Monday, 15 July, 2002


In 1990, TIED bid for the antenna tracking and control component (valued at $1.2m) for the Australian Defence Signals facility project near Geraldton in Western Australia2. . The tracking system is required to be accurate to 1/1000th of a degree, to point at satellites and stars without any tracking history, and to return to an anticipated position after being diverted to other tasks.

Geraldton Antenna with TS3010 ATCU interfacing to Ferranti encoders ( Customised TTL Binary interface).

The system is user-friendly and easily operated. TIED complied with Australian quality standard AS2990 Cat. A for this project. The project was being carried out in association with Connell Wagner Pty. Ltd. (mechanical design and project specification) and Mitec Ltd (microwave and RF design). TIED responsibilities included design, software writing, prototype build, prototype test, production build, acceptance testing, version qualification testing, installation, commissioning, documentation, training and product support. Mr I. Dick was the project manager.

This project utilised the previous research and development work of Evans and Sciacca the lessons learnt in controlling large resonant structures on the Australia Telescope antennae.. Project Geraldton also drew on the R&D work of Middleton in satellite antenna tracking and control, and the experience gained with ORBTRACK, although utilising different software and hardware. The position control design for the project was carried out by Sciacca. The antenna tracking software had to be re-designed by Middleton for use with large DC drives instead of simple "bang-bang" control and has increased tracking accuracy to ORBTRACK.

The system requires a real-time operating system and utilises UNOS3. which was developed using PL/M language by Betz and translated into C language for ease of adaptability to other modules and platforms.

As there was a requirement for a g

Geraldton Antenna Control System (Motor Drives not shown)

ood operator interface, two off-the-shelf PCs were used for the primary and secondary monitoring and control functions. The screens and the operator control software were designed using commercially-available software by Mr D. Brown, TIED's Senior Consultant Engineer; Brown also integrated the system with Sciacca and tested, installed and commissioned the system at Geraldton.

A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) was used to provide the interface between the antenna equipment and non-servo monitoring and control equipment. Other design work for the project was carried out by Associate Professor P. Moylan, who has extensive experience in software and real time systems. TIED was also required to select and procure all associated hardware.

The antenna installation and commissioning was completed on time and the pointing accuracy of the antennae is within the specification requirement. The training was completed in March 1993 and the final acceptance took place in June 1993.

This tracking system is now marketed as the TS3010 Tracking System.

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