Checklist for VLBI observing on the GBT

VLBI General Info Operator's checklist Aspen Gain Curves GBT VLBA Status
Past Projects Present and Future Projects New RDBE system - operations procedures GBT/VLBI Software Details

Α . New Mark5C/RDBE System: Very Brief startup checklist

Β . Legacy System: Very Brief startup checklist

Ω . New Procedures for Dynamic VLBI scheduling.

Notes for VLBI "Friends"
RadioAstron Project procedures

A. Days or weeks before the experiment

  1. Check disk or tape supply.

    Most of the rest of this List is obsolete!

  2. Download schedules.
  3. Set up schedules.
  4. Import schedules into Astrid.
  5. Notes on Frequencies.
  6. Do system pre-checks.

B. Setting up for the experiment.

  1. Is everything ready??
  2. Set and synchronize station clock.
  3. Start VLBA screens
  4. Mount disk(s), select correct disk.
  5. Start ASTRID, run 1st 2 observing blocks.
  6. Set IF levels; check frequencies.
  7. Check that the Log files are updating.

C. Running the experiment.

  1. Run each astrid observing block in sequence.
  2. Check progress of experiment.
  3. Log weather conditions and any problems.
  4. Dealing with problems and re-starting.

D. After the experiment.

  1. Dismount and Send Disk Packs.
  2. Send e-mail to Socorro.
  3. Shut down screens, log out.
  4. Clean up and archive old files.

E. Once a year cleanup.

  • Year end clean up and archive.


  • GBT VLBI Project Summaries
  • General Information for VLBI observing on the GBT.
  • Description of software for VLBA operation with the GBT.

    "Mark5C/RDBE system": Brief Project Startup Checklist

    Refer to New RDBE/Mark5C procedures.

  • login as "gbvlbi@naiad" (can use any RedHat 6 computer)
  • bring up the VLBA Monitor Screen for Green Bank, and the Green Bank Alert Screen.
  • Load Mark5C disk modules into the Mark5C recorder.
  • Bring up Astrid, check that the schedules have been loaded. Refer to Loading Scripts
  • Put gbvlbi in the gateway.
  • Slew the GBT to the starting AZ and EL (refer to "sch" file or web page). Project Summaries Page
  • In Astrid, go to "run" tab, set project, session number, etc.

  • In Astrid, run the "RunVLBI" scheduling block for this project.
  • It will do a peak/focus if there is enough time.
  • If there is a problem with the automated peak/focus, run the "" block to repeat the peak.

  • Set and check the power levels. These are displayed on the VLBA monitor screen beside "RMS IF0" and "RMS IF1"
  • Balance the IF Rack, then use the Cleo Converter rack screen.
  • In the Converter Rack screen, adjust the attenuators to keep the power levels near 10. (5-20 is ok).

  • How to tell which Converter Modules to adjust?
    • Look under "T450" near the right edge of the VLBA Monitor screen
    • There will be boxes containing "A" and "C" or "B" and "D"
    • If "A" and "C", use Converter Rack A
    • If "B" and "D", use Converter Rack B
  • Communicate with VLBA operations, let them know we have started the project.

  • "Legacy system": Very Brief Project Startup Checklist

    Assuming all the project files have been set up and all the equipment is up and running, and disks have been loaded into the Mark 5.
    • login as "gbvlbi"
    • cd obs
    • Reboot station computer (vlbagb). (do the next 6 steps while waiting)
    • Put the correct receiver into the focus position.
    • Slew the GBT to the starting AZ and EL (refer to "sch" file or web page). Project Summaries Page
    • type: stopvgstatus
    • In Cleo, start Status, IFRack, ConverterRack, Messages
    • Ask the operator to put gbvlbi in the gateway.
    • Start Astrid, import the files for this project (if necessary).
    • Bring up web page Status of GBT_VLBA Operation. [check the clock correction is within a few 1000]
    • (after reboot is complete) run "rs" to bring up RSCREENS
    • in RSCREENS, do OBS-->CLOCK and check the station clock -- compare with GPS display.
    • DISC-->DISC : Put the disks ONLINE, if necessary, and Check that the correct discs are loaded in the Mark5. (sometimes when you reboot the station computer, it puts the disks offline.)
    • OBS-->DAS
    • OBS-->FLAG
    • Note that in Astrid, the DSS project name may be different from the scheduling block name -- the Project Summaries web page shows both.
    • In Astrid, go to "run" tab, set project, session, etc.
    • In Astrid, run the first peak block.
    • Check the antenna goes to the correct Az and El.
    • Check that the peak and/or focus looks good.
    • In Astrid, run the first ...obs01 block
    • Adjust the attenuators in the Converter Rack
    • Run the remaining astrid blocks.
    • Occasionally check power levels in OBS-->DAS screen; if not between 4000 and 40000, balance IF Rack.
    • Pat yourself on the back and have a nice cup of tea.

