Radio Wave Propagation

Radio Wave Propagation

Consolidated Summary Technical Report of the Committee on Propagation of the National Defense Research Committee

1st Edition - January 1, 1949

Write a review

  • Author: Chas. R. Burrows
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483258546

Purchase options

Purchase options
DRM-free (PDF)
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out

Institutional Subscription

Free Global Shipping
No minimum order


Radio Wave Propagation: Consolidated Summary Technical Report of the Committee on Propagation of the National Defense Research Committee presents all the scientific information and report of experiments. This book discusses the problems encountered in the propagation of radio waves. Organized into three volumes, this book begins with an overview of the technical developments in the study of tropospheric propagation. This text then outlines the general theory of standard and nonstandard propagation together with descriptions and results of transmission experiments designed to test the theory. Other chapters consider the more unusual problems concerning the radar behavior of targets. This book discusses as well the problems of radio wave propagation in the standard atmosphere at frequencies above 30 megacycles. The final chapter deals with the selection and utilization of local terrain features that affect propagation and the performance of equipment. This book is a valuable resource for scientists and engineers in the field of radio wave propagation.

Table of Contents

  • Volume I Technical Survey

    Part I Summary

    Chapter 1. Standard Propagation


    Power Transmission

    Optical Properties of the Earth's Surface and Atmosphere

    The Electromagnetic Field

    Chapter 2. Elementary Theory Of Nonstandard Propagation


    Refractive Index

    Types of M Curves

    Ray Tracing

    General Characteristics of Ducts

    Survey of Waveguide Theory

    Reflection from Elevated Layers

    Chapter 3. Meteorological Measurements


    Temperature and Humidity Elements

    The Wired Sonde

    Refractive Index Measurements

    Other Meteorological Instruments

    Representative Observed Μ Curves

    Chapter 4. Transmission Experiments

    British Experiments

    Experiments at the Eastern Coast of the U. S.

