Millisecond Cadence Radio Frequency Interference Filters

Joseph W. Kania, Kevin Bandura, Duncan R. Lorimer, Richard Prestage

Submitted on 11 July 2022


Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) greatly reduces sensitivity of radio observations to astrophysical signals and creates false positive candidates in searches for radio transients. Real signals are missed while considerable computational and human resources are needed to remove RFI candidates. In the context of transient astrophysics, this makes effective RFI removal vital to effective searches for fast radio bursts and pulsars. Radio telescopes typically sample at rates that are high enough for there to be tens to hundreds of samples along the transient's pulse. Mitigation techniques should excise RFI on this timescale to account for a changing radio frequency environment. We evaluate the effectiveness of three filters, as well as a composite of the three, that excises RFI at the cadence that the data are recorded. Each of these filters operates in a different domain and thus excises as a different RFI morphology. We analyze the performance of these four filters in three different situations: (I) synthetic pulses in Gaussian noise; (II) synthetic pulses injected into real data; (III) four pulsar observations. From these tests, we gain insight into how the filters affect both the pulse and the noise level. This allows use to outline which and how the filters should be used based on the RFI present and the characteristics of the source signal. We show by flagging a small percentage of the spectrum we can substantially improve the quality of transit observations.


Comment: 11 pages, 8 figures

Subject: Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics