas in foreground and interferometer array of 4 receive-only antennas in background.

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VT Crew makes repairs to the Kapuskasing Radar

By: miker  on: Thu., Oct. 16, 2014 10:40 PM EDT  (226 Reads)
Kevin and Mike from Virginia Tech traveled to northern Ontario October 2 - 8 to visit the site of the Kapuskasing SuperDARN radar and make repairs. A number of technical issues were addressed including the performance of the interferometer array. By the conclusion of the trip all 15 available transmitters were functioning although a couple were out on receive owing to a lack of a needed spare part. The sensitivity of the radar has been significantly improved, in time for the first dark moon campaign period at the end of October. A slow internet connection continues to be worked on. This was the first meeting of the VT crew with the new site operator, Mr. Ghislain LeBouef. Ghislain participated in the repairs and arranged discussions with local vendors.

Photo: Kevin makes connections to the low-power T/R switch in a transmitter.

Fort Hays Trip, May 2014

By: ksterne  on: Thu., July 03, 2014 10:33 AM EDT  (742 Reads)
In early April, the returns from the Fort Hays radars changed drastically. The problem began on April 4th with very noise signals being recorded on both radars. The original problem seemed to begin with a blown fuse in the PTS160 synthesizer. However, in the process of replacing the fuse, some of the connections on the back of the QNX6 computer must have come loose. In phone and e-mail conversations with Ryan White, FHSU SuperDARN intern, it seemed as though something was wrong with the RXFE or the way the RXFE was being controlled. In the end, it seemed as though a touchy connection between one of the outputs of the QNX6 computer and the control cable was causing the RXFE to not keep the correct settings. A replacement for this connection was put together and a trip was made to the site to repair this connection as well as do an assessment of the site.

Read All SuperDARN Technical News Articles.