RFI Monitoring Station

A permanent RFI Monitoring Tower has been developed over the past year, in order to provide a remote location, away from the observatory (1km), for monitoring off-site terrestrial RFI. The monitoring station utilized an existing movable tower structure, used previously for the 60ft Kennedy Radiotelescope, used at Parkes in the 60's and 70's, for interferometer experiments. The station provides a base hut, where most of the RFI monitoring equipment is housed, and a weather-proofed upper enclosure, where antennas, and any ancilliary electronics are housed. The height of the tower affords around 10m in elevation, for the monitoring antennas, providing line-of-sight measurements, when directionality is required. In it's most basic form of operation, the RFI monitoring makes use of the available antennas, along with a number of various low_noise amplifier modules, and a spectrum analyzer. This equipment can provide a quick and easy way of monitoring the RF spectrum, for medium, and strong RFI, around the observing frequencies of interest. At the moment, the tower is not able to bring any of the monitored signals back to the main observatory building, for instantaneous viewing of the RF spectrum by the observers, and as such, is used in a stand alone configuration, for monitoring the RF spectrum, when RFI is of concern for the observatory. There are plans, in the near future, to make a network connection between the RFI monitoring station, to the main observatory building, allowing real time updates of the RFI environment, through the Interference Monitoring System (IMS), discussed elsewhere.