WWV

WWV’s 25 MHz Signal Still Going Strong

After 1 Year Back on the Air

04/08/2015

Time and frequency standard station WWV silenced its 25 MHz signal in 1977, but it returned to the air on an “experimental basis” a year ago, and it’s still up and running. Resurrecting the long-dormant standard time outlet operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was Matt Deutch, NØRGT, WWV’s Lead Electrical Engineer

“We have been at 1 kW for the past year,” Deutch told ARRL. “We have had a few hiccups, but nothing serious.” Deutch said he was pleased to see the 25 MHz signal included in a recent QST article, “just like the good ol’ days” (see “Measuring Frequencies at VE3GSO,” in the April 2015 QST, p 37).

“Here at the site we have even been discussing giving the 25 MHz signal its own antenna again,” Deutch said. “The ham in me wants to give it something more exotic than a plain ol’ boring dipole. But what antenna could it be?” Deutch said he was inspired by the article “Amateur Radio Science” by Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, in the February 2013 QST, which asked hams to do more to advance and contribute to the radio art, “but the gears in my brain are still turning,” Deutch said.

The return of WWV’s 25 MHz outlet came about after Dean Lewis, W9WGV, lamented its loss last year in an e-mail to Deutch, who surprised him by putting the signal back on the air, initially temporarily. The 25 MHz signal not only provides another option to check your frequency calibration or the exact time, it also can serve to indicate the state of propagation on 12 and 10 meters. Deutch said the WWV 25 MHz signal still gets signal reports from across the Atlantic.

According to NIST, the 25 MHz broadcast includes the normal WWV information transmitted on all other WWV frequencies and at the same level of accuracy. The transmitter in Fort Collins, Colorado, can put out 2500 W into what Deutch has called a “broadband monopole,” although he keeps the transmitter running at about 1200 W. WWV has invited listeners’ comments and signal reports.

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WWV Celebrates 50 Years on the Air

On Friday, July 5, 2013 the station north of Fort Collins that dictates time to radio-controlled clocks across the nation celebrated its 50th year on the airwaves.

National Institute of Standards and Technology Radio Station WWVB may look simple — a low-slung building and a cluster of antenna-supporting towers. But it broadcasts a signal so powerful to self-setting clocks that it can stop nearby cars from starting.

The signal relays the national atomic clock in Boulder, and twice each year an employee at the station flips a switch that sets clocks across the nation to standard or daylight saving time. The station’s signal reaches about 50 million timekeeping devices across the continental U.S., according to a NIST release.

Station Manager Matthew Deutch is one of the men who have flipped the switch over the years since the station’s mission evolved from its 1963 roots broadcasting frequencies for satellite and missile programs, according to NIST.

“I feel like it’s a real privilege to provide a useful resource to people,” Deutch said. “ … We provide the standard time interval, the one-second tick, which is very accurate for relatively low cost. That’s our primary mission.”

Although the station isn’t hosting an official event to commemorate the anniversary, Deutch said workers hosted a tour for area ham radio operators last week.

According to NIST, the station’s power level has been boosted from 4 kilowatts when it started to 70 kW today, which allows it to reach deeper into America’s corners — Maine and Florida will more easily receive the signal — and reach more products such as microwaves, cars and sprinkler systems, allowing them to keep self-setting, accurate time.

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WWV Tour – June 28, 2013

During this year’s HAMCON Colorado, a trip was arranged for 100 hams to tour the WWV transmitter and antenna site in Fort Collins, CO.

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Back in December 1, 1966 the WWV signal from Greenbelt, Maryland shut down for the last time and almost simultaneously, the WWV signal emanated from Fort Collins, CO where is still clicks off the time standard to this day. Here is a link to the story of that move:

WWV moves to Colorado

wwv_f

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WWV/WWVB/WWVH Story

The link below tells all about the operation and some of the history of the famous time standard and frequency station.

WWV

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WWVH Construction in Kihei, Maui, HI

History and Site Description of WWVH

WWVH began operation on November 22, 1948 at Kihei on the island of Maui, in the then territory of Hawaii (Hawaii was not granted statehood until 1959). The original station broadcast a low power signal on 5, 10, and 15 MHz. As it does today, the program schedule of WWVH closely follows the format of WWV. However,voice announcements of time were not added to the WWVH broadcast until July 1964.

WWVH_South_Antenna_4

In July 1971, the station moved to its current location, a 30 acre (12 hectare) site near Kekaha on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii.

View_of_WWVH_Kauai_Antenna_Field_from_5_MHz_Tower_fish_Mvc-4-f

2 Responses to WWV

  1. Mike Koskie says:

    Back in the 70’s I was an avid SWL DXer. I can still hear the thumping of the clock from WWV and WWVH on the radio. I still have a few QSLs from WWV and one from WWHV in Kauai which I will always cherish.

  2. Aubrey McKibben says:

    I started ‘short wave listening’ back about the time WWVH started providing basic voice announcements (1964). From memory voice announcements were ‘only’ every 5 minutes with ‘morse’ used for the minute i.d.’s? This (then) 11 year old was wondering ‘what the heck I had picked up (strange clock ticks/morse code and the like) All very exciting really! I’ve used the station ever since for frequency checks, propagation checks and lastly ‘geophysical announcements’ before the internet. Australia lost its only HF ‘time and frequency’ station in the 1990’s (VNG) – so its great to have WWVH still available serving the Pacific region (WWV is receivable at reasonable strength only at certain parts of the day) I still use WWVH for frequency alignment and propagation checks. It’s also nice to hear the lovely voice of the late Jane Barbe continue to faithfully announce the time each minute of the day. There’s something very comforting about that in an ever changing world……seems ‘that old clock’ will out-tick many of us! Thanks for the photos and information on a great network of transmitters.

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