SpectraCyber Software Documentation Version 3.0

 

Introduction:

 

The spectrometer software is written in Visual C++ and is 
very similar to the original PowerBasic DOS Version. This is
Windows based software and does require Windows to operate.
The complied version of this program is SpectraCyber.exe.

Follow the Readme file instructions to properly load the software

on your computer and review the computer hardware requirements.

 

From your chosen folder simply click SpectraCyber.exe. This will
start the spectrometer program. You can also create a desktop
shortcut for the the desktop... if you wish. There is also a

JSSatomicTime.exe which connects to the internet and

updates your system clock to the nearest second, you could also

create a shortcut for the desktop if you wanted an icon for it.


Be sure that the Windows com port settings are set

through the Control Panel, System, then Device Manager to:

 
Bits per second   : 2400

Data bits

: 8
Parity                : None
Stop bits           : 1
Flow control     : None

 

 



 


The product comes up in Offline mode.  Go to Options and choose

Online and the product will query the SpectraCyber spectrometer.

Once two way communications has been verified then the main
Status Box will display Online Status.  At the upper left  the present
date/time will constantly be displayed in UTC or LAST

(Local Apparent Sidereal Time) depending upon the Time

coordinate selection described later. At the top are the
control and function choices which may be selected by the mouse.
A left button click will select most of the choices however there

are several selections which open a separate dialog box.

System:



Click on Favorites and choose Load Favorites to reset the settings
on the the software or click on System and then Reset to set the gains
to 1 and the offsets to to 0 Vdc. (This is primarily an error recovery
command).


Click on System and then Exit to shutdown the program and return

to Windows.

Favorites -  Load, Save, and Default:


The next item on the menu bar is the Favorite item.  This permits the

user to save a favorite configuration for a target under study.  One

could save a favorite under a target name and then come back to it later.

To pull up a previous favorite simply click on the Load menu item.  If 

you want to have a standard default configuration you would save

the current configuration to the filename: Default.fav, which is what

the program loads on initialization.

 

Screen:


By clicking on Black or White the user can set the background of the main

window, which may be useful for clean and clear Screen Prints or for the

Plot Capture option which drops a .bmp file to be included in publication

documents or an animated gif of the data.

Left click the mouse on Screen and choose Clear to clear the

present data from the screen.

 

An X axis feature permits you to use either KHz or Km/sec on the axis.

The Km/sec is now based on the targets relative doppler shift velocity
and
is referred to as the Local Standard of Rest (LSR). The LSR
is a universally accepted combination of the doppler shifts of
Earth's rotation (Vob), Earth's motion around earth/moon barycenter (Ve/m),
Earth's motion around the Sun (Vs/e), Solar motion around the Solar
System barycenter (negligible), and Solar motion (Vsun).

The dialog box for LSR collects the target's equatorial or galactic
coordinates (and converts them between them for you), your site

coordinates, and the frequency of the gas under study.


If you choose Km/sec then you will be prompted for the frequency

of the the gas/molecule you are imaging, which in turn affects the

doppler shift velocity... As an example if you are working the Methanol

5th transition state at 6.667 GHz and downconverting this frequency

to 1420.406 (Hydrogen) for the SpectraCyber then the doppler shift
axis would then be correct for 6.667 GHz.

If you reclick on this dialog box we present you the calculated
components of the LSR as well as the resultant VSR.

 

For your reference, there is a VSR JAVA calculator at the Jupiter
Space Station so that one can calculate target VSR velocity:

 

         http://www.jupiterspacestation.org/software.html

 

Here you will find the Plot Zoom feature. Upon clicking this feature a

dialog box comes up capturing the upper and lower Y-axis limits

you wish to zoom too.  The only restriction is that the lower limit

cannot exceed the upper limit.

 

Another feature permits the user to use either dots or connected lines

or a bar for the plotting. The Plotbar feature can only display in
movie/player mode as the whole plot is needed to calculate the
bottom of the lowest bar.

Plot Zoom will bring up a dialog box to permit you to zoom in
or out of the plot to increase the magnification or resolution
of what you are looking at.  You are permitted to enter the
integer voltage range you wish to home in on.

 

The final feature is Plot Capturing.  This feature permits the user to

specify whether or not a bmp graph file is created on each save

of the scan.  This does not drop a bmp for each AutoSave during

the scanning process; the user must load the scans they like, re-save

them, and the bmp is created if the Plot Capture feature is on...

 

The user can also ran a single scan and save it to produce the bmp.

A 13k bmp can be converted to a 6 k gif file with almost

any graphic software package.
 

The Plot Capture also now lets you select just a plot or the whole screen
to be saved as a bmp file and the bmp file name takes the name of

the plot on your screen.

These bmp or gif graphics file can be used in desktop publishing or
in creating an animated gif for the internet of a series of data plots.
Finally, the bmp or gif file can be printed from any number of graphic
packages.

 

Player:

 

Data which has been stored on disk can be played back in a
"movie". Each screen of data is pulled from the disk one at a time and
rapidly drawn on the Screen. The previous screen is erased and the
next file in sequence is displayed. This presents a fluid motion
of time and is very insightful in the display of doppler data as
the sky sweeps the dish. This is a unique method of displaying the
doppler data and gives a "third dimension" to an otherwise standard
plot.

