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Timing Software Setup

  1. Log onto arthur (username pulsar or any pulsar group account)
  2. Type defobs to get to the observing directory
  3. For a description of how to operate the menu type help psracq menu
  4. If observations are still running, stop them (either by asking the controller or from MENU) and close the current data file (from MENU)
  5. Rename the old observing list, usually to something of the format fffmmmyy.dat, where fff is the frequency, mmm is the mon and yy is the year. For example rename psrlist_1 600nov99.dat
  6. start MENU (by typing MENU)
  7. Go to Set observing parameters
  8. There should be an existing parameter file available for most frequencies. To see a list of previous parameter files, press the Do key and type list. (Wildcards are accepted eg list *400*)
    Some examples are given in Sections A.1, A.2 and A.3. Press the Do key and type recall 600timing or the appropriate file for your frequency.
  9. If any parameters need changing, do so, then store them to a parameter file of the same or a different name by pressing the Do key and typing save 600timing (or any appropriate name). Finally (not obligatory but useful) send the current parameters to the timing program by pressing the Do key and enter key.
  10. Return to the menu front page and select Default parameter file, change it to the name of your selected parameter file and save it by pressing the enter key. For example 600timing
  11. Make a new observing list. Either
  12. The new observing list should be checked before use by typing TESTPSRLIST. This will check whether an ephemeris file or Source file is available for all the pulsars on the observing list. We are now (Summer 1999) moving away from the use of VAX Source files though these will still be accepted.
  13. The ephemeris files are located in PSREPHDIR. If TESTPSRLIST cannot find an ephemeris file, check in this directory. It may be that the ephemeris is stored under an alternative name.
  14. If a new or updated ephemeris file is needed, this should be tranferred from the offline computers as follows:-
    1. Log into an offline computer, and find or create a suitable .eph file.
    2. Copy this file to /psrdata/timing/arthur_eph/ renaming it under the following rules. Prefix the filename with a B or J to show whether it is a B or J named pulsar, and in positive DEC pulsars, change the plus to an underline symbol and capitalise the .eph eg J1913_1007.EPH
    3. On Arthur, change to the pulsar ephemeris directory (set def PSREPHDIR), ftp to an Offline machine and get the new file from /psrdata/timing/arthur_eph/
    4. Rerun TESTPSRLIST.
    5. On rare occasions it may be necessary to bring across to ARTHUR, all the current Offline ephemeris files. A script cat2arthur has been built to pick them out, copy them to /psrdata/timing/arthur_eph/ and rename them. The script will go through all the timing data selecting an ephemeris file for each pulsar. If available it will pick a file called arthur.eph (especially useful for the Crab pulsar). If not available it will pick, first psrav.eph, failing this, pulsarname.eph and finally it will atempt to create a file from the catalogue. The file will be given the pulsarname used in the catalogue. (Pulsars not found in the catalogue cannot be assigned a B or J and the filename will need to changed when this is known.
    6. Finally log onto ARTHUR and get the new files with ftp.(Wild cards accepted).
  15. If you have not already done so, you should complete Sections 2 to 6.
  16. Repeat steps 6-10 for msp timing using menu3. Some examples are given in Sections B.1, B.2 and B.3.
  17. Finally you should observe a bright millisecond pulsar and check that you see pulses.

Jon Bell
Sun Aug 17 17:32:08 BST 1997

Mod: Chris Jordan
21st Oct 1999