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VLBA Sensitivity Upgrade Project Status. Jon Romney NRAO, Socorro 7 th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting Haystack Observatory 2009 November 3–4 . Project Goal. Expand the VLBA’s data-path bandwidth to 4 Gbps by 2011.

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Vlba sensitivity upgrade project status

VLBA Sensitivity UpgradeProject Status

Jon Romney

NRAO, Socorro

7th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting

Haystack Observatory

2009 November 3–4


Project goal
Project Goal

Expand the VLBA’s

data-path bandwidth to

4 Gbps by 2011

Goal has been widely and frequently announced within the radio astronomy, astrometry, and geodesycommunities. VLBA users are waiting to exploit it to enable a variety of compelling new science.

7th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting


Implementation
Implementation

  • Goal Corresponds to:

    • 2 IFs @ 500 MHz BW @ 2-bit Nyquist samples

    • [i.e., retaining VLBA’s original IF system.]

  • New Elements

    • RDBE sampler/filter unit.

    • Mark 5C recording system.

    • DiFX software correlator.

7th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting


Project status
Project Status

  • DiFX Software Correlator Operational

    • Comparisons with original VLBA correlator yielded excellent results.

      • Exactly matched integrations show amplitude and phase agreeing far better than realistic expectations.

      • Science use cases, analyzed by expert VLBA users, finding primarily limitations of data-analysis algorithms, not problems in correlator results.

    • DiFX alone enables some new scientific techniques.

      • High spectral resolution.

      • Wide-field imaging.

      • Special pulsar processing.

    • Announced for correlation of all observations proposed Oct. 1.

      • Observation trimester beginning mid-January.

    • Planning to ramp up use beginning as soon as possible.

    • But DiFX can’t really come into its own without wideband observations.

7th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting


Status continued
Status, continued

  • RDBE & Mark 5C

    • Absolutely central to achieving 4-Gbps goal.

    • Some initial efforts successfully behind us:

      • ROACH final design, layout, exhaustive testing, beginning of production.

      • Mark 5C concept design, development and production of 10 Gig E interface mezzanine board.

    • But both efforts have encountered schedule slippages, sufficient to become serious concerns.

      • Both NRAO &Haystack have major competing priorities: EVLA & MWA.

      • Conduant also?

    • To recover schedule, we need to consider alternative approaches, possibly including

      • Additional personnel resources.

        • (Matt Luce recently joined NRAO team, for FPGA development.)

      • Simplified, less comprehensive design “at least initially”.

    • We hope to revisit these points throughout this meeting!

7th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting


7th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting


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