ATUC Report to ATNF Director

ATUC meeting 9th and 10th December 2004



Chair:              Steven Tingay

Secretary:       Jim Lovell


Meeting open at: 9.55


1. Apologies and attendance


Apologies: Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Helmut Jerjen, Mark Wardle, Brad Warren


Attendance: Adam Burgasser,  Aidan Hotan, Maria Hunt, Simon Johnston, Jim Lovell, Naomi McClure-Griffiths, Juergen Ott, Elaine Sadler, Steven Tingay, Chris Wright

2. ATUC business


a)                  Welcome to new members (raised by ATUC)


The Chair welcomed new regular members Juergen Ott and Elaine Sadler, and overseas member Adam Burgasser.


ATNF response optional



b)                 Retirements and replacements (raised by ATUC)


Simon Ellingsen retired as a regular member after the last ATUC meeting.  Regular members Naomi McClure-Griffiths and Maria Hunt retire before the next ATUC meeting.  Student member Bradley Warren retires before the next ATUC meeting.  And Adam Burgasser retires as overseas member before the next meeting. 


The Chair thanked Simon, Naomi, Maria, Bradley, and Adam for their efforts as ATUC members.


ATUC request that the Director forward the following nominations for replacement candidates to the ATSC for consideration i.e. we will need a total of 5 replacements in place for June ATUC meeting:



Katherine Newton-McGee (U.Syd)

Steve Longmore (UNSW)



Giuseppe Cimo (U.Tas)

Steve Ord (Swin)

David Barnes (Melb)

Stuart Ryder (AAO)

Melanie Johnston-Hollitt (U.Tas)



To be advised (based on availability of suitable overseas visitor during meeting)


ATNF response required

Will the Director forward ATUC nominations for replacements to the ATSC?


c)                  Early feedback to users by ATUC (raised by user)


Following a request from a user for earlier feedback from ATUC meetings, ATUC decided to publish the meeting report on the ATUC website as soon as it was produced.


Further it was thought useful that the ATUC Chair give a short summary of the previous report and corresponding Director’s response at the start of each ATUC Open Session, to remind users at the meeting of the issues from the last meeting.


ATNF response optional


3. Report from last meeting


Motion:             That the ATUC report from the June 2004 meeting be approved

Moved:             Simon Johnston

Seconded:       Adam Burgasser


4. Matters arising from Director's response


a)                  Changes to ATUC ToR: clarification (raised by ATUC)


Following some confusion with the revised ATUC Terms of Reference coming from the last meeting, it was clarified that the new term lengths apply for any new members appointed following this meeting.


ATNF response optional


b)                 Do ATUC comments get back to staff? (raised by ATUC)


ATUC ask the Director if ATUC comments under the heading “Celebrating Success” are relayed to the appropriate staff, following each ATUC meeting?


ATNF responses required

Do ATUC comments under the “Celebrating Success” section of the ATUC report get forwarded to ATNF staff?


c)                  Any negative comments from users on TAC feedback? (raised by ATUC and National Facility report)


Following on from the item at the last meeting, in which a number of users expressed dissatisfaction with feedback on proposals submitted to the ATNF TAC (in particular the textual comments on the proposal in justification of the TAC decision), ATUC were asked whether any further negative comments had been received since the last meeting.  The ATNF TAC has made an extra effort to provide more detailed feedback.


ATUC have not heard any further negative comments from proposers regarding the quality of TAC comments on proposals.  The situation appears to have improved.  ATUC will continue to monitor users on this point and pass on any relevant information to the ATNF.


ATNF response optional


d)                 Comments on effectiveness of six month terms (raised by users)


Following from the discussion of six month terms at the last meeting, users submitted several comments to this meeting regarding the effectiveness of six month observing terms, in particular the long delay between proposal submission and notification of the outcome of the TAC meeting.  Usually notification to users of the outcome of their submitted proposals occurs only when the observing schedules are released or when they receive the hardcopy notification in the post.


