Drone Radio Telescope Calibration

We will fly a large hexacopter drone with a weak radio transmitter to calibrate the beam pattern of a radio telescope. We will design a signal to be transmitted out of a fast FPGA-controlled digital to analog converter, basically making our own software defined radio (SDR). We will receive the signal with a fast analog to digital converter and perform digital signal processing to compare the two signals. Our on-campus “telescope” will be an antenna on an amateur astronomy telescope mount that can point it in different direction to map out its beam pattern. Part of the project will be to design and build something to mount the antenna and transmitter to the drone. Two or three students will participate. You must be willing to commit 4, 8, or 12 hours/week on this project in the spring.

Please list your relevant experience, detailing your particular contribution to any group projects.

Name of research group, project, or lab
Drones and SDRs
Why join this research group or lab?

Drones and software-defined radio are fun and emerging technologies. The project will help radio astronomy research. My group also does optics and quantum entanglement work, but this project is unrelated.

Logistics Information:
Project categories
Mechanical Engineering
Signal Processing
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

Please reply with a description of any relevant experience: drones, flying, radio, astronomy, FPGA, DSP, electronics, soldering.

Time commitment
Spring - Part Time
Summer - Full Time
Academic Credit
Paid Research
Number of openings
Techniques learned

Basic electronics, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, flying, radio, and data analysis.

Contact Information:
Mentor name
Jason Gallicchio
Mentor email
Mentor position
Physics Professor
Name of project director or principal investigator
Jason Gallicchio
Email address of project director or principal investigator
2 sp. | 2 appl.
Hours per week
Spring - Part Time (+1)
Spring - Part TimeSummer - Full Time
Project categories
Physics (+5)
EngineeringPhysicsAstronomyMechanical EngineeringRoboticsSignal Processing