Australia Telescope Users Committee

Report to the Director on the meeting held at the Australia Telescope National Facility,
Epping NSW on Friday 17 May 1996.

The AT Users Committee meeting commenced at 0845 and ended at 1500. Present were Professor P M McCulloch (chair), Drs M Arnobaldi, L Ball, C Heisler, K Jones, P Jones, N Killeen, M Mazzolini, R Norris, J Reynolds (secretary), S Ryder, E Sadler and P Wood.

Apologies were received from Professor K Freeman, Dr R Clay, Dr S Johnston, Dr R Vaile and Dr A Wright.

After preliminary discussions the meeting was open to any interested users from 0900.

The Chairman welcomed new members Drs Bland-Hawthorn, Heisler, Killeen and Ryder.

Matters arising from the Director's comments on the previous ATUC report.

1. ATUC notes that the provision of a Web page is a big improvement in information to the users but is confusing to non-experts and requests that continuing efforts be made to enable the non-expert to find information on important changes and key items for future discussion.

2. ATUC notes that a special workstation is now available for remote observing but expresses concern at the lack of suitable documentation.

3. ATUC supports the Director and congratulates him on his efforts to continue negotiations for access to SEST.

4. ATUC notes that considerable progress has been made towards making the AT archive information available on the Web but feels that more work is needed.

5. ATUC acknowledges the response of the multibeam group and applauds their decision to release calibrated data but reiterates its request that pulsar positions and periods be made available.

Business matters:

6. ATUC is concerned about the polarisation performance of the CA at 13cm during the upgrade of the 20/13cm system. The ATUC would like an assessment as to whether it is possible to correct for the polarisation performance of a mixed array and requests that users should be alerted as to the effects of this upgrade.

7. ATUC agrees with the concept of a joint ATNF/AAO symposium and Users Meeting during the week of the 11th/12th March 1997.

8. ATUC endorses the draft resource allocation for the MNRF and congratulates the ATNF on its user involvement. However the committee expresses its concern at the reported demise of the Chinese maser in light of the AT's VSOP commitments and its effect on LBA operation. ATUC requests that the Director re-examine the need for the focal plane array in the light of this development.

9. ATUC finds the option of a wide frequency coverage, single polarisation system at 3mm very interesting and requests that ATNF perform a feasibility study of these options so that ATUC can make an informed recommendation.

10. ATUC considered the list of requests for future developments not funded by the MNRF and gave the following rankings:

Compact Array
1 ... 20/13 cm upgrade
3 ... Narrowband B/E
1 ... Pulsar B/E
1 ... 7mm on two antennas (project VERA)

0 ... 21cm multibeam
3 ... 7mm upgrade studies
- ... pulsar multibeam down converter (not rated)
2 ... Pulsar correlator
2 ... 11/50cm receiver

0 ... 3mm receiver
3 ... 7mm receiver
3 ... Simultaneous 13/3cm

2 ... Hydrogen masers (P,H)
1 ... Hydrogen maser (M)
3 ... S2 recorder (Mauna Kea)

11. ATUC considered a report from Dr Blair on the status of VLBI in Perth. ATUC recognises the importances of the VLBI antenna at Perth but does not believe that funding a half-time lectureship at Perth is a cost-effective solution for VLBI in Perth. ATUC suggests that the ATNF should not make any commitment till the results of the University of Tasmania Special Research Centre application are known.

12. ATUC asks the Director to review the wind-stow limits currently in effect at the Compact Array, to determine whether observing time is being lost unnecessarily.

P M McCulloch

Last updated: 12 July 1996