Small-scale Radio Astronomy to a New Level
Who are we?
The Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium operates as a dedicated group of volunteers working to restore the D.S. Kennedy Dish at the Shirleys Bay government research campus in the west end of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This 18M parabolic dish with elevation-over-azimuth mount was comissioned in 1960 to operate as tracking station for early Canadian experiments in communications and earth-observing satellites. The dish was taken out of service in the early 1990s, and has stayed dormant, in the "stowed" position ever since that time.
Our group of volunteers includes engineers and scientists who hope to revive this asset, currently owned by the Canadian Space Agency for use in radio astronomy research and educational outreach throughout Canada. To see our formal letter of proposal to the CSA, see here.
Our initial plans are to get the dish moving again, and then to place modern, SDR (Software Defined Radio) based astronomy receivers at the focus of the dish. We plan to observe at 21cm, with a dual-polarization feed system using custom-designed LNAs (Low Noise Amplifiers) to provide for high-stability radiometry and spectroscopy in the region of the hydrogen line, at 1420.4058Mhz.
Our software platform is based on the gr-radio-astronomy subtree of the Gnu Radio framework.
We have received official letters of support from several notable organizations, including:
The Society for Amateur Radio Astronomy
The SETI League
The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
Want to help?
If you'd like to help, we welcome your participation on the sbrac-astronomy mailing list on Yahoo Groups.
We also welcome volunteer support. If you're at all mechanically, electrically, or electronically inclined, we can likely find something for you to do! Please don't hesitate to join the sbrac-astronomy mailing list menioned above if you'd like to help out, or just want to watch what we're up to!