The Refractive Effect of k-Factor on Radio Propagation over Lokoja, Nigeria
The effective earth radius factor (k-factor) has a refractive propagation effect on transmitted radio signals thus making its study necessary for the proper planning of terrestrial radio links and power budget. This study was carried out over the city of Lokoja, Nigeria, using ten years (2011 to 2020) atmospheric data of temperature, pressure and humidity both at the surface (12 m) and at 100 m AGL. The data were retrieved from European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA5. The k-factor yearly variation follows the same trend with minimum and maximum values obtained during dry and wet season months respectively. In addition, the highest mean value of 1.00042 was recorded in the month of August while the lowest value of 1.00040 was recorded in the month of January with an overall mean value of 1.0003. This value is less than the recommended standard of 1.33 by ITU-R. The propagation effect corresponding to k < 1.33 is sub-refractive. The implication of this on radio wave propagation, especially terrestrial communications is that transmitted wireless signal is prone to losses. This can be mitigated through an effective power budget: Choice of transmitting antenna’s height and gain, so as to improve the Quality of Service over the study area.
Keywords:Effective earth radius factor (k-factor), Refractive effect, errestrial radio link, Radio signal, Power budget
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