In both cases, substantial delays can occur in scheduling and/or the postal system that accentuate the inherently longer period between proposal submission and notification due to six month observing terms.


ATUC have two suggestions that will mitigate against these problems and may lessen the administrative load on the ATNF TAC.


First, we request that the Parkes observing schedule be produced in a more timely fashion. We appreciate the rapid release of the ATCA schedule and thank the ATCA OiC for producing this quickly in order to allow observers maximum time to plan travel etc.  However, the Parkes schedule is significantly slower to appear, a problem that users have noted previously.  We reiterate our request that the full Parkes schedule be made available to users on a timescale similar to that of the ATCA.


Second, ATUC sees little value in continuing to send TAC comments and rankings in letters to proposal contact people via the regular post.  This would seem to be an unnecessary administrative overhead in the TAC process that could be removed if the TAC emailed proposal contacts immediately following the TAC meeting, giving the ranking information and textual comments on the proposals, also perhaps including basic statistics such as the oversubscription rates for that term.  This method of communication between TAC and users would be more efficient, giving them earlier feedback on their proposal and more time to plan ahead for their observations.


In the future, once the electronic proposal system has been developed, it would be useful if notification emails could be sent to a nominated list of the proposal co-is, rather than just a single contact person.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF adopt ATUCs suggestion that the Parkes schedule be produced in a more timely fashion?


Will the ATNF adopt ATUCs suggestion that email notification of TAC outcomes be used, rather than via the regular post?


e)                 More concise requests for responses from ATUC (raised by Director)


In the Director’s response to the last ATUC report, a suggestion was made that ATUC should provide more concise requests for responses to the Director.  In this report, we expand upon the “response required” requests used in the previous report and list specific, concise questions that ATUC would like responses to.


ATNF responses required

Is the Director happy with the format of ATUC requests used in this report?


f)                   Acceptance of Director’s response to ATUC report for June 2004


Motion:             That the Director's response to the ATUC report of June 2004 be accepted

Moved:             Juergen Ott

Seconded:       Maria Hunt


5. Celebrating success


·         Congratulations to all staff at Marsfield and Narrabri involved with the deployment of the 3mm system at the ATCA.  This is a big milestone for the ATCA and everyone looks forward to the first full winter season of operation of this new facility.


·         ATUC congratulate those involved in the efforts at active cancellation of 50cm RFI at Parkes.  The initial results appear extremely encouraging.


·         ATUC congratulate the eVLBI team on progress toward their goals, including the deployment of a full disk-based recording system and achieving real-time fringe checking capability.


·         The Australia Telescope Online Archive looks absolutely awesome.  This facility is going to be a brilliant addition to the ATNF.  We expect that the ATOA will encourage users to increase the scientific output of the ATNF telescopes.  All involved are to be congratulated.


6. High priority items for ATUC discussion


a)      Does ATUC have any comment on the apparently declining ATNF usage by non-ATNF Australian users.  (raised via Director's report and National Facility Support report)


An ATUC member (Maria Hunt) will participate in the appropriate Decadal Review panel that is examining similar issues across Australian astronomical facilities.  


ATNF response optional  


b)     In some instances, ATCA DAs for remote observers and inexperienced users have been completely unprepared to give the required support.  Does ATUC have any recommendation to make on this issue? (raised by user)


Comments from users described an instance where a DA who had not been to the ATCA previously had arrived in Narrabri on a Wednesday morning to commence DA duty.  The DA was scheduled to support an overseas remote observer on Wednesday morning and had no knowledge of the observing system or the requirements on the DA.  Consequently the DA was of no use to the remote observer when even trivial problems arose.  Other similar comments from users described situations where very inexperienced observers were being supported by DAs who have even less knowledge of the ATCA than the observers.  Again, the descriptions of the situations show that the DA was of no use to the observer, due to the extreme inexperience of the DA.


