Generating and launching a schedule

A schedule is a set of files where all the geometry/timing/frequency details of a sequence of data acquisitions are specified, according to a syntax that enables DISCOS to read and execute them. The detailed structure of the several files composing a schedule is explained in this separate guide pdf Schedules for the most common continuum and spectroscopy observing modes (OTF cross-scans and maps, raster maps and ON-OFF) can be easily generated using a tool called basie. It can be found, together with its user manual, here: Basie repository

Once a schedule is ready, it must be copied to the folder reserved to the project. There, the schedule formal consistency can be tested using the scheduleChecker command given within a terminal (not in the operatorInput):

> scheduleChecker [schedname].scd

Only the syntax correctness will be verified. If errors are present, a reply will briefly address them indicating their position inside the files.

To launch a schedule, simply use:

> startSchedule=[project/][schedname].scd,[N]

project is the unique string assigned to every project. It can be omitted if the project command had been used. If both the choices are made, i.e. if the project name was set with project but a string is also inserted in the startSchedule command, the latter overrides the former. Then follows the schedule name, in particular the name of the SCD file. N is the identifier of the scan or subscan from which DISCOS must start reading it – it is particularly useful in case of a sequential (i.e. not time-based) schedule. N can be the scan number, e.g. 2, or the scan_subscan specification, e.g. 2_5.

You can specify when to start the schedule (in UT):

> startSchedule=[project/][schedname].scd,[N]@[DOY-HH:MM:SS]

DISCOS reads the configuration parameters from the schedule, which can be relative both to the receiver and the backend, and accordingly sets these devices. This might take several seconds, especially when using the MF receiver. While the setup takes place, several values change in the TPB monitor. The last operation is the upload of the first pointing/scan read from the schedule, whose parameters will show up in the bottom section of the AntennaBoss monitor. During the scans, all the three flags in the lower part of the AntennaBoss monitor must be a green “@”. Pay attention to the “Tracking” one. It should turn to a red “o” only when the antenna is slewing between scans on the same source, or when slewing to/from a new source. If tracking is not correct for some consecutive seconds during a scan, something is wrong. Sequential schedules run ad libitum. To abruptly interrupt the running schedule, truncating the ongoing acquisition:

> stopSchedule

Instead, to stop the schedule allowing the completion of the present file:

> haltSchedule