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LOFAR HBA tile installation begins at KAIRA

Submitter: Derek McKay-Bukowski
Description: KAIRA (Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array) is a new project being built in Arctic Finland (69.0°N, 20.9°E). It is a multi-purpose facility, for use as a stand-alone instrument, in conjunction with the EISCAT VHF incoherent scatter radar in Tromsø, or with other Fenno-Scandinavian atmospheric VHF experiments. In addition, KAIRA will act as a pathfinder for technologies to be used in the proposed EISCAT_3D radar system.

KAIRA is being built using ASTRON's proven LOFAR system. When complete, it will comprise 48 high-band array (HBA) tiles and 96 low-band array (LBA) aerials. In addition, it will have a full set of signal-processing electronics allowing the entire LBA to be used simultaneously with dual polarisation for atmospheric imaging experiments. The HBA, although only 48 tiles at present, is arranged so that it can allow for expansion to a full international LOFAR station in the future. Owing to the Arctic latitudes, the build season is very short, so only the HBA will be assembled this year (and even that is going to be tight).

In order to cope with extreme snow depths, snow drifts and ice loading, the entire array is being built 1.5 metres above ground on a timber framework. The photograph sequence above shows the start of the build phase, with an overview of the site, the arrival of the first LOFAR tiles and the installation of the framesets and tiles on the array field.

KAIRA is a Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory project, using the support of the European Regional Development Funds for Lapland and the University of Oulu, Finland. Throughout the project, the team will be posting regularly on the weblog with photographs, diagrams and explanations about the project, how it works and the progress being made on the construction site.

Web log: http://kaira.sgo.fi/
Copyright: Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory / Derek McKay-Bukowski
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