Tuesday 24 July 2012

LBA installation progress — 24-Jul-2012

Today we had a very productive day, despite numerous challenges. Firstly, the change in the weather conditions and the season meant that today the Finnish black fly decided to launch their summer offensive. This makes life somewhat unpleasant as these are no mere mosquitoes which take a sip and are gone. No, these little blighters make sure you notice, taking a bite and leaving a wound. Then, the weather has been coming and going in fits and starts, throwing down some serious amounts of water at times. Also, we reached the section where we need 120m cables. These are made by cutting and re-connecting 80m cables to give us additional extension lengths. This works well, but is time consuming. However, despite these challenges we had one of our best days, managing to install six aerials. Here's the updated progress map:

Progress as of the 24-Jul-2012. We have 24 out of 48 now installed.

This might not seem like a lot compare to the heady days of the LOFAR-UK installation. However, that build had the cables already installed (something usually taken for granted), whereas our team has to do that work pair-by-pair, cutting and fitting connectors by hand, fitting the metal armour and then slowly drawing them through a labyrinth of ducts, rather than being able to deploy them from reels at pace. Also we only have a few, albeit very capable, summer students to do this work.

So, all in all, we're delighted with today's work. We are now half-way! This sets us very well on our schedule for getting the array completed on time. Here

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