Release Notes

Abstract

This section shows up the release notes of all already released version of DISCOS flavours. Starting from discos1.0 the control software will be released for all the telescopes.

DISCOS 1.0

Discos-1.0 (Release Candidate) was released 2018 September the 12th

Remarks

This release is the result of a huge process that involved a large part of our code base in order to migrate the control software from a 32 bits to 64 bits platform. We now support CENTOS 6.8 64 bits and ACS-FEB1027. For a mere matter of manpower, we won’t be able to support older version any more.

We also migrate our repository from svn to github (DISCOS organization).

In parallel, in order to improve quality and reliability we introduced new concepts. Our development and bug fixing workflow is now TDD (Test Development Driven), also we developed a number of hardware simulator that, eventually, will drive us to a Continuous Integration approach. Moreover, in order to improve deployment we developed am automatic provisioning system based on ansible.

New features

SARDARA backend

The SARDARA backend integration has been further improved. A better error handling and configuration management has been put in place.The data marging is now completely automatic and quasi-realtime. Support for multi-feed, full stokes observations is now available (SRT only).

With respect to the previous release the configurations changed. This configurations have been tested only at the SRT and can be summarized as follows:

SK00, SK03, SK06, SK77, SC00, SL00, SP00 (L/R) SK00S, SK03S, SK06S, SK77S, SC00S, SL00S, SP00S (Full Stokes)

More details on the various configuration can be found in the user guide. The setSection command can be used to tune the configuration of the backend.

A system temperature (tsys command) is also available.

A new command getRms has been included in order to allows a better tuning of the input levels. More details on the guide.

The user interface for the SARDARA component is now available.

Typically the configuration of the roach backend is done by the schedules. Nevertheless it is possible to manually configure the backend with a sequence of commands:

> chooseBackend=SARDARA
> initialize=SK00
> integration=100
> setSection=

The setSection syntax follows the general rules:

> setSection=input,freq,bw,feed,pol,sr,bins
where:
  • input: it could only be 0
  • freq: start frequency (MHz), placeholder * allowed
  • bw: band width (MHz), placeholder * allowed
  • feed: feed identifier, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • pol: polarization, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • sr: sample rate, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • bins: number of frequency channels, it could be 1024 or 16384, placeholder * allowed

Section author: Carlo Migoni, Andrea Melis

IF Distributor for the SRT

The SRT has a new IFdistributor capable to perform down conversion and IF filtering. The control of the local oscillator and the down conversion will be transparent with respect to the previous release as the LPBandReceiver component can set it up as the other receivers. It is possible to use the setLO command from the operator input console:

> receiversSetup=LLP
> setLO=2300

This new feature is only available using the L band feed (it is not possible to set the local oscillator in the PPP configuration).

It is not allowed to set the LO inside the observed sky band. For instance:

> receiversMode=XXL5 # Bandwidth 1625:1715
> setLO=1650
Error - Value not allowed. It is within the band...

It is also not possible to set a receiver mode in case the current LO value is inside the mode band:

> receiversMode=XXL5 # Bandwidth 1625:1715
> setLO=1500 # Ok, it is outside the RF band
> receiversMode=XXL4 # Bandwidth 1300:1800
Error - Mode not allowed. The LO value is within the band...

The bandwith value is always positive, while the IFs could be negative, indicating that the IF band is inverted. For instance, in the following case:

> receiversMode=XXL5 # Bandwidth 1625:1715
> setLO=2300

the receiver panel will show startFreq=-675 and bandwidth=90.

In order to control the IF filtering the command ifd (SRT only) has been added. The available filters are:

FILTER ID Central Freq (MHz) Bandwidth (MHz)
BW-NARROW 576 115
BW-MEDIUM 640 230
BW-WIDE 768 460
BW-UNFILTERED see L-Band  
> ifd=filter
where:
  • filter: it could be BW-NARROW,BW-MEDIUM,BW-WIDE,BW-UNFILTERED

Section author: Giuseppe Carboni, Andrea Orlati

System changes

FitsZilla fits file

The ‘’SECTION TABLE’’ a been extended by adding two additional columns ‘’frequency’’ and ‘’bandwidth’’. This data reports (in MHz) the effective start frequency and bandwidth of the bands sampled by the currently configured backend. Some keyword in summary.fits have now meaningful values (EXPTIME, LOGFILE ecc. for example). A more detailed list of this keywords can found in user documentation.

