The Compact Array

I recently went on a road trip up North and stopped in at the Paul Wild Observatory at Narrabri, New South Wales.

The site is about 25Km west of the township of Narrabri and was built in the mid 80's. The facility is home to the ATCA Compact Array made up of six movable Radio Telescope dishes 22Mtrs in diameter. The dishes can be moved along a railway track and connected in to 'Nodes' at the side of the track for power and data.

I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the site by one of the Engineers at the Observatory and was thrilled to get a look inside one of the Dish Antenna plus a look through the computer room and the Control room plus the engineering workshops.

My wife and I near the railway track with one of the dishes in the background

Inside the base of each dish is a cable management system that stops cables getting tangled but allows for 540 degrees of rotation

Also inside each dish is a computer to control Azimuth and Elevation of the dish

This is the lower half of the dish control cabinet

The computer room is located in the main control building. The room is screened to stop Radio signals escaping. This is the Correlator cabinet where all of the telescope signals are combined.

Also in the RF screened computer room are three MASER clocks that keep extremely accurate time with other sites around the World.

A big thanks to our host for the tour, Christoph.

10.08.2014. 06:18