ATUC are concerned about the very low level of observing experience that some DAs have.  Observers, especially inexperienced and remote, rely heavily on the DAs to have a reasonable knowledge of the ATCA observing system and the procedures that are followed if there is an observing problem.  There seems to be little point in having a DA if they cannot provide a reasonable service to the observers.


ATUC suggest that people who are undertaking DA duties for the first time (regardless of previous observing experience) arrive earlier at Narrabri (on the Monday rather than the Wednesday) so that they can overlap with the previous DA, become familiar with their duties, and learn about any recent changes to the system or current problems, ahead of when their duty is scheduled to start (Wednesday morning).


Also, ATUC suggest that once per year there could be an induction day(s)/weekend for new DAs or DAs who have not observed in Narrabri for a significant period of time.  This induction could be geared toward ATNF-affiliated students (could be a requirement on students) and could be run at least every second year in conjunction with the ATNF synthesis imaging workshop.


ATUC recognise that it is a difficult task just filling the DA roster but feel that more attention could be paid to the quality and effectiveness of the DA service.  Priority in assigning DAs should be given to matching experienced DAs to inexperienced or remote observers where possible.  This will be important for the new 3mm system for the following season.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF adopt the ATUC suggestion that new DAs be required to arrive at the ATCA on the Monday, rather than Wednesday?


Will the ATNF adopt the ATUC suggestion that an induction be run each year to train new and inexperienced DAs?


c)      Does ATUC have a view as to the priority of the following major projects, given that there are time/effort/return tradeoffs between them (raised via Director's report and ATCA/Mopra report)


1.      Mopra 3mm 8 GHz system;


2.      LS/CX ATCA frontend broadband upgrades;


3.      ATCA upgrade of 3mm system to 115 GHz;


Following extensive discussion by ATUC, the priority order listed above was given to these projects.  Some complicated tradeoffs are involved in this prioritisation.  In summary, the Mopra 3mm 8 GHz system covers the 3mm frontend and backend systems that are currently under development.  ATUC note that the Mopra 8 GHz backend project is funded from an ARC grant and should therefore be considered as non-negotiable.  The LS/CX ATCA frontend broadband project involves an upgrade of the ATCA cm frontend electronics to allow broadband inputs to the CABB at cm wavelengths.  The ATCA 3mm upgrade to 115 GHz involves the development of a new LO system for the ATCA 3mm system.  The progress of this work depends somewhat on which option is taken for the Mopra 3mm system, in particular, the choice of 3mm frontend and LO at Mopra.  Development of the ATCA system to 115 GHz would benefit from development of a new LO for the Mopra system.


The options that ATUC were presented with for the Mopra 3 mm system for the 2005 and 2006 winter seasons are listed below.   ATUC were asked to give some feedback on which option would be preferable.


1.      Narrow band 115 GHz option: SIS receiver can be used up to 115 GHz and 600 MHz max bandwidth - no need for 8 GHz backend. Ready to use now.


2.      Broad band 115 GHz option: Remove LO from SIS and use in MMIC receiver up to ~115 GHz and 8 GHz bandwidth - requires 8 GHz backend to be fully utilised.  First 2GHz module of 8 GHz backend should be available for winter 2005.  Full 8 GHz backend should be ready for winter 2006.  Removal of LO from SIS receiver renders SIS receiver non-operational.


3.      Broad band 100 GHz option: MMIC receiver up to 100 GHz.  First 2 GHz backend module for winter 2005 and full 8 GHz backend for winter 2006.


4.      Broad band 115 GHz option number 2: wait for LNA and new LO for MMIC to give up to 115 GHz and full 8 GHz bandwidth.  Will not be completed before winter 2006.


