Parkes Observing: The default location for Parkes observing is the Science Operations Centre (SOC) in Marsfield (Sydney).
Parkes observers need to register for their upcoming observations, at least two weeks in advance, using the PORTAL at https://parkes-ops.atnf.csiro.au/PORTAL/index.php . Access to the portal requires CSIRO unix account details: for users who do not have an account, there is a link from the PORTAL front page to information for requesting an account. Account generation typically takes several working days.
All first-time remote observers also require training on the observing tools and procedures. This is currently conducted, during week-day work hours, by Parkes staff, using the point-to-point video link to the SOC wherever possible. First-time remote observers are required to be available for training at the SOC at least a full business day prior to their scheduled observations to ensure a time can be arranged for training.
When first-time remote observers register their upcoming observing session(s) on the PORTAL they are sent links to on-line documentation and training material to help them prepare. It is a requirement that the on-line documentation is read before the training session. A list of the essential documents is given on the Documentation tab of the portal.
Observing from Parkes will be permitted for complex or non-standard observations, or in other circumstances where this is the more sensible option. Observers who have successfully observed from the SOC may carry out subsequent Parkes observations from other remote locations: all observers must observe at least once from the SOC in order to become a qualified Parkes remote observer. Currently, observers remain qualified for remote observing for a year from their last observation at the SOC (or Parkes).
If anything remains unclear, please email ATNF-Parkes-Remobs[at]csiro.au for further clarification.
Parkes Receiver Changes: As stated in the ATNF Director's statement to the community on August 12th, "From 1 October, ... we will significantly reduce or eliminate routine receiver changes on the Parkes Telescope. We anticipate that only the 10/50cm and the HI multibeam receiver will be available for the October 2014 - March 2015 semester and possibly for the April - September 2015 semester. ... Options to support a reduced set of higher frequency VLBI observations including Parkes are still being considered." A single receiver change has been scheduled at the end of the 2014OCT semester to enable higher frequency VLBI observations to be conducted. (The VLBI session in November will involve Parkes at 1.4 GHz only using the central beam of the MB20 receiver.) Parkes proposers who had requested higher frequency observations have been contact individually to consider alternatives.
Parkes Observing Support: It is expected that proposal teams with experienced Parkes observers are self-sufficient, with a member of each team being designated the Project Expert and being the first point of contact (most often remotely) for questions relating to the observations after work hours. Inexperienced teams are encouraged to seek experienced collaborators: if this is not possible, the teams should be prepared to arrive several days before their observations commence in order for observer training to be completed during work hours so that a member of the team is qualified for the Project Expert role. All Parkes proposal teams are asked to nominate the member(s) in their team who will be (or will be trained to be) the Project Expert and who will be the first point of contact after hours. Local Parkes staff will continue to provide the first point of contact for matters relating to safety of on-site personnel, the telescope, and equipment.
Marsfield On-site Accommodation: For observing from the SOC, the Marsfield site has a Lodge which provides accommodation for observers. Please use this webform to book at least two weeks in advance to ensure a room is available.
NAPA Proposals: Two NAPA (Non A Priori Assignable) proposals have been submitted for Parkes in 2014OCT. If triggered, a NAPA proposal may displace a proposal with a lower grade.
Daylight Saving: Daylight saving in New South Wales starts again on the first Sunday in October, Oct 5th 2014 at 2:00am when clocks will be put forward one hour. During the daylight saving period, local "clock time" is one hour ahead of AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time), so 7am AEST is 8am daylight saving time. Daylight saving in New South Wales ends at 3:00am (AEDT) on the first Sunday in April, April 5th 2015, when clocks will be put back one hour. Note that the ATCA schedule is in AEST, so for most of the 2014OCT semester, local time (AEDT) is one hour later than AEST.
Public Holidays: Monday October 6th is the Labour Day public holiday in NSW. Thursday December 25th is the Christmas Day public holiday, and Friday December 26th is the Boxing Day public holiday. Monday 29th December is an additional public service holiday. Monday January 26th is the Australia Day public holiday.
Version history: Version 1 of the schedule was released on 2014 September 1. Version 2 of the schedule was released on 2014 October 24.