The last 5 years has been an interesting time at the Leon Mow Radio Observatory, near Heathcote Central Victoria.

It started with a Shipping Container delivery, a fit-out to create a 'Screened Room' that stops electrical and radio interference inside from escaping outside. Installation of dipole antenna for Radio Jove, a radio receiver and computer with 3G internet modem to upload data to a website. A weather station, a seismometer, a lightning detector and several other projects all installed and uploading data.

Purchase of an ex-government 8.5 meter dish was the beginning of the 'Dish Project'. The aluminium 'Kennedy' dish was manufactured in the USA and used in Victoria for testing communications across Bass Strait to Tasmania. Designed as a mobile point to point dish that could be quickly erected, it had no motors or directional control hardware.

Several years ago the first sod was excavated from the site where the Dish would be erected. About 20 cubic meters of concrete was poured for the foundation containing a steel 'Bolt Cage' that consists of 36 threaded bolts.

In a few weeks the steel tower will be delivered to site and fitted onto the 36 mounting bolts. A large bearing on top of the tower will be driven by a motor to swing the dish 360 degrees. On top of the bearing will be a hinged mount for the Dish. This will allow elevation of the Dish up to 90 degrees (the horizon).

With wetter months coming some of the construction may be affected by the weather. If the tower and Dish are mounted by the end of April 2018 we may have a chance to complete a lot of the hardware by the end of the year.

The testing and certification of the Dish will be very exciting and 'First Light' will certainly be a day to remember!

26.02.2018. 19:41

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