(PST V2.0) Help Desk Comments - June 2010

Main Problem Areas



1. I'm not sure how to add my affiliation properly. I'm typing in the author list and both my name and the name of Dr. R. N. Henriksen are listed only as the 'default', i.e. 'please contact me for affiliation'. Is there some way of changing my affiliation and that of Dr. Henriksen to read 'Queen's University, Canada' ? Or could someone just do this for us? thankyou!

2. I currently have 2 accounts on the NRAO proposal submission tool (login: flopacaud and floppy). Yesterday, two GBT proposals were submitted under the 'floppy' account while the other account is empty. Is there any way to delete permanently this other 'flopacaud' account to prevent later confusion ?

3. after i used my temporary password, i was directed to a screen to reset my temporary password. when i entered the requisite information, it just cleared away what i had entered - i tried this several times with the same result,


1. If I am proposing a VLBA observation with GBT as part of the VLBA network. Is that considered a joint proposal with the GBT or just a VLBA proposal? Thanks.


Scientific Justification


1. The NED/SIMBAD search for SDSS J153636.22+044127.0 returns an invalid entry for the redshift field. A number is wanted for that field but the entry returned is a number immediately followed by the reference for the redshift. Since the reference involves letters, the PST is unhappy with the contents of the redshift field.

2. In The PST, there's an option to search NED/Simbad for an object name. The data of the object are pulled fine except for the velocity/redshift info. The redshift value is copied over but it always has the reference literature code attached to the value. This makes the field invalid. Note that PST, after an NED/Simbad search, also always comes up with the LSRK/radio velocity definition labeling but actually pulls the redshift and not the velocity from the data base. I have only tried this on extragalactic objects.

3. I am now confused about how to specify the EVLA backend. Although I hope to do this work as an RSRO proposal, I'm not sure I will get supported by my home institution to do that, so I have been thinking I should probably submit it as an OSRO proposal, and explain in the proposal how I would do it in RSRO if I can do that. The Proposal Submission Tool Handbook (p17, 2/3 down the page), says "...single channel continuum observations ... use 50MHz (the maximum value) for sensitivity..." I thought there wasn't any single channel observing anymore. Is this just something that missed getting updated in the documentation? I thought that it was possible to get dual polarization 256MHZ bandwidth in OSRO, but the choices offered under OSRO don't support that combination. I am trying to get maximum sensitivity for continuum observations, and I am not trying to do polarization. I'm proposing at 6cm (new receivers) and at X-band (old receivers with a few new ones). I'm thinking I probably want 1 polarization, maximum bandwidth, for the best sensitivity. Is that right?

4. I have 21 objects scattered across most of the sky. I want to observe each for two hours at each of 2 bands. They clump in a few RA bins, and do not fit into a single contiguous observing block. I want to observe all the objects for the same duration, and with the same setup. Should I split the objects up up into "groups" or into "sessions" in the proposal? Will I have a chance to rearrange these if/when the proposal is accepted? How do I indicate that some objects could go into a range of LST bins?

5. I am trying to add a 2nd session to my GBT proposal. After about 5 tries, I keep getting Java-script errors and the new session is not saving. Thanks for the help!

6. I recently discovered that the EVLA exposure calculator's sensitivity values changed (at least for my particular configuration) by ~30% between two versions. I was only able to discover this by comparing to another user - it turns out my mac was using a cached version of the calculator even when I downloaded more recent versions. I would recommend including a version number and/or release date with the EVLA exposure calculator and some sort of warning (for Mac users in particular) that they should be sure to remove old versions from their download directory.

7. We are submitting a proposal to use EVLA for point continuum sources in B Config. This question relates to availability of phase calibrators suitable for fast switching. In the VLA calibrator database there are sources listed close (1-2 deg) to our targets but they are listed only as 0.7cm code W with no other ranking, whereas most calibrators have been ranked for complete frequency coverage. Are these listing of 0.7cm only an indication that they have not been studied in detail? Some calibrators are ranked W for 0.7cm and X for 2cm, so a single W rank for 0.7cm does not mean it is going to be recommended for lower frequencies. Is there going to be a EVLA phase calibrator program where these other targets might be better characterized?

8. Hello, I wonder if there is a new version of the VLA exposure calculator to estimate the rms noise in an EVLA observation?

9. In the online submission forms we are required to fill out observing "sessions". Given the changing status of the EVLA during OSRO are we tied to the sessions listed in the proposal electronic forms? E.g., I have a couple sources that each require about 8 hours total observing time. In my proposal, currently, they each have allocated 1 session each. It would be better to have 2 tracks of 4 hours each at better elevation. Can we change these details later (if the proposal is accepted) or do we have to have that set now?