 

When you left click Pick Starting File bar a dialog box will guide

you asking for the path and file prefix name to play.  The files to play

should have been previously stored on the hard disk by the Autosave

command (described later). The filename prefix could be something

like C:\YourDir\Data\Orion.1 The C: represents your hard disk or perhaps

a floppy disk drive. The name of the files to display is Orion. After

clicking select Pick Ending File to specify an ending file extension

in the data series. The file extension is the suffix after the period in a
file name.

 

The Autosave command will automatically increment this
number for each scan saved.  In the hypothetical case above the
first file extension would be 1. On your hard disk there would be
files Orion.1 Orion.2 Orion.3 etc. The start # is the first file in your

data movie. After entering a number for the start press Tab
and you will be asked for an ending #.  This is the last data
file to display in your movie. A movie can be up to 999 scans long.

 

After entering the ending # press TAB. Next you will be asked for a

delay. This represents the delay in seconds or fractions of seconds to

pause between each screen of data. A short delay of .2 seconds runs

the movie quickly while a long delay of 1 second per frame moves

more slowly. This allows close examination of small changes

in the graphs. Just enter the desired delay in seconds and press TAB.

 

You will then select Single or Continuous play of the movie. In single

play the movie runs once and then returns to the command state, in

continuous play the movie is automatically started over at it's end.

Simply enter S or C followed by a clicking on OK. The movie should

start and display the file name and the date it was recorded at the

upper portion of the screen.

 

To start the movie click On... To stop the movie click Off.

Because we are working with previously recorded plots we have
added some features here: Moving Average will create a 10 point

moving average for your plots and you can then choose how
many times you wish this to compute... 1x to 3x, which has the

effect of further smoothing your plots.

 

And finally Inverse: this has the effect of mirror image flipping
your plot data (left to right) which can be useful if you are using
satellite downconversion equipment which inverts your signal.


Scan:

This Start and Stop menu bar will start or stop scanning as well as

kill a movie which is in progress. Plotting will indicate when a scan

is in progress and will cease when scanning is stopped.

 

A Scan Rate feature permits you to speed up the scans by a factor

of up to 4x.  Basically this changes the between point scans from

either 5 or 10 KHz (depending on your upper/lower limits) to as

much as 4x or 20 - 40 KHz.

 

A selection of Rescan On or Rescan Off toggles the screen rescan on or
off. This simply means that at the end of a screen full of data if
rescan is on then the old data will be erased and a new scan will
start automatically.

 

Autosave On or Autosave Off clicked  automatically saves plots of data when
they are full. When clicked the Status Box changes to Autosave On.  The

Target name is used for the filename and the data is stored in the Data

folder. This path helps to better organize things as it is a good idea to use
sub-folders. Again an example could be C:\DATA\ORION the
program will automatically place the period and append an extension
# when each file is saved.  There can be a maximum of 999 files

which would save on the C: drive in the DATA subdirectory.  As an

example: ORION.1 THRU ORION.999

 

The path and file prefix will be shown in the plot area
at the upper portion of the screen. As each file is saved it's
path, name and extension # will be displayed. Click on the
Start bar to begin data collection. The consecutively saved
files can later be viewed as a movie with the player command.

 

Load and Save feature bars permit individual scans to be loaded

for viewing or stored for later analysis.

 

Next comes a powerful operations feature: Que. The software has

the ability to start data collection at a point which is chosen in the future.

When the Que bar is left clicked you will get a dialog box which prompts

you to enter the countdown time until data collection. An example

could be 15 hours 21 minutes. After entering this time  press TAB and

you will be asked for the lapse time to run the observation using the

spectrometer data collection. The times must be in 24 hour format.

Click OK when done.  The data would be stored under the Target name

as the Autosave saves the file. As an example it could be C:\YourDir\Data\Orion.

This will save files named Orion.* on drive C in the DATA subdirectory.

If you wish to abort this Que operation, simply click Que Off.

 

There are two powerful features at work here: first, a Que.fav file

is saved to be retrieved when the countdown kicks the job on,

and second, the user can use the spectrometer and software

during the countdown period.

Finally, now you can dump a comma delimited text data file of your plot
parameters and data for import into EXCEL.

Options:

 

By clicking Online a dialog box of settings comes up for you to

initialize the spectrometer settings.  When completed with filling

out the settings values the spectrometer moves to Online if the

communications channel is open.  In Offline mode the spectrometer

can be completely exercised using a dummy Sagittarius data set.

 

The backend unit is equipped with a relay to supply +12vdc
@100 Ma to an external noise source if required. The noise source
is turned on or off by clicking the Noise On/Off bar.  Each click toggles

the relay on or off. This command may be used during the scan

acquisition to record a reference power level.

 

Time System... the user may select either a UTC or LAST (Local

Apparent Sidereal Time) time coordinate system for data file stamps.

Each time LAST is selected the user may enter the local latitude and

longitude coordinates which will become the default for all sessions

thereafter; also one would note that the current Julian Day is also displayed

in this dialog box.  Some users like LAST displayed so that they can easily

estimate when the target comes up on their local meridian.

