Engineering


The engineering team has been focusing on three main areas; civil engineering, electrical engineering, and software. Each groups is focusing on the different technical aspects of the project from frame structure and foundations to electrical equipment and analysis.

Team Leader

Freya Aldred (Astrophysics Graduate) – fa238 at exeter.ac.uk

Team Members

Dimitar Dimov
Danial Ahmad-Farid-Wee
Michael Jones
Abigal Frost
Richard Meadows

First Light!


01 July 2017

We discussed in this post how we wired up the entire signal chain to the 2.5m dish at the University of Exeter and took our first observation. In this plot we could make out the several features of the Milky Way galaxy traced out in HI emission. This post was cheekily titled “First Light… Kind…READ MORE

Build Day 8 – Mounting the Dish


01 October 2016

Mounting the dish on to the pillar and top plate has been the longest anticipated and most significant part of the build. It has also proved to be the most technically and logistically difficult and it should not go unnoticed that there have been many delays and much heated discussion about how to approach this…READ MORE

Design and Construction of a Mount for the Feedhorn


15 August 2016

The feed horn holds the instrument placed in front of the dish to capture the reflected and concentrated signals. In theory, due to the parabolic shape of the reflective dish, the signals will converge into a focal point, intensifying it. Past this point however, the signal will diverge and start diminishing. Optimally, we want the…READ MORE

Telescope Stand Redesign


29 June 2016

As discussed in Build day 7, in had become apparent over the storms of the winter months that wind loading might be an issue on the structure. The wind loading of the dish has been well documented by the suppliers, RF Hamdesign, and by our Science officer Sam Morrell in this article. However, Ken raised…READ MORE

Build day 7 – completing the dish


29 June 2016

In Build days 5 and 6 the XRT-C team constructed the bulk of dish. Despite an entire weekend’s worth of hard graft the dish was unable to be completed and therefore it became necessary to send a subsequent team to the site to complete the job before the winter closed in for good. On a…READ MORE

Wind Loading Calculations with a Radio Telescope


20 March 2016

The dish has spent its first winter down at the site and, despite the fact that its not attached to anything, the issue of wind loading has recently come to the forefront of our team meetings. For those not in the know, wind loading is the force imposed on the dish by wind that may…READ MORE

Wiring the Rotor – Part 1


25 February 2016

In our previous post, we discussed our progress with deciding on a theoretically sound signal chain. Before we cain finally achieve first light on this project, there is one more major electronics issue that needs to be tackled. This problem, although far less important than actually getting signal from the feed horn, could be far…READ MORE

Optimising the Signal Chain


31 December 2015

On the afternoon of the 2nd December 2015, Sammy Colburn, a member of the XRT-C science team, and I met up in the lab with one goal in mind: to figure out the optimal arrangement of amplifiers and filters for the signal chain from the dish to the receiver. This is a delicate process that really can…READ MORE

Build Day 5 and 6 – The Motor and the Dish


29 October 2015

On the weekend of the 17th and 18th of October, two groups of people, headed by Freya, went down to Cornwall to make a large push toward completing construction of the radio telescope. On the Saturday, the struts were assembled together into the framework for the dish. The team also put in plenty of hard work…READ MORE

Build Day 4 – The top plate


19 October 2015

On the 10th October. The XRT-C team returned to the site at Caradon observatory after the summer break. On the agenda for this, the 4th building stage, was to fill the up-righted stand with sand to make it heavier and more stable in the wind, and also to fit the top plate. Using 5 bags…READ MORE

First Light… Kind Of


16 October 2015

Last Thursday, the newly formed science team for the 2015-2016 academic year met in the third year project lab at the University of Exeter to conduct the first proper test of the receiving equipment of the telescope. To test, Dr. Chris Brunt allowed us to use the 3m mesh dish on roof; similar in design to…READ MORE

Build Day 3 – Erecting the Stand


29 September 2015

Build stage 3 involved fixing the telescope stand to the hardened concrete base. High power drills were used to drill 6 holes directly into the concrete before the steel stand could be securely bolted in place. The piles used have to be sufficently long and strong enough to endure the 100+kg of telescope equipement on…READ MORE