John Bubb

Tropospheric Scatteró A Brief Technical Overview


Ultra high frequency (UHF) radio waves travel by line of sight. This is why you see many small dish antennas on the roofs of telephone company buildings and adjacent mountaintops. The telephone signals pass through many ground stations, being received and retransmitted from mountain top to mountain top until their destination is reached.

Tropospheric scatter was a technique that allowed UHF communications to be received over the horizon. It did this by directing the transmitted radio signal at high power into the troposphere where it was reflected off small disturbances in the upper atmosphere. A large directional antenna pointed at the same area of the troposphere and a very sensitive receiver could receive these scattered weak signals.

Tropospheric scatter communications required far fewer ground stations that were placed much further apart.

Nowadays, satellite communications have replaced tropospheric scatter technology.†