There is now a Continuum averaging feature which brings up a dialog
box asking you how many samples do you wish to average or

integrate for each plot point.  This would be especially useful for
pulling that deep in the noise signal out.

 

The last option is the Input Frequency Shift.  This brings up a dialog

box which wants to know how much (in KHz) you want to shift the

the x axis values.  If you have equipment that can position a range

of frequencies (like 1416 to 1428 MHz) onto a center IF frequency

of 70 MHz (which is one of the input frequencies of the SpectraCyber),

then you can have this frequency shift reflected on the x axis.  This

permits you to investigate velocities greater than 2 MHz in a given

direction and have the velocities properly reflected on the x axis.

  

Settings:

 

The backend unit is a dual channel spectrometer and (optinally) a continuum
receiver.  A left click on this bar will open it for selection just
like the gain and integration choices.  Each left click of the mouse

will change the selected mode. The choices are Spec Mode which is spectrometer
only, Cont Mode which is continuum only mode, and Both Mode
giving both continuum and spectrometer traces at the same time (in separate

windows... too be implemented later). The spectrometer channel is in the main

window and the continuum channel is in the same window (if selected). In Both

mode the continuum channel is used as a check to see if there have been any

signal level fluctuations while the spectral scan has been in progress by having

both active in two different windows.  Dual mode has the disadvantage of

consuming twice the disk space for each screen of data.

 

Integration acts like a capacitor charging up with signal and then is tapped

at intervals specified by Time/step (DT).  Standard integration values for Spectral

mode are .3, .5, and 1.0 seconds; Continuum mode are .3, 1.0, and 10 seconds.

 

A few units have the option of either 15 or 30 KHz IF bandwidth. The default

is 15 KHz.

 

Target permits the user to set  a target/filename for data and

for the title line on the plot... If the user does not specify anything

then the words SPEC or CONT are used along with date stamping

to indicate target information.

 

Gain and Offset require a special operation detailed as follows.

These two control functions.. DC Gain and DC Offset are duplicated twice...

once for the spectrometer channel and once for the continuum channel.

To make a change to any of these values click on the appropriate menu

bar item on the top of the window.

 

DC offset adjustments are for the spec and continuum channels and requires
operator input of the chosen dc level. When either the Spec or Cont offset box

is left clicked the user may enter a dc offset level from 0 to 5 vdc. The
value has a resolution of .01 volts.

 

The Scan or Sweep limits are used to set the upper and lower scan limits
of the spectrometer. The backend is capable of scanning +/- 2 Mhz
from the hydrogen rest frequency.  The lower limit is usually a
negative value and ranges from 0 to -1000 KHz. This corresponds to
red shifted doppler signals. Enter a limit and then press the TAB
key.  Next the program will move over for an upper scan limit in KHz.

This corresponds to blue shifted doppler signals. Enter a value from 0
to 1000 Khz and press TAB.

 

Keep in mind that the spectrometer moves in 5/10 Khz steps so these

values should be integer multiples of 5/10.  An entry such as 183 Khz

would be invalid, however 185 would be fine. The program selects -600

and +600 for the limits at start up (unless you modified them in your

favorite file). Most signals observable with a smaller dish will be in this
range. Both upper and lower limits will reside somewhere on the
x axis... Just remember that the lower limit must lie to the left
of the upper limit.

 

A final note about the x axis values: depending on your upper and lower

limits there are 4 possible ranges: -2000 to 2000 (10 KHz steps), -1000 to

1000 (5 Khz steps), 0 to -2000 (5 KHz steps), and 0 to 2000 (5 KHz steps).

Above we described a Scan Rate feature which speeds up scanning by

jumping steps 2x to 4x.

 

The Time/Step or DT bar allows a change in the "Delta Time" or simply

the time between sample data points. In Spec mode this is usually 1
second or less, in continuum mode you can choose as long as you
wish however 60 seconds is a reasonable upper limit. The source
could pass through the beam of the dish without being sampled if
the delay is to long.  Below 1 second the resolution is .05 seconds.

If you enter 0 seconds it will be "rounded up " to .2 seconds.

 

Above 1 second values are rounded to the nearest whole second.

Continuum only mode stores 360 data points per screen while Spec

mode has 400 data points per screen.

 

Finally Rest Frequency Correction permits the user to tune the

spectrometer so that the hydrogen rest frequency will be precisely

0 MHz on the Doppler x axis scale.  Typically the units come from

the factory with a precise clocking of the hydrogen frequency.

Port:

 

The Port selection permits the user to designate COM1 or COM2 as

the computer port interface to the spectrometer.

 

Web:

 

This Web selection permits the user to go onto the internet to set the

computer clock to within 1 second of NIST time, go to the support

site to pick up new releases of SpectraCyber and the documentation,

or jump to the SpectraCyber sales site for information on new

radio astronomy equipment.

 

Help:

 

This Web selection permits the user to select software or hardware

help on this product as well review the Readme file for installation

instructions.  Information about the Development Team can be found

in the Help About SpectraCyber selection.