EVN TOG-meeting, Max Planck Institut für Radioastronomie, Germany, April 10, 2013


  1. Local Arrangements/Opening Remarks (Alef, Lindqvist)
  2. Approval & last minute additions to Agenda (all)
  3. Acceptance of minutes from last meeting (all) Onsala June 28, 2012
  4. Review of Action Items from last meeting (all; see appended list)
  5. RadioNet3 (Lindqvist)
  6. Reliability/Performance of the EVN
    • Reliability/Performance of the EVN (Yang)
    • Pre-session checks, e.g., sampler stats, phase-cal, RFI … (Yang)
    • NME results (Yang)
    • Feedback from last sessions (Yang)
  7. Amplitude Calibration
    • Quality of calibration (Yang)
    • Timely delivery of ANTAB-files? (Yang)
    • DBBC ANTAB-files (Yang)
    • ANTAB-files other new systems (Yang)
    • DBBC Continuous calibration (Bach)
  8. Digital BBC-systems
    • DBBC development and production status, (Tuccari)
    • DBBC experience at stations (all)
    • DBBC feedback from JIVE (Campbell)
    • Operational issues with R1002 and CDAS (all)
    • R1002 and CDAS feedback from JIVE (Campbell)
  9. JIVE
    • Technical Operations and R&D at JIVE, (Szomoru)
  10. Sched Developments (Campbell)
    • Digital BBC-systems, Mark 5C etc.
    • New wide-band frequency standards
    • DBBC IF-channel naming convention in Sched
  11. 2-4 Gbps observations EVN, EVN+VLBA
    • Tests at 2-4 Gbps (Bach)
    • Boundary conditions for co-observing with the VLBA at 1-2 Gbps (Campbell)
    • EVN stations without DBBC: how will 2-4 Gbps be done? (all)
  12. Technical priorites for the EVN
    • RadioNet3 JRA DIVA Task 1: Low-noise wide-band integrated amplifiers for VLBI antennas (Alef)
    • RadioNet3 JRA DIVA Task 2: DBBC3 (Tuccari)
    • Mark 6, XCube, Flexbuff (Alef)
  13. Field System, status and new features
    • Status report, new developments (Himwich)
    • DBBC Tsys in PFB-mode (Tuccari, Himwich)
  14. Haystack
  15. Mark 5,6
    • Status: Mark 5A/B/B+/C, 6, software, firmware, SDK9 (Ruszczyk)
    • Issues regarding the upgrade to SDK9.2 (Verkouter)
    • New capabilities of jive5ab (Verkouter)
    • Mark 5 problems encountered during last session, (all)
    • Disk inventory and purchase status – 7000 € per station/year (Lindqvist, all)
    • Disk throughput at JIVE, balancing with NRAO, Astro/Geo pool (Campbell)
    • Mark 5 logistics (repairs, shipping rules, VLBA shipping requirements, boxes, labels, etc.) (all)
  16. NRAO
  17. Activities at EVN stations (all)
  18. Activities at potential new EVN stations
  19. Upcoming meetings (Lindqvist)
    • TOW, Haystack, May 6-9, 2013
    • 2nd International VLBI Technology Workshop, Jeju Island, Korea, 10-12 October, 2013
    • ERATec, TWS, Calibration workshop, Octtober 28-29, 2013
  20. Date and place of the next TOG meeting
    • Wettzell, December, 2013 or January, 2014
  21. AOB

Action Items from the Onsala meeting:

  1. Campbell to let friends know where to find relevant SCHED catalogue information. Note that there is a permanent action item, “stations should ensure SCHED catalogue information is up-to-date.”
  2. Szomoru to investigate if/how the number of ftp-tests could be increased, as a high time priority of the NEXPReS project.
  3. Lindqvist/Bach to circulate input from Graham concerning implementing of continuous calibration with the DBBC.
  4. Lindqvist to make sure that the next TOW covers all topics related to checking out a VLBI station.
  5. Lindqvist: investigate if extra money is needed for DBBC spare parts. (DBBC spare parts)
  6. All: check out the spare part list on the wiki and make sure that each institute contributes. https://deki.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/Working_Groups/EVN_TOG/EVN_spare_parts
  7. Bach: Send out information on the Effelsberg 22 GHz phasecal system.
  8. Tuccari: investigate if the DBBC 16 MHz band shape can be improved.
  9. Lindqvist: put script that transfer GPS-data to vlbeer on the wiki.
  10. All L- and C-band stations: determine beam shapes at L- and C-band, if possible at different elevations. Send results, as well as the elevation intervals used, to Keimpema.
  11. Yang, Bach, Lindqvist, Himwich and Graham: discuss new ANTAB script, present conclusions at next TOG.
  12. Lindqvist/Szomoru: get Haystack Observatory to send official invitation to Nosov so he can participate in the DBC comparison workshop.
  13. All: Make sure that your station spends 7 keur/year on the purchase of disks.

Summary of ”Permanent” Actions/TOG recommendations


  • Stations should ensure SCHED catalogue information is up-to-date.
  • Stations should update the page of the disk inventory. (Contact Alef to gain access.) They should also indicate the disk space on new modules by e-mail to Alef.


  • Gunn to send email before each session when the final versions of all schedules are ready for download.
  • All should check that Mk5 modules are placed squarely on a flat surface when received; otherwise connectors are easily damaged when bent 8packs get inserted in Mark 5 units.
  • All stations should condition disk packs if time permits, especially those which are to be used for 1 Gbps recording. If a disk pack is found to be not suitable for 1Gbps recording, the label can be changed to 512 Mbps.
  • All stations which do both astronomy and geodesy should clearly distinguish between astronomical and geodetic 8 packs and ensure there is no ”leakage” into the wrong pool, as mixing pools can create problems for scheduling.
  • Disk packs should be shipped with one European and one US address on covers so they can be easily returned in case a shipment is lost in transit.


  • All stations should look at data regularly with chchk program, use it to locate significant RFI, report the results to Polatidis and CRAF representatives and enter them into the database, and use it to check phasecal throughout the session. The chchk program can be run in gaps, or for example on ftp data files.
  • All stations should monitor Tcal throughout sessions. This can be done by running ANTABFS and plotting the results.
  • All stations should forward FS error log files to Himwich in the event of a crash, including details of what the FS was doing when the crash occurred.
  • All stations should try to run the FS diagnostic tests and investigate the results.
  • All stations should ship disk packs as soon as they are full, at least once per week, following the Bologna Rules.


  • All stations should look at pipeline results available from the EVN data archive pages at JIVE, in particular amplitude corrections found by selfcal on strong, compact calibrators. JIVE support scientists should include a comment on the quality of amplitude calibration results, especially to indicate cases where a problem may have occurred and the amplitude correction factors are unreliable.
  • NME calibration files should be made available as early as possible. All stations should look at NME reports sent by JIVE. NMEs should be pipelined as early as possible and email sent to EVNtech when the results are available, to ensure feedback is provided well in advance of the next session.
  • Stations must aim to produce ANTAB and RXG files within 2 weeks after the end of a session. For eVLBI, RXG files from the previous session can often be used. ANTAB files for eVLBI experiments should be produced as soon as possible as rapid analysis is often a high priority for these experiments. JIVE should inform Alef of any problems, so that Directors can be asked to prioritise calibration if insufficient time is available at stations