Faced with these choices and attempting to take into account the impact on users and ATNF resource allocations, ATUC decided that option 2 was the most desirable.  With this option, for the entire winter season for 2005, capability up to 115 GHz and 2 GHz of bandwidth will be available.  ATUC recognises that this solution is not thought to be the most elegant from an engineering point of view.  ATUC also recognise that using the LO from the SIS receiver will impact the development of a new LO system for the 3mm systems on the ATCA, for operation of the MMIC receivers up to 115 GHz, to the point that this potential upgrade may be delayed.  ATUC took this possibility into account during the discussion and concluded that the case to go to 115 GHz, against the cost and time effort involved, made 115 GHz on the ATCA a low priority endeavour at the moment.  ATUC therefore ranked the broadband frontend upgrade for the ATCA higher than 115 GHz capability for the ATCA.


The suggested option for Mopra will mean that the system will be stable for the 2005 winter season and be a much more capable system than previously.  This option also means that the system will remain stable through the 2006 winter season.  However, the full 8 GHz backend system will be available in winter 2006.  Thus, the capability of the system will improve continuously over the next 18 months.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF adopt ATUCs suggested option for the Mopra 3mm system?


Will the ATNF consider ATUCs priorities for these three projects?


d)     Can ATUC comment on the progress and review of the CABB project?  (raised by ATUC via CABB presentation)


It seems that the status of a number of special requirements on the CABB, like high time resolution, eVLBI requirements, and RFI mitigation capabilities are very uncertain.  It is not clear that there is a rigourous plan by which a decision can be made on the feasibility of these requirements.  During the ATUC Open Session a potential date for a CABB design review was suggested, December 2005.  ATUC ask that this review take place as suggested and be used to give a go/no-go decision point for the inclusion of CABB capabilities that will support these special requirements.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF conduct a design review of the CABB project in December 2005 and aim to make specific decisions on the special requirements for the CABB?


e)     Can ATUC comment on the 7mm frequency range that will be useful to users, given that there are technical tradeoffs between different options.  (raised via 7mm science case presentation)


It seems that there are a number of technical tradeoffs in the frequency coverage of the 7mm system.  Given that there is a reasonable chance that the 7mm ATCA project will go ahead, subject to a contract being signed between ATNF and NASA, ATUC will organise a workshop (as was done for the CABB project in September) to discuss in detail:


·         NASA requirements, scheduling, and likely impact on users;

·         Frequency range tradeoffs against Tsys, science drivers;

·         An enhanced science case;


ATUC will aim to organise this meeting for the March/April timeframe, in conjunction with the 7mm Project Scientist.


ATNF responses required


Does the ATNF think that a one-day meeting to discuss the technical and scientific requirements of the ATCA 7mm system, and the impact on users, would be useful to the project?


f)       There are a number of proposals for 12mm receiver upgrade projects.  Can ATUC comment on their priority? (raised in Tidbinbilla, Parkes, technology development reports).


Upgrades of several 12mm systems are being undertaken or are being contemplated.  ATUC was asked to comment on their relative priority.  The priority of the various upgrades are listed below:


1.       Parkes: is getting new feedhorn for Apr05.  Requires LNA upgrade;


2.       Spares for ATCA 12 mm: this is scheduled to be complete by June 2005;


3.       Tidbinbilla: a 12 mm LNA and orthomode transducer for the off-axis system.  A new downconversion system.


ATUC see the upgrade at Parkes as a high priority for zero-spacing mapping, surveys, and improved performance for VLBI.  However, ATUC would like to see a project plan developed.  The spare 12 mm receivers for the ATCA is a project that is underway and also has high priority to be completed in the first half of 2005.  The low priority project is the 12 mm upgrade of Tidbinbilla.  However, it is possible that the installation of a new 12mm LNA and orthomode transducer could take place without an upgrade of the downconversion system.  ATUC recognise that an upgrade of the Tidbinbilla 12mm downconversion system is more difficult at this point.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF consider ATUCs suggested priorities for 12mm upgrades?


