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News from the Plateau de Bure Interferometer

Installation of WideX

We plan to install the new wide band correlator WideX (``Wideband Express'') during the upcoming winter semester on Plateau de Bure. WideX will be able to process the two 4GHz wide IF bands (one per polarization) delivered by the PdBI receivers. It will provide a fixed spectral resolution of 2MHz over the full 4GHz bandwidth and will be available in parallel to the existing narrow band correlator. All information presently available on WideX can be found at We anticipate that WideX may become available for the second half of the winter semester 2009/2010. Since the installation, testing, and commissioning of WideX has not yet started at the time of writing this call for proposals, any observations requesting WideX will be offered on a best effort basis for the upcoming winter semester.

Weather conditions and observing

Both, the end of the last winter semester and the first two months of the current summer semester were affected by variable weather conditions on the Plateau de Bure. We had periods of excellent atmospheric stability and transparency in the second half of February and after mid of March but already considerable water vapor in April and May. Since the second half of June, typical summer weather conditions hold on the Plateau de Bure with an unstable atmosphere in the afternoons and reasonable 3mm observing conditions only in the second half of the night and until around noon.

We moved the array from its A configuration directly into the more compact C configuration on March 14. Due to the rather poor weather conditions in the first half of February and March, five projects requesting the A-configuration could not be finished and will be deferred to the upcoming winter semester.

The C configuration was scheduled until April 6, when the interferometer was switched back to the most compact configuration D. The spring VLBI session took place from May 7 to 12 with the interferometer working without technical downtime and in good weather conditions.

Since May 18th, the array is observing with 5 antennas in D configuration. The current antenna maintenance period is foreseen to end in October. During this period it is planned to equip the reflector of antenna 2 with new aluminum panels replacing the current carbon fiber panels. Antenna 3 was recently equipped with a new aluminum subreflector that is performing to our expectations.

As far as A-rated projects are concerned, we still hope to bring most of these to completion before the end of the summer semester. B-rated projects are likely to be observed only if they fall in a favorable LST range. We remind users of the Plateau de Bure interferometer that B-rated proposals of the current summer semester which are not started before the proposal deadline have to be resubmitted.

Global VLBI observations, which include the array in the 3mm phased-array mode, are planned from October 8 to 13.

Investigators who wish to check the status of their project may consult the interferometer schedule on the Web at ../IRAMFR/PDB/ongoing.html1. This page is updated daily.

Jan Martin WINTERS

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Next: VLBI News Up: IRAM Newsletter 73 (September 2009) Previous: EMIR - a veritable