V2 Chapter 11

This chapter coves the examination of SHGb02+14a in a field day setting (2004-11-20), several bug work off tasks, and the development of a OLE server SETI Net Clock server and several clients (2005-01-26).

Additional Content

56.Creation of an OLE SETI Net Clock (2005-01-24 to Present)

You can download a SETI Net Clock that performs duty as a OLE server for Az and El now.  You can also download two clients for the clock one in Delphi the other in Visual Basic.Net.  Also below is the step by step process of building a simple VB client.

SETI Net Clock Server

Delphi Client for server:

After you download and start the client both user interfaces should appear on your monitor.  Set the clock so that it is computing Star Az/El and you can watch the client gauges track the server (and the star).

Visual Basic.Net Client 

Step by Step for a Visual Basic.net Clock Client

  1. Install the ClockServer by Start | Run browse to the ClockServer.exe and then add /regserver on the end of the string.  My computer string looks like:

"D:\public_html\SETINet\engineering\Software\Clock\OLE Clock\ClockServer\Build\ClockServer.exe" /regserver

  1.  Start a new VB.net application.  File | New | Project then from the New Project Types: select Visual Basic Projects.  In the Templates: side select Windows Application.  Name the application and set the location to an empty folder.  Press OK.
  2. In the Solution Explorer right click References then Add Reference.  From the Add Reference dialog box click the COM tab.  Find the ClockServer Library and double click it to put it in the Selected Components box.  The ClockServer should appear under References in the Solution Explorer.
  3. Add a button to the VB.Net form and a NumericUpDown.  Name the button "Get El".
  4. Next you need to create a ClockServer object.  Do this by switching to the code view for the client form you have created.  Add a reference to the ClockServer namespace by entering Imports ClockServer on the very top line of the code (click to the left of Public Class Form1 and type Imports ClockServer and a carriage return).
  5. Switch back to the from design and double click your button to bring up the event handler.  Just below the Windows Form Designer generated code banner declare a form level variable of type ClockServer.ISETINetClockServer  as follows:

Dim MyClockServer As ClockServer.ISETINetClockServer

  1. In the Get El button event area enter:

MyClockServer = New ClockServer.SETINetClockServer

NumericUpDown1.Value() = MyClockServer.StarEl

  1. Save and run the application.  You should see the client and then when you press the button the clock should come up along with the current star elevation.

55. Creation of an OLE SETI Net Clock (2005-01-23 to 2005-01-24)

I have a *very* simple Visual Basic.net client for the TstClockServ running (it was easy to do) and available for download below

I have settled on an OLE Automation Server for the SETI Net Clock rather than the DDE or SOAP technologies (see 54 below).  This will allow me to user skip trying to get DDE to work (a hopeless task) and not move to SOAP which would require a web server.  OLE is a well developed technology and is fully supported by Delphi version 6.  D6 contains a Type-Library Editor that seems to work well and with it I can create both a server and a client.

To this point I have created a Dummy Clock Server and test clock client, both in Delphi and they seem to work with each other.  The next step is to create a test client in Visual Basic.net to assess the difficulty in this task.  I need help on this part.

You should be able to adjust the knob on the Server and then when you press the Get Elevation button  on the Client the meter movement should jump up.

eMail Me when you have this running and put the word SETI in the title somewhere to help my spam filter.

54.New Version of SETI Net Clock (2005-01-10 to 2005-01-22)

During a two week RV trip to southern Utah (too damn cold) I was able to make some decisions and initial coding on a new version of the SETI Net Clock.  This is what I propose:

1. In Drift Scan mode you will see a line on the Sky Map that is the width of your antennas beam.  This line will stretch from the minimum and maximum of elevation of your meridian transit antenna.  On that line will be an indicator showing the current antenna elevation that you input to the clock. The line will move across the Sky Map as time changes.  RA and elevation can be read directly from the screen.  It will work the same even if you have set the azimuth to something other than true north (or south).  Using your mouse you will be able to read the necessary elevation to point to a particular RA.  The Sky Map will show the stars positions as closely as I can in DEC and RA but because of the deformation of the Mercator projection they will not be very accurate.

2. In Bird Bath mode there will be an indicator showing the current antenna Sky Map point at 360 AZ, 90 El.  The indicator will show the beam width of your antenna and will move as time changes.

3, In a fully steerable Az/El mount I will show the possible coverage area, the current point on the Sky Map and the beam width of your antenna.  The coverage area will move across the map as time changes along with the current Sky map point.

4. will also include the ability to connect to the clock from some other program, written in Visual Basic, C, C++, C#, using DDE.  Using this connection, you will be able to extract the current Az/El setting from the clock and control the azimuth, the elevation, or both on your steerable antenna.  I will also include the ability to select a point in the Sky Map and track it.  The Az/El output of the clock will change to correspond to the position of that point every second.

5. I will provide example DDE connection code in Delphi.  I will attempt to provide DDE connection code examples in Visual Basic or any other languages if I can get some help from any volunteers willing to work with me.

2005-01-18 Version 2.9 of the clock is available for download now (up one page).  This version does not have the DDE interface - that is still under consideration but the other functions work much better now.  Download and comments please.

2005-01-19 I had some problems with the installer (its very confusing to use) so the users weren't able to see the Sky Map and the Antenna Parameters forms.  Version 2.9.1 seems to clear that up.  This is an interim release until I can get the 'other program' interface running.  Right now I am working on a COM interface rather than the DDE.

53.Continue Development of SETI Software (2004-11-20 to 2005-01-10)

Now that the antenna is back on line I am building another To Do list of bugs still in the main SETI software.