Can the ATNF advise ATUC of the feasibility of carrying out an upgrade to the Tidbinbilla 12mm system as an extension of the Parkes upgrade?


g)     What is the useful lifetime of the 21 cm multibeam? (Question from ATNF)


ATUC were asked to consider what the useful lifetime of the 21cm multibeam receiver at Parkes is likely to be, in view of the availability of the methanol multibeam receiver in the second half of 2005 and the second phase of the 21cm multibeam refurbishment.  ATUC were presented with the following details on the refurbishment of the 21cm multibeam receiver.


·         Refurbishment phase 1 complete – 21cm MB back on telescope sep04;

·         Refurbishment phase 2

o        remaining 12 LNAs,

o        heat shielding,

o        cooling

o        $50 - 100 k + time,

o        Increased weight, upgrade translator?


After much discussion, ATUC decided that a phase 2 refurbishment that was limited to replacement of the remaining LNAs would be optimal.  While ATUC recognise that the 21cm multibeam has been a flagship instrument for the ATNF, much of the capability of this receiver will be superseded by the xNTD on the 2008/09 timeframe.  A major upgrade of the 21 cm multibeam over the next 2 years is therefore probably not justified.  It is difficult for ATUC to predict what the useful lifetime of the 21cm multibeam is, but expect that the end of its operational lifetime will be around the 2008 timeframe.


A minor refurbishment of the receiver would allow currently planned surveys to be completed with minor disruptions.  The refurbishment period would provide a good opportunity to install the methanol multibeam receiver for the first time, however the 21cm multibeam refurbishment is not seen to be urgent.


ATUC would like to know how long would be required to replace the remaining LNAs on the 21cm multibeam and would prefer to suggest a date for refurbishment at the June 2005 meeting, after being provided with a usage plan for the 21cm multibeam and methanol multibeam receivers over the next 12 months (see item h).


ATNF responses required


Will ATNF consider ATUCs suggestion of a limited phase 2 refurbishment of the 21cm multibeam receiver?


Will ATNF advise ATUC as to how long would be required to replace the remaining LNAs on the 21cm multibeam receiver?


h)     Methanol multibeam vs 21 cm multibeam at any one time at Parkes. (raised via Parkes report)


Both the 21cm and methanol multibeam receivers are large packages and both cannot be accommodated on the telescope at the same time.  ATUC were asked to consider the issues involved in scheduling these large receiver packages.


ATUC would like some indication of how the scheduling of these two receivers will be handled starting in the 2005OCT semester. We request a detailed presentation at the next meeting for proposed receiver schedules for the October 2005 and April 2006 semesters. This information also needs to be clearly detailed in the call for proposals for the 2005OCT semester, in particular weighing the requirements of large Galactic HI surveys, large methanol projects, and continued pulsar timing projects. Specifically users need to know the technical feasibility of multibeam receiver changes and the time scales for these.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF provide ATUC with a scheduling plan for the multibeam receivers for the 2005 October and 2006 April terms at the next ATUC meeting?


Will ATNF provide technical information on the scheduling of the multibeam receivers in the call for proposals for the October 2005 term, as well as technical information on the feasibility and timescales for multibeam receiver changes?


i)        3mm swaps on the ATCA - what sort of grade differential is acceptable? (Question from ATNF.)


ATUC were presented with a proposal for 3mm scheduling during the 2005 winter period and asked to comment.  ATUC thank the ATCA OiC Bob Sault for his well thought-out plan.  This is a useful proposal that we fully endorse for the coming season.  Until we have information from the coming season we are happy for the TAC to use its discretion as to the cutoff rank for cm swaps.  Proposal ranking, time requested, configuration, and source LST are all variables that impact how cm swaps are chosen.  ATUC feel that this issue is too complicated to attempt to predict in advance a cutoff rank for cm swaps.


ATNF response optional


j)        Strategic review of ATNF software. Would ATUC like to be involved? In what capacity? (raised in Director's report and Application software report)


ATUC were asked if they would be prepared to participate in a strategic review of ATNF software developments.  ATUC are happy to participate in this review.  We feel it critical that Tim Cornwell be involved in the process, given his impending arrival at the ATNF and his vast experience in software matters.  ATUC will work with the ATNF point of contact for this review, Dave McConnell, to develop Terms of Reference.


