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Deploying the RFoF upgrade on AAVS0.5

Submitter: Pieter Benthem
Description: After a few months of intensive testing at the ICRAR laboratoires, we are now deploying the RF-over-Fibre (RFoF) upgrade on the LFAA Aperture Array Verification System 0.5 (AAVS0.5). This array is situated on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (Western Australia), next to the MWA and ASKAP telescopes.

The picture shows 2 modified MWA beam former boxes (with green caps on), housing the 16 RFoF links. These boxes handle the X-polarization. One box is the transmitter and the other the receiver, with the fibre (black surface cabling, laid out in a loop behind the boxes) in between, replacing the coaxial cabling. The third box is unmodified, and handles the Y-polarization.

The ASTRON hardware, as can be seen on the daily image of 05-01-2015, is driving this development.

In the coming days, we will wrap up the installation and start testing the array. Before we disassembled the coaxial cabling, we performed a reference measurement on the bright radio source Hydra A, which we will be repeated when the array is up and running.

The Low Frequency Aperture Array (LFAA) covers the lowest frequency band of the SKA, from 50MHz up to 350MHz, as described in the Baseline Design. To transport the dual polarised antenna signals over the required distance of up to 10 kilometres towards the processing facilities, RFoF technology is used.

Many thanks for all the work done by the ICRAR and ASTRON team!
Copyright: Pieter Benthem
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