Determination of millimetric signal attenuation due to rain using rain rate and raindrop size distribution models for Southern Africa.
The advantages offered by Super High Frequency (SHF) and Extremely High Frequency (EHF) bands such as large bandwidth, small antenna size, and easy installation or deployment have motivated the interest of researchers to study those factors that prevent optimum utilization of these bands. Under precipitation conditions, factors such as clouds, hail, fog, snow, ice crystals and rain degrade link performance. Rain fade, however, remains the dominant factor in the signal loss or signal fading over satellite and terrestrial links especially in the tropical and sub-tropical regions within which South Africa falls. At millimetre-wave frequencies the signal wavelength approaches the size of the raindrops, adversely impacting on radio links through signal scattering and absorption. In this work factors that may hinder the effective use of the super high frequency and extremely high frequency bands in the Southern African region are investigated. Rainfall constitutes the most serious impairment to short wavelength signal propagation in the region under study. In order to quantify the degree of impairment that may arise as a result of signal propagation through rain, the raindrops scattering amplitude functions were calculated by assuming the falling raindrops to be oblate spheroidal in shape. A comparison is made between the performance of the models that assume raindrops to be oblate spheroidal and those that assume them to be spherical. Raindrops sizes are measured using the Joss-Waldvogel RD-80 Distrometer. The study then proposes various expressions for models of raindrops size distributions for four types of rainfall in the Southern Africa region. Rainfall rates in the provinces in South Africa are measured and the result of the cumulative distribution of the rainfall rates is presented. Using the information obtained from the above, an extensive calculation of specific attenuation and phase shift in the region of Southern Africa is carried out. The results obtained are compared with the ITU-R and those obtained from earlier campaigns in the West African sub region. Finally, this work also attempts to determine and characterize the scattering process and micro-physical properties of raindrops for sub-tropical regions like South Africa. Data collected through a raindrop size measurement campaign in Durban is used to compare and validate the developed models.