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2009 News


December 29, 2009 - January 2, 2010
Latest update from the LWA-1 Station

The first Analog Receiver board is now installed and operational.


(Left) Graduate Steve Tremblay gearing up to feed a bundle of cables into the conduit at the junction box.
(Right) The first 30 signals (15 antennas) connected into the Shelter Entry Panel

December 16, 2009 -
Completed construction of 256 antennas for the first LWA site LWA-1

in time for the holidays!

Aerial view of the first station on December 16, 2009.

November 20, 2009 - Agenda of LWA-Critical Design Review

Some of the reviewers went out to the LWA-1 station and helped assemble a few more antennas on the day prior to the meeting.

(Left) Jake Hartman carrying a load of frames.
(Right) Note the ground screen beneath each antenna.

(Left) Paul Ray stands by an antenna for scale. The VLA is in the distance. (Right) Getting close to the full 256 elements - ghostly antennas seen against a sunset. (Photos from Paul Ray)

November 6, 2009 - Postdoctoral Fellowship

in Radio Astronomy is available - starting January 2010.

October 25, 2009 - Second Fall Work Party at the LWA-1 site

Another successful work party thanks to Greg, Ylva, John D., Niki, Ryan, Christopher, Adam, AJ, Sunil, and Sudipta. The antenna count now stands at 60. Adam and his crew, however, were way ahead of the antenna builders and managed to build some 70+ ground screens. We need somebody with a wide-angle lens to get a good picture of the entire array. Next work parties are November 1 and 8, 2009.

Above is a picture of the array at the end of the Second Fall Work Party.

October 18, 2009 - Work Party at the LWA-1 site

All the parts of the antennas have safely arrived from China so the push is on to connect everything.

(Left) It takes a bit of pounding to get the post firmly into the Oz post. (Right) Antenna elements are being mounted onto the horizontal frame.

(Left) Lunch break. (Right) Mid afternoon - storm approaching and VLA dishes in the distance. At the closest antenna, you can make out the mesh ground plane, the junction box mounted on the lower part of the post, and the conduit at lower left that carries underground cable from the shelter to be attached to the junction box.

September 3, 2009 - New Shelter arrives at the LWA-1 site

The new shelter is being lifted into place. When all is finished,
Joe Craig and Lee J Rickard give it the LWA seal of approval.

August 4, 2009

You are looking at the new LWA webpages. If you find any broken links or errors, please let us know by email to

July 25, 2009

Adam and his crew are keeping the build of the first LWA station on schedule on the second work party out at the site. A webcam has been implemented as well.

Construction continues at the LWA-1 site. (July 10, 2009 update)

Here are some more photos from the on-going construction this summer.

Astrophysics graduate student, Steven Tremblay, is feeding the fiber-optic cable (yellow-orange) for the internet connect to the hut into flexible conduit (black). The trenching continues.

Another view of the trenching, cables, and conduit.

June 24, 2009 - The First of the Summer 2009 Work Parties

The first summer work party at the LWA-1 construction site was held on Wednesday June 24. Adam Martinez, UNM Graduate Research Assistant in Construction Management is the Manager of the summer construction crew which consists of undergraduate and graduate students from Civil Engineering. Among the senior LWA staff participating in the work day were Lee J Rickard, Executive Project Director, and Walter Gerstle, Civil Engineering Professor. Three UNM undergraduate majors in Astrophysics did most of the heavy work.
Photos courtesy of Hélène (Lanie) Dickel , UNM Adjunct Professor.

LWA summer crew members:
Adam Martinez, LWA Construction Manager & graduate student in Construction Management
AJ Gallardo, undergraduate student in Construction Management
Sunil Danthului, graduate student in Construction Engineering
Sudipta Ghorai, graduate student in Construction Engineering

Volunteer undergraduates, majoring in Astrophysics, who participated in the 1st Work Party: Matthew Koppa, Dave Martin, and Anthony Ortiz

Trenching and preparing junction boxes. Short trenches spoke to where blade antennas will be located.


