This document aims to provide a guide and checklist for pulsar observers at Jodrell Bank to get the system wired up and observing correctly. It is available both in postscript (ftp ftp.jb.man.ac.uk; cd pub/psr; get obsguide.ps.gz) or on the WWW (http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/~pulsar) under observing guide.
We commonly use two telescopes at Jodrell Bank for pulsar timing and searching: the Lovell 76m and the 42ft. Occasionally we use other elements of the merlin array. There are dual-channel receivers available at 1600, 1400, 900, 600, 400, 325 and 230 MHz.
Table 1: Receivers available on the Lovell Telescope
For timing and searching observations we most commonly use 1400 and 600 MHz on the 76m and 600 MHz on the 42ft. A receiver change generally requires 1 week prior notice, and 3-6 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the change. In the observing room, the equipment available includes:
Table 2: Properties of the 5 filters banks
The rest of this document describes how to set up these various pieces of equipment up for observations with the Lovell 76m. It discusses the systems we most frequently use, namely timing and searching at 1400, 600 and 400 MHz. To a large degree these systems are permanently wired up and only minimal changes are required to change frequencies.
The 42ft observations are devoted to regular monitoring the Crab and other glitching pulsars. The observations and the observing system are run and maintained by Bob Pritchard and will not be discussed in any detail here. The signal path is essentially similar to that described for the 600 MHz system on the 76m. The MHz filter bank and one of each of the dedisperser units, down converters, local oscillators and IEEE interfaces are all usually dedicated to these observations.