    Note: From CHECKALL you can safely ignore the following:

  • DRACK +5V supply not 4.9 to 5.1 (but if it is < 4.9 or > 5.3, then it IS a problem!
  • Transport firmware error
  • Power not in range (unless it is WAY out of range !)
  • REC1 MCB error or REC2 MCB error

    Mostly Obsolete: New Procedures for Dynamic VLBI scheduling

    As of October 2007 (revised Dec 2008).

    Some (but not all) VLBI experiments will be scheduled dynamically, which means that they will be scheduled for one of two possible dates, a "primary" date, and an "alternate" date. Thus the experiment will appear twice on the resource calendar. This information will also appear on the GBT VLBI Project Summaries web page, which will show both the prime and backup dates.

    The PI needs to make the dynamic decision by 11 AM for a project that takes place between the following 5 PM and a day later. This is just the same as the decision process for all dynamically scheduled GBT observing.

    The operator should check the daily scheduling e-mail which tells the results of the daily decisions. If the decision is for the primary day, then the procedures for running the VLBI experiment are the same as before.

    But if the decision is for the backup date, then the operator needs to check some things:

  • does the OBSERV.TX file point to the alternate schedule? You can tell because the alternate schedule will have "alt/" in front of the schedule file name.

    To re-generate the OBSERV.TX file for the alternate schedule, log into "gbvlbi" and type : "obset"
    Obset will list the possible alternate projects that it knows about. Type a number to select which one is the next project to be run on the alternate date. If the next project runs on the primary date, type "P".

    Then one should check the OBSERV.TX file to make sure the "alt" project has been set and that the start and stop times are reasonable.

    Note that obset should be run before the primary schedule would have run; otherwise the Mark5 will start recording on the primary schedule.

    Note also that when you have changed OBSERV.TX by running obset (or by editing it directly) you have to re-boot the station computer.

    Astrid Files The files for the alternate schedule should have been loaded into the Astrid database. The scheduling blocks will have "alt" in their names. The operator should run these "alt" blocks instead of the normal ones whenever the backup schedule has been chosen.

    More changes

    The Observing Summary Web Page looks different than it used to. It shows both the primary and backup dates for projects, and also shows the correlator and starting coordinates. We no longer have web pages for each individual project. All the info will go in this new page. After the project has been run, the information will be moved into the Past Projects web page. Let me know any suggestions for additional information we should have on these pages.

    You will notice there is a new "alt/" directory under ~gbvlbi/obs/ -- this is where the alternate versions of the schedules will be put. Normally the retrieval of project schedules into these directories will be taken care of by the "VLBI friend" (Frank or Jules) well before the projects are supposed to be run. The procedures "fetchvobs" and "vlbprep" have been modified to download both the primary and alternate schedules from Socorro and put them in the ~gbvlbi/obs/ or ~gbvlbi/obs/alt/ directories. Both primary and alternate scheduling blocks will be imported into the Astrid database, and again this normally will have been done by the "VLBI friend".

