The loss and phase advance due to diffraction are experimentally observed by measuring the amplitude and phase of radio frequency (rf) tone burst signals in the VHF range, in an ultrasonic transmission line consisting of a buffer rod with an ultrasonic transducer on one end, a couplant of water, and a solid specimen of synthetic silica glass. The measured results agree well with the calculated results from the exact integral expression of diffraction. The diffraction effects on the velocity and attenuation measured in this frequency range and their corrections are investigated to realize more accurate measurements. It is shown that attenuation measurements are influenced by diffraction losses and can be corrected by numerical calculations, and that velocity measurements are affected by the phase advance caused by diffraction. This investigation demonstrates that, in complex-mode velocity measurements, in which the velocity is determined from the measured phase of the signals, the true velocity at each frequency can be obtained by correction using the numerical calculation of diffraction. Based on this result, a new correction method in amplitude-mode velocity measurements is also proposed. In this new method, the velocity is determined from the intervals of interference output obtained by sweeping the ultrasonic frequency for the superposed signals generated by the double-pulse method. Velocity may be measured accurately at frequencies in the Fresnel region, and diffraction correction is essential to obtain highly accurate values with five significant figures or more. (C) 2000 Acoustical Society of America.