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Rome Ionospheric Observatory

Latitude: 41.8° N, Longitude: 12.5° E

Rome Ionospheric Observatory (41.8 N, 12.5 E) frequently is mentioned in the international scientific literature being one of the most ancient of the world.


It has a history of continuous observations since 1949 and therefore covers beyond five solar cycles. Trough the years the Ionospheric Observatory of Rome has been equipped with different stations of vertical sounding, each with different characteristics. Currently it is equipped with two distinguished instruments:

  • a DPS-4 ionosonde (digisonde) produced by the "Center for Atmospheric Research" of the "Lowell University of Massachusetts (USA)" designed with modern technological solutions along with a software able to scale the ionograms automatically. It is used for both research and "routine" vertical soundings.
DPS-4 digisonde
  • an AIS-INGV ionosonde realized in the laboratories of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. Such an ionosonde, object of an Italian Patent, takes the advantage of the modern radar techniques to limit the emitted power without affecting the echo recognition in the environmental noise. Also this system is equipped with an automatic scaling system of the ionograms: Autoscala software realized at INGV giving the main ionospheric parameters real time.
AIS-INGV ionosonde

The system of antennas of the Ionospheric Observatory of Rome is designed in order to satisfy the requirements of different instruments and activities. Two pairs of vertical delta antennas of decametric size are present, lying on orthogonal planes (figure 1). Such antennas are used for vertical and oblique soundings. The DPS-4 ionosonde is also equipped with 4 loop receiving antennas used for interferometric measurements to support the basic vertical sounding (figure 2). 

Figure 1 Pair of decametric rhombic antennas
Figure 2 Loop antenna



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