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Bootup procedure

The DISCOS bootup has been reviewed. The frontend is still acscommandcenter based but the ssh protocol is used instead of the acsdeamons. This should both improve the ease of use and speed up the completion of the process.

Section author: Andrea Orlati, Giuseppe Carboni

Change log

A change log of this release may be retrieved from this document

NURAGHE 0.6

Nuraghe-0.6 will be released on Friday 29 January 2016.

New features

SARDARAS backend integrated

The Roach component was integrated, even if some caveat must be taken into account.

The Roach backend is connected directly to the focus selector (total power backend) so bandwidth and signal level fed into the Roach are controlled through the total power component. For example the attenuation (command setAttenuation) of the Raoch component is binded to the TP.

There are 4 available configuration. Each configuration is specific for a single installed receiver. The following table shows the deafulat value for each setup:

Configuration FrontEnd Bandwidth TP bandwidth integration bins
RK00 KKG 1500MHz 1250Mhz 40 ms 1024
RC00 CCB 1500MHz 1250MHz 40 ms 1024
RL00 LLP 1500MHz 2000MHz 40 ms 1024
RP00 PPP 1500MHz 2000MHz 40 ms 1024

A system temperature is also available. The measurment is relative to the bandwith portion selected by the setSection command.

The merging phase (the raw data coming from the roach are merged with the meta data coming from the telescope control system) is, temporarly, perfomed offline. At the end of the schedule a command _send_backend_command must be issued from a shell of the user workstation.

Typically the configuration of the roach backend is done by the schedules. Also it is possible to manullay configure the backenf to a sequence of commands:

> chooseBackend=Roach
> initialize=RK00
> integration=100
> setSection=

The setSection syntax follows the general rules:

> setSection=input,freq,bw,feed,pol,sr,bins
where:
  • input: it could only be 0
  • freq: start frequency (MHz), placeholder * allowed
  • bw: band width (MHz), placeholder * allowed
  • feed: feed identifier, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • pol: polarization, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • sr: sample rate, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • bins: number of frequency channels, it could be 1024 or 16384, placeholder * allowed

At present, the Roach component does not provide a user interface.

Acknowledgement to SARDARAS development team: Andrea Melis, Raimondo Concu, Alessio Trois.

Section author: Carlo Migoni, Andrea Melis, Marco Bartolini, Andrea Orlati.

Local Oscillator for the LP-band receiver

Now the LPBandReceiver component can set the local oscillator, so the component behaves as the other receivers, and it is possible to use the setLO command from the operator input console:

> receiversSetup=LLP
> setLO=2300

This new feature is only available using the L band feed (it is not possible to set the local oscillator in the PPP configuration).

It is not allowed to set the LO inside the observed sky band. For instance:

> receiversMode=XXL5 # Bandwidth 1625:1715
> setLO=1650
Error - Value not allowed. It is within the band...

It is also not possible to set a receiver mode in case the current LO value is inside the mode band:

> receiversMode=XXL5 # Bandwidth 1625:1715
> setLO=1500 # Ok, it is outside the RF band
> receiversMode=XXL4 # Bandwidth 1300:1800
Error - Mode not allowed. The LO value is within the band...

The bandwith value is always positive, while the IFs could be negative, indicating that the IF band is inverted. For instance, in the following case:

> receiversMode=XXL5 # Bandwidth 1625:1715
> setLO=2300

the receiver panel will show startFreq=-675 and bandwidth=90.

A 1000MHz low pass filter is applyed to the IFs, so it is not possible to set a LO value that puts the IFs over the low pass filter:

> receiversMode=XXL4 # Band 1300:1800
> setLO=200 # IF band: 1100:1600
Error - Value not allowed. The IF bandwidth is outside the low pass filter.

Section author: Marco Buttu, Andrea Orlati, Sergio Poppi.

System changes

FitsZilla fits file

The “signal” keyword was added to the main header. Presently, three possible values are available:

* SIGNAL #indicating that the subscan was performed on-source
* REFERENCE # indicating the telescope was off-source during the subscan
* NONE # meaning the the keyword is unknown or the keyword is not pertinet
         to the current subscan

Section author: Andrea Orlati, Simona Righini

Alias name for fully integrated backends

The command chooseBackend now allows the use of aliases for backends. Standard names continue to work regularly. The mnemonic names or aliases are the following:

Standard name Alias
BACKENDS/TotalPower TotalPower
BACKENDS/XBackends XArcos
BACKENDS/Roach Roach

Section author: Andrea Orlati.