Item Problem Solution
1. Need to 'remember' the Antenna Parameters on start up Added the SETI Clock to the start up menu.  This solves the problem with registration of the antenna parameters - they are set by the clock coming up.
2 If the PIC modules go off line the system exception trail is broken and it goes into an endless problem reporting loop (TBD)
3. Fix warning horn when antenna system comes on line Found new wav files and moved them to the SETI Build directory.
4. Remove Test button and label from antenna form Done.
5. Set the Antenna Parameters to the actual parameters of this system at start up (Az Max, El Max etc.) Solved when Antenna Parameters are stored in the system registry.
6. Switching the Antenna Type from Birdbath to Drift and back to Az/El causes the whole thing to loose its place on the Sky Map (IN WORK see above)
7. Changing the Antenna Parameters does not refresh the Sky Map  
8. Once closed the Clock will not restart Added frmClock.Visible := True; in the Main speedbutton

52. Repair of Antenna Control System Drags On (2004-11-17 to 2004-11-20) - I have given up on using two 24V 50 watt supplies.  They simply don't pack the power to move both and Az and El motors at the same time.  I have found a 40 V 120 Watt (about 3 1/2 amps) power supply at one of the local surplus stores and have it install in the outside control case.  Now I have to get the two PIC controllers running again and I'll be back in business.

It turned out that one of the PIC controllers had a blown copper trace on the P.C. board so that the high current amplifier was not being powered up.  Once fixed the antenna came back on line and is now fully controllable.

51. Repair of Antenna Control System (2004-11-01 to 2004-11-16) - We had rain in San Diego (a very rare thing) and water must have gotten into the control box for the antenna.  I have pulled out the 400 watt power supply and am attempting to fix it along with experimenting with dual 24 volt, 2 Amp supplies rather than the huge 400 watt switcher.  Its not going well.

It rained

After setting a local record for lack of moisture of any kind (180 days) the next day we had a deluge.  It put down over an inch in one day (I know that doesn't impress people in most parts of the world but its a lot for here) and everything that could leak - has.

Now I can't access either of the Kerr control boards in the control box.  One of them has a blown high power amplifier in it but luckily I have several replacements.  I have removed the control cards to my work bench and trying to troubleshoot them now.

After spending several hours trying to find out why only one of the two Kerr control boards could be accessed over the RS-232 link I relearned the reason.  The twin headers are not symmetrical.

  Jumper Interconnect correctly

This shows the correct jumper connection (note to self:  Don't relearn this again)

50. Bug Work Off (2004-10-22 to 2004-11-01)

I have worked off all the field day bugs and the SML Generator is ready for download.  I have also updated the Clock but it will require more work.   The SETI Clock is running again and can be downloaded from the start page.

Somehow I managed to blow up the archive and the chat room (at the same time).  I'll work on getting these back on line.

49. Bug Work Off (2004-09-03 to 2004-10-22)

The field day exercise around  SHGb02+14a has produced a list of bugs that need to be worked off.  This is the list:

  1. Add note field on the receiver - Need to add a couple of note fields in SML.  These are needed to describe things that can't be noted with check boxes and numbers.
  2. Add Upper/Lower/AM/FM/ on the receiver - I don't know why I didn't put this into SML but its needed
  3. Set up receiver step size to 10 Hz - My receiver defaults to a 10 kHz step size.  I will find a way to set it to 10 Hz step
  4. Waterfall function fails - This function has its problems.  It is an important function but its not clear that it should be a separate module.  It might be better suited to be part of the Spectrum Analyzer.  That is decision that needs to be made.
  5. Clock needs to report DEC/RA as "below horizon" - When the user sets a Dec/RA value and converts it to Az/El the clock should report when the El is negative
  6. Receiver not controlling the radio - The Receiver Delphi module is not (for some reason) not controlling the WiNRADiO.  I think this module needs to be rewritten.
  7. Starting SETI brings up two Spec Ana's - This has to be a simple fix - somewhere - FIXED
  8. Find out what the maximum buffer size can be during recording. - I notice that the Spectrum Analyzer 'takes over' the processor after a few minutes of recording.  The processor use approaches 100% and data is lost.  This has to be resolved or limited
  9. Date/Time not correct on Data set - The SML generated contains a Date/Time tag for the data and a different one for the file itself.  This has to be resolved.
  10. SETI Clock location conversation incorrect.  The dialog box the includes spinners is not converting to Decimal correctly.  This was reported by a user but I have lost his name.  Thanks anyway.

Field Day

SETI Field Day

I've decided to treat  SHGb02+14a the way a ham would treat field day.
Field day is about going out with your ham rig to some high mountain and setting to run portable.  Then there is a contest to make connections with other field day stations and you exchange call signs, signal reports and a the number of field day contacts you have made so far in the contest.  The next month the winners have a mention in QST.
The real reason for field day is not the contest but to keep a cadre of operators trained up and ready to 'go remote' in case of an emergency.  It makes you know the current condition of your equipment, like; 'where did all the guy wires go from last year', 'how long has my soldering iron been broken', etc.  After a field day adventure your a better operator.  At least that's the idea.
So I'm attempting to configure my station for SHGb02+14a as if it were a field day contest.  So far the results are not good.  Since the software is all my own you would think I'd have it under control.  You'd be wrong.  I have software glitches everywhere and version problems enough for all.   
As I work on the station I'm also keeping a "To Do" list of problems that I come across.  The first was that I didn't have a preconfigured SML file that I could use to tag the wave files that I expect to generate.  So I had to rummage around in my paper data files for things like the LNA gain and noise figure, receiver model, that kind of stuff.  I'm also finding the I wish I had more note fields in SML so that I could keep track of things that can't be described except in words. 
At the end of this field day the most important thing I'll have (unless of course I actually hear something) will be the To Do list.  If I work off the problems then I'll be better able to get up and running the next time.