Beam formers!

Lots of excellent excellent news today.  Firstly: we finished all the dipoles!  YES! Secondly, the beam formers have landed. So now we can start forming beams, or something. No, really this is great as it means we can get the alpha and beta parts of the array ready for science commissioning – all they’ll need is to be hooked up to the receivers.

The first of the beam formers we hooked up today. It took us about 30 minutes for each one, so we're looking good for a finish!

The first of the beam formers we hooked up today. It took us about 30 minutes for each one, so we’re looking good for a finish! I described the beam formers and what they do back in ‘How to make a dipole’.

The beamformers came along with a care package of tools, cheese and bacon balls (yes more) and coke from home base – thanks for that guys! We also had a little visitor come along in the ute.

This little cutie came along for the ride with our beamformers. We wanted to keep him, but unfortunately weren't successful.

This little cutie came along for the ride with our beamformers. We wanted to keep him, but unfortunately weren’t successful. He could only pop out of the car for a few minutes because he was so young.

Food, as always, has been a highlight.  Wooleen sure take care of us.

David and Frances from Wooleen heard Luke talking about his love for cheese last night - this was the (very welcome) result. (Photo Kim Steele.)

David and Frances from Wooleen heard Luke talking about his love for cheese last night – this was the (very welcome) result. (Photo Kim Steele.)

Sue with the last box of dipoles! Wow were we glad to see this come by.

Sue with the last box of dipoles! Wow were we glad to see this come by.

Wow, are we glad to be finished constructing dipoles.  It feels like a massive achievement, and a big stepping stone on the way to the whole telescope being done. There were lots of smiles today!

Our very last dipole - numbers 4095 and 4096 (each turret is two dipole antennas).

Our very last dipole – numbers 4095 and 4096 (each turret is two dipole antennas).

The team clipping down dipoles for our final tile. A satisfying feeling, that's for sure.

The team clipping down dipoles for our final tile. A satisfying feeling, that’s for sure.

The labels for the final tile were a little different - some of the team made a label significant to each person on the team and a few other students and staff who have been working on the MWA.

The labels for the final tile were a little different; some of the team made a label significant to each person on the team and a few other students and staff who have been working on the MWA. Certainly gave me the warm fuzzies to see these labels.

The last tile! The team with dipoles clipped on to the very last tile of the MWA! We can see the finish line now.

The last tile! The team with dipoles clipped on to the very last tile of the MWA. We can see the finish line now.

Now we head home through the gorgeous Murchison.  It’s a real treat being out here in this part of Australia.

Every evening we drive past this gorgeous view at the Wooleen Woolshed. Photos just can't do this part of the country justice.

Every evening we drive past this gorgeous view at the Wooleen Woolshed. Photos just can’t do this part of the country justice.

Day 10 Summary

Antenna Count: 4096/4096 (plus a few spares)
Completed MWA Tiles: 73/128
Beam formers installed: 10/128 (60 on site, built and out of their boxes – ready to ‘simply’ be hooked up)

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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

3 responses to “Beam formers!

  1. Bob Steele

    Wow 🙂 That’s it, just wow! Well done to all of you 🙂

  2. Natasha

    Fantastic job, guys! So excited to start using the instrument… and wandering out and finding all the hidden messages you have left! I may have to design some kind of periscope…

    • Kirsten Gottschalk

      Thanks Tash – I’m looking forward to hearing about what you guys find, I think I only saw a few of the surprises myself.

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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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