Continuos calibration

In order to control the calibration mark from an external source (i.e. backends like the DFB or DBBC) the Total Power backend (focus selector) should be configured accordingly. The frontend also requires an identical configuration, this part has been addressed in previous release (see command externalCalOn). The command calSwitch, when the Total Power is the current backend, has been slightly modified. It now allows for the following sintax :

> calSwitch=N # where N is an integer value. One sample every N is acquired
  with the noise cal turned on. This is the old behaviour of the Total
  Power. It also disables the configuration EXT
> calSwitch=OFF # switches off all the previous setup and disables the
  calibration mark control through the Total Power backend
> calSwitch=EXT # the mark will be controlled from external sources
  (DBBC, DFB .....)

Section author: Andrea Orlati.

User Interface

The backend panel associated to the Total Power backend shows an extended status word. Four bits were added:

* ExternalMark # it turns yellow when the external mark control is enabled
* FastSwitching # it turns yellow when the total power is sampling with the
  mark swicthing under its direct control. Note: only when the sampling
  is active.
* Calon # it turns yellow when the noise mark is on (non-fast mode)
  under the control of the Backend. This is not implemented yet.
* ZeroRef # it turns yellow when the backend inputs are connected to the
  500hm. It may be yellow during a system temperature measurement.
New Total Power Console

Figura 1: The Total Power console of Nuraghe 0.6

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Auto stow for wind

The telescope will be parked (and the running schedule stopped) if an excessive wind is detected.

Section author: Sergio Poppi

Change log

A complete and browsable change log of this release may be consulted from our tracking system.

NURAGHE 0.5

Nuraghe-0.5-RC (Release Candidate) will be released on Monday 22 June 2015. The release date of the stable version depends on the astronomer feedback, as explained in Release Candidate, so it is not yet decided.

New features

Dewar positioning

The DewarPositioner component is in charge of compensating the field rotation when dealing with multi-pixel receivers (if equipped with a derotation system). Details on supported modes, configurations and more precise information required when dealing with the derotation system are available here.

Section author: Marco Buttu, Andrea Orlati, Sergio Poppi, Simona Righini

K band derotator control

The derotation system installed with the K band receiever is now completely under control.

Section author: Marco Buttu

Frequency tracking

In order to fulfill the requirements for spectroscopy observations, the system can now keep a requested rest frequency in centre of the band of the backend (section). Both frontend and backend local oscillator could be tuned during this operation. This capability is now supported from both command line and schedule.

Section author: Andrea Orlati, Simona Righini

System changes

Continuous calibration

Some backends can quickly switch the calibration diode on and off (Total Power, DFB). Up to now this capability had to be enabled in the frontend control boards. From now on the operation is fully automated and does not require the human intervention any more.

Section author: Marco Buttu, Andrea Orlati

FitsZilla fits file

Some keywords added (mainly belonging to spectroscopy). In the output scan folder, when the scan is closed a summary.fits is created. The file contains just the main header with some keywords describing the current scan.

Section author: Andrea Orlati, Simona Righini

Minor servo system

Gregorian and BWG default configuration

When using the Gregorian or BWG focus only, the Antenna overall setup automatically configures the subreflector in order for the elevation to be tracked, and assumes the active surface is enabled. That means the minor servo setup automatically issues the following commands:

> setServoElevationTracking=ON
> setServoASConfiguration=ON

so they are not required any more. The user is asked to issue the correct configuration in case other behaviours are required.

Section author: Marco Buttu

LP band receiver setup

From now on, the LP setup procedure turns off the encoder of the PFP theta axis. That allows to eliminate the encoder RFIs when observing in L and P bands.

Section author: Marco Buttu

User interface

A few changes to the existing panels. Some parameters from the telescope, mainly from the new features are now monitored, and the minor servo console reports only four fields: Current Setup, Tracking, Status, and Motion Info, as shown in Figure 1.

New minor servo console

Figura 1: The new minor servo console of Nuraghe 0.5

Now the red color is only used in case of improper functioning, either when the Status field indicates FAILURE or the minor servo system is not Tracking the commanded position.

Section author: Marco Buttu, Andrea Orlati

Logging

The user commands from operator console are now logged. Logging system is now more robust. The management of the system log file is now more crafty, avoiding the creation of bigger log files. System log files are daily rotated and stored for 1 year.

