Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering


John W. MacDougall

2nd Supervisor

Ludmila M. Kagan

Joint Supervisor


Ionospheric parameters, such as electron density have a highly irregular structure and vary greatly throughout the day and with the seasons. Complete knowledge of the ionospheric structure usually requires expensive and/or stationary equipment such as rocket probes or incoherent scatter radars.

A height-integrated electron density along the satellite – ground-based receiver path, called total electron content (TEC), is often used as a measure of ionospheric inhomogeneities and, when possible, for ionospheric tomography.

An inexpensive portable digital receiver was used to assess the background ionospheric TEC. GNU Radio, an open-source software radio toolkit, GNU/Linux Bash scripts, a code in Python, a Universal Hardware Driver (UHD) and a hardware front-end called a Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) were used to receive the 150MHz and 400MHz beacon signals at a number of sites across south-western Ontario from the COSMOS constellation satellites. Experimental results agree well with the data from Canadian Advanced Digital Ionosonde (CADI) and International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) model available on the Internet.

The orientation pattern of traveling ionospheric disturbances (TIDs) was obtained from the local variations of TEС.