African VLBI Network Training Site


Invited Talk: Tuesday 14 May 2019 - Mr Japie Ludick


14 May 2019 14:00 - 15:00

Title: Antenna Conversion

Author: Mr Japie Ludick
              Manager Mechanical Engineering
              South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)

The Kuntunse Earth Satellite Station in Ghana is the first of various disused stations around Africa which has been earmarked for conversion into a radio telescope to eventually form part of the African VLBI Network (AVN). The conversion is being undertaken in its entirety by the AVN team in South Africa with support from their counterparts in the Ghana Space Science Institute (GSSTI). The conversion covers all systems of the telescope including receiver, digital back end, timing and frequency reference and control system. One of the main objectives of the conversion is that of knowledge transfer, and therefore none of the activities have been subcontracted to external suppliers, to ensure that knowledge is shared between the AVN team and their GSSTI counterparts. The talk will focus on the process for conversion from a telecoms station to a radio telescope and specifically on the mechanical and control aspects of the antenna.

More about the author:


Japie Ludick has been with SKA since 2009. He has been involved with the qualification of the KAT-7 antenna structure, early concept developments for the MeerKAT antenna and is responsible for the antenna structure conversion of the Kuntunse Station in Ghana which commenced in 2012. He has been involved in various design reviews relating to the mechanical design of the MeerKAT antenna as well as the SKA antenna supplied by CETC54. He is deeply involved in the training of aspiring mechanical engineers in South Africa as well as in the African partner countries. He is currently the manager for Mechanical Engineering at SARAO.