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24 September 2012 The wideband backend for host country radio astronomy in the Spanish DSN Robledo complex
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Abstract
The NASA Deep Space Network hosts three complexes worldwide for spacecrafts tracking. The Spanish complex, the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex (MDSCC), operates a set of highly sensitive antennas, which are used for Host Country Radio Astronomy (HCRA) during a percentage of their operational time. We have designed, developed and built a wideband backend for HCRA in MDSCC, which greatly improves its available facilities, and opens new scientic cases to be tackled. The backend is able to sample up to 6 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth, in the frequency range from 18 to 50 GHz, using two dierent antennas. An intermediate-frequency (IF) processor downconverts the two-polarization signals to four base-band channels of 1.5 GHz width. Digitalisation is done through a set of FPGA-based FFT spectrometers, which can provide spectral resolutions from 7 to 200 kHz, and spectral coverages from 100MHz to 1.5 GHz each. This new facility enables HCRA to aord new scientic projects, such as extragalactic radio astronomy and spectral surveys; at the same time, the available time for HC is greatly optimized. It was necessary the development of dedicated software for spectra acquisition and control of the equipment, and also the upgrading of the existing observing programs. Once end-to-end assembled, the whole backend was tested through a set of commissioning observations. In this contribution the main features of the new backend are described, including the IF processor, the FFT spectrometer and the developed software. Some astronomical results are also included.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
J. R. Rizzo, A. Pedreira, C. García Miró, I. Sotuela, T. B. H. Kuiper, J. Cernicharo, J. M. Castro Cerón, J. R. Larrañaga, and L. Ojalvo "The wideband backend for host country radio astronomy in the Spanish DSN Robledo complex", Proc. SPIE 8452, Millimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VI, 84522S (24 September 2012); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.926085
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