Separation of Ambient Radio Noise and Radio Signals Received via Ionospheric Propagation

Ben A. Witvliet*, Rosa M. Alsina-Pagès, David Altadill, Erik van Maanen, Geert J. Laanstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Systems for atmospheric research and wireless communication use the High Frequency (HF) ra-dio spectrum. At these frequencies, typically up to 20 MHz, the ambient electromagnetic noise is stronger than the noise generated by the receiver itself, thereby limiting the sensitivity of the instruments. Especially in urban areas, the noise level is high. In remote rural environments, where artificial noise sources are absent, a much lower noise level is observed. It has been shown that this noise arrives via ionospheric propagation and consists of impulsive noise from lightning and a background component that resembles additive white Gaussian noise. To estab-lish the absolute field strength of this background noise component, a direction- and polariza-tion-agnostic antenna is realized by adding the power of two orthogonal antenna elements in the digital domain. To suppress radio signals arriving via ionospheric propagation—of which the spectral and temporal aspects are not known a priori—a novel adaptive filter is demonstrat-ed that separates the background noise from the radio signals in the joint frequency-time do-main. This method is demonstrated using measurements from a polarimetric experiment on 7 MHz in a remote rural area in Catalonia. The results are submitted to the International Tele-communication Union for the validation of ambient noise models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number529
Pages (from-to)529
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2023


  • Ionospheric
  • Electromagnetic noise
  • Propagation
  • Adaptive filter
  • High frequency
  • Near Vertical Incident Skywave


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