[time-nuts] Loss of NIST transmitters at Colorado and Hawaii

Nick Sayer nsayer at kfu.com
Fri Sep 7 16:24:27 EDT 2018


My own perspective is that embedded devices with WiFi present a monstrous user interface barrier. You have to somehow communicate the WiFi SSID and WPA credentials to the device. Some embedded things have displays and input methods and can at least use the “ouija board” method (which is still a pain in the keister), but truly embedded things like wall clocks? There you’re going to have to rely on ugly hacks like “set up networks” with web servers running on them and so on. It’s a mess at best.

Where the embedded device provides value sufficient to overcome the barriers, then it makes sense. I have a whole bunch of IoT devices in our house and the added convenience they give made it absolutely worth the configuration steps asked. But a wall clock? I can imagine the negative Amazon reviews already.

Others have argued for GPS clocks. GPS is certainly an alternative to WWVB, but it has a different set of challenges and benefits. It’s far, far more accurate, but it’s also more expensive, requires better antenna placement and requires enough power that a battery operated clock isn’t terribly practical, certainly compared to WWVB.

I can *kinda* see the impetus behind shuttering WWVH and perhaps WWV. But WWVB is currently used by hundreds of thousands if not millions of devices. I think it’s kind of a rotten deal to just pull the plug on them without at least a number of years of warning.

> On Aug 13, 2018, at 5:07 AM, Tim Shoppa <tshoppa at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> While consumer WWVB clocks are widespread today, almost all (or all) professional clock displays have shifted to NTP over copper or over sometimes WIFI in the past decade.
> 
> WWVB or WWV, without an external antenna, was never a good choice for a clock in a steel building to begin with. 30 years ago you would put an HF or GOES antenna on the roof. As the paperwork for putting up an antenna has multiplied exponentially and Ethernet has become completely and totally ubiquitous in commercial buildings, it becomes a no brainer to choose a POE NTP clock display.
> 
> While NTP works super well for locations with 120VAC or POE power, it is not so obvious for a wallclock that is traditionally powered by a battery that only has to be changed every few years. For battery powered wallclocks in wood buiildings WWVB is still a great solution maybe even the only solution. But I could imagine a consumer product that just turned on its WIFI for a minute each day to resync and was battery powered.
> 
> Tim N3QE
> 
>> On Aug 13, 2018, at 12:28 AM, Richard (Rick) Karlquist <richard at karlquist.com> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>> On 8/12/2018 6:55 PM, John C. Westmoreland, P.E. wrote:
>>> I hope this does not happen.  I get questions from new Hams that ask, 'How
>>> can I check my antenna easily?' - the quick reply is to check for WWV on
>>> 2.5, 5,0, 10.0, 15.0 and 20.0 MHz.
>> 
>> W1AW is far more useful to check ham antennas, since it broadcasts
>> on ham bands, so that isn't a useful argument.
>> 
>> OTOH, the argument that it is OK to obsolete millions of "atomic"
>> clocks because of NTP is also weak.  The present WWVB solution
>> is "just right" for the problem; the vast majority of users
>> don't need more accuracy.
>> 
>> Rick N6RK
>> 
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