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Antenna design for the xNTD workshop

Marsfield Lecture Theatre

ATNF Headquarters

Marsfield, NSW
15 September 2005


CSIRO ATNF’s extended New Technology Demonstrator (xNTD) project will build an array of 20 radio telescopes, each equipped with a focal plane array (FPA). The xNTD will form a new radio telescope facility and will be based at Mileura in Western Australia.


The antennas are a critical element in the xNTD project; at the present time there is no obvious design that meets the requirements. ATNF has set up a project to explore the technologies which will make the eventual giant SKA array affordable. High on the list is the need for both xNTD and the SKA are minimalist antennas, able to meet the technical specifications, yet extremely modest in cost.


The xNTD antennas will be between 12 and 20m in diameter and are to operate across the 500 MHz and 2.5 GHz frequency range.


The target cost of one entire xNTD antenna (dish, mount and drive) is AUD 100k.



Invitation to Industry

We are interested in contact from any parties interested in one or more parts of the critical elements in an antenna


  • Antenna mount & drive system
  • Antenna dish (backup structure & surface panels)


These elements are mounted on a simple pedestal column of either concrete or steel.


The levels of challenge for each element vary -

The issue for the mount & drive system is to provide both the bearings and the complex structure which supports the bearings and motors. Previous solutions include an alt-az mounts as on the ATCA (Narrabri) and Parkes, equatorial mounts on the Fleurs radio telescope and a compact alt-az mount on the Allen Telescope Array (ATA).

The challenge for the dish surface is to produce a simple shaped paraboloid, equipped with a prime focus focal plane support.

The workshop will take place from
2.30 – 5.30pm on Thursday 15 September 2005.

The symposium will be held in the CSIRO ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre in Sydney. Information on how to get to the ATNF is listed here.

Please email your full name and institute address to by 12 September 2005 if you wish to attend. There is no registration fee.

Format of workshop
2.30pm Arrive, tea outside Marsfield LT

2.45pm Brief introduction to the xNTD antenna challenge

3.15pm Viewing of NTD antennas and 4.5m antenna on the range at Marsfield:

Inspect close-up the refurbished 13.8m antennas built for the Fleurs radio telescope in the 1960’s which are being used as the NTD test bed.

4.00pm Tea, Q&A session with xNTD team.

4.40pm Wrap up and review.


Prior knowledge assumed – none – Full brief for the xNTD antennas

on the SKA project and CSIRO’s xNTD project

Expected outcomes: Participants will understand


  • The challenges within the xNTD antennas spec (cost, performance etc)
  • The demands for the xNTD antennas
  • Whether they are interested in preparing a proposal to develop (prototype design study) any part (or parts) of the xNTD antenna – subject to future negotiation with the xNTD project.



xNTD Antenna Development Timeline


First discussions (this workshop) mid September 2005

Preliminary Design 1 December 2006

Prototype of antenna 31 July 2007

Participants are asked to organise their own accommodation. For a short stay, we suggest using one of the local hotels/motels listed here.