One of the main research directions of Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre (VIRAC) is radio astronomy and astrophysics. The instrumental base for the centre comprised two fully steerable parabolic antennas, RT-16 and RT-32 (i.e. with the mirror diameter of 16 m and 32 m). After long reconstruction, radio telescope RT-32 is currently equipped with the receiving and data acquisition systems that allow observing in a wide frequency range from 327 MHz to 9 GHz. New Antenna Control Unit (ACU) allows stable, fast and precise pointing of antenna. Time and frequency distribution service provide 5, 10 and 100 MHz reference frequency, 1PPS signals and precise time stamps by NTP protocol and in the IRIG-B format by coaxial cable.
For the radio astronomical observations, main requirement of spatially Very Long Base Line Interferometric (VLBI) observations for the observatory is precise synchronization of the received and sampled data and linking to the exact time stamps. During October 2015, radio telescope RT-32 performance was tested in several successful VLBI experiments. The obtained results confirm the efficiency of the chosen methods of synchronization and the ability to reproduce them on similar antennas.
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1. Bezrukovs, V., Shmeld, I., Nechaeva, M., Trokss, J., Bezrukovs, D., Klapers, M., Berzins, A., and Lesins, A. (2012). Receiving and data acquisition systems of RT-32 for VLBI observations. Latvian Journal of Physics and Technical Sciences6 (2), 30–42.
2. Bezrukovs, D. (2013). Spectral polarimetric observations of the Sun by VIRAC RT-32 radiotelescope. Baltic Astronomy22 (1).
3. Tuccari, G., Alef, W., Bertarini, A., Buttaccio, S., Comoretto, G., Graham, D., Meidhart, A., Platania, P., Russo, A., Roy, A., Wunderlich, M., Zeithoefler, R., and Xiang, Y. (2010). DBBC2 backend: Status and development plan. In: IVS General Meeting Proceedings.
4. Petersen, A., Hartmann, S., and Tschetschel R. (2015). Ventspils RT-16 / RT-32 Servo. Operational Manual. VTP2-DOC-34100-01.