This paper reports an experimental investigation of surface electromagnetic wave (SEW) energy distribution on railroad tracks. Radial field distribution of SEW on 112-lb/yd rails were examined utilizing a dipole diode detector. Laboratory and on-site measurements were made. The field strength distribution data at frequencies 3.000, 6.000, and 9.733 GHz show that the main part of the SEW TE mode energy (almost 90 percent) is on the head of the rail. Use of dielectric augmentation on the side of rails resulted in lower attenuation of the propagating SEW. Thick dielectric strip augmentation data shows enhancement of SEW propagation in agreement with McAulay. The intertrack coupling and the characteristic frequency response versus field strength at varied distances from the source were also examined. These data indicate propagation distances of more than 2000 m are possible using dielectric augmentation. Copyright © 1980 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1557-9670; 0018-9480

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2023 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 1980