Station Command Files

The realtime control task, DISPATCH, sets the station state based on input command files. These command files are ascii files that are readable (and editable). Most of the command files are created "by-hand" by the programmers and engineers. The top level files are generated by the offline program, SCHEDCO. The top level command file "includes" several lower level command files that setup all station hardware.

A few important features of command files should be noted:
Command file lines beginning with # are assumed to be comments. Command files should contain a short description at the beginning and a HISTORY of file edits.
lines oriented
Commands in command files are all contained on a single line which has 4 parts.
date (optional)
The date of exection of a command. if no date is specified, the command is assumed to be executed on the current date.
time (optional)
The time of exection of a command. If no time or date are specified, then the command is executed immediately.
command name
Each DISPATCH command has a name indicating the hardware device or software subsystem being set to the desired state by the command.
KEYWORD=VALUE (optional)
Commands have zero, one or more arguments in KEYWORD=VALUE form describing the desired states. For example to turn the write head on the first of two tape drives, the DISPATCH command is TAPE DRIVE=1 WRITE=ON.
A command file may include other command files. If a command file is included, then all commands in the included file are executed before the next command in the original file is executed.
VALUEs may be assigned DEFINEd values. This feature allows redimentary argument passing between top level command files and included command files. This feature is used to pass a particular satellite orbit prediction file name to a general purpose command file.

Special Command Files

An number of command files are frequently used in the system, and these command files are described below:
At system initialization, this command file is run to set all station hardware in the default state. The antenna breaks are set, but no antenna motion is commanded.
Stow the antenna and indicate that the station is not active, but otherwise leave the station hardware unchanged.
vsop commands The three main command files for three phases of VSOP tracking pass are:
Set up all station hardware in the proper mode for VSOP/HALCA. Satellite tracking starts, and the transmitter warm-up is started. This action is started 10 minutes before tracking is scheduled to begin.
Command transmitter on and start residual phase processing. The ACQUIRE procedure is initiated, which resets the formatter clock and records DECODER times. The transmitter is commanded on a few seconds before the scheduled link time.
Turn off transmitter and stop data recording.
At the end of tracking any satellite, the phase residual data must be transfered offline and the system restored to the idle state.
The main diagnostic test mode of the system is commanded using the satellite simulator. This command file includes other files to turn on the satellite simulator, place the decoder in test data mode and record test phase residual data.
moveTapeBegin.cmd and moveTapeEnd.cmd
Commands to pre-position a tape before a tracking pass.
tapeDrive0.cmd tapeDrive1.cmd, tapeDrive2.cmd and tapeDrive3.cmd
Select which VLBA tape drives will be used during the tracking pass. 0==none, 1=1, 2=2 and 3=both tape drives.
tape1601.cmd ... tape1628.cmd
Command files to initiate data recording in 16 track mode to one of 28 different data recording positions.
calmesAuto.cmd and calmesEnd.cmd
Command files to start and stop calibration tone extraction in the formatter.

The satellite simulator test command file is listed below:
#Dispatch command file to run satellite simulator in long loop mode
# 97jun06 GIL add VSOP_SC commands for testing
# 97mar23 GIL initial version

# pass prediction and output residual file names
DEFINE  PHASEFILE=satsimTest.phr 

#stop all known tasks
MESSAGE BEGIN LINK to satsim in 1 minute
		 PROGRAM RA=11H47M13.312S  DEC=+01D23'55.233   EPOCH=2000 
                 VSOP_SC OBSCOD=VT801 
                 VSOP_SC PWRNSPEC=SYNTHB 
INCLUDE FILE=tapeDrive0.cmd 
INCLUDE FILE=vsopStart.cmd 
# now reset the modules needed for satellite simulator
INCLUDE FILE=satsimStart.cmd 
#load calibration tones into decoder for extraction
INCLUDE FILE=setDecTestTones.cmd 
#get decoder input from reciever

INCLUDE FILE=calmesAuto.cmd 
INCLUDE FILE=vsopLink.cmd 
MESSAGE Satellite simulator test: 15m.
INCLUDE FILE=calmesEnd.cmd 
INCLUDE FILE=vsopUnlink.cmd 
INCLUDE FILE=trackEnd.cmd 

The latest copy of the DISPATCH command syntax is specification is kept on-line .

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Last update: 97 July 3