Last update: December 12, 2006
SAO Explorer User's Guide
Back to SAO Explorer home page
- SAO Explorer can read all UMLCAR
Digisonde ionogram and scalings data formats except pre - URSI
- standard versions of SAO (before 1993, v2.0 and below).
- To input data to SAO
Explorer, two choices are provided, Open and Open All.
Digital Ionogram DataBase
(DIDBase or DIDB) is an internet - accessible archive of digisonde
ionogram, auto scaled, and edited (validated) data for many locations and
periods of time. To configure SAO Explorer for connections to DIDBase,
follow these instructions. If you got
connected to DIDBase you should see in the frame title:
"SAO Explorer v X.X.XXbX (UMLCAR DIDB is online)".
To open DIDBase catalog select "New Query" from the File menu
(Lightning icon on the main frame). In the DIDBase Query Dialog define
time interval and select station from the list and push Search button.
Writing edited data back
to the DIDBase is an excellent way to preserve your manually scaled results
for posterity. Apply for a personal scaler account to
Prof. Bodo Reinisch to enable
writing priveleges to the DIDBase.
- Selecting Open will
let you open one file. The file may contain ionogram(s), SAO
record(s), ART binary record(s), or any combination of those.
- Selecting Open All
will allow you to open all files in the current directory that
have the same file extension as the file you have selected. This option
is the best to work with a large number of individual data files
that have one record per file.
- You can use Open and
Open All as many times as you need. Typically, once you have your
ionograms open, you may like to open the scaling data that accompany the
- More than one day can
be opened at a time. Open as many days as required, there is no need
to load data chronologically.
- Ionograms will be
matched with scalings records, if both are available.
- It is useful to have
data files organized in a neat directory order, i.e. station
specific, month specific, year specific, and project specific.
- To find which dates are
currently opened in SAO Explorer, use List Of Records combo box. To
unwrap the combo box, click once on the combo box handle (an arrow
pointing down). Each record in the list contains a time stamp and a three
letter content descriptor, "SIE":
The Main Screen displays the
set of ionospheric characteristics of the current record. If only
ionogram is opened for the current record, the screen will show all
You can browse through the
list of available records using the List Of Records combo box.
To remove record(s) from the
List Of Records use
- S - scalings record
- I - ionogram available
- E - scalings data
previously/currently edited/verified by an operator
To save currently displayed
- Close Current
Record to remove both ionogram and scaling record from the list.
- Close All
button to close all ionograms and scaling data. This will clear the Main
- Close Using Subset
button to close all ionograms and scaling data satisfied to the subset
conditions. On the bottom of the form you will see an example of the
records to KEEP. Additionally you can use a time interval. This menu item
works with both type of records: file and database.
The bottom line of Main
Screen shows the status of SAO Explorer input/output.
- Save Current SAO
record button to save SAO file currently open or Save All SAO
Records button. Sao Explorer exports all saved files in the SAO 4.3
format (v. 3.x.xx) and 4.2 (v. 2.x.xx).
- Save Current
Ionogram button to save ionogram file currently open or Save All
- Nine display windows
and Options Dialog can be opened from the Main Screen:
- Characteristics: text
and graphic representation of time series of the ionospheric
- Contour: text and graphic representation
of electron density profile contours.
- Survey: Ionogram survey
text and graphic representation of Tabulated Full Profile
Profilogram: text and graphic representation of Tabulated Auroral
Profile information. Auroral E layer profile is connected to regular F
layer (if available).
text and graphic representation of Directional information.
Available only for Ionogram with directional information. See Digisonde Directogram page
- Ionogram: ionogram
display and editor tool
- Fast characteristics (DIDB):
same like Characteristics, but works only for DIDBase records.
This item works much faster and brings best DIDB stored values.
- Info: station
constants, related files, Digisonde settings, Geomagnetic info, and other
- Options: Options Dialog.
- Make sure that you check
the appropriate box under the "Show" column on the far left
of the main screen.
- To view and export time
series of certain ionospheric characteristics use Menu item View->Characteristics
or View->Fast characteristics (DIDB). The second item is
recommended if you work with DIDBase. It will bring result ~10 times
faster, but you cannot see locally edited data.
- To change order of
characteristics use Drag-And-Drop method in main screen.
- The column next to the Show
column is Color. It is used to select the display color for the
characteristic in the graphics window. To change this color simply click
on the color and select the new desired color.
