March 28, 2005

The Palomar Observatory Link to HPWREN has been Upgraded to an FCC-Licensed Band

To increase the reliability and predictability of the link to the Palomar Observatory, the California Institute of Technology provided equipment funding and staff support to upgrade the 5.8GHz 45Mbps full-duplex HPWREN link to FCC-licensed 6GHz band radios. This will help address issues of interference in the previously used license-exempt band. It will also help with weather related impacts, especially due to inversion layers in summer months, based on the slightly wider beam and higher radio power.

The eight-foot 5.8GHz antenna is being removed with a fork lift on a tractor.
Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory The tractor is moving the eight foot antenna for storage to the first floor of the 200-inch telescope building.

The old antenna is stored in the telescope dome building, and the previously assembled six-foot antenna for the new FCC-licensed link is brought to the HPWREN access site at the 48-inch telescope on the Observatory grounds.
Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory The installation team moves the antenna to the pole, utilizing the tractor-based forklift.

The new antenna for the FCC-licensed link is installed, with the radio near the top of the pole.
Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory The support equipment inside the 48-inch telescope dome shows radio components, a network measurement computer, a router, and an Ethernet switch, with a UPS standing next to the rack.

At the Cuyamaca Mountains HPWREN relay site the old 8-foot antenna is being removed, supported by Dan Zieber and Ron Serabia with the ropes, Jim Hale on the ladder, and Bud Hale operating the winch.
Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory After the antenna is mounted onto the pole, Jim Hale, supported by Bud Hale, is providing for the initial antenna alignment.

The Cuyamaca Mountains end of the Palomar Observatory link is finished and ready to be used.
Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory Following a final antenna alignment at the Palomar Observatory, the FCC-licensed 45Mbps full-duplex link became fully operational, and has already weathered a storm.

"The new upgrade to the Palomar Observatory's node in HPWREN is of vital importance to the Observatory's scientific mission," said W. Scott Kardel, Public Affairs Coordinator, Palomar Observatory. "Modern facilities at the observatory include robotic telescopes that gather their own data and telescopes that need to be controlled remotely in real time. Data and commands travel back and forth via the network. The new equipment improves the bandwidth and reliability of these communications. In the future we expect to add an additional link into the HPWREN network for additional capacity and to ensure uninterrupted astronomical observations."

More installation photos can be found at http://archive.hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20050321/ and http://archive.hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20050322/.

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