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This wiki is not maintained! Do not use this when setting up AuScope experiments!

Monitoring of Parkes during IVS observations.

  • For IVS astrometric observations with AuScope, Parkes will use S/X receiver, Mark IV rack and Mark5B+ recorder.
  • The ATNF Unix account is used for the gateway to the Parkes system and all other services:
    • joffrey and pictor that runs the antenna control, field system software and monitors Mark5 recorder (via ssh tunnel)
      1. joffrey:1 - the main observing VNC, used for;
        • pointing, stowing, unstowing the antenna (“atsnap”)
        • selecting the receiver (with “operfcc”)
        • turning receivers and auxiliary equipment on and off (“pkmc”)
        • various displays of antenna health and weather
      2. joffrey:2 (Used for LBA observations, in our case replaced with pictor:3)
      3. pictor:3 - used for running the M5 recorder and field system.

You can access this VNC any time, but exercise care as it is possible to interfere with observing if you type the wrong commands! Refer below for more details including password.

  • hydra or draco that can convert schedule file (vex) into pointing file (psn)
  • FROG
  • Hardware will be set up for our observation by the on-site staff, we will set it up and start the schedule
  • Receivers can be only chosen when the telescope is PARKED and BEFORE the psn file is started (note a slow slew rate: 21.5d/m andin AZ and 10.5d/m in El)
  • IFs should be set up before observing
  • Field system software (on tywin) is used to control recording via normal snap file that is created by drudg
  • Specialised program atsnap will be used to control antenna.
  • vex file has to be converted into “pointing” format file psn, that contains scan-end times (i.e. moments when antenna should start moving):
  • Use the snap summary to check that the Parkes antenna is tracking the correct source and that the recorded data volume is correct
  • Parkes Observing Portal will be used for the real-time interactive antenna status retrieval: John Sarkissian from ATNF will tell you about it on Thursday morning at 9am.
  • Two tools are running: Portal itself, and FROG. You will use Portal to monitor the status of the antenna, use the chat, book observing time, send reports and follow up on any problems. FROG is an alert system:

Helpful reading:

Setting up for Parkes observations:

You will need 4 screens to keep an eye on all necessary windows: PORTAL, FROG, two VNC: joffrey:1 and pictor:3.

  1. Vex-to-psn File Conversion
    • .vex and .skd files can be found on ops2 in /vlbobs/ivs/sched/
    • Copy the .vex and .skd files to home directory in:
    • ssh into: and then to: vlbi@hydra (See whiteboard for detailed instructions.)
    • Issue the following commands while in vlbi@hydra:
    • cd ftp/
    • mkdir aua003 (for example)
    • cd aua003
    • scp
    • aua003.vex
    • Now convert the .vex using:
    • aua003.vex
    • Enter the passwords for vlbi@pam0 and pcfs (pkvsi2) when prompted.
    • Excellent! Now the .psn file is ready, and you only need to drudg the schedule file. From vlbi@hydra:
    • ssh oper@pkvsi2-ext
    • cd /usr2/sched/
    • scp .
    • drudg aua003.skd
    • Now here's the tricky part! When dealing with the usual Auscope antennae, Jamie's slogit script does the drudging on autopilot. Now however you will actually need to interact with the dinosaur of a script:
    • When prompted: Output for which station (type a code, :: or q to quit, = for all) ?
    • Tell it: Pa
    • Next, you need to get drudg to do what you want it to do by selecting the number corresponding to the desired menu option.
    • Check that the equipment is set correctly with menu: 11. The output needs to read: Rack=Mark5 and: Recorder1=Mark5B.
    • Next make the proc file with menu: 12
    • And the snap file with menu: 3
    • Generate a sap summary with menu: 5
    • Exit from drudg with menu: 0
    • scp the .sum file summary back to ares with:
    • scp /tmp/DR.tmp
    • Note that aua003pa.prc should be identical to aua002pa.prc except for the header. Use:
    • diff /usr2/proc/aua003pa.prc /usr2/proc/aua002pa.prc
    • I think the instructions between the ===== borders are now obsolete (vk):
    • ===================Start obsolete bit=================================
    • Copy .vex-file on that machine
    • Convert it into “pointing”-format file .psn and copy it to joffry:
      % scp EXPERIMENT_NAME.psn pksobs@joffrey:lba 
    • Log in to pkvsi2 (where FS is running) with login oper and password Drudg the .vex-file in a normal way to run the recorder
    • ===================End obsolete bit=================================
  2. Connect to two VNC servers:
    • Open 1 VNC windows on joffrey (ports 1) via ssh tunnel through venice (or orion). Note that this way you will have to enter password twice, first your Unix ATNF password, and second password for joffrey which is transient celestial events (on the whiteboard).
vncviever -shared -via [YOUR_LOGIN] joffrey:1
  • Start a VNC interface called KRDC using the address localhost:1
  • Open a VNC connection to pictor:3. It runs FS software and a window on pkmk5b and FS (Note: Pictor is known to be prone to failure, so a backup version is tywin:100, or tywin:6000 if you use RelVNC):
vncviever -shared -via pictor:3 
  • Start a VNC interface called KRDC using the address localhost:3
  1. Open Portal: and registered as 'observer-in-charge' (OiC):
  • click the 'book' tab on the Portal,
  • identify the slot in question from the scrolling list on the left,
  • click on the “Booking details” sub-tab and enter e-mail address, location=“other” and phone no.
  • now click “book” against the slot(s) in question. You can speed this up by entering “P483” in the “Select Project” box and clicking “show filter”. You can then just click “book” against all instances of P483. Everyone who will be taking over as OiC needs to do this at some stage, preferably well ahead of time.