Section author: Marco Bartolini, Antonietta Fara

Xarcos

Fully supported and integrated in the system. Integration time is now in milliseconds.

Section author: Carlo Migoni, Andrea Melis

Schedules

The schedule now allows to call parametric configuration procedures.

Section author: Marco Bartolini, Andrea Orlati

Testing Integration

The development framework now integrates tools for automatic tests development and execution.

Section author: Marco Bartolini

Build automation

The build process has been reorganized in order to have nightly builds and build status reports

Section author: Marco Bartolini

Change log

A complete and browsable change log of this release may be consulted from our tracking system.

ESCS 0.4

ESCS 0.4 was released March the 24th, 2016. The previuos version was released on October 2012 so this release contains lots of new updates and improvements coming from 3 years and a half of developments mainly driven by SRT requirements.

New features

Frequency tracking

In order to fulfill the requirements for spectroscopy observations, the system can now keep a requested rest frequency in centre of the band of the backend (section). Both frontend and backend local oscillator could be tuned during this operation. This capability is now supported from both command line and schedule.

Section author: Andrea Orlati, Simona Righini

Continuous calibration

TotalPower backend can quickly switch the calibration diode on and off (Total Power). This capabilities can also be exposed to other backends (DBBC) after a proper configuration. THis is now fully under software control.

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Xarcos

Fully supported and integrated in the system. Integration time is now in milliseconds.

Section author: Carlo Migoni, Andrea Melis

System changes

FitsZilla fits file

Some keywords added (mainly belonging to spectroscopy). In the output scan folder, when the scan is closed a summary.fits is created. The file contains just the main header with some keywords describing the current scan. The “signal” keyword was added to the main header. Presently, three possible values are available:

* SIGNAL #indicating that the subscan was performed on-source
* REFERENCE # indicating the telescope was off-source during the subscan
* NONE # meaning the the keyword is unknown or the keyword is not pertinet
         to the current subscan

Section author: Andrea Orlati, Simona Righini

Alias name for fully integrated backends

The command chooseBackend now allows the use of aliases for backends. Standard names continue to work regularly. The mnemonic names or aliases are the following:

Standard name Alias
BACKENDS/TotalPower TotalPower
BACKENDS/XBackends XArcos

Section author: Andrea Orlati.

User interface

The console will now present an additional panel (genericBackend) that shows the current configuration and status of XArcos.

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Manual Recording

The user now could manage a recording from the currently selected backend to the defualt data writer(see commands chooseBackend and chooseRecorder). Three new commands are now availble from the operatorInput:

> initRecording : prepares the data recording
> startRecording: starts the recording and file creation
> terminateScan: closes the scan

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Logging

The user commands from operator console are now logged. Logging system is now more robust. The management of the system log file is now more crafty, avoiding the creation of bigger log files. System log files are daily rotated and stored for 1 year.

Section author: Marco Bartolini, Antonietta Fara

Schedules

The schedule now allows to call parametric configuration procedures.

Section author: Marco Bartolini, Andrea Orlati

Testing Integration

The development framework now integrates tools for automatic tests development and execution.

Section author: Marco Bartolini

Build automation

The build process has been reorganized in order to have nightly builds and build status reports

Section author: Marco Bartolini

Change log

A complete and browsable change log of this release may be consulted from our tracking system.

ESCS 0.5

ESCS 0.5 was released by March, 2017. SVN release 1692. Some features are not fully completed. Their inclusion in the relase is meant to allow further testing and technical commissioning in sight of the final deployment of the capability.

New features

SARDARAS backend

The Roach component, able to control the SARADARAS backend, has been pre-released. Some caveats must be taken into account.

This version is directly derived from the SRT installation. Even though at the SRT is fully functional, at Medicina some more testings are required.

The Roach backend is connected directly to the focus selector (total power backend) so bandwidth and signal level fed into the Roach are controlled through the total power component. For example the attenuation (command setAttenuation) of the Raoch component is binded to the TP.

There are some available configurations. Each configuration is specific for a single installed receiver. More confugrations will be avilable when the commisisoning stage is over. The following table shows the deafulat value for each setup:

Configuration FrontEnd Bandwidth TP bandwidth integration bins
RK00 KKC 1500MHz 1250Mhz 40 ms 1024
RC00 CCC 1500MHz 1250MHz 40 ms 1024

A system temperature is also available. The measurment is relative to the bandwith portion selected by the setSection command.