ATNF responses required


Is the ATNF happy for ATUC to start work with Dave McConnell on setting out the Terms of Reference for the software review?


Does ATNF support the participation of Tim Cornwell in this review?


7. Director's report/Project management report


a)      Need to remove future developments pages from ATNF web site and make summary of project management database available to public (raised via ATUC)


The old future developments web pages need to be removed form the ATNF web site.  Likewise, some summary form of the current ATNF projects database needs to be made publicly available via the ATNF web pages.


ATNF responses required


Will ATNF remove the future developments pages from the ATNF web site?


Will ATNF make some form of the projects database publicly available via the web?


b)     ATUC review of projects (raised via ATUC)


Over the last 12 months, ATUC has been undertaking a review of the ATNF projects database.  The projects database has changed so much since the last ATUC meeting and has been developed to be a very useful tool, making the ATUC review obsolete. ATUC have therefore terminated this review.  In the future ATUC will:


1.      Provide specific comments on new projects when required;

2.      Respond to specific requests for comments and priorities on existing projects;

3.      Provide feedback on science cases;


ATUC resolve to comment on a project only after a science case and project concept have been provided as part of the project management process.


ATNF response optional


8. ATCA/Mopra report


a)      ATUC comment on WVR plan for 3mm opacity monitoring.  (Question from ATNF)


ATUC support the use of a WVR for dedicated continuous long-term monitoring and feel that acquiring a new WVR would be preferable, rather than using the existing WVR that is part of the 3mm system.  However, if the existing WVR units that are used as part of the mm system could be “boxed up” and redeployed for long-term, continuous use, then the ATNF should decide the least expensive and efficient path that will see effective, long-term, continuous measurements being made.


ATNF response optional


b)     Comments on 3mm polishing tasks for ATCA? (question from ATNF.)


ATUC were asked to comment on the list of polishing tasks required to fully complete the 3mm system on the ATCA.  ATUC wholly approve of the list of polishing tasks, with the following comment.  The second pair of 16 MHz filters is not really a polishing task, it is a separate project. ATUC feels that the prioritisation of the polishing tasks is best done by the project team, noting that the second pair of 16 MHz filters has been given high priority by ATUC as a separate project.


ATNF response optional


c)      ATUC advice on how to best exploit 3mm ATCA system? (question from ATNF)


ATUC were asked for advice on how the new 3mm system can best be exploited.  ATUC feel that improved knowledge of calibrators, capabilities for fine frequency tuning, and improved weather monitoring would help users and the ATNF exploit the new facilities. ATUC acknowledge that both users and the ATNF are putting in a great effort to make the best use of the 3mm system.


ATNF response optional


d)     7th antenna for ATCA (raised by user)


A user suggested that the ATNF provide a 7th antenna for the ATCA.  ATUC feel that this is not feasible at this point.


ATNF response optional


e)     Overseas remote observing (raised by user)


ATUC were asked by a user to suggest dropping the requirement that overseas observers be a DA before being allowed to remote observe from overseas.  Overseas users should still be required to provide DA services as all other users are required to, however.  And only experienced ATCA observers should be allowed to observe remotely from overseas.


ATNF responses required


Will ATNF adopt the ATUC suggestion that overseas observers need not be a DA before being allowed to remote observe from overseas?


f)       ATCA 12 mm phase jumps (raised by user)


A user raised with ATUC some issues regarding large phase shifts with the 12mm system.  These are technical issues best fed back to the ATNF via a fault report.  ATUC will pass the comments directly to the ATCA OiC.


ATNF response optional


g)  Mopra 3mm focal plane array (raised by user)


A user requested that ATUC consider the case for building a 3mm focal plane array for Mopra.  ATUC felt that this is not a feasible project at this point. Perhaps this idea should be reassessed after experience with the (x)NTD focal plane array development.


