EGU22-13321, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Retrofitting communication antennas for astronomical and geodetic VLBI applications

Arnab Laha1, Ashutosh Tiwari1, Saurabh Srivastava1, Shivangi Singh1, Bhal Chandra Joshi2, Nagarajan Balasubramanian1, Ajith Kumar2, Yashwant Gupta2, and Onkar Dikshit1
Arnab Laha et al.
  • 1Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur, India
  • 2National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Pune, India

Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique was developed in the 1960s by astronomers, for high angular resolution observations of celestial radio sources. In the late 1970s, it was adopted for high-precision geodetic applications, in a reverse manner. In this application, VLBI is used to monitor the kinematics of individual points on the Earth, and also of the Earth as a body in the space using the precisely known astronomical positions of radio sources. Despite differences between astronomical and geodetic applications, the instrumentation and analysis techniques employed in VLBI are broadly similar, allowing for antennas designed for VLBI to be usable for either application. In this presentation, we describe a proposal for upgradation of three existing communication antennas with 18-m, 30-m and 32-m diameter, located at Arvi, Pune, India, for astronomical and geodetic VLBI purposes. The main objective is to retrofit the antenna with new gearboxes and modern servo control systems to make them compatible for use in VLBI observations, as well as with suitable L, S, and C band receivers and digital recorders, in a short period of time. Each motor will be driven by a drive with close loop precision pointing system, making it suitable to point to and track celestial sources. The antennas will be fitted with suitable antenna feeds and receiver systems, after the analysis of the dish parameters and its mounting possibilities. A development of cooled S-band feed will also be initiated simultaneously. Further, the three antennas will be fitted with new front-end electronics, baseband converter and digital recorders. The observed bandpass with different feeds (S and C band) will be down converted to L-band. This signal will be transported over optical fibre to the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT) facility, which is located nearby, for data recording and correlation activities. The retrofitted instrument will provide a test bed for instrumentation, tuning analysis pipelines and software, while providing the capability to carry out both astronomical and geodetic VLBI experiments with other international facilities.

How to cite: Laha, A., Tiwari, A., Srivastava, S., Singh, S., Joshi, B. C., Balasubramanian, N., Kumar, A., Gupta, Y., and Dikshit, O.: Retrofitting communication antennas for astronomical and geodetic VLBI applications, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13321,, 2022.