Undergraduate Radio Lab

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This course consists of four laboratory experiments that concentrate on radio instrumentation and laboratory techniques. We will build receiving, observing, and data analysis systems for two telescopes: a single-dish 21-cm line system, and a 10.7-GHz interferometer. We will use these telescopes for astronomical observing projects including structure of the Milky Way galaxy, precise position measurement of several radio sources, and measurement of the radio brightness distributions of the sun and moon with high angular resolution. There is a heavy emphasis on digital data acquisition, software development in the Python language, and high-quality written reports.


Class Programmatics

  • Class Code Repository: http://github.com/AaronParsons/ugradio
  • Syllabus
  • Office Hours:
    • Aaron: Monday 4-5pm, Tuesday afternoons
    • Deepthi: Thursday 1:30-3pm, Friday 10.30-12noon
    • Kara: Monday and Wednesday, 3:30-5pm
  • Lab1 Groups:
    • Fourier Entertainment: (Berger, Khodanian, Shippee, Sipple)
    • Local Group: (Domnauer, Pajaud, Wayland, Pascua)
    • Radioheads: (Nguyen, Coy, Lin)
    • TBD: (Lebedeva, Khademi Sharifabad, Tan)
    • Sharks in Space: (Fonseca, Sheridan, Robinson, Williams)
    • Whatever: (Chen, Marroquin, Cabrera Garcia, Hermosillo Ruiz)
    • (Martirosyan?)


General Skills Used Through-Out Course

Topics by Date

Lab 1 (Exploring Digital Sampling, Fourier Transforms, and both DSB and SSB Mixers), Due Feb 6 6:00p

Lab 1, Week 1 (Jan 16): Sampling and Power Spectra

Lab 1, Week 2 (Jan 23): DSB and SSB Mixers

Lab 1, Week 3 (Jan 30): More Mixers, and Lab Reports

Lab 2 (Astronomy with the 21cm Line; Some Microwave Electronics), due Feb 27 6:00p

Lab 2, Week 1 (Feb 6): 21cm Line and Waveguides

Lab 2, Week 2 (Feb 13): Collect and Analyze Data

Lab 2, Week 3 (Feb 20): Write Lab Report

Lab 3 (Radio Interferometry at X Band), due Apr 3 6:00p

Lab 3 Week 1 (Feb 27): Interferometer

Lab 3 Week 2 (Mar 6): Collect and Analyze Data

Lab 3 Week 3 (Mar 13): Collect and Analyze Data

Lab 3 Week 4 (Mar 20): Write Lab Report

No class (Mar 27)

Lab 4 (Mapping the HI Line: the Galaxy and Supershells), due May 1 6:00p

Lab 4 Week 1 (Apr 3): Leuschner Dish

  • Theory and Background
  • In Class:
    • Trip to Leuschner: Class will go later than usual
    • drive mechanism (how the dish moves)
    • feed (notice probes) and cables
    • IF setup (one channel for OH, one for HI)
    • show spectrum
    • demo action
    • spatial sampling with dish

Lab 4 Week 2 (Apr 10): Collect and Analyze Data

Lab 4 Week 3 (Apr 17): Collect and Analyze Data

Lab 4 Week 4 (Apr 24): Write Lab Report

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