Electronic Installations

Yesterday was a very successful day out here in Australia! We started the morning bright and early here at the homestead. Judd made all the calls to get the DARE receiver through customs and on express delivery here to the site. We are expecting the receiver on Wednesday.

Hamdi watching me solder.

While Judd was getting this all worked out, I worked on my power supply with Hamdi. We finally got all of the outputs connected to the BNC connectors on the front panel. For those who do not know, the BNC connectors are the small circular pieces with the gold metal circle on the inside in the pictures and what they do is make it easy to connect a cable to get the voltage at that output to deliver it to whatever device requires that voltage to run.

Pink fan to encourage women in Engineering according to Hamdi.

This power supply is unique to the DARE system’s need. DARE needs 3 different voltages to power the whole antenna: 15 volts to power the analog receiver, 5 volts for the frequency synthesizer, and -5 volts for the switch. All of them are clearly marked and measurable. The two channels with the screens are variable voltages, one positive and one negative, that vary in magnitude from approximately 1.2 volts to 13.4 volts. We had everything except the screens and LED’s connected and working before lunch.

After lunch, we changed into the proper construction site attire, packed up all of our tools, and headed out to the site in the MRO.

Circuit board for the power supply.

The little hut.

Because we are working on a construction site, we are required to wear hard hats, steel toe boots, reflective vests, and long pants.There is also an abundance of flies out here, so we all chose to wear fly nets to keep the flies from landing on our faces. It takes about 30 minutes to drive to the site from our lodging here at Boolardy Station, which is good to keep the RFI (radio frequency interference) at a minimum.

Our work station

Once we got to the little hut on the site that holds the computer for the other project that Judd manages, EDGES, we started our preparation for the DARE receiver, which will also live in the little hut with EDGES.

We installed a second hard drive into the computer for the EDGES experiment because it has been collecting so much data that more space was needed. Hamdi and I also added a monitor in the rack for the computer. Lastly, we looked for a good location in the landscape to place the DARE antenna. When considering a place for an antenna, you have to look out for large objects that would cause some reflection of the radio waves of the sky and of the small signal that the antenna itself emits. What this means is the radio waves would hit the tree or rock nearby and then be measured by the antenna as well as the direct radio wave from the sky. An easy way to explain this by analogy would be light reflecting off of a mirror.

Putting in a holding tray for the Ethernet port

You can shine a light in a mirror and it will reflect at some angle (in our case a radio wave and a rock or tree). If there were a person in the vicinity, in our case the antenna, the light from the source and the reflection would both be seen. So minimizing the amount of large objects in the vicinity will mean that better and more accurate measurements will be gathered by the antenna.

When we got home, we were invited by the owners of the homestead to have dinner. We had a nice relaxing evening with friends and then settled down for a much needed night of sleep!


Quotes from the day:

“I am wearing two hats. Does it look like I care??” -Sarah

“I know everything, Sarah.” -Hamdi

These would make much more sense to you all if you could hear Hamdi. We are working on getting some audio and video for you all to really get a sense of what we are doing out here.