SAO Explorer User's Guide

Jason Conway
Ivan Galkin
Grigori Khmyrov
Last update: December 12, 2006

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Getting Started:

  1. 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).
  2. To input data to SAO Explorer, two choices are provided, Open and Open All.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Main Screen

  1. 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":
  2. 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 default values.
  3. You can browse through the list of available records using the List Of Records combo box.
  4. To remove record(s) from the List Of Records use
  5. To save currently displayed files use
  6. The bottom line of Main Screen shows the status of SAO Explorer input/output.
  1. Nine display windows and Options Dialog can be opened from the Main Screen:

Characteristics Screen

  1. Make sure that you check the appropriate box under the "Show" column on the far left of the main screen.
  2. 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.
  3. To change order of characteristics use Drag-And-Drop method in main screen.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The text table can be saved into a file by clicking the Save as... button.
  8. 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 parameters.

Editing data in Ionogram Screen

  1. Ionogram screen shows the current ionogram with scaled traces and the electron density profile, if those are available.
  2. 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:
  3. 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 ionogram.
  4. Some special “Hot Keys” are available:
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Helpful Hints

Survey (Ionogram Series Screen)

  1. 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 format.

Contour Screen

  1. 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.

Options Dialog

  1. This dialog contains main options of program