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    Check Disk or Tape Supply

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    Download Schedules

    Most schedules are downloaded from the machine "aspen" in Socorro. Sometimes they may come from EVN, in which case, see part C. Sometimes they may come from NASA/Goddard, in which case, see part D.
      There are 4 methods of downloading files:
    	a) automatic method using program "fetchvobs"
    	b) download through the aspen web page.
    	c) download EVN schedule from "vlbeer"
    	d) download from Goddard.
      Note that you should check for file updates a few hours before the 
      experiment just in case the schedules have been changed.
      First, log into any unix machine as "gbvlbi".  Contact the GBT operator
      for the password.
      $ cd obs
      A. Automatic file downloading
       Run the new python script "fetchvobs" which downloads schedules from Aspen.
       "fetchvobs" will fetch all files from the present month; or you may
       give it the month and year as "mmmYY" (e.g., "jan06").
       - log into a Linux machine as "gbvlbi"
       $ cd ~gbvlbi/obs/incoming
    	[we use the 'incoming' directory to receive the files]
         [clear out the incoming directory:]
       $ rm *.*
       $ rm alt/*
         [Fetch the files: 
       $ fetchvobs 
         or : fetchvobs mmmYY
         or : fetchvobs mmmYY projcode  [to download just one project]
         [wait a few minutes for the file download to finish]
         The incoming directory will contain all the *.gb files for the
    	projects that use the GBT in the selected month.
        $ vlbaprep
            vlbaprep creates the files for Astrid, named *obs00*, *obs01* etc.
    	Copy the '[project]*.*' files up one level to  ~gbvlbi/obs/
        $  obset 
         In the ~gbvlbi/obs/ directory, obset creates the OBSERV.TX file
         which tells the station computer which scheduld to run when.
      Print out the schedule files:
      $ a2ps -f6.5 [project]*.gb  
      $ opsprint [project]
        opsprint prints the "sch" file on the operator's ops4050 printer.
      B. Downloading through the web page --
      Use the link for the 
      VLBA-Aspen web site 
       Click on the desired month/year
    	for example "nov02" will get November of 2002.
       Click on the project name.
       The files of interest are the ones with a '.gb' extension.
       Click on the   '' file, choose 'save as' in the file menu.
       Click on the   '' file, choose 'save as' in the file menu.
      $ a2ps -f6.5 [project]*.gb     {print out schedule files}
      C. Download EVN schedule from "vlbeer"
        The standard place for EVN schedules is "vlbeer"
        Sometimes if a project is using the EVN and the GBT is the only NRAO
        telescope, the files will not have been put on aspen.
        Of course, the user should really put the files on aspen.
        But just in case they don't, use the  link for the "vlbeer" web site. 
      D. Downloading schedules from NASA (geodetic projects):
            ftp   {user=vlbigeo }
            cd mmmyy
            get [project].skd
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    Set up Schedules

    (usually done by the VLBA "friend")
      After you have downloaded the schedule files:
      Look in the .key file to find which correlator (Socorro or JIVE)
       will be used, the PI name and email address.
      Look through the schedule files; the [project] file is easier
      to read than the [project] file.
      Take note of: 
    	a) start and stop times and dates
    	b) how many disk packs are required
            c) Get the number of GigaBytes by running "cksched [project]"
    	c) when are disk changes needed?
    	d) which receiver is required
            e) starting AZ and EL.
      Check the start and stop times versus the GBT schedule: tell the scheduler (Carl or Jules) about any discrepancies.  
      Edit the project summary web page to summarize the basic information.
    The project summary web page should have the correlator, starting AZ & EL, and required number of GB.

    Run the handy python script "vlbprep" :

    to create the Astrid scheduling blocks

    type: "obset" to create the OBSERV.TX file.

    Note: The following files need to stay in the "~gbvlbi/obs/" directory:,,

  • If the project is dynamically scheduled, run obset to select whether the primary or alternate date is to be run.

    The following steps in the box are what has been replaced by running "vlbprep". Ignore the stuff in this box!
      - Edit the "OBSERV.TX" file: 
         - Log in to any linux machine as "gbvlbi"
           cd obs
           vi OBSERV.TX 	{or use your favorite editor}
    	{duplicate the last line of OBSERV.TX, then modify the
    	line to contain the name of the * file, 
    	change the start time to now, and the stop time to a
    	few minutes after the end of the schedule.}
    	** Note that the * file names must contain no more
    	** than 8 characters before the dot!
    	** Shorten the file name if necessary!
      - Make the Observing Blocks for astrid. 
        Run the program "vlbastrid" and give it the name of the [project] file.
    	vlbastrid [project] 
    	(this will produce 3 or more files whose name starts with the 
    	project code and ends with "obsnn.turtle" in which the "nn"
    	is a sequence number.)