ATNF response optional


9. Parkes report


a)      SETI receiver - any reason to resurrect it?  (question from ATNF)


ATUC were asked if there were any reasons to resurrect the SETI receiver for use at Parkes.  After ATUC discussion it was decided that there were no reasons for doing this.


ATNF response optional


10. National facility report


a)      Do ATUC support changes to SCHED to allow easier archiving of ATCA data? (question from ATNF.)


ATUC were asked if they would support changes to the SCHED software to allow improved support for the online ATCA data archive.  ATUC are very happy to support these changes.


ATNF response optional


b)     ToO policy and feedback on ToO proposals (raised by users)


A group of users expressed disappointment with the feedback they received from a target of opportunity proposal that they submitted to the ATCA.  The users felt that the comments and feedback received back did not properly explain why the proposal was not accepted.


ATUC request a clarification of the criteria by which Target of Opportunity Proposals are assessed.   In particular, what weight is given to science and disruption to other users?  ATUC request that the ATNF response include a description of the criteria used for assessment and that these criteria be clearly stated on the ATNF website pages describing the ToO proposal process.


ATNF responses required


Can the ATNF advise ATUC as to the detailed criteria used to assess ToO proposals?


Can the ATNF revise the webpages on ToO proposals to make clearer to users how their proposals are assessed i.e. what weight is given to which criteria?


c)      ATCA SCHED (raised by users)


Current web links to SCHED information are confusing or outdated. ATUC would like the web pages and information on the SCHED software to be tidied up.  It should be made clear how to download the unix text-based version of SCHED.  A single link to consolidated SCHED information from the ATNF Telescope Documentation page would be very useful.


The following information and comments were compiled from the ATNF web pages:

VLBI help pages on sched, provides info on how to ftp most recent (ca. 2004) SCHED program from NRAO, unclear as to whether this is the same program to be used with ATCA, links are complete and information is helpful.  Last updated 2003 .

Main ATNF node for SCHED info?  Information is complete, but no direct link to download the software/access the online program.  Accessed from "terminal-based" link at the top level "Observing" page, . Last updated 1997.

"web-based" link from top level "Observing" page. Ironically it has a link to the terminal-based program which appears to work (no information on the version this is). Link to web-based applet ( does not work.

SCHED section in ATCA user guide.  This node contains a different link to the web-based scheduler ( which again is a dead link.  (Also note that to submit a fault report on, a username and password is required, preventing most users from actually sending any feedback!) &

These are possibly the new and old sched applets, respectively.  I could get links to work but applet did not come up functional (perhaps due to my computer).  There are no direct links to these pages, I only found them through a search on the ATNF site.


ATNF responses required


Will ATNF consolidate and revise SCHED information on the web, providing a single high-level link to this information for users?


d)     Marsfield friend (raised by users)


Overseas users who have requested a ‘friend’ should be encouraged to spend a couple of days in Marsfield to meet their friend and plan observations. First time overseas users should be encouraged to visit Marsfield in any case.  This encouragement could be made when a user is notified of the outcome of their proposal.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF adopt the ATUC suggestion that overseas users who request friends be encouraged to meet their friend before travelling to Narrabri?


e)     Overseas representation on TAC (raised by users)


Given that 40% of the ATCA time is allocated to overseas users, perhaps the ATNF should consider appointing overseas representation to the TAC, similar to overseas representation on ATUC?


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF consider appointing overseas representatives to the TAC?


11. Application software


a)      Archive of radio images (raised by users)


Users suggested that more effort could be made in archiving radio images from ATNF facilities.  Images archived as a matter of course when the ATCA pipeline data processing system comes on line will help enormously in this effort.  ATUC also encourage the continued collection of “cool images” for display on the ATNF web pages.


ATNF response optional


12. Broadband ATCA front end


a)      Does ATUC consider the proposed upgrade valuable? (question from ATNF)


Yes, as stated before by ATUC, users do feel that this is a very valuable upgrade.


