Final verification tests underway in the lead-up to Mk II PAF deployment

The ADE team's final preparations on the Mk II PAF before verification tests are performed in the lab. Credit: CSIRO

4 July 2014

The ASKAP team is now on the verge of deploying the Mk II prototype phased array feed (PAF) to the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO).

The ASKAP Design Enhancements (ADE) program involves design, development, assembly and ultimately deployment of the ‘next generation’ Mk II PAF on ASKAP antennas at the MRO.

Through enhancement of the ASKAP chequerboard PAF receiver, the ADE program is expected to provide significant benefits in system performance across the ASKAP band, as well as increased efficiency, digital processing flexibility and manufacturability.

This week, final tests are underway to verify the hardware that will be used with the Mk II PAF – including RFoF (RF over fibre) links, digital receivers and beamformers especially developed for the ASKAP radio telescope.

Upon completion of the verification tests at the Sydney headquarters of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, the Mk II PAF – along with the associated electronics backend – will be packed into a shipping container ready and deployed to the MRO.

Once on site with the Mk II PAF, the team will conduct a series of ‘on the ground’ tests – ground aperture array testing. These tests will provide essential information to help optimise the new system design before the Mk II PAFs are installed on the ASKAP antennas.

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