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  • SPIDER230 amateur radio telescope SPIDER230 amateur radio telescope

SPIDER230 amateur radio telescope

Product code: SPIDER230

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Quick Overview

NEW 2014 VERSION: more sensitive and more stable. 


Observing the the sky with the naked eye, discovering it with an optical telescope or with a camera: up to now, amateurs were able to admire the Universe only in a narrow band of electromagnetic waves, those of visible light.


PrimaLuceLab changes the rules, presenting SPIDER230, the radio telescope that combines radio technologies with that of amateur astronomy in order to allow you to discover the world of amateur radio astronomy with a powerful, modular and easy-to-use product!

Availability: Order

VAT 22% incl.
if you pay by bank transfer €0.00

Details

NOTE: Delivery time is about 30 days from the order date. In fact we pre-install and test all components of the radio telescope before delivery.

Objects that make up the Universe emit a lot of electromagnetic waves at different frequencies which are, almost all, filtered by Earth atmosphere. However radio waves pass through unhindered and can be captured by amateurs astronomers, too, thanks to SPIDER230. This radio telescope was developed by PrimaLuceLab to be the first instrument for amateur radio astronomy to allow everyone to approach this fascinating science with simplicity and an approachable cost with a single, all-in, high-performance product.

 

An amateur radio telescope with large 2,3 meter diameter parabolic antenna

The SPIDER230 amateur radio telescope uses the WEB230 antenna, a mesh 2.3-meter diameter parabolic antenna designed to offer a large diameter with the lowest possible weight. It weighs much less than a normal 1.5 meters diameter full-surface model in respect to which it offers a better resolution capacity (due to greater diameter) and a lower wind sensitivity (since the surface is perforated). The reflecting surface of this antenna (the primary reflector) is composed of an aluminum mesh with 2x2 mm squared holes for optimum reflectivity of radio waves with frequencies up to 12 GHz. Mesh material is positioned and installed by hand by our technicians in order to obtain a parabolic surface as accurate as possible (within the limits of the mechanical support). The result is a superior quality mesh parabolic antenna that offers a higher gain and a more precise parabolic shape.

 

Designed to be used with equatorial mounts

The SPIDER230 amateur radio telescope is designed to use with computerized equatorial mounts already used by amateur astronomers in normal optical telescopes. These mounts offer, a high load capacity and pointing/tracking precision at a low price. We supply the SPIDER230 with an N-EQ6 SynScan mount but you can install our WEB230 antenna on different equatorial mounts with at least 25 kg load capacity and Losmandy dovetail (the same used by many telescopes) using it just like a normal telescope. For the correct operation of the radio telescope, the equatorial mount is not installed on the tripod (which often does not have sufficient rigidity) but on a separate column (which we provide with the SPIDER230): in this way the parabolic antenna, while  moving, never faces the impact risk against the underlying support.

Designed to work with a RadioAstroLab RAL10PL receiver

Our amateur radio telescope is designed to work with the RadioAstroLab receivers: this model is provided with a RAL10PL Total-Power receiver working at 11.2 GHz with a Ku band feeder and high gain 4106C LNB. RAL10PL was developed to bring amateurs to radio astronomy in order to record the most intense radio sources in the sky and offers high sensitivity and signal stability at an affordable price.

RAL10PL is a special version designed specifically for use with the Spider230. In fact it allows the remote control of all operating parameters that can then be set directly in RadioUniverse providing control software: gain, offset and integration time. It also features an integratedthermal stabilizer system in order to minimize the gain drift of the receiving system, optimizing the instrument stability.

Alignment optical finder for mounts

Computerized equatorial mounts require (for their proper functioning), to be aligned to the stars in the sky. For this reason, we have developed a special finder bracket with a optical finder that is installed on the counterweights shaft and that allows you to point this radio telescope to the same area of the sky "viewed" by parabolic antenna. So, when you turn on the radio telescope for the first time and you want to align it to the sky, you can use this finder to point the stars. In order to store the alignment you can use the mount "parking" function: turning on the radio telescope, Spider230 will then correctly point to objects in the sky also during the day. You can then use the finder in order to verify the correct pointing of the radio telescope during normal use.

The finder bracket is equipped with 6 screws with knobs in order to to adjust precisely the position of the finder in respect with antenna. Along with this, we include a  high quality and durability sunscreen glass by Thousand Oaks. The filter is inserted in front of the finder when using the radio telescope during the day.

Equatorial mounts support device

Our equatorial mounts support device (patented) allows you to install the WEB230 antenna on any equatorial mount (with Losmandy dovetail and load capacity of at least 25 kg, ie. EQ6 type). Thanks to two counterweights sliding system with protection against accidental drops, you can get a perfect balance even in declination axis for maximum tracking and automatic goto performances of the mount. Without counterweights the radio telescope would be completely biased towards the front (pecause of the weight of the primary reflector and LNB + illuminator group with support rods) and therefore could not properly point and track objects in the sky.

A special system of rear tie rods increases the rigidity of the structure while minimizing the deformation of such a big diameter parabolic dish.

