[time-nuts] Microsemi up for sale?

Richard (Rick) Karlquist richard at karlquist.com
Sat Mar 3 09:30:57 EST 2018

I asked the CBT manager at Microsemi about this
rumor and he disavowed any knowledge of this.
He told me they were making 8 a week (not clear
if this is just 5071A's, or includes replacement
CBT's).  I don't remember the production ever
being anywhere near this level.  The reason
for the relatively brisk sales is that the risk
of GPS spoofing means that various military and
3 letter agencies need to own dedicated 5071's.
With a large installed base of 5071's, there will
be a guaranteed market for replacement tubes.
The US government considers the 5071A to be of
great strategic importance and would be certain
to "encourage" its continued production in case
of any business reorganization.

When we designed the 5071A twenty five years ago,
it seemed that there were two safe bets:

1.  Working Cs standards (outside the lab) would
obsoleted by what HP called "smart clocks" running
off of GPS.

2.  Magnetic state selection, as used in the 5071A,
would be replaced by optical pumping.  Len Cutler
was heartbroken that HP/Agilent management wouldn't
fund this effort.

It turns out that, even now in 2018, optical pumping
is not ready for prime time in a working standard
because the lasers drift over time.  The 5071A's
claim to fame is that you turn it on and it just
works ... until it runs out of cesium.  That is
another reason the 5071A isn't going away any time soon.

Rick Karlquist N6RK
Member: 5071A design team

On 3/3/2018 1:22 AM, Anders Wallin wrote:
> Just a change to the last part of the name then ;)
> https://www.ft.com/content/10192a2a-1d99-11e8-956a-43db76e69936
> "semi" -> "chip"
> On Sat, Jan 27, 2018 at 1:27 AM, Clint Jay <cjaysharp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Perhaps of interest to the list
>> https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/25/microsemi/
>> --
>> Clint.
>> *No trees were harmed in the sending of this mail. However, a large number
>> of electrons were greatly inconvenienced.*
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