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Lightning Location Finder


Development and Investigation of the Single-Point System of Short and Medium Radius of Action for Lightning Location in the Range of Super-Long Waves

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-MEA/Measuring Instruments/Instrumentation
  • PHY-RAW/Radiofrequency Waves/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • University of Florida / Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, USA, FL, Gainesville\nUniversity of Uppsala / Division of Electricity and Lightning Research, Sweden, Uppsala

Project summary

1. Status of Problem and Substantiation of Proposed Technical Solutions
Project goal - developing a new lightning-location system having increased accuracy and detection range.
The proposed research refers to the problem of creating technical means for lightning location. These means are vitally necessary in certain areas of human activity: meteorological support of civil aviation flights, servicing of power transmission lines, forestry, blasting. Also, they are used for research and other activities.
At present, multi-point systems for lightning location using direction-finding or range-difference recording are the most well known systems in the world. However, since these systems require wide communication networks providing the information exchange between distant stations as well as equipment for synchronization with the universal time network, they are used in the countries with well-developed communication means. Russia is lacking well-developed and accessible means of communication, therefore, the use of multi-point systems in this country is limited and attention was mostly focused on the development of single-point lightning direction finders.
By now several serial devices have been developed in Russia. Direction finder FAG-1 based on phase single-frequency H-method provides an “interval” estimate of distance in 0-70 km range with 10 km step. Russian series-produced amplitude direction finder “Ochag-2P” having range limitation 400 km demonstrated applicability of this single-point system, however it is not widely used due to low probabilistic and accuracy performances. The reason was that a lightning model (used in this system) in the form of a vertically arranged dipole preconditioned high errors in determined coordinates.
Recent studies of new methods in the area of lightning location (see section 2, paragraph 12) allow development of a new generation of the lightning direction-finder – range finder.
Within this Project one proposes to:
- increase accuracy of lightning strike location;
- expand the operation range up to 1200-1500 km.
The operation range will be expanded due to the use of two absolutely different range-finding algorithms, which complement each other. The first algorithm is a phase version of the modified multi-frequency E-H range finder. This version determines the distance in the close zone (up to 100 km). The model of a discharge, arbitrarily oriented in space, is proposed to improve accuracy of determining the field source location. The second algorithm uses specific features of jump-like character of radio wave propagation in the waveguide channel of the Earth-ionosphere and determines distance in the range from 100 up to 1200-1500 km. These algorithms are based on the studies performed at the St.-Petersburg State University.
The direction-finder "Ochag-2" developed at the Research Institute of Measurement Technique, Chelyabinsk, will serve the prototype of the improved device proposed in this Project.
Lightning location finder includes the following components:
- antenna system;
- receiver ensuring optimal preliminary processing of the received signal and its analog-to-digital conversion;
- IBM-compatible computer for processing of the obtained data and visualization of calculation results;
- software, which is an on-line Windows-application.
Project participants are highly qualified in developing lightning location systems (dissertation, the book, many publications and papers at conferences by Dr. I.I. Kononov, as well as dissertation of Dr. N.A. Faizullin, Deputy Chief Designer, author of the developed «Ochag-2P», are devoted to the topic of lightning location). Creative team has experience of similar work under ISTC Project №1822. This joint effort of the Project team allows this task to be solved.

2. Expected Results and their Application
The following results will be generated during fulfillment of the Project:
- scientific and technical principles of creating thunderstorm location system will be developed and tested; software for identification of information parameters by the observed functions of the vertical component of the electrical field and of the horizontal one of the magnetic field will be developed; the developed algorithms will serve the basis for lightning location system;
- a pilot sample of the range finder will be developed and manufactured for confirmation of principals of lightning location, measurement errors and errors in operational characteristics of the system will be estimated;
- methods will be developed and field tests of the range finder will be conducted;
- procedures of handling the range finder during servicing will be developed.

3. Scope of Works
Total labor effort of weapon specialists, other scientists, experts, and supporting personnel for the fulfillment of the Project will be 6671 man*days with the Project duration equal to 30 calendar months.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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