Tour of Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory

Brought to you by The Wireless Heritage Group

CW Wireless Heritage SIG is running a tour to the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO) near Cambridge. The tour will focus on the history of Radio astronomy.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

This event is now closed for registrations as we have an extensive waiting list. 

However we have secured an additional date for a tour of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO) on the 28th June 2024. 
To register for this date please click here.


Join the CW Wireless Heritage SIG for a rare opportunity for a guided tour of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO), Cambridge. The tour will focusDSCN3182 on the history of Radio astronomy and is free and open to all

The observatory is home to a number of large aperture synthesis radio telescopes, including the One-Mile Telescope, 5-km Ryle Telescope, and the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager. Radio interferometry started in the mid-1940s on the outskirts of Cambridge, but a few years after the construction of the MRAO transferred to the current site at Lord's Bridge.

The observatory was founded under Martin Ryle of the Radio-Astronomy Group of the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge and was opened by Sir Edward Victor Appleton on 25 July 1957. This group is now known as the Cavendish Astrophysics Group. The site is at a former ordnance storage facility, next to the now-abandoned Cambridge-Bedford railway line, and aside from its current use by the MRAO has an interesting history in its own right. A portion of the track bed of the old line, running nearly East-West for several miles, was used to form the main part of the "5km" radio-telescope and the Cambridge Low Frequency Synthesis Telescope. In the 21st century we can see at Lord’s Bridge a combination of historic as well as modern and future radio telescopes, which are currently under development.

Free and open to all,  but there are limited delegate places for this unique opportunity so early registration is advised.

Read the review from a previous visit, written by Simon Rockman can be seen here 'Geeks guide to Britian: Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory'

Other information: MRAO — Cavendish Astrophysics

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You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWHeritage.

SIG Champions

Stirling Essex - Director, Espansivo

Stirling Essex has over 25 years of product development, product management, strategic marketing and business development experience in many areas of wireless technology, and has been intimately involved in the development of test systems for GSM, CDMA (IS-95), 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE. He founded Espansivo, a technology consultancy specialising in helping organisations with their technology, product and business decisions, in 2005. Stirling was previously a co-champion of the CW Future Wide Area Wireless Special Interest Group and and was a member of the CW Board from 2004 to 2015.

Andy Sutton - BT Fellow & Principal Network Architect, BT

Andy Sutton is a BT Fellow and Principal Network Architect for Wireless Access. The wireless access domain includes 4G/5G RAN architecture and mobile backhaul/xhaul, along with microwave and millimetre wave radio systems, and satellite communications. Andy holds an MSc in Mobile Communications from the University of Salford and has over 35 years of experience within the telecommunications industry. Andy’s current research interests include advanced RAN coordination techniques, including C-RAN and OpenRAN, optical fibre and radio based backhaul/xhaul, along with LEO satellite communications and High-altitude Platform Systems (HAPS), all in the context of building resilient heterogeneous networks. Andy holds the post of Visiting Professor of Telecommunications at the University of Liverpool and the University of Salford, he is a Chartered Engineer and holds Fellowships from the IET, ITP and BCS. Andy sits on the editorial board of the ITP Journal and is a CW SIG Champion for eMBB and Wireless Heritage.

Geoff Varrall - Director, RTT Online

Geoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry. He co-developed RTT's original series of design and facilitation workshops including 'RF Technology', 'Data Over Radio', 'Introduction to Mobile Radio', and 'Private Mobile Radio Systems and developed 'The Oxford programme', a five day strategic technology and market programme presented annually between 1991 and 2005. Geoff has been running in depth technology and market workshops for the industry for over 33 years, spanning five generations of mobile cellular technology. A co-author of the Mobile Radio Servicing Handbook (Heinemann Butterworth, UK), Data Over Radio, (Quantum Publishing, Mendocino, USA and 3G Handset and Network Design (John Wiley, New York). Geoff's fourth book, Making Telecoms Work – from technical innovation to commercial success (John Wiley) was published in early 2012 followed by 5G Spectrum and Standards published by Artech House in July 2016. His latest book 5G and Satellite Spectrum Standards and Scale is now available from Artech House and can be ordered from http://uk.artechhouse.com/5G-and-Satellite-Spectrum-Standards-and-Scale-P1935.aspx. As a past Director of Cambridge Wireless, Geoff is actively involved in a number of wireless heritage initiatives that aim to capture and record past technology and engineering experience and is a patron of the Science Museum In his spare time he plays Jazz trumpet semi-professionally and is a marathon and ultra-runner.

Nigel Wall - Director, Climate Associates Ltd

Nigel has been involved with connected vehicle research since 1992 when he led BT’s mobile data research team – initially using modems on first generation analogue TACS mobile phones! Since 2001 he has provided consultancy complex-systems, with a primary specialism in connected vehicles. He acted as the Monitoring Officer for twelve of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle research projects supported by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Climate Associates provides consultancy on delivering pragmatic sustainable systems and services, based on life cycle assessments where wholesale replacement of current systems with lower footprint solutions may not be the most sustainable option.

Event Location

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Location info

Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Lord’s Bridge, Barton, Cambridge, CB23 7AE

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