Di Sciascio, G (reprint author), Ist Nazl Fis Nucl, I-80125 Naples, Italy.
A resistive plate counters (RPCs) carpet of similar to50 m(2) has been put in operation in the Yangbajing Laboratory (Tibet, P.R. China) at 4300 in a.s.l., in order to study the RPCs performance at high altitude and the detector capability of imaging the EAS disc. This test has been performed in view of an enlarged use of RPCs for the ARGO-YBJ experiment. This experiment will be devoted to a wide range of fundamental issues in cosmic rays and astroparticle physics, including in particular gamma-ray astronomy and gamma-ray bursts physics at energies greater than or equal to 100 GeV. In this paper we present and discuss the procedures adopted to calibrate the detector and reconstruct the shower direction. Results concerning many shower features as the angular distribution, the density spectrum, the time profile of the shower front, are found well consistent with the expectation. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.