DFM Engineering, Inc. was contracted to provide and
install a new computer control system, servo motors, and additional gearing to drive the NOAA 26-M (85-ft.)
diameter antenna at Wallops, Virginia as detailed in the NOAA
article (dated 02/21/03).
The NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration-Department of Commerce) operates two 85-ft. diameter dish antennas along with other smaller
antennas to communicate with their weather satellites. One of the sites is at Wallops,
Virginia and the other is near Fairbanks,
Alaska, theFairbanks NOAA Station now called FCDAS Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station.
This work at the Wallops, Virginia site is built upon the expertise developed by DFM
Engineering when they provided new controls and motors for two similar antennas at the PARI (Pisgah
Astronomical Research Institute).
However, the NOAA control
system additionally includes the capability to track fast moving low polar orbit artificial satellites.
The installation of the hardware proved to be a real test of the DFM Engineering personnel
as the April weather was the wettest the locals could recall.
When it wasn't raining, the wind was blowing.
On the few clear days, very loud military jet aircraft were practicing touch and go landings on the runway
a few hundred yards away.
The control system was successfully installed, tested, and the antenna is now resuming a new and useful
DFM's NOAA Original Project Description
DFM's NOAA Fairbanks, Alaska Project
DFM Control System Upgrade at PARI
Telescope Control System (TCS-Sky)
PARI (Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute)
NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Wallops NOAA Station
Fairbanks NOAA Station now FCDAS Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station