Using three different short-period electromagnetic sensors with resonance frequencies of 1 Hz (Mark L4C-3D), 2 Hz (Mark L-22D), and 4.5 Hz (I/OSM-6), coupled with three digital acquisition system, the portable data acquisition system (PDAS) Teledyne Geotech, the refraction technology (REFTEK) 72A, and the Earth Data Logger PR6-24 (EDL), the effect of the seismic instruments on the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (H/V) using seismic noise for frequencies less than 1 Hz has been evaluated. For all possible sensors - acquisition system pairs, the background seismic signal and instrumental self-noise power spectral densities have been calculated and compared. The results obtained when coupling the short-period sensors with different acquisition systems show that the performance of the considered instruments at frequencies < 1 Hz strongly depends upon the sensor - acquisition system combination and the gain used, with the best performance obtained for sensors with the lowest resonance frequency. For all acquisition systems, it was possible to retrieve correctly the H/V peak down to 0.1-0.2 Hz by using a high gain and a 1-Hz sensor. In contrast, biased H/V spectral ratios were retrieved when low-gain values were considered. Particular care is required when using 4.5-Hz sensors, because they may not even allow the fundamental resonance frequency peak to be reproduced.
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