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14th of October 2022
SKA-Low Aperture Array Verification Systems
Work on the Aperture Array Verification System (AAVS) in Australia and Italy has focussed on the deployment, simulation, measurement, calibration and commissioning of prototype low-frequency stations. AAVS0.5, deployed circa 2014, was an array of 16 log-periodic dipole "SKALA" antennas. AAVS1.0, completed in 2018, deployed 256 SKALA2.0 antennas. AAVS1.5, initially deployed 48 SKALA4.1 antennas (as pictured above) in 2019, and this was later expanded with an additional 208 antennas to form a full tile of 256 antennas for AAVS2.0. In AAVS2.0, each antenna has a Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) located at the top of the antenna. Signals from the LNA are carried through coaxial cables (one per polarization) to a SMART (Small Modular Aggregation and RFoF Trunk, where RFoF stands for Radio Frequency over Fibre) Box, where the corresponding Front-End Module (FEM) is located. Each FEM contains an RF amplifier and RF-to-optical transducer which amplitude-modulates and transmits the two RF signals onto optical fibres. Each SMART Box supports a "tile" of 16 antennas, so 16 SMART Boxes are needed to handle all 256 antennas. The AAVS arrays have allowed the consortium to validate key enabling technologies and performance requirements, gather production knowledge, test interfaces and assess prototypes in a realistic operating environment. (Image credit: ICRAR)

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