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Farewell Erik vd Wal

Submitter: Radio group
Description: Erik van der Wal (right on picture) will leave ASTRON 1 June 2016, after 11 years working as RF expert at ASTRON. We will surely miss him as RF expert and good colleague in the radio group.

Erik started his career as the RF system designer for EMRBACE, a 10.000 element dense phased array demonstrator.
His broad excellent knowledge and experience helped the team to design this wonderful system. Major hurdles had to be taken to get the tile design right. Topics such as beam squint, beamforming , calibrate ability, RF layout, produce ability and reliability had to be sorted out. Erik played a major role in these topics.
Erik and Sieds Damstra teamed up, for the design of the required printed circuit boards. This Frisian couple proved to be a strong development team that successfully delivered the PCB boards for the EMBRACE tile. At this time a second (Frisian) RF design team was formed. Erik and Mark started to work on the RF design of the tile and later on the testing and commissioning of the EMBRACE instrument using a 200 channel LOFAR backend. This valuable experience from EMBRACE was used in later system like APERTIF and SKA MFAA.

His experience and knowledge went further than RF. He also oversees other areas quite well, like antennas, calibration, (embedded) software and digital signal processing. This made Erik the ideal person to ask for advice. He loved it to explain and to coach other colleagues in their work, and to get their knowledge and understanding to a higher level. We are Erik grateful for the detailed discussions and feedback we had.

An other recent development project where Erik worked on was Apertif. For Apertif Erik contributed on the RF system, and especially the down conversion system, called DCU. It's wide bandwidth and harsh RFI environment made it very difficult the best frequency mixing scheme. Erik liked difficult technical ''puzzles', and this was one of them he liked, and he found a very nice solution.

Erik was interested in technology in the broadest sense. In coffee breaks numerous discussions led to new insights, ideas and concepts.
Erik, thank you for the very nice time with you at ASTRON.
Copyright: ASTRON
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