DAT files

DAT files are a historical file format for raw SuperDARN data. They were produced at radar sites between 1992 and 2006.

They can be converted to the RAWACF file format using RST's dattorawacf command.

Naming Conventions

The naming convention for DAT files is:

YYYYMMDDHH.<1-letter radar abbreviation>.dat

1 letter radar abbreviation 3 letter abbreviation radar name
g gbr Goose Bay
s sch Schefferville
k kap Kapuskasing
h hal Halley
t sas Saskatoon
b pgr Prince George
a kod Kodiak
w sto Stokkseyri
e pyk Pykkvibaer
f han Hankasalmi
d san Sanae
j sys Syowa South
n sye Syowa East
r tig TIGER
p ker Keruelen
c ksr King Salmon
u unw Unwin
i wal Wallops Island

DAT files usually contain 2 hours of data. If the radar restarted or changed to a different control program during a 2-hour interval, a new DAT file is created. When this occurs, a letter is appended to the filename after the 1-letter radar abbreviation.


Do not confuse the letters in DAT-format filenames with the letters representing channels in RAWACF-format filenames.

YYYYMMDDHH.<1-letter radar abbreviation>[a-z].dat


Each record in a DAT file contains a set of scalar and vector fields.


Field name Units Data Type Description
radar.revision.major None char Major version number of the radar operating system
radar.revision.minor None char Minor version number of the radar operating system
npr None char Total number of scalar and vector fields in a DAT record
stid None short Station identifier
year None short Year
month None short Month number (not padded)
day None short Day (not padded)
hour hrs short Hour
minut min short Minute
sec s short Seconds
txpow kW short Transmitted power
nave None short Number of pulse sequences transmitted
atten None short Attenuation level (0-3)
lagfr us short Lag to first range
smsep us short Sample separation
ercod None short Error Code
stat.agc None short Automatic gain control status word
stat.lopwr None short Low power status word
nbaud None short The number of elements in the pulse code
noise None float Noise level measured during the clear frequency search
noise.mean None float Average noise across the frequency band
channel None short Channel number, used to denote different Tx/Rx channels on Stereo radars, and to denote changes in radar operating parameters between scans, e.g. alternating between 2 frequencies scan-to-scan
bmnum None short Beam number, zero based indexing
bmazm degrees float Beam azimuth
scan None short Scan flag, indicating the scan mode.
offset us short Offset between channels for a stereo radar
rxrise us short Receiver rise time
intt s short Integration period
txpl us short Transmitted pulse length
mpinc us short Multi-pulse increment (lag separation)
mppul None short Number of pulses in the sequence
mplgs None short Number of lags in the lag table
nrang None short Number of range gates
frang km short Distance to the first range gate
rsep km short Range separation
xcf None short XCF flag, indicating whether the power, velocity, spectral width and phi0 parameters fitted from the cross-correlation function are available (xcf=1) or not available (xcf=0)
tfreq kHz short Transmitted frequency
mxpwr None int Maximum power
lvmax None int Maximum noise level allowed
usr_resL1 None int User defined variable
usr_resL2 None int User defined variable
cp None short Control program number
usr_resS1 None short User defined variable
usr_resS2 None short User defined variable
usr_resS3 None short User defined variable
combf None string Comment buffer, usually contains the control program name



slist contains the range gates with lag zero power above the threshold level.

Field name Units Dimensionality Data Type Description
ptab None [mppul] short Pulse table, showing when pulses are transmitted as integer multiples of mpinc/smsep
ltab None [mplgs+1][2] short Lag table, showing which pulses to use to estimate each lag
pwr0 None [nrang] float Lag zero power, estimated from voltage samples (not fitted)
acfd None [2][mplgs][0-nrang] float Calculated ACFs
xcfd None [2][mplgs][0-nrang] float Calculated XCFs