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ASTRON RFoF purchased by the MWA

Submitter: Pieter Benthem, on behalf of the ASTRON RFoF team
Description: ASTRON RFoF purchased by the MWA

With great pleasure, we report on the purchase of 256 ASTRON Radio Frequency of Fibre (RFoF) modules by ICRAR/Curtin, towards the MWA telescope.

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a low-frequency radio telescope operating between 80 and 300 MHz. It is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, the planned site of the future SKA-LOW telescope, and is one of four telescopes designated as a Precursor for the SKA. The MWA has been developed by an international collaboration, including partners from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and the United States.

Currently, MWA is being upgraded (Phase II) towards improved EoR capabilities, implementing a higher filling factor within the core of the telescope.
Also, by creating extended baselines up to 5 km, improved survey and imaging capabilities will be come available.
It is the latter on which the ASTRON RFoF modules will be used, making the sure the long-distance RF-links won’t suffer from the traditional coaxial cable approach.

For such long links, there are no real alternatives to RFoF technology, which offers the lowest cost and the lowest signal loss. Also, RFoF systems are highly immune to RFI pickup, static and lightning, as well as causing no electromagnetic interference themselves.

More information on the ASTRON RFoF developments (supported by the Dome project) can be found at the ASTRON R&D website.

We enjoy the fruitful collaboration with the local, Dutch SMEs, enabling us to produce this hardware, as well as early prototyping during development.

Many thanks for all the work done by the ASTRON and MWA team.
Copyright: ASTRON
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