Work begins on the UTMOST-2D outriggers and dense core upgrade at Molonglo

UTMOST is currently being upgraded to UTMOST-2D — by bringing the long retired North-South arm of the array back into operations.

View of the North-South arm, looking Southward

A completely new design for the antennas, amplifiers, signal transport and digitization has been built and tested over the last 12 months.

Dave Temby and Glenn Urquhart positioning an “outrigger” module at the far end of the South arm.

In the third week of Janauary 2020 we had a crane on site all day, positioning two completed “outrigger” modules on the far ends of the North-South arm, and removing 6 modules near the center of the array for stripping and fitting with the new detectors.

The weather was kind to us — clear skies, not too hot and (very importantly) not windy!

One of the new “cassettes”, a 1.4 meter length of 8 dual pole 4-leaf clover antennas is shown below: 6 of these cassettes make a module, one of which is being put into position in the photo above.

An eight element dual-pole cassette — antenna side.
Back of a cassette, showing the 8 LNAs (low noise amplifiers) for each of the 8 antennas, and 2 beamformers (one for each polarisation).
Two of 6 modules have been taken down for stripping and installation of the new electronics and feed elements. Six adjacent modules will form a “dense core” near the center of the array, to be used initially with two outrigger modules at either end of the North-South arm.