We’re back!

Welcome to the Murchison Shire. It's good to be back!

Welcome to the Murchison Shire. It’s good to be back!

After leaving the Murchison and this blog on a slightly incomplete note last month, it’s great to be back in the Murchison with a subset of the student army to finish what we started!  We’ve come up with students Luke and Sammy, along with Commissioning Engineer Dave, Project Manager Tom and RRI Engineer Prabu (RRI is the Raman Research Institute in India, one of the partner organisations in the MWA) and of course me.

We all drove up from Perth today and reached the beautiful Murchison Shire (staying at Boolardy Station this time) about 5:30 this evening.

This morning we finished the last minute packing that always precedes a long trip and then hit the road.

How many engineers does it take to pack a trailer? Putting the cover on one of the two trailers this morning, just before hitting the road from Curtin University.

How many engineers does it take to pack a trailer? Putting the cover on one of the two trailers this morning, just before hitting the road from Curtin University.

The land (before we hit the dirt road) is looking very lush and green, with the occasional yellow canola field.

The land (before we hit the dirt road) is looking very lush and green, with the occasional yellow canola field.

Wildflower season is in full swing up here. I'm looking forward to seeing what the MWA site has to offer tomorrow. Puntastic-engineer Dave says 'blooming marvelous'. ;)

Wildflower season is in full swing up here. I’m looking forward to seeing what the MWA site has to offer tomorrow.

The trailer full of MWA receivers just after we hit the dirt road. We still had about 200km to go at this point!

The trailer full of MWA receivers just after we hit the dirt road. We still had about 200km to go at this point!

We've arrived at Boolardy Station, this trip's accommodation, just in time for a gorgeous sunset.

We’ve arrived at Boolardy Station, this trip’s accommodation, just in time for a gorgeous sunset.

Our goal this trip is to finish cabling those last 12 tiles (which I am understandably really excited for, I felt so bad leaving them behind last time) as well as install the remaining 68 beamformers and putting bricks under the 60 we’ve already installed. Engineer Dave insists it’s 19 days of work in only 4 days but, and I quote, ‘We’ll get it done in 2’ says Luke.  I’m not so sure, but I think we’ve got a very good shot. The engineers and Tom will be laying out cable and installing receiver enclosures on the receiver pads for the Alpha part of the array.

As always, wish us luck for this short four day adventure into getting the MWA closer to completion!

Trip 2 Day 0 Summary

Antenna Count: 4096/4096 – Completed last trip
Completed MWA Tiles: 116/128
Beam formers installed: 60/128 (128 on site)
Beam formers with bricks: 0/128
Receivers on pads 1/16

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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

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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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