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Radio Frequency Interference Mitigation

25 May 2014, 11:35 UTC
Radio Frequency Interference Mitigation
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Question: We learned this weekend that a wealth of modern conveniences, from a dog blanket to car keys to digital cameras to trinket fans can cause crazy EM radiation that will register on readings from the GBT and other radio telescopes. While some ground-sourced EM radiation is recurring and predictable, many of these sources are active only when operated. While you can track down many sources with your specially-equipped truck (EMITT?), a more all-encompassing and passive approach might benefit the astronomers. Would there be value in surrounding the telescope with smaller antennae that would pick up and triangulate stronger EM signals and form a kind of noise-canceling knowledge that could be used to mask the received signals? Or would there perhaps be value in surrounding the telescope with an enormous Faraday-cage fence? Of course, the trinket fan demonstrated that some signals are not blocked by a Faraday cage. – Daniel
Answer: The separate RFI measurement system would certainly help with identifying sources of RFI, and would function as a real-time measurement system. An array of RFI measuring antennas, though, likely would not provide much location capabilities as the wavelengths that sources of RFI emit at are quite long, making the ...

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