2024 Open House a Roaring Success

CCERA once again hosted an Open House, as part of Doors Open Ottawa, which is an annual event across the city to encourage organizations and businesses to share their work and vision with the public.

We had over 600 visitors over the course of the two-day event, held June 1 and 2nd, and were able to do some demonstrations of dish motion this year, much to the delight of visitors.

We had a fairly-full “crew” supporting this event, with Marcus Leech, Dan Marlow, Gary Atkins, and Doug Yuill answering a nearly-continuous stream of excellent questions from visitors along with showing them around the facility.

Looking forward to next year!


CCERA restores motion control to the 12.8m dish

Since moving operations to the former-NATO site in Carp, in February 2022, CCERA have been exceedingly busy restoring functionality to the 12.8m dish. With generous support from Princeton University, we have been able to install a completely-modern servo-motor system from TekNic, Inc.. Initial software has been installed and tested, and we have been able to point-to, and track, astronomical objects with the dish, with a precision better than 0.06 degrees.

These motors, along with additional “prefix” gearboxes allow us to move the dish under computer control with high precision. The new motors consume a very-small fraction of the power of the original motor systems.

The precision achieved means that we can be confident in observations at 21cm, and will soon have an S-band feed system in place to allow tracking the Moon, allowing reception of lunar science mission data on missions that use S-band for the earth-directed down-link.

CCERA website damaged

Some time in the 2nd week of July, our WordPress website became damaged, by mechanisms still under investigation.

You’ll be getting “404: Not Found” for almost everything from our homepage. We’re working to get functionality restored and appreciate your patience.

-Marcus Leech

President, Canadian Centre for Experimental Radio Astronomy

CCERA Negotiates Access to former-NATO Satellite Ground Station

In the winter of 2022, we were contacted by the current owners of a former NATO satellite ground terminal. The facility includes a 14m satellite dish, capable of motion in both azimith and elevation.

We have already begun the work to restore some functionality to this instrument, including changing the feed structures to include a 21cm, 10.7cm, and 611MHz feed. We have a small photo-album here:


Our near-term science goals include monitoring for a potential Black Hole merger in SDSS J1430+2303 along with FRB monitoring of the region around J1935+2154 and looking for super-giant pulses from the Crab Pulsar at J0534+2200.

On May 20, 2022, we were able to complete work to re-motorize (using new motor and controller) the elevation axis and were able to drive it under motor power up to an elevation of +20 DEG (-24 DEG in declination).

Look for more announcements as progress is made!

CCERA leaves Smiths Falls, moves to Rideau Ferry, ON

Owing to an unfortunate confluence of both corporate and municipal politics here in Smiths Falls, we were asked to vacate the premises we have occupied at the Gallipeau Centre since 2016.

We secured an access arrangement to a site near Rideau Ferry, ON that houses a private optical observatory, and 38 acres of flat, clear land.

The new site is much more “primitive”, and many of our activities have had to be scaled-back and/or moved to our respective private residences.

Work to restore our science capabilities is on-going, and expect further announcements as the spring and summer of 2021 progress.

CCERA and Carleton University begin collaboration

CCERA and the Physics department at Carleton University have begun a collaborative effort in support of their undergraduate astrophysics program.

In this program, 3rd-year astrophysics students will gain remote access to CCERA’s instrumentation and data-feeds in support of a lab-based radio astronomy segment in the 3rd-year astrophysics program.

The program is coordinated for Carleton University by Etienne Rollin and Penka Matanska, both instructors in the physics department at Carleton.

Adjustments to pulsar array

Marcus Leech went “up top” to make some elevation adjustments to the now-twice-the-size pulsar array,
and added a cross-brace to the “upper” side of the array to stiffen it.

There’s been a fair amount of RFI on the 611MHz radio-astronomy ‘window’, so we’re trying to track it down.

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