A way to peer into the radiosky using little more then junk found on the side of the road.
Remembering back to my 10th birthday. I recall receiving a book on outer space. I believe it was published by National Geographic. This was by far my most prized book in my somewhat limited collection of the time.
In it there was a rough outline of a radio telescope. This diagram so intrigued me that for years in the back of my mind I dreamed of being able to play with one.
Indeed years have past, careers, children, and everyday life was by far the most important of responsibilities. Then it happened. I spotted a 10 foot satellite dish in someone's trash.. I quickly made off with it and all its components.
The mount was in pretty bad shape. It appears to have some serious wind damage, and the pedals of the dish are in less then what I would consider acceptable shape.
None the less I slapped it all together. In the picture you can see my stinky trashcan mount. It was good for a quick test but boy did it stink.
Step 1: An examination of the feed assembly
Here we see the feed horn and low noise amplifier. All the dish components were hauled to the curb except the actual receiver unit. The bolts holding the wave guide and the amp onto the feed horn had to be purchased. Getting this feed horn back into working order took a little bit of time. It seems that the feed horn assembly was home to a community of wasps. I never realized this before but wasps build there nests to last. It took a good bit of probing and a little 409 to clean it up nice.
This is basically the meat of the system. It takes the focused energy of the dish and downconverts it into a usable signal and then amplifys it.
How is all this powered you might ask? The voltage actually travels down the coax cable that is delivering the signal to the next stage.
The polorizing servo is basically left alone, but for those of you that are curious it's a little motor that turns the antenna inside the feedhorn for better reception.