    Experiments in Northwestern United States and Canada

    Experiments in the Southwestern United States

    Experiments at Antigua

    Angle-of-Arrival Measurements

    Chapter 5. General Meteorology And Forecasting


    Atmospheric Stratification

    Conditions Over Land

    Coastal and Maritime Conditions

    Dynamic Effects

    World Survey

    Radar Forecasting

    Chapter 6. Scattering And Absorption Of Microwaves

    Absorption and Radar Cross Section

    Aircraft Targets

    Ship Targets

    Absorption and Scattering by Clouds, Fog, Rain, Hail, and Snow

    Part II Conference Reports On Standard Propagation

    Chapter 7. A Graphical Method For The Determination Of Standard Coverage Charts

    Chapter 8. Nomographic Solutions For The Standard Case

    Chapter 9. Theoretical Analysis Of Errors In Radar Due To Atmospheric Refraction



    Application to Ground Radar Equipments


    Chapter 10. Diffraction Of Radio Waves Over Hills

    Chapter 11. Siting And Coverage Of Ground Radars


    Radar Systems

    Types of Ground Radar

    Radar Systems — Tactical Aspects

    Radar Siting — Technical Aspects

    Topography of Siting


    Maps and Surveys



    Visibility Problems

    Diffraction of Radio Waves


    Wave Propagation

    Fresnel Zones

    Reflection from Rough Surfaces — Rayleigh's Criterion

    Diffraction at Obstacles

    Fresnel Integrals

    The Cornu Spiral

    Straight Edge Diffraction

    Location of Maxima and Minima

    The Rectangular Slit

    Diffraction by a Narrow Obstacle

    Multiple Slits and Obstacles

    Limitations of Fresnel's Theory

    Permanent Echoes


    Permanent Echo Diagrams

    Use of Permanent Echoes in Testing


    Prediction of Permanent Echoes

    Prediction by Profile Method

    Microwave Permanent Echoes

    The Calculation of Vertical Coverage


    The Vertical Coverage Diagram

    Flat Earth Lobe Angle Calculations

    Lobe Angles Corrected for Standard Earth Curvature

    The General Lobe Angle Formula

    The Calculation of Lobes

    Low Site Lobes

    Lobe Diagrams of Medium Height Sites

    Shoreline Diffraction

    Sea Reflection with Diffuse Land Reflection

    General Formula for the Reflection Area

    The Modified Antenna Pattern

    Antenna Patterns

    Local Terrain Effects

    Earth Curvature Effect on Lobe Lengths

    Coefficient of Reflection


    Lobe Lengths

    The General Lobe Formula

    Calibration and Testing

    Equipment Tests

    Signal Measurements

    Conduct of Test Flights

    Analysis of Test Data

    Chapter 12. Variations In Radar Coverage


    Guided Propagation

    Meteorological Factors

    Cloud Echoes in Radar

    Summary of Basic Facts Concerning Propagation at Radar Frequencies

    Part III Conference Reports On Nonstandard Propagation

    Chapter 13. Tropospheric Propagation And Radio Meteorology

    Fundamentals of Propagation

    Significance of Propagation Problems

    Factors Influencing Propagation

    Reflection from the Ground

    Refraction — Snell's Law

    Refraction Over a Curved Earth

    Equivalent Earth Radius — Flat Earth Diagram

    The Horizon — Diffraction

    Atmospheric Stratification and Refraction

    Origin of Refractive Index Variations

    The Measurement of Refractive Index

    Types of Modified Index Curves

    Rays in a Stratified Atmosphere

    The Duct — Superrefraction

    Wave Picture of Guided Propagation

    Reflection from an Elevated Layer

    Operational Applications

    Radio Meteorology

    Temperature and Moisture Gradients

    Physical Causes of Stratification — Turbulence

    Advective Ducts — Coastal Conditions

    Ducts Over the Open Ocean

    Nocturnal Cooling — Daily Variations


    Subsidence — Dynamic Effects

    Seasonal and Global Aspects of Superrefraction

    Fluctuations in Signal Strength with Time

    Scattering and Absorption by Water Drops

    Snell's Law

    Chapter 14. Theoretical Treatment Of Nonstandard Propagation In The Diffraction Zone

    Chapter 15. Characteristic Values For The First Mode For The Bilinear M Curve

    Chapter 16. Incipient Leakage In A Surface Duct

    Calculations for the First Mode of the Bilinear Model

    Calculations for the Second and Higher Modes of the Bilinear Model

    Chapter 17. The Solution Of The Propagation Equation In Terms Of Hankel Functions

    Chapter 18. Attenuation Diagrams For Surface Ducts

    Chapter 19. Approximate Analysis Of Guided Propagation In A Nonhomogeneous Atmosphere

    Chapter 20. Some Theoretical Results On Nonstandard Propagation

    Propagation in the Oceanic Surface Duct

    Characteristic Values for a Continuously Varying Modified Index

    Chapter 21. Perturbation Theory For An Exponential M Curve In Nonstandard Propagation



    Formal Solution of the Problem by the Perturbation Method

    Evaluation of ßnm(λ) as an Indefinite Integral

    Properties of ßnm (λ)

    Iteration Method of Solving for the Characteristic Values Dk and the Coefficients Akm