      - print a summary of the astrid files:
    	   a2ps [project}__sum 
      - Print the schedule files:
    	a2ps -f6.5 [project]
    	a2ps -f6.5 [project]   
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    Import Schedules into Astrid

    (usually done by the VLBA "friend")
  • The astrid files are the ones with names ending "...obsn[_pk].turtle
  • Check that the project code has been put into the astrid database. (if not, ask the telescope operator to put it in)
  • Start Astrid, select the project code, and import the scheduling blocks.
  • Run the validator to check the scheduling blocks.
  • Save the scheduling blocks to the data base.

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    Notes on Frequencies

    This information is given in case problems come up with the frequency setups. Normally you can skip this section.
      Have a look in the  "" file at the "extlo" and "extlosideband"
       parameters.  These will each be set to a pair of parameters, for example:
    	extlo = (1,  5.6000000000)
    	extlosideband = (1,L)
    	extlo = (3,  5.6000000000)
    	extlosideband = (3,L)
       - the first of the pair is a number 1,2,3, or 4, which corresponds
    	to IF input ports A, B, C, or D of the DAR.  
       - the "extlosideband" 2nd parameters should be Lower (L) for 
    	receivers of 10 GHz and less (up thru X-band),
         and should be Upper (U) for higher frequency receivers (KU band and above).
       - For Upper sideband receivers, the extlo value will be the desired
    	sky frequency (Fsky) minus the BBC frequency, for all backend
       - For Lower sideband receivers, the extlo value will be the desired
    	sky frequency (Fsky) plus the BBC frequency, for all backend
       Note that in the "" file, near the top, will be the desired
    	sky frequency (Fsky) for each channel.  
    	These are labelled: "Next scan frequencies"
    	Below these Fsky values are the BBC frequencies for each channel.
    	These should of course agree with the BBC values in the ""
        GBT LO settings: 
    	The nominal center of the IF3 band for VLBI observing is 750 MHz.
    	Assuming the midpoint of the BBC frequencies is 750, then
    	we set the GBT rest frequency (Frest) as follows:
    	   Frest = extlo + 750MHz for upper-sideband receivers,
    	   Frest = extlo - 750MHz for lower-sideband receivers,
    	We set the LO2 frequencies in the converter rack to
    	   either  12750 MHz for receivers that user IF1=3000,
    	   or      15750 MHz for receivers that user IF1=6000,
    	   or      10830 MHz for receivers that user IF1=1080.
    	This will make Frest convert to 750 MHz going into the VLBI
    	backend, and the BBC settings in the "" file will
    	tune in the correct sky frequencies.
            In most cases, the midpoint of the users set of BBC frequencies
    	will be something other than 750, hence one would alter the above
         The program "vlbastrid" will determine Frest and lo3freq from the file to put Frest at the midpoint of the desired set of
         frequencies and to make the effective LO equal to "extlo".

    Do System Prechecks

      These checks should be done a day or two before the experiment so 
      any problems that show up can be fixed.
      Some of these checks can also be immediately before the 
      experiment, if there is time, just to make sure everything is ok.
      First check the the station clock,
      and set up the screens  as described in the following 
      - After the schedule file is downloaded, ("fetchvobs", "vlbprep", "obset")
    	has been edited, reboot the VLBA station computer to start
    	the observing system.
      If you have control of the GBT receiver and LO/IF system,
    	run Astrid and submit the first non-peak scheduling block for the 
    	- check the desired receiver channels connect to the 
    	   correct VLBA DAR channels.
    	- adjust the attenuators in the converter rack to put the
    	   power levels in the VLBA IF distributors in the range
    	   about 10000 to 20000.
    	- Turn on the test tone in LO1 and use a spectrum analyzer
    	   to check that the tone is at the right frequency in the
    	The following can be done with the VLBA back end, even if you
    	  do not have control of the GBT front end and LO/IF system:
    	- Check that the BBCs are set to the correct frequency and
    	   that their LOs are all locked.
    	- Check the LO signals with a spectrum analyzer.
    	- Check the "formatter errors" and "system check" displays.
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    Is everything ready??

