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10th of September 2021
Low frequency tests at Marsfield
Yesterday's ADAP showed low frequency tests being undertaken at Parkes with an 50--350 MHz MWA antenna. Today's picture shows an MWA antenna outside the engineering labs at Marsfield, where it is being used for "Bluering" RF System-on-Chip (RFSoC) development. The recent introduction of RFSoC devices is resulting in a fundamental shift in the way digital back-ends are being designed for radio astronomy instruments. The bringing together of 8 or 16 multi-Giga-sample per second Analogue to Digital Converters (ADCs) with feature-rich Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and quad-core ARM processors all on a single chip has opened up new possibilities in high-performance, power-efficient RF sampling digital systems for radio astronomy. CSIRO's Space and Astronomy Technologies for Radio Astronomy group have developed a new architecture for an RF sampling, multi-channel digital back-end for radio astronomy applications. The new system, called Bluering, is designed to be scaled to suit the growing trend in radio astronomy instrumentation towards large numbers of active receiving elements such as aperture arrays and phased-array feed systems.

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