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SKA-Low Test Array at the MRO

Submitter: Jan Geralt Bij de Vaate
Description: Ingenieurs from the UK, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia have risen to the challenge of designing the SKA-Low Aperture Array stations. The team started as part of the earlier AAVP (Aperture Array Verification Program) and is currently in the process of forming a consortium to bid for this work in the context of the SKA pre-construction phase. A significant part of the work focused on the design of an antenna that is sensitive over the large bandwidth of 70 to 450MHz (a factor of 6.5!).

Various types of antennas are being considered. For instance a log-periodic antenna designed by Cambridge University, the so-called SKALA (SKA Log-periodic Antenna).

An array of 16 SKALAs has now been installed by ICRAR at the Murchison Radio Observatory, the Australian SKA site. The test array is hosted by one of the SKA precursor projects, the MWA (Murchison Widefield Array). It can use (spare) MWA infrastructure for verification measurements. This demonstrates a productive spirit of cooperation between a SKA precursor and 'real' SKA verification systems.

The insert shows some prominent visitors inspecting the array during the recent official opening of the MWA.
Copyright: Jan Geralt Bij de Vaate
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