I develop a method for assessing the ability of an instrument, coupled with an observing strategy, to measure the angular power spectrum of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). It allows for efficient calculation of expected parameter uncertainties. Related to this method is a means of graphically presenting, via the “eigenmode window function”, the sensitivity of an observation to different regions of the spectrum, which is a generalization of the traditional practice of presenting the trace of the window function. I apply these techniques to a balloon-borne bolometric instrument to be flown this spring (MSAM2). I find that a smoothly scanning secondary is better than a chopping one and that, in this case, a very simple analytic formula provides a good (40 % or better) approximation to expected power spectrum uncertainties.
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