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WHAT: The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) is pleased to offer a short school on the theory, operations and science associated with radars for ionospheric research.

WHO: Only postgraduate (MSc & PhD) students, will be considered. A maximum of 15 students can be accepted.

WHEN: Arrival date is Friday, 11 September 2015; Radar School dates are weekend of 12-13 September 2015.

WHERE: SANSA, Hermanus, Western Cape.

COST: Free. We have sponsorship to pay for transport (SANSA will make all logistical arrangements), accommodation and meals.


The school will cover the theory,operations and science basics of:

  • Ionosondes. Ionosondes are used to monitor the plasma density on the bottom-side ionosphere. SANSA operates 4 instruments,including one on-site at Hermanus.
  • Coherent Scatter radar. Coherent scatter radars monitor the flow of plasma in the upper ionosphere, which relates to the state of the sun’s magnetic field and solar wind. SANSA operates Africa’s only scientific over-the-horizon high frequency radar at the SANAE research station in Antarctica. It is the most advanced version of the SuperDARN international network of 30 similar radars.
  • Incoherent Scatter radar. Incoherent scatter radars monitor the plasma density, flow and temperature throughout the ionosphere. The radar school will focus on the European system (EISCAT) located in northern Scandinavia. SANSA will host an international scientific meeting on this most advanced type of ionospheric radar, 14-18 September 2015.
  • Ionospheric modification. In addition to observing natural phenomena, active experiments using high-power high-frequencyradio waves permit novel active experiments by “ionospheric modification”. Observations are typically done by optics and radars.

Radar School 


Saturday 11 September 2015

08:30-09:00 Welcome and logistics (Mike)

09:00-10:30 Intro to ionosphere and ionosondes (John-Bosco)

10:30-11:00 Tea break (shared with EISCAT SOC)

11:00-12:00 Intro to ionosondes (John-Bosco)

12:00-13:00 Intro to radars and SuperDARN (Judy Stephenson)

13:00-14:00 Lunch (shared with EISCAT Science Oversight Committee)

14:00-15:30 Intro to SuperDARN (Judy Stephenson & Jon Ward)

15:30-16:00 Tea break

16:00-17:30 History of ISR, intro to EISCAT facilities and science example (Mike Kosch)

19:00-20:00 Dinner (all students and lecturers)

Sunday 12 September 2015

08:30-10:30 Intro to incoherent scatter theory (Cesar La Hoz)

10:30-11:00 Tea break

11:00-12:00 Intro to pulse coding schemes (David Hysell)

12:00-13:00 Interpreting ISR data (Ian McCrea & Andrew Kavanagh)

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-14:45 Interpreting ISR data (Ian McCrea & Andrew Kavanagh)

14:45-15:30 Intro to phased arrays (Craig Heinselman)

15:30-16:00 Tea break

16:00-17:30 Intro to ionospheric heating (Antti Kero)

19:00-21:00 Dinner (shared with conference welcome braai)


 EISCAT & 42AM Conferences

Students are strongly encouraged to stay on and attend the simultaneous EISCAT radar symposium and 42AM optical meeting, which will be held in Hermanus from 14-18 September. The conference venues in town are 1.5 km (within walking distance) from SANSA.

These conferences have no sponsorship and are entirely dependent on registration fees to function and therefore cannot be free. Students staying on after the radar school must cover all costs (except transport). To assist students, SANSA is offering low-cost shared accommodation in its own residence and a substantial conference registration fee discount. The special discount rate is for access to the science sessions only. No meals will be provided during the conferences (except coffee and tea) unless you are participating at the full fee. As is the case for all participants, no transport to the conference venues can be provided.


Lecturers on the the radar school

John Bosco Habarulema

Judy Stephenson

Antti Kero

Ian Mccrea

Mike Kosch

Dr. John-Bosco Habarulema(RSA)

Dr. Judy Stephenson (RSA)

     Dr. Antti Kero (Finland)

        Dr. Ian McCrea (UK)

     Prof. Mike Kosch (RSA)

Jon Ward

Cesar La Hoz

David Hysell

Andrew Kavanagh

Craig Heinselman

         Jon Ward (RSA)

Prof. Cesar La Hoz (Norway)

      Prof. David Hysell (USA)

    Dr. Andrew Kavanagh (UK)

 Dr. Craig Heinselman (Sweden)

Lecture Notes

  1. Intro_Ionosphere_JBH
  2. Intro_Ionosondes_JBH
  3. Intro_SuperDARN1_JS
  4. Intro_SuperDARN2_JS
  6. Intro_EISCAT_MJK
  7. Intro_ISR_Theory_CLH
  8. Intro_Pulse_Coding_DH
  9. Intro_Errors_ISR_IWM
  10. Intro_Interpret_ISR_AJK
  11. Intro_Phased_Arrays_CH
  12. Intro_Heating_AK