    A. VLBI things:

    B. GBT things:

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    Check clocks; set station clock.

    For VLBI experiments, it is essential to make sure the station clock is set right! to top

    Start Screens and check "gvstat"

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    Recording on Mark 5 disks:

    Refer to Mark 5 Operations Guide for Mark 5 disk usage.


    • Gently insert the disk module in the Mark 5 unit.
    • Lock the locking tab.
    • Turn on the key, wait for the light flashing sequence to finish.
    • Monitor the disk status in RSCREENS with "DISC-->DISC"

    Fill Out the Disk Labels

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    Start ASTRID, Run first two obs blocks.

       Make sure that 'gbvlbi' is in the Gateway.
       Log in to one of the Linux machines ('naiad' for example) as 'gbvlbi'
    	-- type: cd ~gbvlbi/obs/
    	-- type: astrid
    	-- select "work online with control of the telescope"
    	-- in the astrid "Edit" tab, select the project code.
               If the correct project code is not in the list, then select "AVLB".
    	-- Import the scheduling blocks and save them to the database, if
    		this had not already been done.
       Ask the operator to set the scan number (usually to 1).
       Make sure the antenna drives are activated and it is ready to run scans.
    	-- select the "run" tab in astrid.
    	-- set the project code if necessary.
    	-- in the "Session" box, type the session code,
               or if you had used project code AVLB then type in the 
               VLBA project code as the session:
    	    This is the first 5 or 6 characters of the turtle file name. 
    	-- For the "Observer", select the project PI if his name is there,
    	   otherwise use your own name.
       - Submit the first observing block,  whose name ends in _obs00_pk.turtle
       - This will do a peak and optionally a focus at a position near the 
    	first source in the observing list.
    	(Focus only for observing at frequencies >= 8 GHz).
       - Check that the peak and focus look good.
       - Check that the antenna is on the correct Azimuth wrap !
       - Run the first non-peak observing block, 
    	whose name probably ends in _obs01.turtle
       - This will configure the system for VLBI and will move to the first
          source to be observed.
       Make sure the antenna starts on the correct wrap!! 
       --To do this, consult the [projname] file which lists
         az and el coordinates.
       -- make the GBT azimuth match the azimuth of the first observation.
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    Set IF Levels

    Now that the "_obs01.turtle" block is running, the system has been configured for VLBI, so you can check the power levels and IF paths.
       Note: Usually Rack A, converter modules 1 and 5, are used for 600MHz, 
    	800 MHz, L-, C-, Ku-, K-, and Q-band receivers.
    	Rack B, converter modules 9 and 13, are used for S-band and X-band receivers.
         ***This is how the VLBA IF channels connect to the GBT converter rack:
    	IF 1:1 is VLBA_DAR:A  (RCP, from Cnv.rack A, CM5)
    	IF 1:2 is VLBA_DAR:B  (RCP, from Cnv.rack B, CM13)
    	IF 2:1 is VLBA_DAR:C  (LCP, from Cnv.rack A, CM1)
    	IF 2:2 is VLBA_DAR:D  (LCP, from Cnv.rack B, CM9)
       For example, if using S-band or X-band receivers, adjust the attenuator
       of converter module 9 to bring the IFPower 2:2 to near 16000,
       and CM13 to bring IFPower 1:2 to near 16000.
       For the other receivers, CM1 adjusts IF 2:1 and CM5 for 1:1.
      - In SCREENS, run OBS-->CHECKALL  : there should be very few messages.

    Check IF paths and frequencies

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    Check the Logging system

