Vlba sensitivity upgrade project status
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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

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VLBA Sensitivity UpgradeProject Status

Jon Romney

NRAO, Socorro

7th 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

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


  • Thank You

7th US VLBI Technical Coordination Meeting


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