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Author Topic: Atomic clock propagation question?  (Read 1056 times)
AA4M
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Posts: 5


WWW

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« on: February 03, 2009, 12:22:35 PM »

I have 2 atomic clock timepieces, 1 is an Atomix desk alarm and 1 is a Casio Waveceptor wrist watch.  I got both at the same time last September.  Because of my proximity (Tucson, AZ) to the transmitter at Ft. Collins, CO, the clocks had no problem refreshing the time each night at midnight.  BUT - in mid-January, all of a sudden neither was refreshing during the night hours.  I experimented like crazy with different locations in the house and leaving the timepieces pointing in different directions, but nothing I did gave me reliable refreshes each night.  But a couple of days ago, about Feb. 1, all of a sudden both are working fine again in their old locations.

So was WWVB having a problem or was January an unusual month for LF propagation.  OR - is something else going on that was causing the problem?

Tnx & 73,
Bill, AA4M
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W6ZPC
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Posts: 24




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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 12:40:53 PM »

I don't know the answer to your question, but I have had a similar experience with my atomic clock here in Sainte Genevieve, MO. I replaced the battery and it still didn't work right. But, as you noted, it has been operating well lately.
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KC3EF
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2009, 12:47:05 PM »

Bill,

I have notice the same problem in MD around the same time of year.  I also seem to have a problem in the summer/fall change over also.  I thought it had to do with propagation.

73's
Dick
KC3EF
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K9PU
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 12:59:04 PM »

Check out the WWVB website:  http://tf.nist.gov/stations/radioclocks.htm, they have some suggestions on what to do when reception goes bad plus a listing of when their transmitters are down.  Most likely you had interference or path loss, transmitter operational maintenance is very short term so the signal is almost always available.    
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K0BG
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 01:30:00 PM »

I have a Casio MT-G. I purchased is last August. It hasn't missed a bead since. I do exactly what they say to do, and that's lay it near a window.

I have two other atomic (boy, what an oxymoronic name!) clocks, and neither have hiccuped in over 5 years.

One of the secrets, is keeping other objects away from the clock, and the clock away from house wiring.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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W4VR
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Posts: 1190


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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 01:56:02 PM »

I have several atomic clocks.  In Maine the clocks only update at night and sometimes only once or twice a week.  In Virginia they update just about any time of the day.  I suspect the Dept of Commerce may have been doing some maintenance on their system and the reason why you did not get an update...that does not happen very often.
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W4VR
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 01:57:25 PM »

Oh, I forgot to mention that if I want an update every night in Maine I have to place the back of the clock in the window facing west.
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K6TTE
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 03:47:17 PM »

When I lived in Longmont, CO. my clock updated while locked in a metal file cabinet!  :-)
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NA0AA
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 04:24:56 PM »

We had an older model Junhens [or something] with actual hands.

It often had problems getting a match - here in the San Francisco area - we had to shop around for a place where it would regularly get it's updates.

A bit annoying really.  Ours would go weeks sometimes.

My FIL has one that he claims never has problems but I sort of disbelieve that - I think they all miss at one time or another.
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KC8VWM
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 08:01:02 PM »

I am surprised to hear that no one tried to monitor WWV on a the "radio" to see if the problem is related to poor propagation and not the devices themselves.

Keep in mind the antenna's are pretty short in these things so a good signal is mandatory.

There are times due to poor propagation that I can't hear WWV using a 135'foot wire in the air, so don't expect a tiny wristwatch to somehow work differently.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
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KE7IRN
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 10:02:38 PM »

Charles,

These clocks don't monitor WWV, they monitor WWVB on a frequency of 60 kHz.

73
Eric
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KC8VWM
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 11:02:29 PM »

Was there a particular statement I made that was somehow confusing?

Basically, I was referring to the reception of "NIST" time signals using a 135 foot longwire compared to a tiny wristwatch antenna.

But thanks for the clarification.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 03:51:24 AM »

I believe you will find they take their sync off the GPS network.  Tiny GPS receiver chip inside with a dinky little dipole antenna built in the board.  If your house is well shielded they don't work well.
The GPS network is synced off an atomic clock... hence the name.  Multiple satellites always in view.

-Mike.
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K4SAV
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Posts: 1812




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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2009, 06:58:00 AM »

Conditions on the low bands have been so good lately there have been a few reports of atomic clocks (which were purchased in Europe and don't work in the US) updating themselves, requiring a propagation path of over 3600 miles at 77.5 kHz.
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W6VPS
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Posts: 369




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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 06:15:05 PM »

Even though we call it the "atomic" clock, doesn't the beastie operate based upon the known decay rate of Cesium?

More science than I can understand anyway.-:)
Paul/W6VPS
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