Ionospheric Corrections to Precise Time Transfer Using GPS

Robert W. Snow, Allen W. Osborne III, John A. Klobuchar, Patricia H. Doherty

Abstract: The free electrons in the earth's ionosphere can retard the time of reception of GPS signals received at a ground station, compared to their time in free space, by many tens of nanoseconds, thus limiting the accuracy of time transfer by GPS. The amount of the ionospheric time delay is proportional to the total number of electrons encountered by the wave on its path from each GPS satellite to a receiver. This integrated number of electrons is called Total Electron Content, or TEC. Dual frequency GPS receivers designed by Allen Osborne Associates, Inc. (AOA) directly measure both the ionospheric differential group delay and the differential carrier phase advance for the two GPS frequencies and derive from this the TEC between the receiver and each GPS satellite. in track. The group delay information is mainly used to provide an absolute calibration to the relative differential carrier phase, which is an extremely precise measure of relative TEC. The AOA Mini-Rogue ICS-4Z and the AOA TurboRogue ICS-4000Z receivers normally operate using the GPS P code, when available, and switch to cross-correlation signal processing when the GPS satellites are in the Anti-Spoofing (A-S) mode and the P code is encrypted. An AOA ICS-Z receiver has been operated continuously for over a year at Hanscom AFB, MA to determine the statistics of the variability of the TEC parameter using signals from up to four different directions simultaneously. The 4-channel ICS-4Z and the 8-channel ICS-4000Z, have proven capabilities to make precise, well calibrated, measurements of the ionosphere in several directions simultaneously. In addition to providing ionospheric corrections for precise time transfer via satellite, this dual frequency design allows full code and automatic codeless operation of both the differential group delay and differential carrier phase for numerous ionospheric experiments being conducted. Statistical results of the data collected $?om the ICS-42 during the initial year of ionospheric time delay in the northeastern U. S., and initial results with the ICS-4000Z, will be presented.
Published in: Proceedings of the 25th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
November 29 - 2, 1993
Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Marina Del Rey, California
Pages: 495 - 504
Cite this article: Snow, Robert W., Osborne, Allen W., III, Klobuchar, John A., Doherty, Patricia H., "Ionospheric Corrections to Precise Time Transfer Using GPS," Proceedings of the 25th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, Marina Del Rey, California, November 1993, pp. 495-504.
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