TeleSAM is a mini-sized radio telescope designed to
measure the relative microwave radiation at a wavelength of about 3 cm
for any source celestial or nearby.
We removed the electronics from a satellite tuning
meter and packaged them in a spiffy triangular base with a small 12 volt
lead-acid battery as a rechargeable power source. We then mounted an
satellite dish to the base and connected it to the tuning meter
electronics. The result: a tiny-sized radio telescope capable of
measuring microwave radiation.
Our inspiration for the project came from the National
Radio Astronomy Observatory's page called
Building and Using an
Itty Bitty Telescope. We basically followed their instructions but
made a more robust device.
TeleSAM started out as a effort by IB Design
Technology (no longer taught at Southside) students to get the now defunct small sized radio
telescope working at
Roper Mountain Science Center. When that failed, we looked at other
possibilities and decided to build our own unit.
The first attempt was crudely constructed and had
problems with battery life and intermittent electrical connections. We
finally decided to do it right and TeleSAM became an IB Design
Technology student's individual project. He brought it to near
completion but the SAM Team actually finished it.
We currently use TeleSAM in AP Physics E&M class to
take relative measurements of blackbody radiation in the microwave part
of the EM spectrum. The SAM Team also periodically uses it for the same
type of demonstration at Roper Mountain Science Center. We measure the
microwave radiation of people as compare to the same type of radiation
coming from the Sun. People are often freaked out when they find out
they're emitting microwaves.