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Irish LOFAR station IE613 successfully passed the SAT

Submitter: Ronald Halfwerk
Description: After nearly seven weeks of hard work, the truly dedicated I-LOFAR crew have now finished building their own LOFAR station. They filled trenches with many kilometres of coaxial cables and assembled over 35.000 individual parts that form the High Band antennas. After placing all the Low Band antennas, including heavy weight ground planes, a decisive moment took place: executing the Site Acceptance Test (SAT).

The Site Acceptance Test is a crucial milestone for two reasons:
1: It gives proof of the electrical performance of the station;
2: It is an agreed (final) milestone in the contract between Trinity College Dublin, acting as the formal contracting party on behalf of the I-LOFAR consortium, and to AstroTec Holding BV, a fully owned subsidiary of ASTRON.
AstroTec is responsible for the delivery of all required hardware components, sub-assemblies and roll-out support needed to build an International LOFAR station.

The Site Acceptance Test, also known as the electrical commissioning, was executed by our commissioning team: Menno Norden, Henri Meulman and Klaas Stuurwold. During the SAT, the performance is tested of all Low Band Antennas, all High Band Antennas, the station processing hardware tree starting from the RCUs, RSPs, TBBs and the LCU. Finally, all network equipment as mounted in the RFI-container was connected by an optical fibre link to the high-speed network concluding the connection with the supercomputer of LOFAR. Special attention was taken to assure no phase-errors are in the system caused by mixing up the X and the Y coaxial connection joints (7296 in total!) somewhere in the station.

Station IE613 successfully passed its SAT!
Witnessed by representatives from the I-LOFAR consortium (picture left: Joe McCauley and Aoife Maria Ryan from TCD) it was concluded that all electrical systems are operational. Only some small issues where detected but all could be resolved during the commissioning phase (on the picture below, right: Henri Meulman troubleshooting a malfunctioning HBA tile).

Picture on the upper-right is showing the signing of the SAT document by Dr. Joe McCauley on behalf of the I-LOFAR consortium. On behalf of AstroTec Holding, Menno Norden signed the formal SAT document.

Special thanks to Joe McCauley from Trinity College Dublin for his flawless execution of his task as project manager on behalf of the I-LOFAR consortium. One has to check out all the tweets (#I_LOFAR) to understand a little about the many tasks that have been executed for realising this beautiful Irish LOFAR station. It seems to be that he even was able to control the weather as during the roll-out the conditions were near perfect. Of course, the achievement of realising this beautiful LOFAR station has to be shared with all dedicated members of the I-LOFAR crew working so hard to build their telescope.

Concluding the Site Acceptance Test makes the station qualified to serve as an International LOFAR station. Congratulations for achieving this great result!
Copyright: Fotos: Menno Norden, Henri Meulman
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