      Log in to arcturus as 'gbvlbi' :
    	$ ssh arcturus -l gbvlbi
    	$ cd 
    	$ cd mdata/MDA
    	$ ls -lt | head
    	Check that there is a '.mda' file named with today's date
    	that has been updated within the last few minutes.
      Now check that this file is also being written to the jansky
    	machine in Socorro:
    	$ ssh jansky -l gbvlba
    	$ lsgb
    	(this will list the most recent files in the log area on jansky.
    	the most recent file should have been updated in the last few
    	minutes -- note time is Socorro is 2 hours less than Green Bank)
      Viewing the VLBA log file 
          Log into "gbvlbi" on yed.
    	(Note "seelog" runs only on solaris machines)
    	cd /users/gbvlbi/mdata/MDA
    	ls -lt | head                 {get the name of the current log file}
    	seelog MMMdd.mda | less   {lists the log in ascii}
    	seelog MMMdd.mda | grep GPS  {check GPS data is being logged}
    	seelog MMMdd.mda | grep WEA  {check weather data is being logged}
    	-- if phase cals are being used:
    	seelog MMMdd.mda | grep PCALX | less   {levels should be 2-5 %}
    	-- Check Tsys
    	  Look up the Tcals for the frequency being used.
    	  seelog MMMdd.mda -cal tcal tcal | grep POWER | less
            -- Check onsource/offsource times:
               seelog MMMdd.mda | grep LOG | less
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    Run Schedule with ASTRID

    The observing schedule consists of a series of astrid observing blocks each with a sequence number. The operator simply runs each block in order.

    Blocks with a "pk" in the name do a peak and focus on a calibrator. When running these, the operator should check the GFM display to see if the peak and focus fits are good. If not, this should be noted in the log. If time permits, the peak and focus may be repeated. Otherwise, go on to the next observing block with the previous LPCs.

    If Astrid has to be restarted for some reason, the operator should re-run the current observing block. The special functions used in the VLBI obs block ("vtrack" and "vpeak") will skip all scans whose stop time has already passed, and will start at the right place in the schedule.

    If the GBT has to be taken off line to stow for wind or other problems, just leave Astrid running and take the antenna out of the scan coordinator. After the problem has been taken care of, put the antenna coordinate mode back to "J2000" and put the antenna back in the scan coordinator.

    There will be special "pk" astrid blocks for each calibrator that had been specified for doing a peak/focus. If one of the peak commands (vpeak) results look bad, you can stop the schedule and re-run the peak with the block for that calibrator, and then restart the "obs01" file.

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    Check Progress of Experiment.

      - in RSCREENS, use OBS-->DAS
      -            then: OBS-->FLAG
      - Use the printed *  and  *crd.obs  schedule to follow the observations.
      - Check that the OBS-->FLAG screen is showing the telescope on source
        ("DATA OK") when it is on source and 
        also that it shows "Telescope position error too large" when off source
        or slewing between sources.
      - Every few minutes, check the IF power levels in the OBS-->DAS screen,
        and re-balance the IFRack if they go below 4000 or above 40000.
      About every half hour:
       - check that the disk is writing when it is supposed to be,
       - do CHECKALL (in the 'rs' screen)
               note: ignore tape recorder errors, "REC1" or "REC2".
       - do FLAG (in the 'rs' screen)
       - is the GBT on the right source?
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    Log weather conditions and other information.

      - Log unusual weather conditions that might affect the data, such as snow,
      heavy rain, and high winds.  The temperature, pressure, wind speed, and dewpoint 
      are being automatically logged, so no need to mention them.
      - Log any interruption in the observing schedule.
      - Log anything that compromises the data, such as a receiver warming up.
      - Include these messages in an e-mail that you send after the
    	experiment is over.
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    Rebooting the station computer

    The VLBA station computer is the Motorola VME crate, designated "vlbagb", and is located (as of October 2007) just under the Mark 5 recorder.
  • The sure-fire way to reboot it is to press the red "reset" button on the front panel.
  • The nicer way to reboot it is to type "reboot" on its console window. You can identify the console window because it will have a "GB->" prompt.
  • If there is no console window, open an xterm on Spock and type: "minicom vlba".
  • It will take 3-4 minutes to complete the reboot.

    Note: logging in remotely and reboot:

  • first log into gb-cc as gbvlbi
  • then log into the VME station computer:
  • you will see the "GB->" prompt.
  • now you can type "reboot" and the VME computer will reboot.
  • If you do not reboot, logout by typing: "logout"

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    Dealing with Problems.

