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Radio Telescopes

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#1 actionhac



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 12:32 PM

I could do some research and see what I can find but I thought if someone here has already done this it may save me some time.
With all the neat things made for the amateur in the past say 40yrs any home radio telescopes?
Or a conversion kit for those 6-10ft vintage satellite TV dishes?
That is actually what got me wondering is the big old dishes I see in peoples yards obviously unused and could possibly be hauled away for a pittance.
Naturally though my brain is tuned to vintage/classic information first and foremost, simpler, and a better chance of something out there that needs to be fixed to work again, which is what I like to do.
Radio astronomy frequency waves are long compared to light waves which are short. This will require a fairly large telescope to be of any use I suppose. And converting the electrical signal to visual is probably not possible for the average amateur. Thats OK an oscilloscope tube is OK, or headphones?
Anyone have any thoughts like mine?
There must have been something made in the 60's surely.


#2 tim53



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:05 PM

I don't know radio astronomy very well, but I do seem to remember reading about old TV dishes being converted to radio telescopes in S&T several years ago. Maybe a google search?


#3 dgreyson


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

Jupiter puts out readily detectable radio signals in the 10 to 25mhz range, easy to observe with common shortwave receivers and a directional antenna. Jupiters moon IO generates some intense noise that modulates somewhat with it's orbit. I have skads of science fair medals from a radio telescope I built. Unfortunately, I've never found an appropriate social occasion to wear them to. I'd look like a South american dictator if I did, so maybe that's for the best. I am unaware of any commerically sold "Radio Telescopes" as common Ham equipment already did the job just fine. I'd suggest a Halicrafters general coverage shortwave receiver if you want a high quality vintage tube radio.

#4 D_talley



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

looks like someone does that with the old Sat TV dishes. There was a radio telescope on sale on Ebay for $1300. Looks like a standard TV dish with addional electronics.


#5 barasits



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

You might want to consider posting to the Variable Star Observing and Radio Astronomy forum.


#6 AntarcticDave


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:18 PM

Check out the Radio Astronomy Supplies site .

#7 dgreyson


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 04:07 PM

HaH! It's just like ATM I see, now everyone can buy it instead of having to make your own. Much better in some ways really.

neat, there is even an radio telescope society now.

#8 actionhac



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

Hey! thanks everyone!
Lots of stuff to look over. The Haystack SRT kit looks like just what I need.

The old obsolete dishes I see around sort of sparked my interest again but it just so happens I have a Hallicrafters Shortwave.

This is crazy, I have more than enough hobbies to keep me busy for the rest of my life. I don't even have enough time for work!
I must work though I need money for my hobbies!
Oh what a vicious circle!

Astronomy is my number one hobby, and radio astronomy will work through the clouds.
I have lots of clouds, fog and unstable atmosphere here in Washington state and in the Snoqualmie valley.


#9 SkipW


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:49 PM

Just so you know, those old satellite TV dishes won't be directional or provide any gain in the shortwave band (3 to 30 MHz); they're too small relative to the wavelength, which ranges from 100 to 10 meters.

#10 actionhac



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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

I need to explore this radio telescope idea further.
It just occurred to me that if it was really interesting wouldn't more amateurs be doing it?
I think I'm missing something important.


#11 dgreyson


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:41 PM

well, it is basically just hash noise generated by planetary lighting storms and plasma and suchlike, I've heard it. Nothing you couldnt hear on an AM radio in the car if you were parked next to a transformer substation and tuned in between the Radio preacher and radio Disney. Your money would be better spent taking a trip to Green Bank West Virginia and touring the National Radio Astronomy observatory. I've been there, its quite worth seeing. They had a little 24" dish they could demonstrate by pointing it at the sun and when they did so the static was much louder than when not. But, to be realistic, mostly all you can do is piddle in it just to say you had. Meaningful observation requires a huge very directional dish and supercooled lna's one would imagine. I suppose any of us could do meaningful Astronomy with a tiny spyglass with very greasy lenses if one were determined. That's essentially the optical equavalent to any radio telescope you could fit into the yard without the neighborhood association noticing it and sending you a rather unpleasant letter of repremand. But ingenuity conquers all, dont listen to me. Do it if it's interesting, maybe you could pick up a pulsar or two or tune in the cosmic background noise if you tried.

#12 *skyguy*


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:54 PM

NASA's Radio Jove Project has radio telescope kits available at very reasonable prices. It's a good way to get your "feet wet" in the field of radio astronomy. However, going beyond observing the Sun and Jupiter could require the investment of thousands of dollars in more sensitive equipment and many hours in design and construction.


Radio telescope kits ... order form and pricing


#13 gregj888


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Posted 04 February 2013 - 02:25 AM


Check http://radio-astronomy.org/

If you follow the links you can find some pretty interesting DIY units and plans. The SETI group has a lot of hardware too.

The old Sat dishs are good for the hydrogen line and higher frequencies. I have one and am slowly working on a small syatem- 3M dish, LNA kit and Icom 7000 reciever.

Lower resolution and sensitivity than you are used to with our optical scope, but interesting none the less.


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