The Physics & Astronomy Department of the Univsersity of Canterbury operate an ionosonde at both Eyrewell (about 30km northwest of Christchurch) and at Scott Base in the Antarctic. The ionosonde programme was taken over by the Department after the disestablishment of the DSIR in the late 1980’s.  

An ionosonde is a swept frequency vertical sounding radar. The time delay of the echoes from the ionosphere give information on the electron density in the ionosphere. The ionogram (picture produced by an ionosonde) displays the time to receipt of an echo on the vertical axis against frequency on the horizontal axis. Ionograms are recorded every 5 minutes. Click here to view the latest hourly ionogram recorded at Eyrewell.

Ionosondes are operated at several locations by IPS in Australia. IPS, a unit of the Australian Government Department of Administrative services provides the Australian radio propagation and space environment services.   Current and recent  ionograms for all automated sites may be viewed using the Java applet provided on the IPS site. Data archives on film dating from the earliest ionosonde in 1938 until the early 1990’s are held at the New Zealand Film Archives unit. 

The Eyrewell ionosonde is maintained under a New Zealand Defence Force contract to the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Canterbury.

For more information contact Graeme Plank