Upgrading the Haystack radio telescope for operation at 115 GHz

May 23, 1994

The Haystack 37-m radio telescope has been upgraded for operation at frequencies up to 115 GHz. A unique deformable subreflector with active actuator control has been developed to correct for gravitational distortion effects including astigmatism and deflections associated with the particular reflector surface. Active thermal compensation of the surface has also been implemented to conduct for both thermal lag effects and circularly symmetric gravitational deviations. Holographic mapping of the antenna surface deviations was achieved using 12-GHz geostationary satellite transmissions, which required the use of special techniques to correct for diffraction and multiple reflection effects involving the space-frame radome that covers the antenna. Realignment of the antenna surface utilized a finite-element structural model to translate surface deviations to motions of the unusual adjustment mechanisms on the antenna. The currently measured rms surface deviation (Dec. 23, 1992) is 210 /spl mu/m. The telescope has been equipped with a two-channel cryogenically cooled 3-mm SIS receiver, covering the range from 84 to 115 GHz. A new flexible digital spectrometer has been constructed for spectral line astronomy. Configurations can range from a widest bandwidth coverage of 160 MHz at 512 lags to 0.66 MHz at 4096 lags. Examples are given of surface holographic maps and radio measurements of aperture efficiency, pointing, and other performance parameters.

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