August 3, 2019 Club Trip to GreenBank Radio Observatory – by Jim Condon

Sign Up Here:

The AARC Green Bank tour is scheduled for August 3.  We will
gather in the NRAO parking lot at 8:30 AM, where I will hand out maps
and driving instructions for an 8:45 departure. Caravan drivers should
arrive with enough gas for a 250 mile round trip so they won’t have to
stop along the way.  The road is very hilly and twisty, so people who
get carsick should consider taking Dramamine ahead of time.  We should
arrive at Green Bank about 11:30.  Our NRAO tour guide will be Amanda
White (, 304 456 2164), manager of public outreach in
Green Bank.  My wife, Sherry Westfall (, cell phone
434 249 2877), will help to make sure we keep our ducks in a row and
everything happens as planned.

We will start with a short walking tour to the Reber telescope, the
Jansky telescope, and the Ewen horn.  Then we will have a boxed lunch at
the Science Center.  After lunch, an engineer (probably Steve White)
will show us the receiver lab.  Next we will visit the control room. 
Finally, Amanda will take us on a small bus to see the 100 m Green Bank
Telescope (GBT), climb up to the 140 foot telescope platform, and go
inside the control room of the 85-1 telescope.  Shoes with closed toes
are required.  The tour should end mid-afternoon, so it will be possible
to drive back to Charlottesville before dark.

The boxed lunch will be prepared by Tonya Warder (, who runs the “Starlight Cafe” in the Science Center.  She sent me the
attached Box Lunch Form which we should fill out and return to her at
least two weeks in advance (also by Friday, July 19).

The electronics lab contains state-of-the-art receivers subject to
export regulations, so every visitor to the lab must fill out the
federal DPS (denied party screening) compliance form at

and email the completed form to

at least two weeks before the tour (also, by Friday, July 19). On this
form, list the Affiliation as “Albemarle Amateur Radio Club”, list the
Purpose of Visit as “High tech tour”, and by the NRAO facilities to
visit, check all three Green Bank boxes. Anyone who does not fill out
the form and get approved in time can come for the rest of the tour, but
will not be allowed into the electronics lab.

My intention is to explain things at a technical level appropriate for
licensed hams, but I have no objection to non-hams or nonmembers of AARC joining the tour if they wish.

Here is the Boxed Lunch Form:

Box Lunch Form