Abstract. Early in 1996, the latest of the European incoherent-scatter (EISCAT) radars came into operation on the Svalbard islands. The EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR) has been built in order to study the ionosphere in the northern polar cap and in particular, the dayside cusp. Conditions in the upper atmosphere in the cusp region are complex, with magnetosheath plasma cascading freely into the atmosphere along open magnetic field lines as a result of magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause. A model has been developed to predict the effects of pulsed reconnection and the subsequent cusp precipitation in the ionosphere. Using this model we have successfully recreated some of the major features seen in photometer and satellite data within the cusp. In this paper, the work is extended to predict the signatures of pulsed reconnection in ESR data when the radar is pointed along the magnetic field. It is expected that enhancements in both electron concentration and electron temperature will be observed. Whether these enhancements are continuous in time or occur as a series of separate events is shown to depend critically on where the open/closed field-line boundary is with respect to the radar. This is shown to be particularly true when reconnection pulses are superposed on a steady background rate.