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Huge Tracking Dish to Become Available for EME

07/09/2013

The InfoAge Science History Museum in Wall Township, New Jersey, plans to make a 60 foot tracking dish antenna available to hams for moonbounce, secondary to its function as a radiotelescope. It was on the InfoAge site, then part of Fort Monmouth, that the US Army’s “Project Diana” team in 1946 first received radio signals bounced from the moon. According to InfoAge’s Martin Flynn, W2RWJ, Daniel Marlow, K2QM, an InfoAge board member who teaches physics at Princeton, wants to use the dish, currently under rehabilitation after being dormant since the 1970s, to pursue radio astronomy for instructional purposes. Marlow’s primary goal is to restore the TLM-18 dish antenna to working order and use it to see the 21 centimeter radiation from the Milky Way. But he also wants to observe radio pulsars, and since that activity can be performed at 70 centimeters, the TLM-18 will be made available to the Amateur Radio community for EME at 432 MHz on a secondary basis. The dish, adjacent to the Ocean Monmouth Amateur Radio Club’s (OMARC) N2MO at InfoAge, offers a gain of 35 dBi at 465 MHz. Project Diana occupied the building housing N2MO, Flynn noted. The after-effects of Hurricane Sandy continue to hinder the dish rehab project; power on the InfoAge campus remains out since the storm last year, and the facility is running on generator power. “It has slowed down the efforts at putting the TLM-18 back into service but has not stopped them,” Flynn said, noting that OMARC members have been behind the project from Day One. It’s hoped the dish will be ready for service next year. — Thanks to InfoAge and Martin Flynn, W2RWJ

 

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