Lee J shows how to put the connectors onto the short conduit pieces which will connect from the ground to the top of each blade antenna. Walter in back left and students take over from Lee J and complete the outfitting of the conduits with connectors.


Lanie joins in the conduit connector task. The done pile at lower left is now much larger than the small pile of conduit pieces awaiting connectors. Adam Martinez and John Dickel (UNM Adjunct Prof) successfully test inserting an extra cable through a conduit already filled with 28 cables - from one junction box to another.

June 2, 2009 - Construction of the first LWA station begins

Construction of the first station of the LWA began on June 2nd and is progressing well. Surveying has been completed and the current focus is on trenching for the conduits. As of June 16th, one full branch has been trenched and laden with conduit. The shelter has been ordered.

A load of conduit pipes. Trench ready to be filled with conduit.

Connecting everything up in the junction box. Covering up the filled trench with dirt.

June 1, 2009 - LWA Review for Long Lead Items

A meeting of LWA staff, Review Committee members, UNM officials, professors, and graduate students was held June 1, 2009 on the UNM campus to present and discuss the current status and upcoming plans regarding the construction of the first station of the Long Wavelength Array.

Power Point Presentations available for download from the LWA wiki pages.

Some of the participants chat over coffee before the meeting begins.

May 27-28, 2009 - Fencing completed at LWA site 2

UNM graduate students in civil engineering return in May to install the fencing around the 120m x120m LWA site 2 (near the end of the north arm of the VLA) . Photos courtesy of Joe Craig.

Details of the construction of a corner for the fencing around the LWA site 2. The gate can be seen at the upper right of the photo. Looking along the fence with a couple of graduate students barely visible in the distance.

Putting in the separators which keep the horizontal wires apart. Looking back towards the VLA (in a compact configuration) in the distance.

April 1, 2009 - LWA Press Release

Commissioner of Public Lands, UNM Sign Agreement to Begin Construction on Long Wavelength Array Site: Commissioner of Public Lands Patrick Lyons and the University of New Mexico today signed an agreement to commence construction of the first two sites of the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) on state trust lands in Catron and Socorro counties. Centered on the plains of San Agustin, the best site for radio astronomy in North America, the LWA will complement and share key infrastructure with the major National Science Foundation Very Large Array (VLA), located in Socorro. The LWA will provide high-precision, synoptic views of the ionosphere and solar weather events, and of a variety of astrophysical phenomena. Research and development conducted over several years is now complete and the LWA project is ready to break ground.

Spring Break Work Week (March 16 - 19, 2009)

UNM students surveyed, trenched, pulled cables through conduit, and conducted various tests on the new Oz-post under the direction of Joe Craig, LWA Programs Operations Director with the assistance of Adam Matrinez, graduate student assistant in Civil Engineering (working under Prof. Walter Gerstle). All the photos are available in a power-point file and the associated document describes the daily schedule and accomplishments.

Monday March 16 - tasks included - clean up ground screens, secure RV, reposition weather station, survey 5 locations.

Tuesday March 17 - more surveying and preparation begun on the junction boxes.

Wednesday March 18 - lots of trenching, modifications to junction boxes, and discovery that hard flexible conduit will work better than the straight conduit sold in sticks.

Measuring the forces required to deviate the posts by some angle. The Oz-Post performed so well that one was installed in an actual antenna location; torsional testing was conducted and determined to be no threat. The mast did not budge.

Thursday March 19 - morning and afternoon spent filling in the trenches with shovels. It was extremely easy to pull cables through the junction box system. The only concern left in the conduit design is whether 28 cables can be pulled easily in the 3" conduit.

More trenching experiments (January 10, 2009)

On January 10, 2009, a new trencher was rented and brought to the LWDA site to make more tests. This trencher is more efficient and able to get through more difficult areas better than the smaller, hand pushed one that we tried during our first attempt in November 2008.

View of the trencher and the first trench made with it.

The trencher can make curved trenches (radius of 32 feet) and intersecting trenches. For the latter, it is necessary to back up to the original trench; one can
July 2007 - Virginia Tech and The University of Iowa join the LWA Project.