SSEC Can Dish it Out

A new Patriot 6.3 meter diameter C-Band receiving antenna is the latest addition to the array of dishes mounted on the roof of the Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences Building on the UW-Madison campus.

Work commenced early Wednesday, March 17, when crews closed Orchard Street to make room for a massive telescoping mobile crane and trucks delivering the equipment. The support system for the dish, consisting of I-beams and a large baseplate, was hoisted onto the roof and welded into place.

On Friday, March 19, a large columnar support and finally the dish itself were lifted the 16 stories to the top of the building and attached to the support system. The installation went nearly perfectly; a mounting pin did not fit properly and was replaced on March 23. Further assembly, such as adding the final four panels of the dish and installing the drive motors and data feed system, will take place over the next two weeks.

This antenna will serve as a back-up to either of our other two C-Band antennas: the 7.3 meter “West Dish,” now looking at the AMC2 communications satellite to receive data relayed from MTSAT-1R, POES (Gilmore Relay), and NOAAport; and the 11 meter “Orchard Street Dish,” now pointed to the AMC3 communications satellite to receive data relayed from MSG Meteosat-9 and POES (Wallops Relay).

The new antenna will have heaters to keep it free of snow, a big advantage over the existing West Dish that needs to have snow removed by hand to receive a proper signal.  Snow can keep the West Dish down for several days in the winter because safe hand removal requires calm conditions after a snowfall.

Short video of dish installation (2:30 min.):

Long video of dish installation (15:00 min.):

Last Updated:
April 7, 2010
SSEC, 1225 W. Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
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