Performance Evaluation of Irbene RT-16 Radio Telescope Receiving System

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In the present paper, recent measurement results of refurbished Irbene RT-16 radio telescope receiving system performance are presented. The aim of the research is to evaluate characteristics of RT-16, which will allow carrying out necessary amplitude calibration in both single dish and VLBI observations, to improve the performance of existing system as well as to monitor, control and compare performance if possible changes in the receiving system will occur in future. The evaluated receiving system is 16 m Cassegrain antenna equipped with a cryogenic receiver with frequency range from 4.5 to 8.8 GHz, which is divided into four sub-bands. Multiple calibration sessions have been carried out by observing stable astronomical sources with known flux density by using in-house made total power registration backend. First, pointing offset calibration has been carried out and pointing model coefficients calculated and applied. Then, amplitude calibration, namely antenna sensitivity, calibration diode equivalent flux density and gain curve measurements have been carried out by observing calibration sources at different antenna elevations at each of the receiver sub-bands. Beam patterns have also been evaluated at different frequency bands. As a whole, acquired data will serve as a reference point for comparison in future performance evaluation of RT-16.

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