10. Sorry, I have been trying to figure this out from the Observational Status Summary, but without success. I am trying to figure out the availability of full EVLA bandwidth at L band, expected for B / BnA / A arrays in winter/spring 2011. Looking at figure 1, and Table 4, it appears that there will be 12ish antennas with new receivers in January 2011. It looks like all antennas will be fitted with the new samplers by September 2011. The text says that prior to the new sampler installation, the bandwidth is limited to 2 GHz (presumeably because thedata isn't good outside that band). It looks like the new samplers will be installed by September 2011 - before all the new L-band receivers are installed. Will there be any consideration in installing samplers so that they are installed first on antennas with EVLA receivers? And, will the full bandwidth for those antennas be available for OSRO observations as soon as they are available on the telescope? Will it be available for RSRO? Is there any point in submitting, now or on October 1, a proposal that requires more than 2 MHz bandwidth?
Basically, I'm trying to get the best sensitivity I can. At least one potential proposal needs BnA, so I need to propose this round ... but the proposals are mostly A-array time.
My original set of questions was about L band, but I'm now realizing I have similar questions about many of the cm wavelength receivers. I want to do continuum observations, with the greatest sensitivity possible, and I'm trying to understand what "the greatest sensitivity possible" means in the next A array. So (sorry to be dense about this):
1) For telescopes with old VLA receivers (e.g. X band), can I observe a bandwidth larger than 50 MHz? (I'm okay doing the observations in spectral line mode as pseudo-continuum - in fact I thought that was required but the Proposal Tool doc's suggest otherwise).
2) If yes, will the data be any good outside the central 50MHz?
3) If yes, how wide will I be able to go?
4) Will I be able to combine EVLA-equipped antennas with old-VLA-equipped antennas in the data analysis (if yes, would I want to?)
If I want to propose for RSRO, do the answers change, and if so how do I indicate that? i.e., if the wider bandwidths will be offered to RSRO but not to OSRO, how do I deal with that in the proposal?
Okay, one more set of questions. I have found the EVLA Exposure Calculator. It may be the answer to many of my questions, if it has the correct information in it. Does it? If I use, say, X band and A array, will it give me a reasonable guess at what will be there in January or February 2011? What does it assume about the number of new receivers and old receivers in doing the estimate? Or can I only estimate one or the other - EVLA or old VLA? (And why does it only give output in millisec?)

11. I am planning a OSRO proposal for EVLA for B Config. Point source, continuum source. It is unclear from the "The expanded very large array observational status summary" what bandwidth X Band will have. It says the old narrow band VLA receivers are available. Does that mean I can only get 100MHz (2 x 50 MHz) (all polarizations) or 256MHz. I need this for the sensitivity calculation.

Student Support

1. I want to put in a request for student observing support along with a vla proposal. The documentation for the student support program says that there is a preliminary funding request form somewhere in the proposal submission tool. However, I can't see it anywhere. Can you help me find it? Is it perhaps hanging off the student's account, and I can't see it because I'm the advisor? Where is all this stuff? Thanks

2. I am a PhD student and am co-author in a forthcoming proposal for the EVLA. I have successfully uploaded my plan of dissertation research but have noticed one small mistake on the final application. I noticed that under 'Authors' in the 'Observing Application' page it says that I'm graduating in 2007. I think this should instead be 2012, the year I hope to finish my PhD in. However, I can't edit it. Any idea how I can edit it?

3. we're putting in a large proposal for this deadline and would like to request gradstu support...but, we can't get a grad student until the proposal is approved. Is there some way to put down "Student to come" or some such in the PST? It looks to me like the answer is NO -- one must have a specific person on the proposal -- but I thought I should check to be sure.
Here is another question for you. I have a student who might be interested in this project, but she is just finishing her first year and has not decided for sure what she wants to do. If I put her name down and then she decides to work with another faculty member, could we switch the funding to a different student? Or would we then lose the funding?

Proposal Processing

1. I have submitted a proposal today and must withdraw it due to discovering an error in the technical case. I do not see a "withdraw" button however. It is GBT/10C-050. Can you advise how to withdraw it, or go ahead and withdraw it for me? Thanks.

2. I’ve been trying for about a half-hour to login to submit my VLBA proposal, but I keep getting rejected. I requested a temporary password, but I just get stuck in an endless loop when it requires me to reset it. Can I get some help and a few minutes’ extension on the deadline?

3. It is strange that I did not receive auto-replay from the proposal submission system. A colleague submitted a VLBA proposal on the same day (in which I am a co-investigator), and I received the automatic confirmation message of submission from proposal@aoc.nrao.edu. This makes me a little anxious about the status.

4. Don't be alarmed by this message. As I noted earlier, I had some serious technical difficulties submitting this proposal, and some of the technical info on the coversheet was wrong. I had to submit a revised proposal later, but I did not have time to retract the initial version I submitted. The proposal handler asked me whether it was OK to remove the redundant proposal, and I told him to remove the initial submission with some problems. I confirmed that the updated version I submitted later as AY210 was still in the queue. Sorry for the messy outcome.


1. I should be identified as a co-I on at least two GBT 10C draft proposals in the PST (led by Simon Dicker, and Anna Scaife) however, I cannot see any 10C proposals in the system associated with me.
Thanks - when I select "ALL" for year & trimester they show up. The telescope & status filters work as expected in this situation. A suggestion to consider - if STATUS = DRAFT is selected, trimester & year should automatically be "all" if, as seems to be the case, drafts do not have years and trimesters assigned.

Server (my.nrao.edu)

1. I had all kinds of trouble with the PST during the last 48 hrs, and I found that the technical section of the proposal I submitted as AY209 was totally screwed up. I am working on this from China, and I don't know if the network connection is the problem or something else. Basically my PST crashed quite often with some Java error messages. In fact, even in the revised/updated version I am sending along here (30 minutes past the deadline), I cannot figure out how to drop Sanch from the author list -- the PST crashes every time I click on "delete". The message on the screen says the error message has been sent to the support person, so I am assuming tons of error messages have been forward to a right person already.
One other thing that I could not figure out during the last 48 hrs is the location of the coversheets for the accepted VLA and VLBA programs. I know they are supposed to be public information and should be available somewhere, but I had no luck finding them at NRAO web sites. I asked Frazer Owen for help, and he could not locate them either. The NRAO archive would be a natural location for them......

-- DanaBalser - 2010-06-28
Topic revision: r2 - 2010-06-28, DanaBalser
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