27 July 2016 System performance testing of the DVA1 radio telescope
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Abstract
DVA1 (Dish Verification Antenna 1) is a highly innovative rim-supported single-piece composite-material dish radio telescope developed at the National Research Council Canada (NRC). It has a feed-high offset Gregorian optical design with a primary effective diameter of 15 m. DVA1 has been undergoing mechanical and astronomical system tests since 2014. Astronomical measurements were made in L band using a prototype front end developed for MeerKAT by EMSS Antennas (South Africa), including aperture efficiency, beam profiles, sensitivity, and tipping curves. The clean shaped optics, careful attention to feed design, and high sensitivity of the L band receiver (Trx ~ 6 K) yield a system with high aperture efficiency (~ 0.8), excellent sensitivity (~ 9 m2/K), and low spillover (~ 4 K). Observations of 21 cm atomic hydrogen lines towards standard sources demonstrate the low stray radiation pickup of the antenna. Ku band holography has measured the effective surface accuracy and stability of the dual-reflector antenna. The effective RMS of ~ 0.85 mm implies a Ruze efficiency of ~ 0.88 at 10 GHz and ~ 0.60 at 20 GHz. The surface is stable (~ 10% variation in surface RMS) over the limited range of environmental conditions tested. Testing continues for characterization of pointing, low frequency performance (< 1 GHz), and polarimetric performance. NRC is developing a successor antenna, DVA3, which will have a more accurate surface and be usable at frequencies at least up to Q band (30 – 50 GHz).
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Lewis B. G. Knee, Lewis B. G. Knee, Lynn A. Baker, Lynn A. Baker, Andrew D. Gray, Andrew D. Gray, Gary J. Hovey, Gary J. Hovey, Michael J. Kesteven, Michael J. Kesteven, Gordon Lacy, Gordon Lacy, Timothy Robishaw, Timothy Robishaw, } "System performance testing of the DVA1 radio telescope", Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 99063T (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232179; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232179
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