ATNF response optional


b)     Does ATUC have any comments on the proposed frequency ranges of 1-3 GHz and 4 – 12 GHz? (question from ATNF)


After discussion, ATUC consider 1-3 GHz a higher priority than 4-12 GHz. The gap between the two bands is not seen to be critical but the exact separation will depend upon RFI considerations and the tradeoffs between bandwidth and sensitivity.  The 1-3 GHz upgrade will help fix the low frequency polarisation problems at the ATCA.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATNF adopt the ATUC suggestion that 1-3 GHz has a higher priority than 4- 12 GHz?


c)      Does ATUC have any specific suggestions for items to be included in the science case? (question from ATNF)


ATUC ask the project scientist to look at the advantages of having the same system available at Mopra. ATUC also ask the project scientist to produce some example (u,v) coverage plots to show the MFS effect for the ATCA using the broadband systems


ATNF responses required


Will the project scientist look at the advantages of the same system for Mopra and provide example MFS (u,v) coverages for the ATCA, showing the effect of the broadband system?


d)     Does ATUC have any comments on whether the possibility of new feedhorns should be pursued, keeping in mind that this would significantly increase the cost and timescale of the project and that it may not be possible to focus with the subreflector? (question from ATNF)


ATUC feel that this project is not feasible at the moment but may be considered as a longer term possibility


ATNF response optional


e)     Would ATUC be satisfied with the insertion of notch filters for RFI at the price of an increase in the overall system temperature? (question from ATNF)


This question should be considered in conjunction with plans for RFI mitigation through the CABB project and should be looked at after better knowledge of the RFI environment at these frequencies is obtained.


ATNF responses required


Will the ATCA broadband backend and frontend projects consult over the overall RFI mitigation strategies that will be implemented at the ATCA?


13. Technology development report


a)      SKA site testing (raised by ATUC)


ATUC strongly support the SKA siting program as outlined in the technology development report.  ATUC note the conflict between current site testing plans and the SKA RFP.


ATNF response optional


b)     Doubling of 6 GHz multibeam bandwidth to 600 MHz for pulsars (question from ATNF)


ATUC were invited to comment on the need to double the methanol multibeam bandwidth to 600 MHz, for use in pulsar observations.  ATUC encourage the exploitation of the full 1 GHz bandwidth of the 6 GHz multibeam system. Doubling the bandwidth to 600 MHz would greatly improve its continuum sensitivity.


ATNF responses required


Will ATNF adopt ATUCs suggestion that the bandwidth on the methanol multibeam receiver be doubled to 600 MHz?


14. NTD report


a)      Comments on the NTD/xNTD plans? (raised by ATUC)


ATUC are encouraged by progress on the (x)NTD plan and its context in the SKA Roadmap. ATUC look forward to future updates on the evolution of the project plans. ATUC will organise a workshop addressing the (x)NTD science case sometime in the first quarter of 2005, in conjunction with the project scientist.


ATNF responses required


Will the planned NTD/xNTD science workshop be useful for the ATNF?


15. LBA


a)      What priority does ATUC put on the broad-band eVLBI fibre connections in the event that CSIRO do not fully fund the ‘last mile’ installation? (question from ATNF)


As reported by ATUC at the last meeting, we consider eVLBI to be a high priority. An answer to this question depends heavily on the dollar figure involved.  ATUC would like to defer this question to the next meeting, when more information on the potential costs of the fibre links is available.


ATNF response optional


16. Electronic proposals


a)      Any initial comments on the new system? (question from ATNF)


ATUC were asked if they have any initial comments on the planned electronic proposal system.  ATUC felt that an option for adding all proposer contact information in the new forms would be a good idea.  ATUC also felt that maintaining the current system of emailing postscript versions of proposals would be a good idea, as a backup system.


ATNF response optional


Meeting closed 5.25.