Ionospheric refraction is considered as one of the major accuracy limiting factors in microwave space-based geodetic techniques such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI), Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS), and satellite altimetry. Similarly, a high-performance ground-to-space and space-to-ground microwave link is considered to be very important for synchronizing clocks in global networks. Moreover, precise time and frequency transfer may lead to new applications in navigation, Earth observation, solar system science, and telecommunications. However, all transionospheric microwave signals are subject to ionospheric refraction and subsequent delays in the travel time. Since the ionosphere is a dispersive medium for radio signals, the first-order propagation effect can be removed by combining signals at two or more frequencies. Anyway, higher-order ionospheric effects remain uncorrected in such combinations. The residuals can significantly affect the accuracy of precise positioning, navigation, as well as the performance of time and frequency transfer. Here, we studied ionospheric propagation effects including higher-order terms for microwave signals up to 100 GHz frequencies. The possible combination between the L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka band frequencies is studied for the first-order ionosphere-free solutions. We estimated the higher-order propagation effects such as the second- and third-order terms and ray-path bending effects in the dual-frequency group delay and phase advance computation. Moreover, the correction formulas originally developed for global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) L-band frequencies are tested for mitigating residual errors at higher frequencies up to 100 GHz.
Part of the book: Wave Propagation Concepts for Near-Future Telecommunication Systems