Startup of the System:
- switch on the computer and enter the password
- switch on the AMA receiver, and plug in the white coax cable from
the antenna to the grey coax cable from the receiver
- switch on the Yaesu rotator controller, and the small interface box
which sits on top of it
- on the computer Desktop, locate the icon RadioAstro. Start
that program, click in the top panel the Open button.
Wait a few seconds until the fields in the upper centre show
the Current Position, usually close to 200 and 40.
Now click on
the Close button, and close that window. This procedure is
necessary to establish properly the connection between the computer
and the rotator controller! But it needs to be done only once, after
starting the computer.
- locate the icon ESA-Dresden and start that program
- when the main Operate page appears, click Startup System
Shutdown of the System:
- all basic operations are controlled from the Operate page
- you may look at the situation of the sky, as accessible to the
telescope, by going to the Skyview page. It may still happen
that that display shows a big black-filled circle ... just go back and
- to do observations click the Start button. Then the receiver will
make measurements every 2 seconds, which are stored in a file.
- the telescope can be positioned by entering the azimuth and elevation
values and clicking the Goto button. The calibrator and the
Astra-1 satellite are accesible by direct buttons. The Sun and the Moon
buttons will display their current positions, and you can then click
Goto if you want to go there.
- However, the positioning system of the telescope is neither sufficiently
accurate nor stable to move the antenna to the precise location. The
manufacturer's specifications guarantee an accuracy of 4°. But using the
direct control keys at the Yeasu controller, and watching the measurements
you can manually find the best position:
- interrupt your measurements by clicking on Stop
- this will cause the receiver to display its measurements more
- use the keys on the controller to move the antenna Up, Down, Left, or
Right, perhaps with touching the keys only shortly ... until you
get a maximum signal
- after each move, wait for a couple of measurements: after a move, the
antenna wobbles a bit, and furthermore there are always
fluctuations of the signal!
- move around a source - like the Sun or the Moon - until you find
the really largest signal. Sometimes, even a slight maneuver or
going back a bit may bring the best position ... do not bother
about the fact that the displayed position may not have changed!
- when you are happy with the position, Resume your measurements
- whatever you do, don't forget to keep the
- when you are done with the observation of a particular source, you can stop
the run by clicking Stop+Finish
- your data are stored in a text file in the folder C:/JKStuff/ under
the name indicating the date and time (in UTC) when you started the file.
- move the telescope to goto Astra-1 which is our usual park position.
- if you want to do a really fine job, verify that the telescope receives
- on the AMA receiver, press the key ANALYZ, then the
key F5. The TV screen will show the spectrum of the received
signals, and you will see the channel structure of the satellite
- the Astra-1 satellite(s) has a number of narrow (i.e. open) channels
at the low frequency end, and many broad (i.e. coded) channels at
- maneuver the telescope manually until you get the spectrum of the
Astra satellite with a maximum signal.
- record the found true position in the Observatory Log. This will
be useful for checking in case of problems next time the telescope
- Shutdown System and Exit the software
- switch off the Reveiver, disconnect the antenna coax cable, and
switch off the rotator controller and its interface
- take your data (in the folder C:/JKStuff/)
- shut down the computer and switch off the monitor
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last update: Apr. 2010 J.Köppen