    Expansion of Dk into a Power Series in α

    Applicability of Perturbation Method to a More General Class of Μ Anomalies

    Computational Program for the Exponential Model

    Symbols for Use in Theory of Nonstandard Propagation

    Chapter 22. First Order Estimation Of Radar Ranges Over The Open Ocean

    Chapter 23. Convergence Effects In Reflections From Tropospheric Layers

    Convergence Factor

    Roughness Effect


    Volume II Radio Wave Propagation Experiments

    Part I Meteorology

    Chapter 1. Meteorology — Theory

    Modification of Warm Air by a Cold Water Surface

    Diffusion Equation

    Discussion of Procedure

    Previous Investigations


    Difficulties of Low-Level Diffusion Problems

    Preliminary Results of Meteorological Measurements in Massachusetts Bay

    Modification of Air Flowing Over Water

    The M Deficit

    Neutral Equilibrium

    Unstable Equilibrium

    Stable Equilibrium

    Meteorology of the San Diego Transmission Experiments

    Methods of Observation

    The San Diego High Inversion

    Shape of the Inversion Surface

    Tables for Computing the Modified Index of Refraction, Μ


    Use of Tables

    Procedure Used in Setting Up Tables

    Diurnal Variation of the Gradient of Modified Μ Index

    Temperature Lapse Rates Over Land

    Temperature Lapse Rates Over the Sea

    Vertical Vapor Pressure Gradients

    Vertical M Gradient

    Determining Fluctuations in Refractive Index Near Land or Sea

    Gravitational Waves and Temperature Inversions

    Analysis of Ducts in the Trade Wind Regions

    Elevated Ducts

    Surface Ducts

    Experimental Evidence


    Chapter 2. Meteorological Equipment For Short Wave

    Meteorological Equipment for Propagation Studies

    Outline of Problem

    Wet and Dry Bulb Methods

    Temperature and Humidity Resistance Elements

    Circuit Design for Resistor Elements


    Semipermanent Installations

    Measurements on Board Planes and Dirigibles

    Captive Balloon Sondes and Kites

    Automatic Recording of Meteorological Soundings

    Chapter 3. Meteorology — Forecasting

    Forecasting Temperature and Moisture Distribution Over Massachusetts Bay

    Meteorological Observations

    Forecast Program

    Army Analysis and Forecasts

    How the Forecast is Made

    Radar Propagation Forecasting

    Application of Forecasting Techniques and Climatology


    Specific Relationships Between Meteorological Elements and Radar Performance

    Computed Climatological Information on Surface Ducts

    Direct Indications of Nonstandard Conditions in the Western Pacific


    Part II Miscellaneous Experiments

    Chapter 4. Reflection Coefficients

    Reflection Coefficient Measurements at the Radiation Laboratory

    Earth Constants in the Microwave Range

    Reflection Coefficients

    Summary of Experimental Investigations on Reflection

    Specular Reflection and Scattering

    Measurements of the Reflection Coefficient of Land at Centimeter Wavelengths, Carried Out at National Physical Laboratory

    Chapter 5. Dielectric Constant, Absorption And Scattering

    Absorption and Scattering of Microwaves by the Atmosphere


    Scattering and Absorption of Radio Waves by Spherical Particles

    The Scattering Amplitudes an2 and bn2

    The Attenuation of Radio Waves by Spherical Raindrops

    Typical Data on Clouds, Fogs, and Rains

    Attenuation by Idealized Precipitation Forms

    The Scattering of Microwaves by Spherical Raindrops

    Back Scattering (Echoes)


