Project A.L.L.B.I.N.

An Amateur Linked Long Baseline Interferometer Network

This picture is a historic moment, on the 10th of June 2006 Matthias Busch, the Father of EASYSKY installed the ERAC Controler Driver to EasySky and for the first time ever the Radio Telescope Mannheim was no longer only in Meridian Transit mode , it was able to track celestial objects for the first time.

The First object to be looked at was of course Cas A and she came in Beutifuly. The next Target was Thermal noise from Jupiter and of course later the Moon. It was for Matthias a whole new feeling moving 2.5 Tones of Steel a Radio Telescope and of Course the seat he was sitting on and all that with his own program .

Congratulations and Thanks Matthias you have given us all the tool we need to do Challenging Radio Astronomy

Remote access software

When installing radio astronomy equipment on a remote site it might be very useful to also have a remote access to the computer that controls the antenna and that runs data acquisition. There are two very good free applications available which allow for remote control:

A very good source for A.L.L.B.I.N antennas: Dishes upto 3.7 m

Look under mesh antennas, the 3.7 Meter antenna costs only around 800 Euroes complete plus tax and 65 Euroes shipping.


The very details of amateur VLBI projects have been discussed for many years in the erac-vlbi group.

Starting in October 2006 all discussions are continued in the general ERAC mailing list. You can subscribe to that list on the following website:

To send off anything to the group all you have to do is send it off to the address



It is Basically True that an Amateur Radio Astronomer can not do much with a small dish of say 3 ,5, or 8 meters however that is not true if the Amateur decides to build East West 2 element single site interferometer linked up with cables together to give a collecting area much larger , if the Amateur constructs his equipment well with this simple equipment he gets fantastic results for a very small cost indeed .

Let us go on a bit further and consider a Radio Linked Interferometer in VHF or UHF or Microwave bandwidth this is also easy as long as both dishes are in an east west Meridian transit mode , things get a bit more complicated however it is still a goal for an experiment that works very well on an amateur budget .

Now let us go a step further to imagine a group of Amateur Radio Astronomers spread all over Europe who decide to work together to build up something big . and you have landed by project ALLBIN the basis for the future of Amateur Radio Astronomy well into the future , but how could such a system work ?

The first stage is to get an intensity type interferometer up and running using Amateur Equipment then at a later date to upgrade this system to become a phased array but is this dream possible? As president of the European Radio Astronomy Club I say Yes Certainly ! Today we are living in a Society where Technological advances are taking place almost day after day and the computing power available today is gigantic all we have to do is get organised . Today after an idea given to us from Ian Morrison from Jodrell bank using Radio to link up 2 remote stations we have succeeded in making an interferometer from 2 sites with home made equipment . Project ALLBIN is sitting in its start position ready to go and you can most certainly help if you wish to join us ?

The System is planned to work like this: A total of 40 Stations are at some stage of construction at the moment by individuals spread all over Europe , we all want to observe at first the Hydrogen line at 1.42 GHz with identical Electronic Equipment in the Meridian Transit Mode Later the Equipment will be slowly upgraded as individual financing allows . Each station gets an e-mail telling him when and at what elevation he or she needs to observe. Now all stations are hopefully up and running and calibrated when a Radio Clock triggers off the computer to sample data at each station , this clock is not however Synchronised does however get everyone started within one second after this start impulse all timing is done using a standard Satellite based clock of high accuracy using the PAL FBAS Signal from the German TV Channel ZDF via ASTRA 1F which gives a signal of 15.625KHz which using a PLL can lock in any other Oscillators to an accuracy of 10 to the power minus 13 to 14, this is not possible with GPS for instance as GPS gives us for each station a local time only . After a run is completed we all meet in the internet in an art chat room for engineering and chat as well as data transfer . this chat room has two levels one for communication and the other to communicate with the group , one station acts as master to pole each station for a sample of data , after all stations have sent in a bit of data the master station calculates the correlation shift for each station individually. This value is sent out to each remote station to let him shift all his data by this value locally so using the computer power of each station rather than at one central hub . Now the sample has been done very roughly and each station can see in the engineering channel what has been Observed roughly , everyone can now decide what needs to be observed in detail which the master station then implements to get depth data of the area of interest , this interactive mode together with modern Data Compression Techniques and the day by day improvement of Computers and Data Highways is the secret of how project ALLBIN will be constructed and will improve its performance in the years to come .

Today Project ALLBIN is in the Hybrid stage of early Construction and Development , we need people who are interested in Helping to get the system off the ground , at the end we will be manufacturing a product that will be the basis of a whole new tool for the future and I think that is exiting enough for anyone to help Pioneer the future of Amateur Radio Astronomy in Europe , a later step will be to hopefully work with existing VLBI Groups here in Europe .

Q. How can I Help ?
A.If you are a Mathematician , Programmer Hardware or RF Man we need you in our team now as training weekends are now being planned to learn how VLBI is being done today and from this how our own equipment will be designed and built for a total of 80 stations spread all over Europe.

Q Can I earn money with this project
A. No But what you will be doing will be priceless for yourself and others.

Q. do I need to own a Radio Telescope to Participate
A. No but one day with our help you will that is certain .

Q do I need to have my own equipment
A No you will be working on of having close contact to an existing ERAC Member in your Area to work together as a central team for development and a local group when implemented .

Q. What kind of knowledge do I need to bring with me to work with this group.
A. Everyone is a Specialist for something and that is what we need with Project ALLBIN we all help each other to do what we can for others and be helped by others where we have problems .

Q. If I choose to build my own station what will this cost me
A Every station we get up and running will mean that we get a better view of space and if you wish to build up your own station we will help you to do this the hardware is designed and manufactured by the group so the costs will be very low indeed however allot of work that you will be proud of at the end of the day . The basic Fixed manually tiltable meridian transit telescope will be cheep probably with a donated dish free of charge at a later date the tilt mechanism will need to be controlled via computer and maybe the dish will need to become rotatable but all this is not needed at the start and everything will get upgraded at a slow rate , the basic system may be later used at different frequencies by a simple change of feed and Low noise block down converter .

Q How can I join in
A. Just Mail us here at Headquarters and we will do the rest

To close a small word of warning


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