Direction-of-arrival estimation of VHF signals recorded on the international space station and simultaneous observations of optical lightning

Hiroshi Kikuchi, Takeshi Morimoto, Mitsuteru Sato, Tomoo Ushio, Masayuki Kikuchi, Atsushi Yamazaki, Makoto Suzuki, Ryohei Ishida, Yuji Sakamoto, Zen Kawasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We report an initial investigation of the new location method of a very high frequency (VHF) radiation source, using signals recorded at the International Space Station. A VHF interferometer (VITF) has two VHF sensors. Locating lightning with VHF bands is useful to locate the position of the charge distribution in the thunderstorm. The location method of a radio source proposed used two direction-of-arrival estimation techniques. One is the interferometric technique, and another is based on the ionospheric propagation delay measurement of received signals. The combination of the two techniques provides two angular positions of the radiation source. When an altitude of a radiation source is assumed, we can determine two possible positions. One of the two positions was associated with the radiation source, while the other was not. In this paper, we compared the position of lightning and sprite imager (LSI) data, which are simultaneously captured during a lightning emission, with the locating position near the emission. The data set of the VITF within 100 ms of the optical lightning emission captured with the LSI was used. The temporally simultaneous event seems to be associated with the same lightning event. The estimated radiation positions were spatially in close agreement with the optical lightning positions captured with LSI, under nighttime ionosphere conditions. From statistical analysis, the spatial difference of the standard deviation changed from 15.3 to 30.8 km depending on the installation direction of the VHF sensors. The usefulness and limitations of the method are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7429752
Pages (from-to)3868-3877
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul


  • Direction of arrival (DOA) estimation
  • lightning discharges
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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