An example of operation for a partly manned antarctic geomagnetic observatory and the development of a radio link for data transmission

J. Miquel Torta, Santiago Marsal, John C. Riddick, Carles Vilella, David Altadill, Estefania Blanch, Oscar Cid, Joan J. Curto, Angelo De Santis, Luis R. Gaya-Piqué, Joan Mauricio, Joan L. Pijoan, J. Germán Solé, Arantza Ugalde

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The experience acquired from more than ten years of operation of an Antarctic geomagnetic observatory is described along with the development of data transmission facilities. The observatory was deployed at the Spanish Antarctic Station in 1996. The main instrument was an Overhauser magnetometer deployed in dual axis Helmholtz coils, a δD/δI configuration. The site is only manned during the summer, with the magnetometer left recording throughout the rest of the year. During the 2007-2008 survey the observatory instrumentation has been upgraded with a DMI suspended triaxial fluxgate magnetometer, new sampling hardware and data logging software. Both sampling and timing are carried out under the control of a PIC based microcontroller and GPS receiver. Data presentation, transmission and archiving are performed under the control of a low power embedded PC. For real time access to the data two options have been provided and rigorously tested during the last 10 years: METEOSAT and GOES Data Collection Systems, and recently, a high frequency (HF) digital radio-link, using ionospheric propagation between Antarctica and Spain, has been developed. This latest transmission system is being continuously upgraded, and it would be possible to extend its application to other remote stations. Measurements have been made during the last four years in order to determine the channel characteristics and its variability, mainly the multipara and Doppler spread and the link availability for a given SNR in the receiver. These measurements are being used to design the physical layer of a radiomodem intended to maximize the link capacity keeping the emitted power low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Geophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Data transmission
  • Geomagnetic observatories
  • Geophysical instrumentation
  • HF radio


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