This information is sourced from the RFC: 0003 and 0004 previously in the RST RFC documentation that was written by R.J. Barnes.

Radar Identifier


As the number of radars increased, the use of a single letter as a radar identifier became both confusing and eventually impractical. The single letter identifier was replaced with a short text string.


SupeDARN radars have always been identified by two methods. Within the software, each radar is identified by a unique station identifier number (site ID). These numbers are difficult to remember and are very confusing to a normal human operator; consequently each radar is also assigned a single character station ID code.

When the number of radars was compartively small, this approach worked well with each radar receiving an appropriate ID letter such as "g" for Goose Bay and "k" for Kapuskasing. However as the number of radars has increased the number of available letters has decreased and the codes have become less logical and harder to remember. Before the number of radars exceeded 26, the radar identifier was changed to be a short text string that is easy to remember.

Format for the Radar Identifier

The summary for format in files after July 1, 2006 is:

  • The radar identifier (single character) was changed to a short three letter text string for all existing radars
  • Software should be capable of handling arbitary length strings, for future expansion. Though the standard for now is 3 characters.
  • The three letter identifier uses lower case characters
  • Software should treat the identifier as case sensitive


Radar identifiers will be allowed to have aliases. For existing radars, the principal alias will be the existing single character identifier code. This approach will allow backwards compatibility as a radar can be referenced either by the new identifier or the old.

An alias map for radars that transitioned from the single character to the three character identifier is found below.

Station Number Radar Identifier Single Character Alias Name
01 gbr g Goose Bay
02 sch s Schefferville
03 kap k Kapuskasing
04 hal h Halley
05 sas t Saskatoon
06 pgr b Prince George
07 kod a Kodiak
08 sto w Stokkseyri
09 pyk e Pykkvibaer
10 han f Hankasalmi
11 san d Sanae
12 sys j Syowa South
13 sye n Syowa East
14 tig r TIGER
15 ker p Kerguelen
16 ksr c King Salmon
18 unw u Unwin
32 wal i Wallops Island


History (from RFC)

  • 2004/06/02 Iniital Revision, RJB