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PHaRLAP - Provision of High-frequency Raytracing Laboratory for Propagation studies

PHaRLAP - Provision of High-frequency Raytracing LAboratory for Propagation studies

PHaRLAP is Matlab toolbox for the study and modelling of the propagation of High Frequency (HF) radio waves in the Earth's ionosphere. It provides 2D and fully magneto-ionic 3D numerical ray tracing (NRT) engines, analytical ray tracing (ART) routines and the necessary supporting routines.

The numerical ray trace routines require gridded profiles of the Earth's ionosphere and magnetic field. Users supply their own models or employ the International Reference Ionophere and International Geomagnetic Reference Field models supplied with PHaRLAP.

The full state-vector of the ray at each point along the ray trajectory is available and user modified state-vectors may be input for advanced ray studies.

The computational engine of PHaRLAP coded in FORTRAN 2008 and compiled under Matlab into mex files which provides the speed of a compiled language with the flexibility, portability and ease of use of a modern interactive language. Currently the Linux (64 bit), Mac OS X (Intel only) and Windows (64 bit) platforms are supported.

Full online help is available within Matlab.

To install PHaRLAP, unzip the package and follow the instructions in the file INSTALL_NOTES.txt. If you have any problems contact the author at

Users are required to read the Acknowledgements prior to installing the software.

Examples of use of PHaRLAP are available in the articles

Cervera M. A. and T. J. Harris (2014), Modelling ionospheric disturbance features in quasi-vertically incident ionograms using 3D magneto-ionic raytracing and atmospheric gravity waves, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, 431-440, doi:10.1002/2013JA019247

Pederick, L. and M. A. Cervera (2016), A directional HF noise model: Calibration and validation in the Australian region, Radio Sci., 51, 25-39, doi:10.1002/2015RS005842

Pederick, L. and M. A. Cervera (2016), Modelling the interference environment in the HF band, Radio Sci., 51, 82-90, doi:10.1002/2015RS005856

Francis, D., B., M. A. Cervera, and G. J. Frazer (2017), Performance Prediction for Design of a Network of Skywave Over-the-Horizon Radars, IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 32(12), 18-28,doi: 10.1109/MAES.2017.170056

Cervera, M. A., Francis, D., B., and G. J. Frazer (2018), Climatological Model of Over-the-horizon Radar (CMOR), Radio Sci., 53, 988-1001, doi:10.1029/2018RS006607

Download PHaRLAP

Current PHaRLAP version: 4.3.4

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PHaRLAP is "scientific research" software. It is recommended not to be used for operational purposes. The Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) of the Department of Defence, Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the results from PHaRLAP. The use of PHaRLAP is provided on an “as is” basis and DST make no representation and give no warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied including fitness for a particular purpose. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the program is with you. You indemnify and hold harmless DST and any of its contractors and subcontractors against any costs, including any claims for costs made by any person arising from your possession or use of the program, or breach of this licence, or any related matter, including costs resulting from any products or processes based on or resulting from your use of the program. If you choose to request a copy of the software or download the software you are also agreeing DST’s terms of use. PHaRLAP is software created by the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) of Department of Defence, Commonwealth of Australia. The release of PHaRLAP is strictly controlled. PHaRLAP is not to be redistributed, under any circumstance, to third parties, without DST’s expressed written permission. Third parties are to directly request a copy of PHaRLAP via the website

Key information


Dr Manuel Cervera
Discipline Lead – Propagation and Modelling (DST), and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Physical Sciences (The University of Adelaide)

P +61 8 7389 7163
M +61 413 842 043

  • HF radio wave ray tracing
  • HF propagation modelling
  • Ionospheric Physics
  • Over-the-horizon radar