RadioUniverse control software

Included with every SPIDER230 radio telescope, our RadioUniverse software allows you to control the antenna position and acquisition parameters of RAL10PL receiver. This way you can not only record radiometric data coming from the sky but also transits or radio-images of radio sources in the sky you want to study. A window shows the entire sky with the position of the main radio sources with respect to stars and constellations.

SPIDER23 radio telescope connects to control computer via a single network cable (Ethernet). The mount and the receiver send the data to the control electronics contained in waterproof box with the receiver. The data is then converted and sent to the control PC via a single network cable that can be up to 100 meters.

RUviz processing software

When you want to record the faint radio waves coming from radio sources outside of the Solar System, the data processing is critical. That's why we designed RUvizsoftware (RadioUniverseVisualizer) which allows you to import data captured by RadioUniverse and process them in a very simple and fast way. In this way it is possible, starting from the registration of several consecutive transits of the sky area that you want to analyze, to create radio maps of faint radio sources such as Cassiopeia A and Taurus A.

RUviz uses special algorithms in order to to reduce the signal drift caused by the change of the antenna pointing. Other features allow you to minimize the drifts due to variations in ambient temperature.

A complete and functional instrument:

- WEB230 parabolic dish with support device for equatorial mounts

N-EQ6 SkyScan equatorial mount with Synscan and 2 counterweights

Alignment optical finder system on mount counterweight shaft

50mm finder, 8 magnifications, with glass solar filter

Column for installation on a concrete base and EQ6 flange connection

RAL10PL receiver thermal stabilized and with waterproof box

- Ku-band feed-horn

- High gain and stability Ku-band 4106C LNB

- RadioUniverse control and RUviz processing software

- User and installation manual (english and italian)

 

NOTE: SHELL dome not included in radio telescope price

Fast and secure shipping with UPS 

Do you want to buy the telescope but you can not visit us in our laboratory in Pordenone or you do not have available a transport car large enough to contain it? No problem! We designed Spider230 to be easily removable and can be divided into 6 sturdy boxes: in this way we can ship it via UPS. Each carton box is composed of a thick outer carton and several internal carton boxes which divide various internal components. The instruments are well protected for a prompt and secure shipment.

All the elements that make up the instrument are pre-installed then you have just to follow the instructions to install it in a short time and get started right away!

Reliable results

Spider230 is designed to record radio waves coming not only from strong sources such as the Sun or the Moon, but also from more distant objects, that until now were studied only by professionals!

Thanks to its high sensitivity, it is possible to record radio waves coming from weak objects such as Cassiopeia A (supernova remnant), Cygnus A (radio galaxy) or Taurus A (M1, supernova remnant). Thanks to the advanced features of Spider230 and RadioUniverse software, for each object you can get different results: radio-images, transits or continuous monitoring of a single point.


Why not use a full dish?

Full dish parabolic antennas ensure, with same diameter of a mesh model, a higher gain so, in theory, they would be ideal choice, but they are also much heavier (a full 1.5 metre diameter aluminum parabolic antenna weighs no less than 20 Kg, much more than primary reflector of our mesh parabolic antenna that weighs only 10 kg). So, on the same mount (eg an EQ6), you can install our WEB230 2.3 metre parabolic antenna or a full dish smaller than 1.2 - 1.4 metres diameter. What does this mean?

1) Our parabolic antenna sain is slightly higher so it gives a better ‘sensitivity’ to whole system

2) Our dish has a greater diameter then a better resolution capability: it allows you to record finer details

3) The full parabolic dish also reflects infrared that heats LNB (so placed on the focal point) and therefore increases electronic noise. Our mesh parabolic antenna does not reflect infrared so it does not heat the LNB.

 

ATTENTION: The equatorial mounts are not waterproof so you need to cover the radio telescope with a special protective structure (which must also protect parabolic antenna from strong wind). So we developed the SHELL 4.2 meter diameter dome that allows you to protect the radio telescope keeping it permanently installed in the field. In this way, the instrument will always be aligned on the sky: mount can maintain both polar and stars alignment (thanks to the parking functionality). The dome also serves to protect the radio telescope in case of wind: when it exceeds 25 km/h, it is necessary to keep the radio telescope pointed at the zenith (the vertical) and closed inside the dome.

The SHELL dome is opened and closed manually, it has a protective waterproof Nylon cover and, unlike normal domes for astronomy, when you open it frees the whole sky and is therefore perfect for the radio telescope. SHELL provides a rigid metal frame with arched supports made of aluminum, a structure anchored to the ground with 14 metal supports and polyethylene partition wall and a system of quick coupling and release of the dome for a quick opening or closing.


Technical Specifications

Antenna diameter (m) 2,3
Antenna type Prime focus
Working frequency 11,2 GHz
Bandwidth 50 MHz
Feed Yes
LNB Yes
A/D converter 14 bits
Mount Equatorial GOTO
Control handpad Yes
Maximum slewing speed 3,4°/sec (800x)
Control software Yes
Dome Not included in price but needed
Certification CE and RoHS Certificates

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