| The rack in the image is the Mark4 VLBI backend that has been donated by the Westerbork Observatory to the Kunming VLBI Station of the Yunnan Astronomical Observatory, located in Southern China. The three happy figures near the rack are (left to right) Min WANG, Head of the Kuniming station, Zhixuan LI and Longfei HAO (staff).
Thanks to the Mark4 backend, the Kunming 40-meter radio telescope is now capable of observing at the recording rate of 1 Gbps - eight times faster than its old system. This will result in a significant improvement in the sensitivity of VLBI experiments. To be fully compatible with the EVN and other VLBI networks, the Kunming staff have installed a MK5B recorder and installed a standard FS computer to control the new system. Currently, the “first fringe” experiment with the new backend system is in preparation. Hopefully, very soon we will see VLBI fringes to this remote station with much higher SNR.
This story is a result of collective efforts by a group of people from the Dutch end of the baseline, involving Harm Munk, Harm-Jan Stiepel, Peter Gruppen, Jan-Pieter de Reijer, Geert Kuper and Rene Vermeulen (ASTRON), Martin Leeuwinga, Hans Tenkink, Leonid Gurvits and Jun Yang (JIVE). The author is delighted to pass to the ASTRON and JIVE colleagues deep gratitude for this donation by Min WANG and all his colleagues in Kunming.
P.S. The first EVN fringes to the Kunming station using its old backend were detected on 17 Jun 2009. See the ASTRON/JIVE daily image on 24 June 2009: http://www.astron.nl/dailyimage/main.php?date=20090624