- The Characteristics Screen
has a tabbed window design, where the same data can be presented as
text table or a graphic by clicking on the appropriately entitled tabs.
- When the characteristics
screen appears, it shows a text table with the data
"checked" in the Main Screen. To modify the selection, go back
to the Main Screen, check/uncheck the selections and click on
Characteristics button again.
- The text table can be saved
into a file by clicking the Save as... button.
- To view selected
characteristics graphically, click on the Graphic tab. once in the
graph screen click on the save button to save this file as a GIF image.
When working with many ionograms and viewing characteristics frequently
make sure to click on the "Reload" button to refresh the
Editing data in Ionogram
- Ionogram screen shows the
current ionogram with scaled traces and the electron density profile, if
those are available.
- The ionogram screen is setup
as a Plasma Density (Frequency [MHz]) Vs. Height [km] graph. In the right
part of the screen there is a On Mouse Demand Box. This box contains:
This page gives you many
options. The main function is to edit the ionogram and the many features
here help you to do this. All the buttons on this page have "Hot
Keys." On the different buttons there is one letter capitalized, for
example Refresh, the "Hot Key" for this function is the letter
R, now simply click on the letter R on your keypad to refresh the
Some special “Hot Keys” are
- frequency number
- frequency value [MHz]
- Plasma Density [m-3]
- height number
- height value [km]
- Amplitude and Doppler
for Ordinary polarization
- Azimuth and Zenith
(if available) for Ordinary polarization
- Amplitude and Doppler
for Extraordinary polarization
- Azimuth and Zenith
(if available) for Extraordinary polarization
- Gain for current
- Most Probable
Amplitude for Ordinary polarization
- Most Probable
Amplitude for Extraordinary polarization
- Precision group
height (if available) for Ordinary polarization
- Precision group
height (if available) for Extraordinary polarization
The main functions here are for
editing the different layers of the ionogram, to add and E layer click on
the add E button, or the accompanying hot key, or to add any other
layer click on that button or hot key. When editing an ionogram to add F1
layer you must already have an F2 layer.
Now that you have added a
new layer to move this layer to the proper place click on the circle at
the top or bottom of the yellow layer boundary line. Once you have clicked
on the button hold the mouse down and move it to where it belongs. To
smooth the trace along the echo hold the left button on the mouse down
To set values for a sporadic
E layer click on the right button of the mouse and a pull out menu will
appear, this also shows the other functions, changing background color
setting maximum frequency etc..... .When setting a value for example foEs
set the mouse at the frequency at which the layer ends then click and
scroll to the foEs button.
To change the starting or
ending heights and frequencies select the box next to the parameter to be
changed click on this and key in the value you would like. The same is
true for setting the Threshold value and play interval. After changing a
parameter press Enter to apply it and enable the Hot Keys once again.
When there is a need to use
a qualifying or descriptive letter you have to get to Sao Explorers main
screen then key in the corresponding letters. The easiest way to do this
is to hold down the ALT key and then hit the TAB key to select through
programs that are being run.
- To change Noise Threshold
– use numbers from 0 to 9. It will set threshold value N*stepIn_dB. To
enter negative number use ALT + numbers.
- To change Zooming – “+”
- To change Zoom Position
- To reset Zoom – “Escape”.
- To get previous
ionogram “Z” or “P”, next one “X”.
- To run ARTIST autoscaling
algorithm (if enabled) “W” or “F10”
- This page is for the most
part self explanatory, with some practice this will be a very smooth
- When editing many ionograms
the Hot Keys are a very useful tool.
Survey (Ionogram Series Screen)
- To view a series of
ionograms click on the series button the data that you see will be
specified in the lower right hand corner of the screen. To see other
ionograms select the "Show Now" box and select that series. In
the series screen you can also change the format of how many ionograms per
row and per column by selecting the layout boxes and keying in the needed
- To view a true height
profile contour for the data click on the contour button. This page is
very similar to the characteristics page and will work in the same way.
When there is more than one day open at a time more than one day at once
can be viewed by clicking on the "interval" button to view up to
2 weeks of data at one time.
- This dialog contains main
options of program
- NHPC settings
- parameters for external NHPC program. Have profile tabulation step and
Quasi - Parabolic Segments approximation accuracy. Use Start button to
recalculate all records.
- UDD settings.
settings - time field in text output and file format templates, picture options,
table of distances for MUF calculations.
- ARTIST program
settings - only in special version of program.