Notes on new VLBA system at Green Bank

(F.Ghigo, Sept 2010)

Fetch schedule files

(normally done by the VLBI "friend")
  • log in either to gbvlbi@gb-cc or vlbamon@gb-cc
  • cd scripts
  • CheckVLBI

Setting up and running schedules

  • edit observ.tx -- note project name is case-sensitive; it should match the file name
  • download vex file (or use CheckVLBI)
  • Start Astrid,
    • if you give it the name of a .vex file, doing validate on "RunVLBI" makes the .py file.
    • save to database.
    • run the "RunVLBI"
  • the executor should pick up the project in the scripts dir.
    • ObservScriptMonitor appears to pick up the change after you have saved a modified observ.tx file.

The Mark5C

     Mattias' notes on the Mark5C
    MARK5C - Starting and Stopping
    To stop MIB and DRS
        ps ax | grep mib
        kill -INT 
        /etc/init.d/nrao-mark5 stop
    To start DRS and MIB
        /etc/init.d/nrao-mark5 start
        cd /export/home/mark5/vlbamon/mib_mark5c
        ./mib_mark5c ./ &>/tmp/mib.`date + %Y%m%d`.log &
    Mark5C autostart has been installed -- all the necessary processes should come up on reboot or power-up.
    To update the software -- K.Scott does it.
    ---+++The control computer
    GB-CC (Control Computer)
        Execution Scripts:
        Observation Scripts (python files)
    Check that the ObservScriptMonitor is running:
       ps ax | grep Observ
    To get info about executor
    To get info about current scans
    To queue up observation file to executor
        ./execAdd ../scripts/
    Scripts for testing (does nothing for 60 seconds) (starts 20sec after being queue up to executor; records 
    data for 60sec)


  • See attached files below for e-mail discussion about the rdbe setup.
  • After power-up, start rdbe, mib, and reload personality.

IF Cabling

Converter Module Pol Port Name cable number RDBE IF input
CM5 RCP "A" 2 J3
CM1 LCP "C" 1 J4
CM13 RCP "B" 4 J3
CM9 LCP "D" 3 J4
Until we get the 4x4 switch, changing between converter racks A (CM1&5) and B (CM9&13) will require physically changing the cables at the back of the RDBE.

Using the VLBA device browser.

Go to this address

1. Click on the button "Launch" next to "VLBA OpsPack 1.6.8"
    * If you're using FireFox:
         * You'll see a window titled "Opening ets.jnlp".
         * Please choose Open "Other"
             open with:  /opt/local/jre/bin/javaws  [For red hat 6 computers]
             or /usr/local/jre/javaws   [for red hat 5, e.g., gb-cc or 

         * If you're using Internet Explorer:
         * It won't display a message at this point.
         * Please go to the next step

2. A window titled "Warning - Security" appears, click "Run"
3. It may take some time to load.
4. A window titled "OPS Login" appears.
    * Ignore the "Login Information section"
    * in the "Project Selection" section, click on the pull down table 
next to "Screen" => select "Device Browser" or "VLBA Monitor"
    * Click "Login"
5. A new window appears titled "Device Browser (1.6.4)"
    * in the box next to "ConnectTo"  select "gb*"
6. A module tree will appear .
    click on the node to the left of it.
    Click on RDBE
You'll see details about the running DBE at GB. You could use the device 
to see other rdbe at other sites: la-dbe-1, pt-dbe-1, etc...

Important monitor points

The most important monitor points to look for are:
   * Dot_Actual_Time: It is the time reported by the FPGA. It increments 
with every 1pps. IF it is not incrementing that means there is a problem 
with the 1pps signal or the FPGA is not loaded.
   * Dot_ho_Time: it is the translation of the FPGA time into human 
readable format YYYYDDDHHMMSS:
       - YYYY: year
       - DDD: day of the year
       - HH: hours
       - MM: minutes
       - SS: seconds.
   * Dot_OS_Time: is the translation of the OS (PowerPC) time into the 
YYYYDDDHHMMSS format. It is useful to make sure that the FPGA time is in 
sync with the our notion (via NTP) of time.
   * Dot_OS_Diff: shows the difference between the FPGA's time and the 
OS time. It should be always 0.

   * IF{0|1}_rms: shows the rms counts for each IF.

   * ALC_pps: Indicates if the 1pps is getting to the ALC. If 0 usually 
it means problem => no 1pps signal.
   * ALC_sync: internal testing to the 1pps signal inside the 
synthesizer. It should be between 5-6.
Sept 23: checked that IF0_rms and IF1_rms change appropriately when input IF power changes.

Changing personality

Hi Frank,
All you need to do is:
(login on vlbamon@gb-cc)
telnet gb-dbe-1 5000
[log in as "roach"]
once connected do: dbe_personality=:RoachVLBI2010_nov22.bin;
Wait till you get a response back usually "!dbe_personality=0;"
Do: dbe_execute=init;    // Wait for response
Again: dbe_execute=init;   // Wait for response
Do: dbe_dot_set=;         //Wait for response

Quit your telnet session.
But Pam found these commands did not work if coming in through telnet -- had to use rdbe_tcp_client (from login on vlbamon@gb-cc) (but she left off the 5000)


  • to run from vlbamon login:
  • java -jar ./vlba_gui-0.3.0b.jar GB &> /tmp/gui.`date +%Y%m%d`.log &

  • Note that "vlbagui" script is in /opt/local/bin for all users.

Access to difx software:

Right -- I never sent the start of the instructions:

subversion :
mkdir -p v2s/src; cd v2s

         svn co difxio
         svn co difxmessage
         svn co vex2difx

Set PREFIX env var to point to the desired install root
Set ENV VAR PKG_CONFIG_PATH to $PREFIX/bin/pkgconfig
cd into difxio; cat README; run instructions  prefix=

Same for others.-W

-- FrankGhigo - 2010-09-24

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration.txt manage 3 K 2010-09-27 - 14:10 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--1
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration10.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration10.txt manage 3 K 2010-09-27 - 14:14 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--10
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration11.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration11.txt manage 1 K 2010-09-27 - 14:14 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--11
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration2.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration2.txt manage 4 K 2010-09-27 - 14:10 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--2
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration3.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration3.txt manage 911 bytes 2010-09-27 - 14:11 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--3
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration4.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration4.txt manage 989 bytes 2010-09-27 - 14:11 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--4
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration5.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration5.txt manage 2 K 2010-09-27 - 14:11 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--5
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration6.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration6.txt manage 4 K 2010-09-27 - 14:12 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--6
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration7.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration7.txt manage 965 bytes 2010-09-27 - 14:12 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--7
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration8.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration8.txt manage 1 K 2010-09-27 - 14:13 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--8
Re__VLBA_CC_configuration9.txttxt Re__VLBA_CC_configuration9.txt manage 515 bytes 2010-09-27 - 14:13 FrankGhigo VLBA RDBE Configuration--9
Re__VLBA_device_browser.txttxt Re__VLBA_device_browser.txt manage 1 K 2010-09-27 - 14:09 FrankGhigo Device Browser
gb-dbe-1_boot_instructions.txttxt gb-dbe-1_boot_instructions.txt manage 954 bytes 2010-09-27 - 14:08 FrankGhigo Wolfgang's summary of rdbe boot-up information
Topic revision: r19 - 2013-02-05, FrankGhigo
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