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Gibilmanna Ionospheric Observatory

Latitude: 37.9° N, Longitude: 14.0° E (Palermo)

The ionospheric observatory in Gibilmanna (37.9 N, 14.0 E) is placed near Cefalù, not so far from Palermo. It has been operating since 1976 and it is the most southern of Europe. Its importance comes from the fact the there are no ionospheric stations in North Africa.

The sounding station is equipped with two pairs of vertical rhombic antennas of decametric sizes, lying on orthogonal planes. They are used both for vertical "routine" soundings and for short distance oblique soundings. 

Pair of decametric rhombic antennas

For a long time the ionospheric observatory has been equipped with a "Digisonde 128P" produced by the " Center for Atmospheric Research" of the "University of Lowell" , MA (USA). This type of ionosonde, an analogical type, used the pulsed amplitude modulation technique with some kilowatts peak power. The ionograms were recorded on paper and manually scaled by specialized operators.

Since autumn 2002 in the observatory has been installed AIS-INGV, an ionosonde designed and realized inside the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. AIS-INGV is a digital ionosonde that superimposes a code on the radio signal sent to the ionosphere. As a consequence the echo signal detection is more reliable even if 200W peak power is employed. 

Ionosonde AIS-INGV

The ionograms are recorded in files and are automatically scaled from a software called Autoscala, developed at Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. The ionograms recorded by the ionospheric station of Gibilmanna and the automatically scaled values of the main ionospheric characteristics are available in real time.

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