Radio frequency interference measurements in Indonesia. A survey to establish a radio astronomy observatory


We report the first measurements of radio frequency spectrum occupancy performed at sites aimed to host the future radio astronomy observatory in Indonesia. The survey is intended to obtain the radio frequency interference (RFI) environment in a spectral range from low frequency 10 MHz up to 8 GHz. The measurements permit the identification of the spectral occupancy over those selected sites in reference to the allocated radio spectrum in Indonesia. The sites are in close proximity to Australia, the future host of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) at low frequency. Therefore, the survey was deliberately made to approximately adhere the SKA protocol for RFI measurements, but with lower sensitivity. The RFI environment at Bosscha Observatory in Lembang was also measured for comparison. Within the sensitivity limit of the measurement equipment, it is found that a location called Fatumonas in the surrounding of Mount Timau in West Timor has very low level of RFI, with a total spectrum occupancy in this measured frequency range being about 1 %, mostly found at low frequency below 20 MHz. More detailed measurements as well as a strategy for a radio quiet zone must be implemented in the near future.

Experimental Astronomy, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp.85-108