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Spatial filtering of interfering signals at the initial Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) phased array test station

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Abstract

[1] The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) is a radio telescope currently being designed. Its targeted observational frequency window lies in the range of 10–250 MHz. In frequency bands in which there is interference, the sensitivity of LOFAR can be enhanced by interference mitigation techniques. In this paper we demonstrate spatial filtering capabilities at the LOFAR initial test station (ITS) and relate it to the LOFAR radio frequency interference mitigation strategy. We show that in frequency ranges which are occupied with moderate-intensity man-made radio signals, the strongest observed astronomical sky sources can be recovered by spatial filtering. We also show that under certain conditions, intermodulation products of point-like interfering sources remain point sources. This means that intermodulation product filtering can be done in the same way as for “direct” interference. We further discuss some of the ITS system properties such as cross-talk and sky noise limited observations. Finally, we demonstrate the use of several beam former types for ITS.

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