Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
21 Feb 2013
 | 21 Feb 2013

The Chatanika and Sondrestrom Radars – a brief history

M. A. McCready and C. J. Heinselman

Abstract. The Sondrestrom upper atmospheric research facility, located just north of the Arctic Circle near the west coast of Greenland, will soon celebrate 30 yr of operations. The centerpiece of the facility, an incoherent scatter radar, has collected 46 000 h of data on the ionospheric state parameters. This instrument was designed and built to measure the effects of nuclear bombs on radio wave propagation in the South Pacific, but instead was deployed to Alaska to study the effects of auroral structuring on the ionosphere, and was later moved to Greenland to explore the auroral cusp and the dynamics of the polar cap boundary. This is the story of the birth and genesis of the instrument, its travels, and the evolution of its facility.