In the past decades, the Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) has been demonstrated to be one of the most powerful instruments for ionosphere monitoring. The Institute of Geology and Geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences was founded to build a state-of-the-art phased-array ISR at Sanya (18.3°N, 109.6°E), a low-latitude station on Hainan Island, named the Sanya ISR (SYISR). As a first step, a prototype radar system consisting of eight subarrays (SYISR-8) was built to reduce the technical risk of producing the entire large array. In this work, we have summarized the preliminary experimental results based on the SYISR-8. The amplitude and phase among 256 channels were first calibrated through an embedded internal monitoring network. The mean oscillation of the amplitude and phase after calibration were about 1 dB and 5°, respectively, which met the basic requirements. The beam directivity was confirmed by crossing screen of the International Space Station. The SYISR-8 was further used to detect the tropospheric wind profile and meteors. The derived winds were evaluated by comparison with independent radiosonde and balloon-based GPS measurements. The SYISR-8 was able to observe several typical meteor echoes, such as the meteor head echo, range-spread trail echo, and specular trail echo. These results confirmed the validity and reliability of the SYISR-8 system, thereby reducing the technical risk of producing the entire large array of the SYISR to some extent.
Electron density is a key parameter to characterize Martian ionospheric structure and dynamics. Based on the ephemeris and auxiliary information derived from the Spacecraft, Planet, Instruments, C-matrix, and Events (SPICE) toolkit, we calculated the bending angle of signal path from the frequency residuals measured by the Mars Express Radio Science Experiment (MaRS) of the Mars Express (MEX) mission under the assumption of a spherically symmetric ionosphere. We stratified the ionosphere into layers and assumed a linear change of bending angle between layers, to derive profiles in radial distance of refractivity with the optimized parameters of upper integral limit of 4890 km and baseline correction boundary of 3690 km. Meanwhile, we also compared the retrieved electron density profiles between the frequency residuals of the single-frequency and differential Doppler of the dual-frequency. In total, ~640 electron density profiles of Martian ionosphere between April 2004 and April 2015 were retrieved successfully. There are 24 profiles identified manually that exhibit an additional sporadic layer occurrence below the normal two-layers. We also found that the peak altitude of this layer increases with the main peak altitude.