Topics

AstroSpy #radioastronomy #21cm #1420mhz

erbe.joshua@...
 

I have the Airspy Mini and I have built a horn antenna, I'm using 2 LNA4ALLs and a 1420-1470 MHz bandpass filter in between them. I think I have picked up the hydrogen emission signal. I would like to know more about Astro Spy software. Specifically, what is it doing? What does the the integration time do? Does the program average the signal strength over the time indicated by the Integration time box?

I went to the Airspy website to see if I could email them directly but it seems like this is the place to contact Airspy so I would like to hear from the company directly but if anyone else has experience with this program or knows what it does, I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

David Eckhardt
 

1)  What is the aperture of your horn? 
2)  How much gain do you have after the two LNA4ALL preamps?
3)  What is the loss of your BPF for 1420?
4)  What is you detection bandwidth?
5)  What is the loss of your coaxial cable(s)?

The reason for all the questions is based on our experience with a 14-foot off-boresite fed dish reflector as an antenna, a full-wave loop antenna element placed 1/4-wavelength
in front of a splash plate.  That is fed to (all Minicircuits) a 0.5 dB NF 23 dB gain preamp.  That feeds a 1 GHz HPF to eliminate (mostly, but not completely) a near-by cell tower
installation (grrrr....).  The HPF feeds another preamp of the same ilk.  Then some 70-feet of low loss rigid coaxial cable into the 'warm room' where we have installed
roughly another 40 dB of gain.  Inside, we have also installed 3 dB attenuators between active stages for impedance stabilization and gain vs. SWR stabilization. 
That finally feeds an AirSpy SDR.  The system operates under SDR#.  Our noise temperature is nominally 100 to 120 K, established (somewhat painstakingly) by several different and independent
methods (not all 'calibrated' noise sources exhibit consistency in the third decimal place!!).  Installation of the 1 GHz filter to get rid of a very dirty cell tower
 installation is responsible for half the noise temperature......  As you are aware, the H1 emission can be up to 500 to 750 kHz wide.  You are detecting only a small
amount of the power of the H1 emission with the SDR#-limited available max bandwidth.

With this system, we are easily able to detect the H1 line with the antenna drift scanned across SDR-A* or the center of the galaxy on the SDR# RF display with no additional processing.
We are also able to detect some structure in the target rather than just a 'blob'.  However, until recent installation of a hack from Russian SW, we were limited to the
bandwidths allowable with SDR#.  That had severely limited our detection threshold of the H1 emission as most of the power from the target emission was not being
gathered for analysis.  With 15 or 30 kHz bandwidths under SDR#, it took post-detection processing to bring out the H1 line.  With the hack which allows roughly 0.5 MHz of bandwidth the H1 line
is easily visible on both the spectrum and waterfall display under SDR#.  Another check of your system is that you should 'see' the LO roughly 10 MHz below (in our case)
the H1 emission.  We do not use AstroSpy, but, rather, the full 10 MHz (to view the LO), and 2 MHz to yield display of the H1 line on the spectrum and waterfall.  The reason for
that is AstroSpy does not allow for AirSpy parameter adjustments as does the 'normal' operation of the SDR under SDR#.

Your trace looks much like you have detected the H1 emission, but many variables need to be considered before one can nail it.  I've given you our experiences gained over
some three years operation of our H1 'scope.  Hopefully, it bounds you detection threshold.  A good 1420 MHz low-level signal source is highly usable.  I'll attach
a write-up of a source I did and is published in the SARA Journal (Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers) a couple of years ago.  The comb generator output in
the attachment should not be connected to any efficient antenna it is highly likely to cause interference, but is a highly useful tool in setting up an H1 radio telescope. 
See the attachment. 

This installation is part of the offerings at the Little Thompson Observatory on the high school grounds in Berthoud, Colorado.  It is offered as an educational tool for the school,
the community along the Front Range, and physics department and is totally supported technically by us volunteers and is a completely volunteer organization.   You can
access us at <starkids.org>.  We also annually work with a small group of STEM students on projects associated with radio astronomy.  The observatory also offers
18" and 24" optical telescopes for the school and once a month to the public on "Public Star Nights".   We also offer at no charge 'special events' of scientific interest to the
community on a request basis.

Dave - WØLEV
Volunteer:  Little Thompson Observatory
                   <starkids.org>       

Virus-free. www.avast.com


On Sun, Jun 9, 2019 at 10:34 AM <erbe.joshua@...> wrote:
I have the Airspy Mini and I have built a horn antenna, I'm using 2 LNA4ALLs and a 1420-1470 MHz bandpass filter in between them. I think I have picked up the hydrogen emission signal. I would like to know more about Astro Spy software. Specifically, what is it doing? What does the the integration time do? Does the program average the signal strength over the time indicated by the Integration time box?

I went to the Airspy website to see if I could email them directly but it seems like this is the place to contact Airspy so I would like to hear from the company directly but if anyone else has experience with this program or knows what it does, I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.