The merging phase (the raw data coming from the roach are merged with the meta data coming from the telescope control system) is perfomed almost real time so the user can check his data.

Typically the configuration of the roach backend is done by the schedules. Also it is possible to manullay configure the backenf to a sequence of commands:

> chooseBackend=Roach
> initialize=RK00
> integration=100
> setSection=

The setSection syntax follows the general rules:

> setSection=input,freq,bw,feed,pol,sr,bins
where:
  • input: it could only be 0
  • freq: start frequency (MHz), placeholder * allowed
  • bw: band width (MHz), placeholder * allowed
  • feed: feed identifier, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • pol: polarization, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • sr: sample rate, it cannot be changed, placeholder * allowed
  • bins: number of frequency channels, it could be 1024 or 16384, placeholder * allowed

At present, the Roach component does not provide a user interface.

Acknowledgement to SARDARAS development team: Andrea Melis, Raimondo Concu, Alessio Trois.

Section author: Marco Bartolini, Carlo Migoni, Andrea Melis, Andrea Orlati.

7 GHz receiver

Observations with 7GHz receiver are now available. Information on the receiver can be found here.

The configuration can be enabled by typing the proper command:

> setupCHC

Other useful information follows:

Available bands: RF 5900-6300 MHz LO=5900, IF 100-500 MHz RF 6500-6900 MHz LO=6400, IF 100-500 MHz

The default configuration is the 6.7GHz one. Default bandwidth for the totalpower is 300 MHz, corresponding to this command:

In order to setup backend up: .. code-block:: discos

> initialize=CHC

Section author: Andrea Orlati

System changes

injectCommand

It is now available a program that allows to issue commands [RAL command] to the control system without directly accessing the operator input. Any authorized user (member of the system manager group) can use this command from its shell. The command accept just one argument, i.e. the RAL command to issue. It should be noted that a complex command should be included between “”.

> injectCommand [RALCommand]

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Support for long-term archive

The long-term archive requires an external tool to allow data and meta data collection (fits file, schedules and logs generated during the observation). The tool is called finalizer and is available under the DISCOS git oranization. The finalizer will run in the background and every duty cycle and it will:

  • check the if the lock file exists. if it exists exit, otherwise continue to following step
  • check if the are schedule repot files.
  • based on the content of each report file pack all required data in a tar file
  • copy the tarball in the sharable (with long-term archive) area

Generally the tarball produced by the finalizer should contains:

  • the schedule files
  • the corresponding log file
  • all the scans recorded during the schedule execution.

The information stored in the report are:

  • the location of the backup schedule files
  • the location of the corresponding log file
  • all the folder (scans) created during on execution of the schedule

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Minor Changes

  • XARCOS: added a new XK01 backend mode, solved a bug taht causes the system to crach on random basis
  • TotalPower: added calOn and calOff commands. At the moment these are only used in Noto installation
  • FTrack: fixed some bugs.
  • ReceiversBoss: new configuration takes into account the new control PC at Medicina station.
  • Scheduler: inserted support for integration of the finalizer.

Change log

A complete and browsable change log of this release may be consulted from our tracking system.

ESCS-Noto-0.2

ESCS-Noto, version 0.2 was released December the 2nd, 2016. This release was the evolution of the prototype installaed Febraury 2015 and contains lots of new updates and improvements. in order to have an overall view of capabilities and features, take a look at the release notes of the other production lines and respective user manuals.

New features

Weather station

The component to read weather parameters is now completed and stable.

Section author: Sergio Poppi

Calibration signal

The Phase calibration signal is now under control.

Section author: Andrea Orlati

Field System

Now the Field System for VLBI observation is a client application of DISCOS. Almost all required features should now be implemented by forwarding all Fully supported and integrated in the system. Some further tests should have been carried on.

Section author: Carlo Migoni

Active surface

The AS can now be direclty controlled with DISCOS. The low-level M&C is still delegated to the ASCU (ACtive Surface Control Unit). The available commands follow below:

command Result
asOn Activate the AS tracking
asPark park the acrive surface (all actuators are brought to hardware limit)
asOff Bring the AS to 45° degrees of elevation

Section author: Carlo Migoni

Subreflector

The subrelftor can now be direclty controlled with DISCOS. The low-level M&C is still delegated to the SCU (Subreflector Control Unit).

command Result
TDB TDB

Section author: Carlo Migoni

System changes

Change log

Not yet available