Improving the Magic constant – data-based calibration of phased array radars
Abstract. We present two methods for improved calibration of multi-point electron density measurements from incoherent scatter radars (ISR). They are based on the well-established Flatfield correction method used in imaging and photography, where we exploit the analogy between independent measurements in separate pixels in one image sensor and multi-beam radar measurements. Applying these correction methods adds to the current efforts of estimating the magic constant or system constant made for the calibration of multi-point radars, increasing data quality and usability by correcting for variable, unaccounted, and unpredictable variations in system gain. This second-level calibration is especially valuable for studies of plasma patches, irregularities, turbulence, and other research where inter-beam changes and fluctuations of electron density are of interest. The methods are strictly based on electron density data measured by the individual radar and require no external input. This is of particular interest when independent measurements of electron densities for calibration are available only in one pointing direction or not at all. A correction factor is estimated in both methods, which is subsequently used to scale the electron density measurements of a multi-beam ISR experiment run on a phased array radar such as RISR-N, RISR-C, PFISR, or the future EISCAT3D radar. This procedure could improve overall data quality if used as part of the data-processing chain for multi-beam ISRs, both for existing data and for future experiments on new multi-beam radars.
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