Back to Volume
Paper: Configuration Considerations for Low Frequency Arrays
Volume: 345, From Clark Lake to the Long Wavelength Array: Bill Erickson's Radio Science
Page: 399
Authors: Lonsdale, C.J.
Abstract: The advance of digital signal processing capabilities has spurred a new effort to exploit the lowest radio frequencies observable from the ground, from ∼10 MHz to a few hundred MHz. Multiple scientifically and technically complementary instruments are planned, including the Mileura Widefield Array (MWA) in the 80-300 MHz range, and the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) in the 20-80 MHz range. The latter instrument will target relatively high angular resolution, and baselines up to a few hundred km. An important practical question for the design of such an array is how to distribute the collecting area on the ground. The answer to this question profoundly affects both cost and performance. In this contribution, the factors which determine the anticipated performance of any such array are examined, paying particular attention to the viability and accuracy of array calibration.
It is argued that due to the severity of ionospheric effects in particular, it will be difficult or impossible to achieve routine, high dynamic range imaging with a geographically large low frequency array, unless a large number of physically separate array stations is built. This conclusion is general, is based on the need for adequate sampling of ionospheric irregularities, and is independent of the calibration algorithms and techniques that might be employed. It is further argued that array configuration figures of merit that are traditionally used for higher frequency arrays are inappropriate, and a different set of criteria are proposed.
Back to Volume