We are building state of the art receivers
for the world’s most powerful radio telescopes.
Imagine what we can do for you.
Photo courtesy of SKA South Africa
Our primary focus is to support radio astronomy, by designing highly optimised reflector surfaces and by producing extremely sensitive radio receivers and RFI-quiet related equipment.
We have been doing this since 2006, and have a unique skill-set which reflects the equipment we design, produce and maintain. We are vertically integrated and take part from initial user requirement clarification through design and development, ISO9001 manufacturing and intensive product testing, to setting-to-work at the telescope locations with follow-on warranty and maintenance support.
Radio astronomy is a wonderful blend between extreme precision technologies, an open international community for idea sharing, unusually educated clients and ultimately the peaceful end-user locations of South Africa’s harsh Karoo desert and similar sites elsewhere.
We thoroughly enjoy the fortuitous and timely participation in these endeavors - while the sky is still quiet enough to engage in surface-based radio astronomy.
In 2006, the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) implemented a continuously accelerating project aimed at the establishment of MeerKAT, a 64-element radio telescope array and SKA precursor located in the South African Karoo desert. EMSS Antennas has been part of the project team since building the very first prototype dish.
The SKA is a bold international collaborative project approaching first-phase implementation, with the dish component to be co-located with MeerKAT and other telescope components to be constructed in Australia. EMSS Antennas has been a contributing participant in the international design team since 2013.
In the absence of information to the contrary, we believe our MeerKAT and SKA cryogenic receiver family to be best-on-planet in terms of additive noise;
8.5 K in L-band and 5.5 K in UHF, all-up from radome to RF output connectors, averaged over their 1.85 : 1 (i.e., 60%) frequency bandwidth and with over 100+ operational units so far.
Our two mature MeerKAT feeds (UHF- and L-band) are based on similar internal technology, and have been operating in the Karoo desert with minimal maintenance and down-time.
We have cloned and improved on the MeerKAT L-band design for the Band-2 of the SKA telescope, and our qualified design passed its critical design review in December 2017.
The increasing sensitivity of today’s radio telescopes brought about much more stringent requirements on self-generated RFI (both radiated towards other receivers and coupling into its own signal path) – to levels far beyond the capability of readily available COTS products.
In response we have created dedicated solutions and improvements to third-party heavy-current applicators, in order to comply with these limitations.
Although our receiver products are highly optimized for the MeerKAT and SKA telescopes, we can adapt and re-optimize them for your system – whether it is radio astronomy, space-based radar, telemetry or deep-space communication. We believe we can scale our orthogonal-mode transducer (OMT) one octave down and also one up in frequency – so if you are facing tight requirements, our team is standing by to assist you with those tough decisions and elusive solutions.
To be able to qualify our product, we have established a bespoke LNA characterisation facility – with which we can measure additive noise down to single Kelvins, with single Kelvin absolute accuracy and sub-Kelvin relative accuracy when comparing different LNAs. If you have such a component qualification problem or a vendor decision to make, please do not hesitate to consider using our facility as another datum point.
We are experienced with the nuances involved in matching a feed antenna to a reflector geometry or vice versa, and to perform optical trade studies with regards to spill-over and sidelobe control – especially for electrically medium or small structures. If your own system shows unexplained or unwanted behaviour, we can probably help you with our extensive set of full-wave analysis tools and our familiarity in using them.
The MeerKAT and SKA telescopes require extremely tight RFI control, and we have experience in keeping such stray noise in and out of enclosures, especially how to prove such solutions by measurement. We will gladly help you with any RFI hardening problems.
For any enquiries or recommendations, please send us a message:
18 Techno Avenue
Tel: +27 (21) 880 1188