    K-Band Absorption — Experimental

    Absorption of K-Band Radiation by Water Vapor

    K-Band Attenuation Due to Rainfall


    Rainfall Intensity

    Radio Equipment


    Absorption of Microwaves by the Atmosphere, British Work

    Dielectric Constant and Loss Factor of Liquid Water and the Atmosphere

    Experimental Methods

    Laboratory Measurements of Dielectric Properties

    Chapter 6. Storm Detection

    Storm Detection by Radar


    Weather Information


    Correlations with Echo

    Correlations with Weather Stations

    Résumé of Correlations

    Fraction Detected by Radar of Total Quantity of Rainfall

    Comparison with Ryde's Theory

    The Best Frequency for Storm Detection

    Ultimate Range — Greater Range of a Production Set

    S-Band Radar Echoes from Snow

    Chapter 7. Echoes And Targets

    Fluctuations of Radar Echoes

    Interference Concept

    Assemblies of Random Scatterers

    Ground Clutter

    Targets Viewed Over Water

    The Frequency Dependence of Sea Echo

    The Dependence of Signal Threshold Power on Receiver Parameters

    Radar Scattering Over Cross-Section Area

    Chapter 8. Angle-Of-Arrival Measurements

    Angle-of-Arrival Measurements in the X Band

    Meteorological Analysis of Angle-of-Arrival Measurements



    Analysis of the BTL New York-to-Beer's Hill Circuit

    The Angle of Arrival Deduced from Type Cases of Atmospheric Stratification

    Comparison of Computed to Measured Angle of Arrival


    Volume III The Propagation Of Radio Waves Through The Standard Atmosphere

    Chapter 1. Propagation Of Radio Waves: Introduction And Objectives

    Factors Influencing Propagation

    Fundamental Problems and Limitations

    Meaning of Propagation

    Atmosphere Layers

    Standard Atmosphere

    Propagation in the Moist Standard Atmosphere

    Propagation in Nonstandard Atmospheres

    Radio Gain

    Radio Gain of Doublet Antennas in Free Space

    Survey of Propagation


    Factors Modifying Transmission

    General Nature of the Radiation Field

    Typical Radio Gain Curves

    Units and Frequency Ranges


    Symbols for Frequency Ranges

    Chapter 2. Fundamental Relations

    The Electric Doublet in Free Space

    Radiation of an Electric Doublet

    Reception by an Electric Doublet

    Transmission Between Doublets in Free Space

    Power Transmission Reciprocity

    Radio Gain

    Antenna Gain Polarization

    The Reciprocity Principle

    Receiver Sensitivity

    Thermal Noise

    Noise Figure

    Receiver Sensitivity

    Measurement of the Noise Figure

    Sensitivity of Radar Receivers

    Radar Cross Section and Gain

    Radar Cross Section

    Radar Gain

    Chapter 3. Antennas


    Function of Antennas

    Directive Antennas

    Antenna Pattern Factors in Ground Reflection

    Standing-Wave Antennas

    Resonant Antennas

    Traveling-Wave Antennas

    Radiation Resistance

    Influence of Near-by Conducting Bodies

    Standing-Wave Antennas

    Linear Antennas

    Half-Wave Antennas

    Half-Wave Dipole

    Modifications of the Half-Wave Dipole

    Multiple Half-Wave Long Antennas

    Cophased Half-Wave Dipoles

    Effects of Finite Diameter on Center-Fed Linear Antennas

    Standing-Wave V Antennas

    Traveling-Wave Antennas

    Field and Pattern

    Traveling-Wave V Antennas

    Rhombic Antennas

    Antenna Arrays

    Principle of Arrays

    Basic Types of Dipole Arrays

    Two-Dipole Side-by-Side Array

    Two-Dipole Colinear Array

    One-Dimensional Array

    Unidirectional Broadside and Colinear Arrays

    Multidimensional Arrays

    Binomial Arrays

    Ring Arrays

    Parasitic Reflectors and Directors

    Parasitic Antennas

    Half-Wave Dipole and Parasite

    Multiple Parasites. Yagi Antennas

    Reflecting Screens

    Corner-Reflector Antenna

    Parabolic Elements

    Parabolic Reflectors


    Types of Horns

    Sectoral Horn with TE1,0 Wave

    Chapter 4. Factors Influencing Transmission



    Snell's Law

    Modified Refractive Index

    Graphical Representation

    Curvature Relationships

    Alternate Method

    Computation of Refractive Index

    Atmospheric Stratification

    Direct Determination of k

    Ground Reflection

    Ground Reflection and Coverage

    Complexity of Reflection Problem

    Plane Reflecting Surface

    Fresnel's Formulas

    The Complex Dielectric Constant of Water

    Overland Transmission

    Conductivity of Soil

    Dielectric Constant of Soil

    The Divergence Factor

    Irregularity of Ground

    Diffraction (General Survey)


    Diffraction by Earth's Curvature

    Diffraction by Terrain

    Diffraction by Targets

    Chapter 5. Calculation Of Radio Gain



    Definitions Relative to Radio Gain

    Factors Affecting Attenuation and Gain

    Simplifying Assumptions

    Curved-Earth Geometrical Relationships

    Optical and Diffraction Regions

    Nature of the Radiation Field in the Standard Atmosphere

    Propagation Factors in the Interference Region

    Propagation Factors

    Spreading Effect


    Imperfect Reflection


    Antenna Gain and Directivity

    General Solution

    Generalized Reflection Coefficient

    Plane Earth

    Use of Plane Earth Formula

    Path Difference

    Field Strength Equations

    Spherical Earth

    Measurement of Distance

    Equivalent Heights


    Determination of Reflection Point (d1)

    Path Difference

    Divergence Factor

    Parameters p and q

    Generalized Coordinates

    Illustrative Calculations for the Optical Interference Region


    Problem of Type I. Radio Gain for Fixed Heights and Distance

    Type II. Radio Gain Versus Receiver Height for Given Distance

    Type III. Radio Gain Versus Distance for Given Antenna Heights

    Type IV. Determination of Contours Along Which Gain Factor A Has a Given Value, the Transmitter Height and Wavelength Being Given

