Portable Fast Sampler

Asteroid 1999 JM8 (PI: S. Ostro, image credit: J.L. Margot)

Example images obtained with the Portable Fast Sampler hardware and software. (Image credit: J.L. Margot).

In order to enable radar observations at a variety of locations, I designed remotely-operable data-acquisition hardware (the portable fast sampler, or PFS). This hardware proved itself useful, and I shared all the schematics and programmable logic code with the radar group at JPL, who cloned the hardware and fabricated a few additional units. This hardware has been used to produce the vast majority of asteroid radar images between 2000 and 2014.

With initial assistance from Jeff Hagen, I wrote software to operate the PFS and to perform a variety of data analysis tasks (unpacking, downsampling, filtering, fast Fourier transform). This software proved itself useful and I shared the software with the radar groups at Arecibo and JPL. This software has been used to acquire most of the radar echoes at Arecibo, Goldstone, and Green Bank between 2000 and 2014.

PFS units have been installed at Arecibo (2 units), the Green Bank Telescope (2 units), and Goldstone (4 units).

A general description of the data-taking system can be found in the following paper:

Margot, J. L., A portable fast sampling system for astronomical applications, Proceedings of the 2002 URSI General Assembly, Maastricht, 2002.

Instructions for operating the PFS.

Instructions for assembling the hardware (not needed, unless you are installing a PFS system at a new location).

Please contact me for instructions on downloading and installing the software from our CVS repository (this is generally not needed, unless you are installing a PFS system at a new location or performing system recovery).

Example data obtained with the PFS are described here.

A 2001 memo describing the design and prototyping of a chirp system for planetary radar is available here.