To register as OiC you need to first 'register' as an observer for that observing slot. You are supposed to do this weeks in advance, but seconds in advance also works - you'll be admonished by E-mail!

If portal is in maintenance mode (lots of RED) you can't register. If the Portal is showing that no-one is registered as OiC (or if it's in maintenance mode) you will find you can't log in to the joffrey VNC sessions - it will keep rejecting your password.

    • NOTE: You may find yourself in an annoying “login” loop with these, particularly FROG. If this hapens to you try deleting the “login.php” from the end of the URL, or hitting the “back button” on the browser.
  1. Change receiver
    • In the joffrey:1 VNC session, check the first (left-most) work-space and close TCS down if it's running:
      • Click “EXIT” at bottom right then “OK” to confirm
    • Create a new xterm and start the “showtel” display
      joffrey% showtel 

Comment from John Reynolds: “This is my preferred display to see what the telescope is doing though you can also see most of this on FROG (which I rely on only for its audible alarms).”

  • Note which receiver is currently selected: if you're taking over from another project it will almost certainly NOT be SX - probably MULTI or KU-BAND.
  • The current protocol (refer to “alerts” on Portal) is that you need to move antenna to 85 degs Elevation or higher (Zenith Angle < 5 degs) before changing receiver. If the antenna is stowed or parked that's OK. If not choose a convenient azimuth (e.g. the current Az is fine, or an Az you know you want to head towards, if you're in a hurry) and type
     joffrey% atsnap go <Az> 85 AZEL 

    which will drive the antenna to az=<Az>, el=85d or ZE=5d (ZEnith angle). Or simply stow the antenna:

    joffrey% atsnap stow
  • Watch the SHOWTEL or FROG display and wait until “Dish ZE” drops below 5d.
  • Select SX receiver
    • Once ZE is 5d or less (Elevation >= 85d) find the “operfcc” display, which is typically on the 3rd workspace of joffrey:1.
    • On the left hand side of the GUI click “SX” on the “radio button” list of available receivers
    • Now click the yellow button “place selected receiver on axis”
    • Check that the selected receiver has changed to SX on SHOWTEL and/or FROG
  1. Receiver Setup:
  • Find the “pkmc” or “Parkes Monitor and Control” GUI, typically on the 4th workspace of joffrey:1
  • If you can't see another GUI called “Focus Cabin Switches” click “show” on the “pkmc” GUI against “Focus Cabin Switches” to open one
  • Click the “Take” button at top-right to ensure you “own” it
  • If “SX Rx” is Off (red) click it to turn it On (green)
  • Do likewise with “F/C Synthesisers”
  1. Antenna Setup:
  • Back on workspace #1 of joffrey:1, pick or create an xterm for running the antenna
  • If antenna is showing STOWED, unstow it by typing
    joffrey% atsnap unstow
  • Wait until the unstow has completed (~2 mins) then start the antenna moving with
    joffrey% cd ~/lba
    joffrey% atsnap EXPERIMENT_NAME.psn 

    where .psn is its antenna pointing file (already prepared and placed in the correct location). The antenna should start slewing to the right source within a few seconds.

If all goes well you won't have to touch this window again - just keep an eye on it. If there's a problem such as a wind-park, lighting stow, or some other interruption you may need to restart atsnap.

  • To restart atsnap, enter control-C in “atsnap” window to stop it, hit “up arrow” to recover command and <enter> to repeat it
  1. LO Setup:
  • Pick/create another xterm on joffrey:1, workspace #1.
  • To configure LO chain and switch matrix type
    joffrey% cd ~/losetup
    joffrey% lorun sx.cmd 
    joffrey% cd ~/smsetup
    joffrey% smrun MK-V_geo.cmd

Note any errors. If it has been less than ~60 seconds since you turned “F/C synthesisers”, wait for another minute or so and try again.

  • There should now be valid levels in all 14 Mk5 VCs.
  1. Field System - running the Mk5 recorder
  • Connect to the VNC session pictor:3, using the standard VLBI VNC password (on the whiteboard)
  • The field system should already be running in an xterm called “oprin”, with an associated logging window above it. The field system runs on the host pkvsi2, under the account “oper”, Jamie has the password.
  • The recorder host “pkmk5b” should already be running its main application “DIMino -m0 &”, probably in the adjacent workspace. The account on this host is the same: per/<same password>. This DIMino process is only of interest if there's a problem.

Since the field system doesn't drive the antenna - this is done by atsnap, ignore any errors concerning the antenna e.g. from ANTCN. Likewise ignore any errors about IF/IF3 as this is all set up manually.

  • To start a schedule from the beginning (prior to start)
    > schedule=EXPERIMENT_NAMEpa,#1
    > mk5relink

Please do not forget mk5relink!

  • To stop and restart the schedule from some intermediate point something like this usually works:
    > halt
    >disk_record=off       [if you also want to stop recording]
  • Useful commands to check what's happening are:
    > status
  • to enter comments (useful for others to read in real-time)
    > "hi there 
/home/www/auscope/opswiki/data/pages/operations/documentation.parkes_monitoring.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/15 13:12 by Vasaant Krishnan