skip distance

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The minimum distance from the transmitter of a radio wave at which reception is possible by means of a sky wave (see radio transmission). If a radio wave strikes the ionosphere at a small angle of incidence the wave passes through it and is not reflected. There is therefore a minimum angle of incidence at which reflection occurs for a given frequency. This leads to a region around a transmitter in which sky waves cannot be received. As the frequency of the transmission increases the minimum angle of incidence at which ionospheric reflection occurs becomes greater. Above about 4 megahertz there may be a region of several hundred kilometres around a transmitter, which is within the skip distance and in which ground waves are too attenuated to be effectively received. In this region no reception is possible.

Subjects: Physics — Meteorology and Climatology.

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