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1. Introduction

A standardised input file format has been adopted that applies to all types of single-dish observing with the 26-m telescope.

To achieve this we use keywords followed by parameters, in a format analogous to that of the header in FITS format files. Some of the keywords and parameters entered in this way end up unchanged in the data files output by the observing program. As an example, an input or source file for doing continuum radiometry by drift and active scans might look like this ( with the `//' designating that the rest of the line is a comment.):

SETUP                           // start setup of common parameters
OBSERVER= M.J. GAYLARD          // observer's name
PROJECT = Continuum tests
PROPOSAL= 1999.001
CATALOG =       // info on source positions as stored
                                // in a catalog
SCANTYPE= DRIFT                 // or STEP or SCAN or ...

CONF    = 18NA                  // define a receiver configuration
RESTFREQ= 1650.0E6              // centre frequency in Hz, defines receiver
INSTRUME= NA                    // connect to noise-adding radiometers
ENDCONF                         // end definition of receiver configuration
DEFCONF = 18NA                  // default inclusion of conf block
ENDSETUP                        // end common parameters setup

OBJECT  = HYDRA A               // object for first scan, a calibrator
SCANLENG= 1.5                   // length of drift scan, in degrees
OUTFILE = hydra_1650            // output file name

OBJECT  = TAU A                 // object for second scan
COORDTYP= EQUATORIAL            // optional
EQUINOX = 1950.0                // mandatory for equatorial coords
RA      = 93.231                // decimal degrees alternative to hms
DEC     = 20.413                // decimal degrees alternative to d'"
SCANLENG= 1.7                   // length of drift scan, in degrees
OUTFILE = tau_1650

OBJECT  = Sgr A latitude scan   // object for third scan
COORDTYP= GALACTIC              // not strictly needed - GLON, GLAT unique
PROJTYPE= NONE                  // #JJ# trivial projection
GLON    = 0                     // "origin" or "special point" of scan
GLAT    = 0                     // "origin" or "special point" of scan
SCANTYPE= SCAN                  // active scan in galactic coordinates
STARTX  = 0                     // scan start offset in longitude
STARTY  = -5                    // scan start offset in latitude
STOPX   = 0                     // scan end offset in longitude
STOPY   = +5                    // scan end offset in latitude
SCANTIME= 100                   // scan rates in longitude, latitude
OUTFILE = sgra_1650

Note that the "=" copied from the FITS style is not essential. The input files have been made more "free format", for example the start of the above file could be written as:

setup                           // start setup of common parameters
observer M.J. Gaylard           // observer's name
project Continuum tests
proposal 1999.001
scantype Drift                  // or STEP or SCAN or ...

conf 18NA
restfreq 1650.0E6               // centre frequency in Hz, defines receiver
instrume   na                   // connect to noise-adding radiometers

endsetup                        // end common parameters setup

where spaces could also be ascii "tab" characters, and upper and lower case characters are used interchangeably, except in the observer's name.

Unambiguous abbreviations for key words may be used.

What are the advantages of this type of input file? It is:

All that changes for specific types of observation are the relevant keywords needed to define it correctly.

The objective of this document is to specify all the keywords and their associated parameter types that are needed for single-dish observing using the NCCS.

For other approaches to this see:

For the GBT this was the specification:

Observer Monitor and Control Requirements for the GBT, from

which was implemented in this way for input files:

GBT observing tables (= input or command files), at rfisher/Glish/shorthand.html

Writing GBT observing procedures in Glish, at rfisher/Glish/glish_procs.html

Advanced GBT procedure writing in Glish, at rfisher/Glish/gbt_procedures.html

For HET:

HET scheduler local copy from

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