       A. Powering down 
    	If the VLBA equipment needs to be powered down, there
    	is no particular sequence that is required.
    	DAR: turn off all the switches on the power supplies, which
    		are near the top of the rack.
            -- Mark 5: refer to  Mark 5 Operations Guide 
    	for powering the Mark 5 down and up.
            -- briefly for Mark 5:
                 Log into the mark 5 with the login account "vlbsoft"
                 to power down: /sbin/poweroff
                 to reboot : /sbin/reboot
       B. Powering up  
    	Turn on the VLBA DAR rack by turning on all the DAR power supplies.
    	Turn on the power switch on the Mark5: it is at the lower left of the front.
    	Turn on the power switch for the station computer
    	  ("VLBAGB" in the rack just under of the mark 5.)
    	Turn on the power for the Linux machine "gb-cc", which is
    	in the rack under the old station computer.
       C. Logging in gb-cc
    	Log in to gb-cc using the login name "gbvlbi"
       D. Open a console window for the station computer 
    	Open an xterm by pressing the right mouse button.
    	In an xterm, type: 'minicom vlba'
    	-- this opens the console for the VLBA station computer
    	Hit the CR, and you should see  the  'GB->' prompt.
       E. Re-booting the station computer (vlbagb) 
             (Also refer to: Rebooting the station computer )
    	If power has been off, wait until everything is back on,
    	especially the machine "yed".
    	then reboot vlbagb.
             a.  push the red reset button
    	 b. If you see a 'GB->' prompt in the console window, type:  reboot 
    	 c. If you see '[VxWorks Boot]:'  ,  type:  @  
       F. Initialize the hardware 
    	After vlbagb is up and running, bring up another xterm.
            (you have to have already logged in as "gbvlbi")
    	and type 'rs' to bring up the screens package.
    	To set the MCB interfaces, do  MCB-->SETALL
    	[obsolete: For each of the two recorders, do  PARM-->RECPARM-->SEND]
    	Then re-sync the formatter 1pps to the site time 1pps by 
    	  pushing the reset button on the Station Timer module.
    	  (Lower left corner of the front of the DAR rack).
    	  Hold the button down for 1 second.
       G. Clearing Formatter Errors 
    	! NOTE: the following formatter errors are ok; !
    	!    no action is needed if you see :          !
            ! 	Quality Analysis Module Error          !
    	!	  Channel A Clock Error                !
    	!	  Channel B Clock Error                !
            1. in RSCREENS, FORMAT-->FMTERR screen, push the RESETMCB button.
    	 if errors do not clear, 
    	2. in FORMAT-->FORMAT screen, reset SRATE, wait for formatter
    		to finish configuring, then repeat step 1.
            3. do OBS/REOBS
            4. if problems persist, reboot station computer.
    	if errors still do not clear, CALL FOR HELP !
    	 The following might help if you are desperate:
    	 5. reboot the formatter controller single-board computer.
    	    After that you have to do:
    	    and repeat steps 2 and 1.

       Other weird stuff (part1) -- OBSOLETE ! 
    	You should mount the tapes after you reboot the station computer.
    	If the tapes have already been mounted and there is some need
    	to reboot, the station computer will pick up the tape VSN number
    	from drive 1 during the reboot, because it has a bar code reader.
    	It will not pick up the VSN from drive 2.  So you should 
    	re-run the "Mount" procedure on the tapes after re-booting.
    	Alternately, you can give the station computer the VSN numbers
    	without having to re-run the mount command by typing at the
    	vlbagb console:  tapetypeset(tapenum, VSN)
    	for example, to set the VSN for drive number two: 
    		tapetypeset( 1, "EVNT0262") 
       Other weird stuff (part2) -- OBSOLETE ! 
    	Sometimes the Mark5 disk packs have both a VSN and 4-digit CRCC code
    	on them (you need both for entering in the TRACK system).
    	But sometimes there is no CRCC code label on the disk pack.
    	You can find a CRCC code for any VSN number by typing the "crcc"
    	command to the vxWorks prompt on the station computer.
    	For example, type:   crcc("EVNT0262")
    	the reply includes several numbers, one of them is a hex number;
    	that is the crcc code.
       Other weird stuff (part3) -- OBSOLETE ! 
    	When not using the Mark5 recorder, do the following,
    	(logged into arcturus as gbvlbi: )
    	rcmd disc stmode gb
    	(this sets the Mark5 to pass 32 tracks directly through
    	to tape drive 1.)
       Other weird stuff (part4)  not obsolete 
           If you have to change the password for the gbvlbi login:
           1. change the vxWorks boot-up parameters:
              a. reboot the station computer, but hit a key before it starts up.
                 that way you get the boot menu.
              b. do the "C" command, fill in the new password.
           2. get a new password hash by logging into a solaris machine
               and running "vxencrypt" in ~gbvlbi/bin/
           3. edit the "startup.gbt file in ~gbvlbi/code_mk5/ :
                put the new password hash in the command: "loginUserAdd"
                for the gbvlbi login.
       Other weird stuff (part5)  not obsolete 
           If the rscreen DISK screen indicates: "VSN INVALID" :
             a. "offline" the unit from the DISK rscreen
             b. log into the Mark5
             c. run "tstMark5A" and enter:
                  > protect=off
                  > vsn=MPI-0603    [or whatever the new VSN is]
                  if you get an error that might mean a module problem.
                  check the vsn with:
                  > vsn?
                  if you get a good response, put the unit online again
                  and log out of the Mark5
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    Dismount and Send Disk Packs to Socorro.

