Aurora: A favorite propagation. When more than the usual levels of charged particles arrive at the earth (i.e., increased solar wind), as a result of a CME or coronal stream, many of these charged particles penetrate the weakest parts of the GMF near the polar regions. This is because the GMF field lines guide these charged particles into these regions; at these Polar Regions, extreme ionization can result at altitudes up to 1000km.
Due to this increased ionization, a dynamic curtain shaped layer develops instead of the more typical horizontal shaped F2-layer. This auroral layer may reflect radio waves from the HF-band (3-30MHz) all the way up to and including the entire UHF-band (300-3000MHz). However, due to its very irregular shape and constant movement, heavy fading (QSB) is common in the reflected radio signals(Kelley, Heelis, 2006 ). This QSB can also result from multiple reflections within these auroral layers, causing rapid phase shifting. An auroral signal is easily recognized at 30MHz as a bubbling sounding modulation or "under-water-like" modulation. Finally, because of the extreme and sudden phase shifts, narrow band modes such as CW and digital are the most reliable modes for DX contacts.
Backscatter: A useful form of propagation which mostly occurs when the maximum usable frequency (MUF) rises above 30MHz. During these conditions, when radio waves reach the ionosphere (usually the F2-layer), they are reflected towards the earth's surface at a larger detectable continuum of angles than usual( Hargreaves, 2005 ). In other words, a detectable fraction of a radio signal is now reflected at a very sharp angle back into region just surrounding the transmitting station but usually beyond the range of ground wave communications (i.e., blind zone).
Therefore, backscatter signals are heard within a radius of 2000km from the transmitting station. Backscatter signals are generally weaker than the normal reflected radio waves and during periods of low solar flux, only radio stations using directional antennas can produce readable signals. However, during periods of very high solar flux, even small stations using 10 Watts and vertical ground plane antennas may produce readable signals. Backscatter signals are generally very stable and rarely influenced by QSB. Finally, backscatter signals are easily recognized as a "hollow" or "barrel-like" sound originating from the expected blind zones of a radio station(Corum, 2006 ).
Blind Zone: The blind zone is the area around a radio station which cannot normally be worked by either ground waves or normal ionospheric sky waves. Usually stations in the blind zone can only be worked via intermittent backscatter propagation. This zone is also called the "skip zone" by the US Military.
Es: A mode of propagation producing well known short skip radio contacts off the E-layer of the ionosphere. This propagation occurs most frequently during the summer months with a major node occurring during the summer, a minor node occurring during the winter, and "valleys" occurring around both equinoxes. During the summer, this mode is popular due to its high signal levels(Grotz, ...