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First SKALA2 antenna on the MRO site

Submitter: Pieter Benthem
Description: The first SKALA2 antenna has been deployed at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), the future site of SKA_Low. It will be operated as a standalone total-power instrument. The objectives of the deployment are:
  • to collect long-term data on the RF stability of the SKALA2;
  • to collect data on the RFI environment as seen by the candidate SKA_Low antenna element

    The SKALA has a modified LNA with RF coaxial outputs rather than RF-over-fibre. Its output will be connected to the digital processing of the BIGHORNS system. The spiral cone antenna that can be seen behind the SKALA2 is also connected to this system, as an RFI monitor.

    The BIGHORNS system is a spectrometer which splits the data into 4096 ~117 kHz frequency channels with fine time resolution. The integration time is configurable from ~10 ms up to several seconds. We intend to use an integration time of ~100ms, to capture the fine time structure of short duration RFI events while maintaining a manageable rate of the data sent from the MRO to Perth.

    Data are stored as dynamic spectra in standard astronomy format FITS files with approximately 1 minute of data per file. Basic metadata (time, frequency info) is included in the files such that they are self-contained.
  • Copyright: ICRAR/Curtin
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