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Paul Plishner Radio Astronomy and Space Sciences Center


The dish at Haswell, Colorado was donated to DSES in 2009. DSES subsequently named the site the Paul Plishner Radio Astronomy and Space Sciences Center in honor of our donor who was an early researcher in Radar. The Deep Space Exploration Society exists to foster the exploration and understanding of space by preparing students, members and the public to participate in that exploration. We facilitate experiments designed to expand our knowledge of space and execute ground based missions designed to support those experiments. The unique contribution we hope to provide to future exploratory missions is a low cost alternative satellite downlink groundstation and tool for pursuing radio astronomy.

Our facility consists of a fine old 60 ft parabolic dish antenna capable of receiving radio signals over a wide range of frequencies (100 MHz to 10 GHz) from celestial objects or space craft. This facility, located near Haswell, CO was used for many years in research until its retirement around 1975. Our challenge over the last several years has been to restore and update the facility to provide a compelling alternative to the very expensive Deep Space Network antennas (located in the western US) using volunteer effort and the very limited resources available to us.

A slide show that presents a summary of DSES capabilities for research and education is available here (2.5 mb ppt) and here (875k pdf) and a pamphlet describing DSES and containing a membership application form is available here (1.2 mb pdf).


Future plans include a system for making real time data from the antenna available on the internet and later the capability to allow remote command and control of the antenna from the internet. This will provide a convenient way for DSES members to monitor their projects remotely and thereby expand the utilization of the facility. In time it may also become possible for outside researchers and groups to remote operate the facility as a research tool for their own projects.

DSES also seeks to involve students in the use and continuing development of the site. Students from a University of Colorado engineering class developed a tracking and control program for our facility known as Paratrack.

In 2012 we begun utilizing the dish in a drift scan mode to acquire data from cosmic radio sources. This is being done to test and calibrate radio astronomy equipment. This is expected to be an ongoing project in amateur radio astronomy research and education. We hope to also involve high school and college students in this effort. Currently we are able to spend about one week each month (except for winter) working to bring the site to full capability. About 50% of our group’s volunteer time goes into continuing maintenance and upgrading of facilities and equipment. Much has been accomplished in the last year but we have a long way to go. This site is currently off the power grid and solar panels and fueled generators is our only power.


These views are before moving it to the Plishner site.



This is a power requirements spreadsheet (Ver 3) being developed by Don Lewis. Your additions and corrections are invited.

Notice: The Deep Space Exploration Society (DSES.ORG) has many needs and is requesting the donation of a Wind Generator for use at their facility in Haswell, CO (20 miles west of Eads). DSES is a 501(C)(3) organization allowing you to claim a deduction on your taxes. Thank you, Don Lewis – membership chairman (303-775-1994)

To learn about the Plishner facility read from the top of this page. << Top

To leave messages or make inquiries about DSES write to inquire@dses.org

To learn about DSES visit our Home page at: dses.org.

If you wish to become a member of DSES go to: Join.


Receive and Tramsmit Capability
Located in a remote radio quiet location
Dark sky location

5 Mi South of Haswell, Kiowa County, U.S.A. (Map)
Go south on Rd 19 until you see the antenna.
Plishner Dish GPS Location:

N38° 22′ 51.10″ W103° 9′ 22.96″
N40° 08.900′ W105° 13.922′
38.380796° -103.156358°
Elevation: 1666? m, 5465? ft

View Larger Map

Antenna Specification

Frequencies: 400 MHz – 2 GHz
Diameter: 60 feet
Antenna Gain: 42.5 dBi at 1 GHz (see plot)
Beam Width: 2.6°/400 Mhz, 0.7°/2 GHz
Noise Temperature: 1-2db at 400MHz total system -
Noise Figure: 0.8db at 400MHz w/ 20db LNA -
Coverage: Full Hemisphere†
Slew Rate Max Az/El: 40/40 deg/min
Slew Rate Min Az/El: ??/?? deg/min
Azimuth Repeatability: ?? min
Elevation Repeatability: ?? min

† Except at low elevation to North

Antenna Patterns
Antenna Feeds
400 MHz Feed Horn
900 Mhz Feed Horn
1420 Mhz Feed Horn
1665 Mhz Feed Horn
LNA from 0.4 GHz to 10 GHz
Antenna Drive System
Elev Motor: 3hp, 460vac, 1750 rpm motor.
Azmith Motor: Synchronous servo motor
Speed Control: Variable Frequency Controllers
Brakes: Spring set, electrically released.
Machine Safeties: End of travel limit switches, Mechanical impact absorbers.
Shaft Encoders: Quadrature Relative. 1.17 Minute resolution
Shaft Encoders (Future): Absolute encoder, 12 bit, 5.27 min resolution
Primary Position Display: Selsyn 2 speed, 6 Minute resolution
Computer Position Detector: Quadrature encoder + Reference sensors
Computer Analog Resolution: 12 bit
Antenna Steering Command Interface
Manual control station with selector switchs and rate potentiometers.
PC interface using proprietary software
PC interface using commercial software
User Manual available

Subpages (1): Plishner Weather