Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 7, 67–72, 2016

Special issue: The history of ionospheric radars

Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 7, 67–72, 2016

Review article 14 Jul 2016

Review article | 14 Jul 2016

History of EISCAT – Part 4: On the German contribution to the early years of EISCAT

Gerhard Haerendel Gerhard Haerendel
  • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany

Abstract. The decision of the Max Planck Society (MPG) to get involved in the establishment of an incoherent scatter radar in northern Europe was intimately linked to the future of the Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy (MPAe) in Katlenburg-Lindau. Delegates of the MPG played an important role in defining the rules for participation in EISCAT during the period from 1973 to 1975. The "technical" period from 1976 to 1981 was mainly devoted to the development of the UHF transmitter and the klystrons. The latter encountered great difficulties, causing substantial delays. During the same period the ionospheric heating facility was established by MPAe at Ramfjordmoen, Norway. The period following the inauguration in August 1981 saw a great number of changes in the leading personnel. In this context much attention had to be given to taxation rules. Besides continuing hardware problems with the UHF radar, severe problems arose with design and manufacturing of the VHF klystrons, requiring changes of the contractor. However, by fall of 1983 the UHF radar was able to reach the intended operational level. In 1984 important steps were made for archiving and for proper exploitation of the EISCAT data.

Short summary
The article concentrates on the German role in the establishment of the European Incoherent Scatter Radar (EISCAT). It outlines the scientific motivation of the Max Planck Society for participating on behalf of two of its institutes. Special attention is given to the augmentation of the scientific scope of the radar by the installation of an ionospheric heater facility. The first years of EISCAT operation are summarized from the personal viewpoint of the author.