Antarctic Record (Mar 2000)

Installation and operation of PRARE tracking antenna at Syowa Station, Antarctica

  • Kazuo Shibuya,
  • Masaki Kanao,
  • Toshihiro Higashi,
  • Shigeru Aoki

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 44, no. 1
pp. 14 – 24


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A PRARE (Precise Range and Range-rate Equipment) tracking antenna was installed by the 38th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE-38) at Syowa Station (69.0°S, 39.6°E), Antarctica in March 1997. The antenna pillar pin of the PRARE tracking antenna was tied to the International GPS Service for Geodynamics (IGS) antenna reference point by relative GPS positioning, and its International Terrestrial Reference Frame 1994 (ITRF94) coordinates were estimated as X_P=1766500.399m, Y_P=1460251.211m, and Z_P=-5932214.446m at the epoch of 1997.0. The total number of normal point data for range measurements attained almost 100% (around 2500min per week) from March to September, 1997; however, the number of received data decreased significantly thereafter. This may be due to a degraded X-band RF-cable under the cold temperature condition in the radome. Although an on-site tropospheric correction could not be made, post-processing with the surface synoptic data showed improvements of the overall root mean square (rms) range errors from about 50cm to 30cm. Application of the PRARE obtained precise orbits to radar altimeter and synthetic aperture radar studies will be discussed in a separate report.