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

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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


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 multipath 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.

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How to Cite
Torta JM, Marsal S, Riddick JC, Vilella C, Altadill D, Blanch E, Cid O, Curto JJ, De Santis A, Gaya-Piqué LR, Mauricio J, Pijoan JL, Solé JG, Ugalde A. An example of operation for a partly manned Antarctic geomagnetic observatory and the development of a radio link for data transmission. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2009Jan.25 [cited 2024Mar.1];52(1):45-56. Available from:

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