Information for Amateur Radio Astronomers
|We have gathered links for amateur radio
astronomers who may be interested in building their own antennas and
interferometers. These are links we have found useful in putting
together the small radio telescopes we have installed for
visitor/teacher/student use at our observatory facilities. While we
are unable to provide technical assistance, we feel the information
provided in the following links should help you in your quest for
hardware, software, and configuration information.
Installed at the Visitor Center at the Very Large Array in New
Mexico is a Small (2.1 meter) Radio Telescope (SRT) we purchased as a kit from CASSI. It was developed by
Haystack Observatory, which maintains a web page with technical
information about the antenna hardware, software, installation, and
use as well as a tutorial on radio astronomy and SRT projects. Our
SRT was built by three senior design students from New Mexico Tech and
tweaked for public use by high school physics teacher Vic Moore during
a summer Research Experience for Teachers program. We use
the SRT at the Visitor Center as a demonstration tool, usually
tracking the sun, showing the current spectrograph, and a 25-point
image of the sun. We are currently working on a touchscreen script
that will allow visitors to maneuver the telescope to various strong
radio sources and build images of those sources.
In a cooperative effort with New Mexico Institute of Mining
and Technology, NRAO has built the N2I2: NRAO/NMT Instructional
Interferometer. It is a 2-element adding interferometer located at
the Etscorn Campus Observatory at New Mexico Tech. The dishes were
purchased from CASSI, are 10' in diameter, 25 meters apart on an
east/west baseline, and use the SRT pointing
software. The 21cm receivers are from Radio Astronomy
Supplies. Graduate student Danielle Lucero was in charge of
putting it together and making it work. Her paper
gives more details.
|Other helpful links:|
- SARA, the Society of
Amateur Radio Astronomers "is a scientific, non-profit group founded
for the sole purpose of supporting amateur radio astronomy."
- The American Radio
Relay League is the national association for amateur radio (hams).
It publishes numerous technical books, including books on antennas,
microwaves and VHF/UHF/microwave electronics.
During a summer 2004 Radio Astronomy for Teachers class taught in
conjunction with the Master of Science
Teaching program at New Mexico
Tech, one of the participants built an Itty Bitty Telescope to use as
tool with her students. Her instructions are modified
from those for the Little Bitty