      - Make sure you put a red dot on the label and that the
    	label information is filled out.
      - The station name is GBT_VLBA.
      - Make sure that the disk serial number is written on the outside
        of the shipping box.  Put a note on the case that it should be sent to 
        Socorro (or whichever correlator it is supposed to go to), 
          and put it in the mail room.  
      - Tell Sherry to give you the airbill numbers.
        After FedEx picks it up, get the airbill numbers and use the 
        TRACK system  to record the shipment.
      - (remember the TRACK login is 'gbvlba' with pw= track)
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    Send email to Socorro.

      Write an e-mail message describing any problems that happened during
      the run, missed scans if any, and the tape numbers.
      - address it to the PI and :  vlbaops, analysts, gbtops, gbtobssum.
    to top

    Shut Down.

       - To shut down the SCREENS package, type "CNTRL-C A"
       - Shut down all processes and log out.
    to top

    Clean up files

    After the experiment is over, make a directory in ~gbvlbi/obs/oldsched/ for the experiment and move all its files there from the obs directory.

    If there are "alt" files, make an "alt" subdirectory under ~gbvlbi/obs/oldsched/[projcode]/ and copy the alt files for that project into it.

    For example:
    Lets say the project code is bb240...; then make a directory ~gbvlbi/obs/oldsched/BB240/
    Then in the obs directory for project bb240bm, type: "mv bb240bm* oldsched/BB240/"
    and "mv BB240BM* oldsched/BB240/"
    Note If the project has many sessions, e.g. bb240a, bb240b, etc, put them ALL in the same oldsched/BB240/ directory.

    If there are "alt" files, create a directory ~gbvlbi/obs/oldsched/BB240/alt/ and put the alt files there.
    e.g., from the ~gbvlbi/obs directory:
    mv alt/bb240bm* oldsched/BB240/alt
    mv alt/BB240BM* oldsched/BB240/alt

    to top

    Year-end archiving of project and log files

    Archive the project files

    Under the directory "~gbvlbi/obs/oldsched/" there are subdirectories called "Vyear", for example, "V2007", "V2008". At the end of the year, i.e., on December 31st, move all the oldsched directories for the past year into the subdirectory "Vyear" for that year.

    Archive the log files

    All the log files generated by the VME computer (i.e., station computer) automatically go into the directory ~gbvlbi/mdata/MDA/
    They are named "MMMdd", for example "JAN21" for logs from January 21.
  • near the end of each year, but before Dec 31:
  • move all the files, EXCEPT december files, into a new archive directory:
  • ~gbvlbi/mdata/GB/saveyear
  • for example, ~gbvlbi/mdata/GB/save2008, for all files from the year 2008.
  • Note you have to make that "save2008" directory.

  • Then, on Jan 1 of the next year, move all the DECnn files into the save directory.

    Notes for VLBI "Friends"

    Last Modified Sept 30, 2010 -- F.Ghigo Last Modified Dec 14, 2011 -- F.Ghigo Last Modified Dec 05, 2012 -- F.Ghigo