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LOFAR container sailing to Ireland

Submitter: Ronald Halfwerk
Description: The “heart” of every international LOFAR station is perfectly guarded in a 20 foot container, preventing Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) coming out, or in.

Mounted in several 19-inch racks in this container, there are all receiver units for the 4x96 antenna signals and the required back-end processing units like Remote Station Processing boards and Transient Buffer Boards and finally a pile of Networking gear to relay all data to its ultimate users. Quite a decent assembly of delicate hardware.

A dedicated crew came along all from Ireland to collect this container from the ASTRON premises and ship it to its final destination in Birr, Co Offaly, Ireland where coming months a newly build LOFAR will arise for the I-LOFAR consortium (consisting of following universities and institutes: TCD, Armagh, UCD, DCU, UCC, NUIG, DIAS and AIT).

Crewmembers for this exceptional transport were Noel Howley, owner of an Irish Transport company providing an impressive truck and accompanied by Dr Ryan O. Milligan, a.k.a. “the truck driver turned NASA astrophysicist”. Dr Milligan not only will drive the truck back to Ireland but also while heading up to Birr will emphasize on the importance providing young people with innovating and challenging opportunities to build their skills by using highly innovative research facilities like e.g. a (LOFAR) radio telescope. He‘s in a race against time, Ryan has 2 days to complete 3 round trips to the docks at Zeebrugge harbour (BE). A crew from BBC UK took a lot of footage. The TV show is for BBC and will be seen in the UK and Ireland.

Before shipping the ILT container, it received it‘s CE mark. CE marking is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area. We are confident the ILT container meets these requirements easily, recognizing the sensitivity to RFI from its environment. It also might help smoothly passing customs, just in case.

Thanks to dedicated ASTRON crew members not only this ILT container was prepared shipment to Ireland, another two fully loaded trailers with LOFAR components did sail to Ireland. More than one reason to celebrate this with some cake.

This convoy safely has arrived in Ireland on Friday 28th. The ILT container now has landed on its final position at the site in Birr!
Copyright: Fotos: ASTRON / RH
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