    Maximum Range Versus Receiver (or Target) Height

    Below the Interference Region

    Analysis of the First Mode

    Effect of Changing the Value of k

    Graphs for the Case of the Dielectric Earth (δ≫1)

    Sea Water, VHF, Vertical Polarization

    Radio Gain Near the Line of Sight

    General Solution for Vertical (or Horizontal) Dipole Over a Smooth Sphere

    Sample Calculation for Very Dry Soil

    Chapter 6. Coverage Diagrams


    Plane Earth

    Field Strength

    Angles of Lobe Maxima (Horizontal Polarization)

    Angles of Lobe Maxima (Vertical Polarization)

    Lobe Equation

    Spherical Earth

    Lobe Characteristics

    The p-q Method (Horizontal Polarization)

    Outline of Method

    Construction of Range Loci

    Construction of Path-Difference Loci

    The u-v Method

    Outline of Method

    Construction of Lobes (Horizontal Polarization)

    Construction of Lobes (Vertical Polarization)

    Lobe-Angle Method (Horizontal Polarization)

    Outline of Method

    Basic Relations

    Reflection-Point Curves

    Lobe Angles with Horizontal

    Use of Modified Divergence Factor

    Construction of Lobes

    Correction for Low Angles

    Lobe-Angle Method (Vertical Polarization)

    Angles of Lobe Maxima

    Construction of Lobes

    Generalized Coverage Diagrams (Horizontal Polarization)

    Basic Parameters

    Determination of d0

    Determination of r

    Use of Charts

    Chapter 7. Propagation Aspects Of Equipment Operation

    General Problem


    The Performance Figure and Efficiency

    Effect of Reflection

    Signal-to-Noise Ratio

    Calibration of an A Scope

    Free Space — High-Angle Coverage

    Maximum Range Formulas

    Deviation from Maximum of Beam

    Performance Figure

    Radar Cross Section

    Low-Angle and Surface Coverage

    Maximum Range

    Ducts and Set Performance

    Low Heights and Plane Earth Range

    Maximum Range Versus Height Curves

    Estimating Ship Size

    Performance Check

    Data on Equipment

    Chapter 8. Diffraction By Terrain

    Outline of Theory


    The Fresnel Diffraction Theory

    Mechanism of Diffraction

    The Straight Edge Formula

    The Fresnel Integrals

    Application to Straight Edge Polarization. Large Angles

    Digression on Fresnel's Theory

    Fresnel Zones

    Diffraction by a Slot

    Diffraction by Hills


    Criterion for Roughness

    Diffraction by a Straight Ridge

    Field Near the Line of Sight

    Diffraction with Reflecting Ground

    Diffraction by Coasts


    Level Site Near Coast

    Equation for Field Strength


    Cliff Site

    Chapter 9. Targets

    Scattering Parameters

    Radar Cross Section

    Target Gain

    Echo Constant

    Equivalent Plate Area

    Scattering Coefficient of Characteristic Length

    Radar Cross Section of Simple Forms




    Corner Reflectors


    Variation with Aspect

    Measurement of σ

    Chapter 10. Siting


    Siting Requirements

    Topography of Siting


    Geometrical Limits of Visibility

    Horizon Formulas

    Height of Obstacle

    Extended Obstacle

    Degree of Shielding

    Permanent Echoes

    Permanent Echo Diagrams


    Prediction of Permanent Echoes

    Prediction by the Profile Method

    Effect of Trees, Jungle, etc.

    The Effect of Trees

    The Effect of Jungles

    Effect on Microwaves

    Appendix. Transmission Experiments

    Massachusetts Bay

    Near San Diego


    Antigua, West Indies




    Appendix Bibliography

    Bibliography — Volume I

    Bibliography — Volume II

    General Bibliography

Product details

  • No. of pages: 560
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1949
  • Published: January 1, 1949
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483258546

About the Author

Chas. R. Burrows

About the Editor

Stephen S. Attwood

Ratings and Reviews

Write a review

There are currently no reviews for "Radio Wave Propagation"