Only two beamformers to go

We almost made it! Only two left… Lucky for us we can do them tomorrow morning before the drive to Geraldton for our flight home. The feeling is amazing that we managed to top yesterday’s effort of 30 beamformers to install 36, and that we’ll get it all done (barring weather getting in our way again or something… I’m touching wood right now!)

The last two beamformers ready for installation tomorrow morning!

The last two beamformers ready for installation tomorrow morning!

Installing the beamformer on the 'last tile' - the one we put the dipoles on last on our first trip up here. A nostalgic experience today (but not the last tile to get a beamformer!)

Installing the beamformer on the ‘last tile’ – the one we put the dipoles on last on our first trip up here. A nostalgic experience today (but not the last tile to get a beamformer!)

We did the cabling on these tiles three days ago, and this little plant wasn't there then... We thought we must have been mistaken, but nope we definitely did this tile and no plant...

We did the cabling on these tiles three days ago, and this little plant wasn’t there then… We thought we must have been mistaken, but nope we definitely did this tile and no plant…

While we were running around installing 36 (!!) beamformers, Dave, Tom and Prabu were busy back in the office.  The brains for another receiver are ready to go out first thing tomorrow, and they’re planning on a fourth being ready to go by tomorrow afternoon. Excellent progress made all round.

Prabu getting a receiver ready for installation in its box.

Prabu getting a receiver ready for installation in its box.

Dave explaining the innards of a receiver to Sammy, Luke and Me.

Dave explaining the innards of a receiver to Sammy, Luke and Me.

Even though we were in ‘heads down, work harder’ mode today, we still managed to glimpse some wildflowers and wildlife.

On the hunt for wildflowers again I spotted these little white 'poofs' next to a tile. It's amazing how different the terrain and plant life can be around different tiles, especially given the MWA is mostly within a 2km square!

On the hunt for wildflowers again I spotted these little white ‘poofs’ next to a tile. It’s amazing how different the terrain and plant life can be around different tiles, especially given the MWA is mostly within a 2km square!

This little lizard (maybe a gecko?) was hanging upside down from the cabling when we pulled up to install the beamformer. Photo Luke Horsley.

This little lizard was hanging upside down from the cabling when we pulled up to install the beamformer. Photo Luke Horsley.

A giant eagle's nest next to an outer-edge tile, unfortunately no eagles at home. Photo Luke Horsley.

A giant eagle’s nest next to an outer-edge tile, unfortunately no eagles at home. Photo Luke Horsley.

As part of our trip around the tiles, we also got to ‘service’ some dipoles today – basically taking their lids off, undoing the screws that attach the amplifier to the aluminium ‘bat wings’ and checking it all out. It added some variety to our day, and it’s good to see the ‘service’ loops we added in when cabling actually doing their job and allowing you to pull apart a dipole without needing to uncable the whole tile.  It was also a great feeling to just know what to do when we were asked to service them – we’ve learned so much on our two trips about almost everything that goes into the MWA.

On our last night at Boolardy some clouds rolled in to give us this gorgeous sunset - the photo doesn't really do the colours justice.

On our last night at Boolardy some clouds rolled in to give us this gorgeous sunset – the photo doesn’t really do the colours justice.

Trip 2 Day 4 Summary

Antenna Count: 4096/4096 – Completed last trip
Completed MWA Tiles: 128/128
Beam formers assembled: 128/128
Beam formers installed: 126/128 (128 on site)
Beam formers with bricks: 60/128
Receivers on pads 2/16

Advertisements

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

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.
%d bloggers like this: