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Reviews Categories | Ham Shack Clocks | Skyscan Atomic Moon Phase Clock Help


Reviews Summary for Skyscan Atomic Moon Phase Clock
Skyscan Atomic Moon Phase Clock Reviews: 28 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $Varies
Description: Provides WWVB radio-controlled time, date, time zone,
moon phase, and indoor temperature(C or F). 12/24
hour time and UTC/GMT option settings. Wall or desk
use and 2" LCD time digits. Uses two AA batteries and
measures: 10.5"H, 9.5"W, 1" D overall.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.skyscan.info
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W6LBV Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2007 20:47 Send this review to a friend
FB clock, once you learn its tricks!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own three SkyScan WWVB-controlled clocks, the newest of which I've had in service for more than one year. Two of them are desktop units with LCD displays, the third (and newest) is a large analog dial clock used outdoors. The two SkyScan desktops display, respectively, local and UTC time in the shack. I also have a third desktop LCD clock made by another manufacturer, used elsewhere in the house.

All the SkyScan clocks have operated reliably and without problems, some for a number of years. Daylight Saving Time transitions have always occurred reliably.

There are two tricks that need to be understood about the SkyScan (and other) desktops. The first is that for their use at locations distant from the WWVB 60 kHz transmitter in Ft. Collins, CO, it is necessary to locate the clock where it has a clear and unobstructed view toward the transmitter (such as in a window). At my location in San Diego, CA, I have the two desktop clocks located in a north-facing window, and re-synching of the clocks with WWVB occurs reliably but not necessarily quickly.

The reason why the clocks may not reliably synch when they are located within the interior of a room and not near a clear view window has to do with the 5,000 meter wavelength of the WWVB signal. A window with a width of 1 meter (3.28 ft.) is 0.02% of the wavelength and thus the window makes a poor diffraction slot for the WWVB signal (assuming radio-opaque building walls). Little of the signal will be diffracted into the room (analogous to AM radio broadcast signals fading out inside tunnels). The best time of day for achieving synch at any location is local midnight; the worst time is local noon. (See http://tf.nist.gov/stations/wwvbcoverage.htm for time-dependant WWVB coverage maps.)

The second trick (mentioned previously in these reviews) is that the clock's internal temperature measurement function (but not the LCD display itself) will quit if the local temperature drops below about 55 F (13 C). It will not reactivate by itself when the temperature rises above 55 F. To re-establish the function, remove the batteries from the clock, warm the clock to a temperature above 55 F, and replace the batteries. The clock will resynch and the temperature reading will reappear. I have found no way to prevent this low-temperature measurement failure.

Watching the large analog dial outdoor SkyScan clock doing its initial time setting can be a bit unnerving. After the batteries are inserted and the synching with WWVB is complete, the two hands of the clock rapidly spin themselves (clockwise!) around the dial and stop when the correct time has been reached. This "autosetting" can startle the unwary!
 
N0XAS Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2007 11:26 Send this review to a friend
Works fine.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have mine in the basement, in the shack. Syncs up and keeps the time with no problem. It's been running for a few years now with no problems, and batteries last quite a while. I think I've only replaced them once, in fact.
 
ANDREW_P Rating: 4/5 Oct 11, 2006 19:14 Send this review to a friend
Replacement Transmitters  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a similar SkyScan Model 87310 clock, without moon phases, for which the outdoor remote temperature sensor seemed to have failed. By removing the batteries from both the clock and the temperature sensor, then inserting the batteries in the sensor and then the clock, it started working again. The problem was that the instructions that came with the clock when I bought it at Costco a few years ago had no contact information for the distributor or manufacturer, and they didn't include troubleshooting information. Thanks to information provided by KV3X I got it going again today.

There is a web site for the distributor of SkyScan Atomic Clocks now. One can order replacement 433 MHz remote temperature transmitters (US$10.00 as of this date). See http://www.skyscan.info.

Overall, a well-engineered product, though the original instruction sheet left much to be desired. Better instructions can be downloaded from the web site in MS Word format.
 
KV3X Rating: 5/5 Sep 26, 2006 21:58 Send this review to a friend
Remote Temperature Sensor Issues Resolved  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased a SkyScan Atomic Clock (Model 86722) at Sam's at least a couple of years ago. I couldn't remember when, but the remote temperature sensor quit working. I changed batteries, etc., but never could get it to work.

The other day, I got frustrated and decided to see if there was an online source for tech support. A Google search pointed me to this site, but I still couldn't find a site for "SkyScan". Oh well... But did see that several folks suffered the same problem of a dead remote sensor.

I put some freshly charged NiMH batteries in the sensor. Still nothing... Then I thought I might try to reset the clock, so removed the batteries.

It took a few seconds for the display to disappear. Huh... So I actually looked at the instructions (yep, I cheated and read the 'destructions' on the battery cover) and saw there was a specific sequence to inserting batteries, etc. Well, imagine that...!?!

So removed the batteries from the sensor, and the clock (again.) I let them both sit for 30 seconds to a minute. Re-read the short four step instructions on the battery cover again in the meantime:

1ST Insert batteries in remote transmitter
2ND Insert batteries in clock
3RD Wait until outdoor temp rec'd before setting time (Huh, again... Imagine that, it talked about the 'outdoor temp')
4TH See manual for details (Yea, right, that is long gone with the box, to the dump...)

Anway, I unloaded and reloaded the batteries a couple of times, all with no luck, while I explored the site mentioned below for a new sensor.

But then, took my time and followed the instructions to the letter. :o

Well, I'll be, that remote sensor is reading again, and to top it off, was indicating the exact (to the tenth) temperature as the clock right beside it.

Not that this would cure EVERY problem with the remote sensor, but maybe those common ones, where the batteries die, etc., and the proper "sequence" is not followed on restart, might just resurrect some of those "dead" sensors.

It seems awfully finicky to me, but I am glad to once again have a fully functioning clock with remote temperature sensor. It even works pretty good, here in Alaska, to occasional capture the signal and set the time.

Hope this might help some of those who wander around the Internet and stumble on this site.

73!
KV3X
 
W8JI Rating: 4/5 Mar 21, 2005 14:36 Send this review to a friend
Good clock  Time owned: more than 12 months
The problem people are having with these clocks has to mostly be from crap generating QRM. My own clock would not sync with WWV. I brought in a receiver and found the light dimmers in the next room produced a buzz that wiped out WWVB. When that was cured there was a big fat buzzing carrier on top of WWVB (60kHz). It turned out to be from my computer!!

Turning off the lights and my computer, or moving the clock to a clear area of the house, allowed the clock to instantly sync with WWV. It is now perfect to the second.

I added an external antenna jack to mine so I could pipe in WWVB from my 160-meter receiving antenna. Now it works perfectly in my room.
 
COCKYTEX Rating: 1/5 Feb 28, 2005 08:42 Send this review to a friend
no warranty  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have bought three of these clocks.
Two have been good. Once set up and synched up, they have been hands-off, reliable instruments for accurate time and temp.
However, the third clock has been a big bust. I bought it as a gift for my father-in-law, of all people. It died after a few months. The display flickers, making it unreadable. It cannot be reset and will not sync to the signal. It will not find the outdoor temp signal.
I contacted SkyScan at the web address on the back of the clock; there is no other contact info that I can find! They responded at first, after some time. Their response was that they no longer make that particular model and, therefore, cannot replace it. After several emails back and forth, they adamantly refuse to make good on the warranty and now do not respond to emails.
As an Engineer, I find it hard to imagine that someone would think that their obligation to honor the warranty on a product ends when they decide to stop making that model.
It is a neat product, but other people make similar ones and I would recommend buying from a manufacturer with more integrity.
 
LATIGO Rating: 2/5 Dec 30, 2003 23:43 Send this review to a friend
And it looked so good!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It worked great--I really like it. But I've not been able to get the remote temperature sensor to work at all. I can't decide whether the engineering or the QC is crap, but with the number of similar coments . . . so: caveat emptor!!
 
KF4LVC Rating: 4/5 Nov 22, 2003 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Pretty good.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bougt my Skyscan atomic wall clock just before last Christmas. The clock portion continues to work wonderfully well, though, as some have mentioned, getting the thing to sync after fresh batteries may take several hours (typically overnight). Like many others's, my outdoor tempreture gauge stopped working after about 9 months of service.
I just bought a new Skyscan wall clock last week. It works just fine. Now I have an added benifit...both clocks receive the signal from the new wireless sensor! I have one clock in the shack and one in the living room, and both are quite happy and accurate. The only thing I need to do now, is make sure my outdoor guage is more protected from the elememts.
 
KE5GT Rating: 4/5 Nov 15, 2003 19:58 Send this review to a friend
Parts source  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought a Skyscan 86722 (remote temp) about 9 months back. We haven't had too much trouble with it not synching up to WWVB - it usually takes a couple of nights. Had the same problem as a couple of others here - the temp sensor went out; it isn't really weatherproof. I spotted a similar clock at Radio Shack, marketed by LaCrosse Tech, and LaCrosse support says it is the same clock and the TX-6U transmitter will work with it. This site is the ONLY hit I get on Google for Skyscan; there is NO support and Sam's policy on electronics is 'not our problem'.
check out www.lacrossetechnologyoutlet.com
 
W6AG Rating: 2/5 Dec 28, 2002 14:44 Send this review to a friend
Not So Hot  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Always reads the time exactly one second slow. Also always reads the outdoor temperature 2 degrees high. E-mails to company not answered.
 
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