Stefan J. Wijnholds, Giuseppe Pupillo, Pietro Bolli and Giuseppe Virone, "UAV-aided calibration for commissioning of phased array radio telescopes," URSI Asia-Pacific Radio Science Conference (URSI AP-RASC), Seoul (South Korea), 21-25 August 2016.

Calibration of antenna positions and instrumental response is a crucial step in the commissioning of a phased array radio telescope. The Low Frequency Aperture Array system of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is envisaged to consist of about 131,000 antennas. In this paper, we propose a strategy to efficiently conduct commissioning calibration of such a large phased array radio telescope using a near-field probe mounted on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method using simulations. This indicates that potentially cost-saving relaxation of requirements on placement accuracy is possible. We also propose to validate this method in practice using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).

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