Figure 1: Inside a beamformer interface unit
BEAMFORMER INTERFACE UNIT
Keeping remote antennas alive
The 56 long baseline tiles in Phase II of the MWA are located at distances in excess of 500m from any receiver. These tiles need to be powered effectively without affecting the radio quietness of the Murchison Radio Observatory (MRO), and send their data back to the site control building without signal degradation or significant cable losses. This led to the development of a sub-system, the Beamformer Interface (BFIF). This unit acts as a means of communication between the beamformer of a remote tile and its associated receiver, using an RF over fibre (RFoF) link instead of coaxial cable, and also manages the power supply from solar panels to the beamformer.
Figure 2: Propping up the BFIF after recent flooding
Figure 3: Comparison between a regular tile and a solar-powered remote tile
Figure 4: Installing solar equipment at a tile