Measurements of the Doppler and delay spread associated with HF signals propagating along an oblique (1440 km) path tangential to the midlatitude ionospheric trough are presented for sunspot maximum and minimum. During the day, Doppler spread is independent of solar activity, but for winter and equinoctial nights, it is very much higher at sunspot maximum. The delay spread is also generally higher at sunspot maximum for all seasons and times of day. For sunspot minimum, measurements from a second, longer path (1800 km) are also presented. The observed Doppler and delay spreads are similar for both paths. Finally, a novel method of more accurately deriving the delay spread defined by the International Telecommunication Union (i.e., the largest delay spread including all modes that have a peak power within a user-defined threshold of that of the strongest mode) from Voice of America coverage analysis program (VOACAP) predictions is presented. For the first time, the predicted values are compared with the measured delay spreads and, while there is generally good agreement at sunspot minimum, the agreement at sunspot maximum tends to be poor because the behavior of the high-order ionospheric modes (e.g., 3F2) is not well predicted by VOACAP.Peer-reviewedPublisher versio
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