Before you begin your observations, and probably even before you submit your proposal, you need to consider the possible telescope parameters and observing procedures available at Arecibo. This involves deciding which receiver you wish to use, the observing procedure and parameters you wish to employ, what frequency range and set-up for the correlator boards you want, integration length, any equipment you may need to deal with RFI (filters, radar blankers, etc.), etc.
In most circumstances, all of these choices can be made in advance of your observing run through running the AO-Control graphical users interface (gui) off-line, and then saving your set-up files under an appropriate name. These files are automatically saved into your project area on the ``observer'' computer. (This assumes your project area already exits. If it does not, you should talk to your Friend of the Telescope.)
Note - Your project area is accessible from any Arecibo computer, and is at /share/obs4/usr/aXXXX, where aXXXX is your project number. If you do not have a project area, but still wish to use the gui, you may enter ``a9999" as your project number. If you do this, though, you should be aware that the set-up file you create will not be accessible to your actual project. The ``a9999" project is for testing purposes only.
A discussion of the above decisions is given in the following sections.