The TCS Manual is a comprehensive resource available from the ATNF Software pages.
Log in (username from staff) on a network workstation. Then select the correct version of tcs - check with local staff or look on the control-room whiteboard for this:
Then start TCS:
Select Pulsar, Expert mode and if desired an appropriate Recall state file (click on the arrow to browse). Then hit OK to start TCS.
Select desired backend systems.
Ensure that the antenna, focus, LO chain and attenuator are enabled (green).
TCS may be operated in local mode or schedule mode. There are two basic types of operation: TRACK (or pointed observation) or SCAN. A single observation may be started using the Start button in the ACTION PANEL or a sequence of observations may be made under Schedule control.
Track Mode Operation
Select a source from the catalogue (browse/Own/PSRCAT) or enter name and coordinates.
Select a receiver.
Select the required correlator configuration. The currently available files are listed ***
Select a duration and its unit.
Select a cycle time; 10s is recommended except for large (bins * channels) configurations and a subint time.
Click on Start TRACK.
Schedule Mode Operation
Schedule files are stored in @@$HOME/tcs/sched/.
Select a schedule file (Sched file/Own). The contents of a schedule file may be viewed using Sched file/View. Pulsar schedule files have one line per observation with a keyword value structure, with commands separated by semicolons. Anything not set in the schedule file is taken from the gui. Keywords and values may be upper or lower case.
The first entry on each line must a name. For pulsar mode operations, this must be the pulsar Jname; f or other types of observation the name may be any string (recommended max length 32 char). The second entry must be one of:
P RA(J2000) Dec(J2000); or
G Galctic_longitude Galactic_latitude;
Following entries are keyword-value pairs, in any order.
Available keywords are:
To observe using a schedule, select the required line numbers and click on Start Sched.
Data files are stored on data disks on the correlator control computers pkccc1 for PDFB2 and pkccc3 for PDFB3. Data files are in PSRFITS format with extension .rf for pulsar files and .cf for calibration files. The data disks are mounted as
/nfs/PKCCC3_1 and can be read-only accessed from other network machines. Files are regularly copied to RAID disks at Epping and backed up on DLT. Once fully backed up, they are deleted from the PKCCC1_1 data disk.
TCS maintains two log files in
$HOME/tcs/logs/ giving a history of the observations. A complete record of all TCS operations and messages is recorded in the tcsgui.log files for each observing day. The file psrlog contains a summary of pulsar-mode operations. Entries in this are as follows:
The PSRCAT file is created using makePSRCAT. This runs psrcat using the public database file psrcat.db merged with files linked to /psr1/runtime/psrcat/obs.db. On any unix machine:
PSRCAT is created in the local directory and must be moved to $HOME/tcs/catalogues/ where it is accessed by TCS.
Ephemeris files and Polycos
Parameters for polyco files (TEMPO1) or pred files (TEMPO2) generation should be entered in
$HOME/runtime/psrcat/obscat.db. The Jname.eph and Jname.polyco or Jname.pred files generated by the on-line program are placed in
$HOME/tcs. They are over-written each time a source is re-observed.