[time-nuts] Thunderbolts, time references, NTP etc.

Steve Rooke sar10538 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 16 02:07:32 EDT 2009

If you can find one, a Truetime NTS-90/-100/-150/-200 server makes a
good ready to go NTP server in a rack mount format. I have a NTS-90
which works a treat and is managed via a console link, telnet, or a
web page (my one only seems to like IE with the Microsoft version of
Java to control it, grrrrr!). The higher spec models also have front
panel controls.


2009/6/16 Dave Baxter <dave at uk-ar.co.uk>:
> Is this good value, and a trusted seller?
> I went looking for "Fluke1" as listed earlier on here for these devices
> (Thunderbolt GPS disciplined referenced sources) but though I
> (eventually) found the user, no activity was shown for some time.  So, I
> went looking for the product instead, and found (among other things)
> this item 170344432395 (you know where to look.)
> My intended main application, is to drive a local NTP server (Network
> Time Protocol) as I'm getting more and more P'd off with my ISP's
> ineptitude in maintaining a network where NTP (or anything else not
> related to web crawling or email) works with any reliability.  (Huge and
> variable latency, ping to ping, at different times of day, confirmed by
> other users of the same ISP.)
> I run (just because I can!) a HF beacon monitor station, running the
> Faros software from Alex VE3NEA.  That uses NTP and only NTP to
> synchronise it's software clock.  (http://www.dxatlas.com/Faros/)  The
> results of that can be seen at http://g8kbv.homeip.net:8008/  The white
> delay spots illustrate where the NTP source is messed up.
> The 10MHz output would perhaps be useful, once I have modified a radio
> or two to use that as a reference for their synthesizers, but that is
> not necessary as yet.   I had a GPS with a 1pps output, but due to a PSU
> malfunction, it doesnt work any more sadly.  :-(
> Mind you, I'm, still having difficulty configuring a FreeBSD box for NTP
> server use.   The instructions to do so I have are good it seems
> (http://www.satsignal.eu/ntp/FreeBSD-GPS-PPS.htm) just that the system
> does not seem to co-operate, and I'm not that familiar with
> Linux/FreeBSD etc at the basic user level, let alone re-compiling the
> kernel.  As evidenced by a non booting system, the two times I
> eventually got it to compile (that takes hours to complete) and that was
> not even with modified sources, just what came on the CD unmolested.  As
> each reload takes an age, I sort of lost the plot with that method!
> The local Linux User Group is not that much help either, no one has any
> experience with this sort of "engineering" thing.
> Ultimately, I'd like to run something like this on a non-PC hardware
> platform.
> Does anyone on this list know of a ready to run appliance, or
> preconfigured boot CD of this sort?   Providing a LAN NTP source from
> GPS, for not much more than the cost of one of the Thunderbolts or
> similar?   There are lots of commercial offerings, but way outside my
> price budget, this is for a hobby after all.
> Changing ISP would be a hassle, and there is no garantee that any other
> ISP wouldnt do the same silly thing, seemingly throttling private users
> WAN traffic during the day, though they say they don't.  The ISP support
> people didnt even know what NTP was when I contacted them, then said
> that so long as there were no lost packets, ping delays of up to 250ms
> were acceptable!!
> Half the trouble seems to be, as a result of them appearing to now be
> running their NTP servers on the same machines as their border gateway
> systems, based on IP addresses and service names.
> Ideas anyone?
> Regards.
> Dave B.
> G0WBX.
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Steve Rooke - ZL3TUV & G8KVD & JAKDTTNW
A man with one clock knows what time it is;
A man with two clocks is never quite sure.

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