The AUSTRAL schedules are named
(nn = 01, 02, 03, … , 15). Interleaved with these are regular IVS sessions R1614, CRF79 and R4615. There is only a 5 minute gap between AUSTRAL observations, just enough time to change schedule files and modules (if needed). Every three days, an hour is set aside for detailed checks at each site. They are staggered so that only one antenna is out of the array at a time. Check times for AuScope sites are as follows:
|Site||Check time (UT)||Check time (Hobart)|
|Hb||01.00 - 02.00||12.00 - 13.00|
|Ke||02.00 - 03.00||13.00 - 14.00|
|Yg||04.00 - 05.00||15.00 - 16.00|
We are using 16 TB modules at each AuScope station. They will hold two days of data each, so module changes will occur at every second schedule change. The schedule files are written such that the same source is observed at the same sidereal time every day, so the actual schedule changes are NOT at the same UT every time. Note also that R1614, CRF79 and R4615 will go on different modules to the AUSTRALs. Please refer to the Module Usage Spreadsheet for a list of which modules to use for which experiments.
The sections below describe how operations differ from normal. Note that it will be possible to monitor the Hart 15m antenna and possibly Warkworth as well.
All schedule files for the period from A1301 to A1315 should already be prepared and ready to use before your shift. However, if you are starting R1614, CRF79 or R4615, you will need to make the usual schedule file preparations.
Please carry out the regular two-hourly checks as normal during the observations.
It is also possible to monitor the 15m telescope at Hartebeeshoek and you may be asked to respond to problems when local staff are unavailable.
It may also be possible to monitor the Warkworth 12m antenna. Details to follow if this becomes possible.
There is only a 5 minute gap between the AUSTRAL schedules. When no module swap is required, the last line of each schedule will be a command to start the next one (unless the next one is not an AUSTRAL experiment) so it should happen automatically. However, if a module change is required, the changeover should be done by hand. Here's what to do, and as an example, here is the swap from A1302 to A1303 at Hobart. All commands can go in eRemoteCtrl:
You should see on the camera that the red activity light changes from one module to the next.
If it doesn't, then the VSN will need setting:
,#1suffix so that you start the schedule on the first line, e.g.
Once the new schedule has started:
Module swaps should be coordinated with local staff at the observatories. Someone at the site will phone when they want to change a module. Estimated module change times are available here:
It's important that the new module is powered down and up during a scan gap as this draws significant power and the Mark5 can't record to the other module at the same time (and will probably crash). So, when someone from the observatory calls, consult the observation summary file and find an upcoming period of time of at least one minute between a
Stop Data and a
Start Data to carry out the swap. For example, in the schedule below, the period between Scans
332-2110 would be a good choice as there's a gap of almost 4 minutes (from
21:10:01). However, a module change between Scans
332-2122 would not be a good idea as the gap is only 25 seconds (from
Start Stop Record Scan Line# Source Az El Cable Data Data Dur Gbyte date = 2013NOV28 DOY = 332 332-2101 7 0648-165 254 6 CCW 21:01:11 21:02:05 0:54 .0 XXX 332-2102b 24 1606+106 50 27 NEUTR 21:02:57 21:04:13 1:16 6.9 * 332-2104 41 1622-253 89 48 NEUTR 21:04:52 21:06:18 1:26 16.6 * 332-2110 58 0454-810 188 31 CW 21:10:01 21:11:30 1:29 27.6 * 332-2111 75 0230-790 184 26 CW 21:11:54 21:18:16 6:22 39.0 * 332-2118b 92 2052-474 140 13 CW 21:18:58 21:22:29 3:31 87.9 * 332-2122 109 2300-683 166 18 CW 21:22:54 21:24:35 1:41 114.9 * 332-2125 126 0727-115 260 6 CW 21:25:51 21:26:21 0:30 127.9 *
Note that the observatory checking procedure requires you to interrupt the schedule and miss some scans. This allows us to skip checks if necessary but also means if the checks take less than the allocated hour we can be observing again as soon as possible.
Firstly, check the schedule summary printout and find out which is the first scan to finish after the start of the check period. The idea is to stop the schedule while no data are being recorded. For example, if the check time is 19:00 UT, then in the schedule below, it could be halted after 19:05:45 UT but before 19:07:43 UT:
Start Start Stop Record Scan Line# Source Az El Cable Record Data Data Dur Gbyte date = 2013NOV21 DOY = 325 . . . 325-1854 140 1610-771 170 6 CCW 18:53:58 18:54:08 18:58:33 4:25 35.0 * 325-1859 159 1255-316 119 19 CCW 18:59:02 18:59:12 19:05:45 6:33 43.8 * 325-1907a 178 0131-522 218 7 CCW 19:07:43 19:07:53 19:20:57 13:04 56.7 * . . .
Now, wait for the scan gap, and then type:
Now make a note in the log that the schedule is being stopped for system checks. e.g.
"Halting schedule for system checks
We want to keep all the check data in a separate log, so open a log file called “check.log”:
At this point it's probably worth verifying that the recorder has stopped:
If the response includes the text
FHG_off then the recorder is off. However, if you see
FHG_on then you're still recording, so stop the recorder with
If not running already, Start MONICA and choose the pre-set
aust_check profile from the GUI for the antenna. e.g. for hobart
Navigator -> hb -> aust_check
This will plot antenna coordinates, tracking errors and motor currents against time.
Now the checks can begin:
flagr/antenna,acquiredor watch the system monitor display). While you're waiting, Check the generator status:
You will see what the current Conditioning module settings are. Output format is:
<time>/<Module label>/<IF input number>,<Auto or Manual gain control>,<Nyquist filter number>,<Target power level>,<attenuation>,<actual power level>
Check there’s agreement with what appears in the
ifdsx definition in the procedure file. The actual power level should agree pretty well with the target level. The attenuation number can be anywhere between 0 (none) and 63 (maximum). If you see it at 0 or 63, it means the Conditioning module is having trouble getting the power to the right level. You may want to adjust the attenuators (see configuring the RF and IF signal paths) to get them back in range.
You will see what the DBBC has set the BBC freqs to (compare with the .prc file). Output looks like this:
<time>/<bbc name>/<Frequency (MHz)>/<Conditioning module in use>,<Bandwidth (MHz)>,...
the Frequency, Conditioning module label and bandwidth should agree with the listing in
and check the difference reported in the log monitor
flagr/antenna,acquiredbefore continuing to the next:
test1 test2 test3 test4 test5 test1
These commands send the antenna to the following set of (Az, El) coordinates in turn : (1, 87), (1, 6), (1, 45), (-269, 45), (269, 45), (1,87). The idea here is to exercise the antenna and log the results se we can look for any changes over the days that may indicate mechanical problems.
Now you can re-start the schedule. Just use the schedule name without any line number suffix. e.g.
This will start the next scan that occurs at least 5 min in the future. Check that the antenna goes to the next source in the schedule that satisfies this criterion.
Now make a note in the log that the schedule has been restarted following system checks. e.g.
"Schedule resumed following system checks
Also, if there were any problems during the checks or anything else of note, now is a good time to do it. For example, if the weather was too cloudy to verify the pointing:
"Pointing check not successful, probably due to bad weather
On 1921-293 every day. Procedure?