Derek Kozel

Bits to Volts

Assembling the Big Dish

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I’ve wanted for some time to get involved in radio astronomy and Amateur Radio EME operating. The most significant blocker for either of these activities is having an antenna with enough gain to be able to receive very weak signals and the ability to point it easily and accurately.

This weekend myself and a coworker lifted the panels of the big dish into place.

Unfortunately the weight of the dish and angle of the mount means that there was a gap between the final panels.

Using a set of C Clamps we were able to pull the edges nearly together, but the bolt holes were offset by just over a centimeter.

The offset is probably resolvable just with some long bolts and a bit of coersion. Worse is that the center of the dish was pulled over an inch out of position. Given that the dish weighs in excess of 400 pounds without the metal bracing it would take a small crane or similar to even try pulling it into order. The lack of a crane is exactly why we assembled it piece by piece.