Found some pictures of an 11metre 'NEC' Prime Focus Parabola

zorbua

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I have found some pictures of an 11 Metre Dish which was installed in our Antenna Field when I used to work
with Deutsch Vella Relay station in Malta. When DW started out way back in 1974 we used to receive programs
from Cologne through a DW receiving station in Malta by means of short wave Receivers and then re-broadcasted world wide through three 240kw S/W Transmitters and a 600KW Medium Transmitter.
About 1991 we had a Jap company (NEC) build this 11 Metres Parabola Dish to receive Radio programs through Satellite. I believe at that time it was 7E. The Jap company had to install a 'Faraday Cage' room to house all the ancillary equipment that went with this project. The reason for the Faraday Cage being the field strength of the 4 TX's which were in the same Antenna field, in fact I remember that every single cable (mains or signal cable) that went in or out of the Cage went through purposely installed Filters so that the TX's field strength was reduced by over 95%, which in fact it actually did.
The most astonishing thing that struck me most was that after about 4 years an Engineer was asked if he could make a mould for a 1.5 or 2 Metre Dish, which he actually did and from that mould a Fibre glass dish (not one wink wink) was made and that was used instead of the 11 Metre one. I mean that main project costed nearly a million quid at that time and then ti have it redundant in just four years.....well anyway that was it.
 

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Captain Jack

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Was it motorised? :D
 

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That would have been about the time the newer Eutelsat II satellites started coming out? Amazing that such an expensive dish was only used for such a short time. Wouldn't mind one myself, the neighbours on the other hand might not...
 

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Captain Jack

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Might be useful for 28E spot beams reception......
 

zorbua

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I was wondering about that. I can see the vertical adjusment arm but couldn't make out whether it could rotate.

Yes Jack it certainly was. It had two 3 phase motors...H & V. At one time, about a year after commissioning I recall the Horiz wouldn't operate....after exhaustive tests it turned out that a field rat ate at one phase cable and shorted it, after naturally electrocuting itself, but the thing was it had to be removed from a concrete cable trough running along from the 'Faraday Cabin' right through to the Concrete base of the Satellite Dish and guess where it was situated...that's right in the middle of the trough..
 

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That would have been about the time the newer Eutelsat II satellites started coming out? Amazing that such an expensive dish was only used for such a short time. Wouldn't mind one myself, the neighbours on the other hand might not...

Wouldn't know that, wasn't that keen on the subject myself at that time...Yes amazing is the word but I guess Satellite reception was gathering a fast pace even at that time with dishes getting smaller....What REALLY amazed me was this Maltese engineering guy who from scale designs brought from Cologne was able to construct a fiberglass Dish to the minutest detail from what I believe was a concrete mold at first.
 

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Is it still there? Should be easy to spot on google earth :)
 

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Is it still there? Should be easy to spot on google earth :)
From Wiki:
DW used a relay station in Malta had three SW and one 600 kW-MW transmitter and gave partial coverage of the Americas, Southern Asia and the Far East.[15] It was established in the early 1970s in exchange for a grant of almost 1 million GBP. The station closed in January 1996.

I'm still having a look on Google Maps though
 

zorbua

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Is it still there? Should be easy to spot on google earth :)
Nooooo. The Station closed down in 1996 after the 25 year contract came to an end. The whole station was taken over by the Maltese Govn. as per contract, but the whole setup was dismantled.....The Mast were dismantle and the Tx's were shipped to Germany in their knocked down form, but the Dish itself was taken by the local Telephone company called TeleMalta at that time. The Name of the Station was Cyclops Relay station, whilst the Receiving site was called Nigret receiving Site. Today the whole site is a national park.
 

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Is this the place? https://goo.gl/maps/lA6PX

I notice they've named the road to the left of the site after DW

I take it the long abandon road (that you can just make out) with the 4 circles running off the end is where it would have been based (with antenna located in the concrete looking circles)?
 

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zorbua

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Is this the place? https://goo.gl/maps/lA6PX

I notice they've named the road to the left of the site after DW

I take it the long abandon road (that you can just make out) with the 4 circles running off the end is where it would have been based (with antenna located in the concrete looking circles)?

We had about 167 hectors of land and as you can see the perimeter wall run all the way from the top to the bottom part of the station encompassing the actual Antenna field which took mostly the best part of the peninsula.
That building which can be seen housed the Transmitters Hall, the Antenna huts and administrative offices, now of course arranged to care for a public park with solar Panels on top of the building.
 

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Managed to get some more pictures of the Relay station from a colleague.

003 shows the TX hall showing TX3 and TX4 (Medium TX) and opposite will be TX 1 and 2.
005 showing a p.a. water cooled Valve. 001 showing a 'Birdseye view of the whole station, and lastly the 'Alongon' Directional Aerial capable of beaming 250Kw of radiated power.
 

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Last edited:

PaulR

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Lovely stuff. Thanks.
 

zorbua

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