--
Dave - WØLEV
Just Let Darwin Work
Just Think

Marcus D. Leech
 

On 06/09/2019 02:42 AM, erbe.joshua@... wrote:
I have the Airspy Mini and I have built a horn antenna, I'm using 2 LNA4ALLs and a 1420-1470 MHz bandpass filter in between them. I think I have picked up the hydrogen emission signal. I would like to know more about Astro Spy software. Specifically, what is it doing? What does the the integration time do? Does the program average the signal strength over the time indicated by the Integration time box?
That hump is likely the hydrogen line signal.

What size is your horn antenna?

NRAO has a fairly full collection of tutorials on basic radio astronomy, including discussions of integration time. Also, www.radio-astronomy.org.

https://science.nrao.edu/opportunities/courses/era

https://www.cv.nrao.edu/course/astr534/Radiometers.html

But integration of noisy signals is not a strictly-radio-astronomy thing.  Used all over the place in science and communications.  Based on the
  statistical distribution of random noise, the SNR improves roughly with the square-root of the number of samples taken, which equates directly
  to how long you are integrating for, and the bandwidth you're integrating over.

Tmin ~= sqrt(Bw*Tau)

Where Tmin is the minimal change in noise temperature you can detect, Bw is the observing bandwidth, in Hz, and Tau is the integration time,
  in seconds.

What this means is that for weaker spectral components, you have to integrate for a longer time period to "expose" them than for stronger/brighter
  spectral components.



I went to the Airspy website to see if I could email them directly but it seems like this is the place to contact Airspy so I would like to hear from the company directly but if anyone else has experience with this program or knows what it does, I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

Marcus D. Leech
 

On 06/09/2019 01:55 PM, David Eckhardt wrote:
1)  What is the aperture of your horn? 
2)  How much gain do you have after the two LNA4ALL preamps?
3)  What is the loss of your BPF for 1420?
4)  What is you detection bandwidth?
5)  What is the loss of your coaxial cable(s)?

The reason for all the questions is based on our experience with a 14-foot off-boresite fed dish reflector as an antenna, a full-wave loop antenna element placed 1/4-wavelength
in front of a splash plate.  That is fed to (all Minicircuits) a 0.5 dB NF 23 dB gain preamp.  That feeds a 1 GHz HPF to eliminate (mostly, but not completely) a near-by cell tower
installation (grrrr....).  The HPF feeds another preamp of the same ilk.  Then some 70-feet of low loss rigid coaxial cable into the 'warm room' where we have installed
roughly another 40 dB of gain.  Inside, we have also installed 3 dB attenuators between active stages for impedance stabilization and gain vs. SWR stabilization. 
That finally feeds an AirSpy SDR.  The system operates under SDR#.  Our noise temperature is nominally 100 to 120 K, established (somewhat painstakingly) by several different and independent
methods (not all 'calibrated' noise sources exhibit consistency in the third decimal place!!).  Installation of the 1 GHz filter to get rid of a very dirty cell tower
 installation is responsible for half the noise temperature......  As you are aware, the H1 emission can be up to 500 to 750 kHz wide.  You are detecting only a small
amount of the power of the H1 emission with the SDR#-limited available max bandwidth.
I'm very confused by your bandwidth comments here.  I don't know much about SDR#, but if it shows a couple of MHz around the notional
  line frequency of 1420.40575MHz, and allows deep integration, then you've covered essentially ALL of the hydrogen line doppler range within
  the galaxy.

The next reasonable "target" for an amateur setup is the emissions from our sister galaxy, Andromeda, which are up-shifted to around 1422.5MHz
  or so due to blue shift (Andromeda is hurtling towards us).  Very long integration times would be required, due to having to deal with
  inter-galactic, rather than inter-stellar, distances.

Here at CCERA, we operate a 21cm spectrometer, using AirSpy receivers on a 1.8m dish.   Our final bandwidth is about 2MHz, which allows us
  to "see" features at +/- 170km/sec from the rest frequency.   Our software is Gnu Radio based, rather than based on AstroSpy or SDR#.

I'll likely do a write-up sometime soon.



iz5dkm@...
 

I tried receiving the hydrogen line in the direction of M31 but I can't solve the signal, evidently the s / n ratio is still low.
The first image in the frequency domain, the second in the speed domain.

Daniel Fox
 

You are definitely receiving Hydrogen line emissions from within this galaxy.  Since M31 is moving relative to us I would think you would need to look about 3 MHz higher or lower to see Hydrogen line emissions from it.

Dan

On Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 6:29 AM <iz5dkm@...> wrote:
I tried receiving the hydrogen line in the direction of M31 but I can't solve the signal, evidently the s / n ratio is still low.
The first image in the frequency domain, the second in the speed domain.

iz5dkm@...
 

Yes, the visible signal is certainly generated by interstellar material belonging to our galaxy.

Marcus D. Leech
 

On 10/17/2019 06:27 AM, iz5dkm@... wrote:
I tried receiving the hydrogen line in the direction of M31 but I can't solve the signal, evidently the s / n ratio is still low.
The first image in the frequency domain, the second in the speed domain.
That signal will be somewhere around 1422.5MHz--right off the edge of your chart.

Marcus D. Leech
 

On 10/17/2019 10:58 AM, iz5dkm@... wrote:
Yes, the visible signal is certainly generated by interstellar material belonging to our galaxy.
_._,_._,_


The aggregate M31 signature is at a redshift of roughly -500km/sec, or centered at about 1422.77MHz -- which is off your chart.