Bush Ranging

We had a very good day again – we’re so close to finishing all the dipoles.  Only 100 turrets left and we’re there, so, so exciting.

Dipole factory continued today.

Dipole factory continued today, Sammy and I ended up in a heated race after lunch to see if I could ‘lap’ him! (Photo Kim Steele.)

We’ve also written almost 4000 labels (i’d say i’ve written about 70% of them – that’s a lot of letters!)

It seems we need endless labels for our tiles.

It seems we need endless labels for our tiles. (Photo Kim Steele.)

The pile of boxes has steadily decreased – this is the last lot, our shipping container is completely empty.

The very last of the dipole boxes!

The very last of the dipole boxes, as of this morning. We didn’t get through ALL of these – but we’re close.

We also had a team out ranging far from base to get to the final tiles.  We have dipoles laid out and labelled on 114 tiles, so now just cabling required.  We’re also expecting the beamformers tomorrow morning, which brings in another job as well.

We're down to the furthest tiles from the core now, so we have to do quite a lot of bush ranging to get to each!

We’re down to the furthest tiles from the core now, so we have to do quite a lot of bush ranging to get to each. Engineer Dave is expertly dodging bushes and trees in the 4WD to get to this far-flung tile.

We've punctured two tires so far with all this bush ranging - a good record given we've got 8 tires to worry about on the prado and trailer.

Spare tires, ready for emergency use.

We’re looking forward to finishing the last dipoles tomorrow morning (wow!) and the truck from Perth bringing up our beamformers, along with a care package from home base. Only 3 days left and we’re looking good.

Day 9 Summary

Antenna Count: 3896/4096
Completed MWA Tiles: 73/128
Beam formers installed: 0/128 (0 on site)


About Kirsten Gottschalk

Outreach and Education Officer at The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). I was lucky enough to join our engineers and 'student army' to build a good share of the Murchison Widefield Array, the low frequency precursor to the Square Kilometre Array on the future SKA site in WA. All images and content on this blog are copyright, unless otherwise attributed. If you'd like to use any of my photos, send me an email and I'd be happy to help - kirsten.gottschalk@icrar.org

6 responses to “Bush Ranging

  1. Bob Steele

    Wow, you people must be staying up all night to assemble that many turrets :0 Well done to all 🙂

  2. Pratik

    Great work. Can you explain about Beamformers please?

    • Kirsten Gottschalk

      Hi Pratik, sorry missed your question until now! Beamformers are the things that actually point the telescope. As the MWA has no moving parts, it’s all pointed electronically. What I might do is draw some pictures and explain it in my last post. We were explaining everything to our hosts the other night. If you have any specific questions about them feel free to reply here – I have it set up so I’ll see the comments right away now!

      • Pratik

        Thanks for the answer.
        So each Tile has a Beamformer and then they are connected to other Tiles via beamformers. Am i right?
        Once again great work people!

      • Hi Pratik, yes you’re almost right. Each tile gets a beam former, then each beam former is connected to a receiver, where the signals are combined. There’s one receiver per eight tiles. The receivers then all connect up to a big computer which forms the data for the astronomers to use.

  3. Johna586

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Copyright Notice

All images and content on this blog is copyright. I'd be happy to help you out if you want to use any text or images that I've produced, simply send me an email - kirsten.gottschalk@icrar.org - and we can chat about it.
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