Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...
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  1. #1
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    Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    I have a new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive, which I've had for about two weeks. Unfortunately, so far I've been unable to get the "radio control" function to work (that is, to successfully register an "OK"), though I've been able to set the watch manually and so far it seems to be keeping good time on its own.

    Each morning, when I wake up at ~6:00 am, pressing & releasing the "A" button results in the second hand pointing to the "NO", meaning that morning's earlier 2:00 am (and presumably that morning's subsequent follow-up 3:00 am) automatic attempts to receive the time signal failed. And whenever, throughout the day, I try to manually receive the time signal, although I easily & properly get the second hand to point to "RX" by pressing and holding the "A" button for just over 2 seconds, when the normal time indication resumes after a few minutes and when I then press and release the "A" button, the second hand then always points to "NO", meaning that last attempt to receive the time signal failed once again.


    - I live in a two story wood frame house on a hilltop in Seattle, WA - with direct, unobstructed, line of sight toward the east (i.e. toward Ft. Collins Colorado).


    - The watch's manual shows Seattle within the range of the Ft. Collins time signal (though toward the western edge of its range).


    - The watch is set to Seattle's Pacific Time Zone, just one time zone west of Ft. Collins' Mountain Time Zone.


    - At night, I've been keeping the watch in our second story window (wood window frame, unscreened), with the watch's "9:00" facing out the window to the east, with a clear view of the Cascade Mountains in the distance, ~30 miles away, due east.


    - The watch is fully charged.


    - There are no nearby high tension power lines (though there are regular above-ground residential telephone/cable/power lines on poles on the street in front of the house).


    Should I be having this much trouble receiving the Ft. Collins time signal under these conditions here in Seattle?


    Is this likely just a "reception" problem or is it more likely that there is something is wrong with the watch?


    Thanks in advance for any input.
    Last edited by r-gordon-7; February 22nd, 2017 at 15:23.

  2. #2
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    Have you contacted Citizen customer service? They are quite good at prompt, helpful replies.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    Thanks, SnookDawgg, I've sent a detailed email to Citizen (customerservice_us@citizenwatch.com ) and am awaiting a reply.

  4. #4
    Member GaryK30's Avatar
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    The time sync failure could also be due to local RFI (radio frequency interference). Many devices can cause this, including switching power supplies (used in most wall warts/chargers), routers, modems, TVs, PCs, dimmer switches, fluorescent lights and many others.

    One time the charger (floor wart) for my neighbor's laptop went bad. It generated so much RFI onto the local electrical grid that is prevented all of my radio-controlled watches from syncing and also obliterated many of my strong, local AM stations. Once he replaced the bad power supply everything returned to normal.

    Here are a couple useful links related to AM radio noise:

    https://news.ccrane.com/2013/06/21/a...ms-and-static/

    AM Antennas and Radio Noise | C. Crane

    If you have an AM radio, tune it to the low end of the band and see if you hear a lot of buzzing noise in the room where you're having trouble getting the watch to sync. WWVB broadcasts a longwave signal, but it's still AM mode and sensitive to RFI.

    Another possibility is weather (for example, thunderstorms between you and Colorado), but in this case I would think over a two week period the watch would have synced at least a few times.

  5. #5
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    Are you sure that's not a listening device causing the radio to buzz? ;)

    r-gordon-7, would you let us know what you find out? I'm also in Seattle and contemplating a Citizen with AT or Satellite Wave tech...


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  6. #6
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    Thanks, Gary. I do listen to various AM radios located throughout the house, including several often tuned to stations toward the lower end of the AM broadcast dial, all without any noticeable RF interference. Unfortunately, BTW, this is my only radio-controlled clock or watch, so I have no way to compare its performance to any others,

    Interestingly an on-line gov't publication on WWVB (
    https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division/popular-links/help-radio-controlled-clocks) states in pertinent part, "... it takes a full minute to send a complete time code, or a message that tells the clock the current date and time. When you turn a radio controlled clock on, it will probably miss the first time code, so it usually takes more than one minute to set itself (sometimes 5 minutes or longer) depending on the signal quality and the receiver design." And, I note that the watch's manual also states, "Press or hold the lower right button (A) for two or more seconds... and on-demand reception starts. (2-15 minutes)"

    I mis-spoke a bit in my initial post's description of how long it takes for my watch to automatically revert from "RX" to "normal time indication" while I am trying to manually receive the Time Signal. Actually, the time my watch spends in "RX" mode before it automatically reverts back to normal time indication while trying to manually receive the Time Signal, is really only between ~35 and ~50 seconds - never any longer than that. So, query - if the watch is actually functioning properly but is simply unable to receive the Time Signal due to RF interference or a weak Time Signal, shouldn't the watch's "default behavior" be to "try longer" than that ~35 to 50 seconds before automatically reverting back to normal time indication? And might this short time before reverting back from "RX" to "normal time indication" be a clue that the problem is with the watch itself, rather than just with RF interference or a weak Time Signal?

    SnookDawgg (Ah, you're in Seattle, too - that explains the "Dawgg" part... ) Will post what I hear back from Citizen...
    Last edited by r-gordon-7; February 22nd, 2017 at 21:09.

  7. #7
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    I believe if it doesn't hear the signal at all, it gives up pretty quickly. If it gets a very low signal, it will try longer. Here is some discussion on Seattle: http://www.thewatchsite.com/21-japan...-coverage.html

    The thread also links to this useful page: https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-fr...trolled-clocks

    You can try syncing your watch outside at night. If that doesn't work, try faking the Japanese signal with an emulator and your Phone or computer. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
    Last edited by CitizenPromaster; February 22nd, 2017 at 22:19.

  8. #8
    Member GaryK30's Avatar
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    My AT8020-03L (H800 movement) usually takes about four minutes to sync under good conditions. I don't think I've ever seen it give up in less than a minute. As I recall, it will try for much more than four minutes if it's having difficulty (likely due to a weak signal). Maybe Citizen can verify if this behavior on your watch is normal.

    I have several radio-controlled watches, but the others are all Casio G-Shocks or Pro Treks. I do notice that the Casios successfully sync more often than the Citizen, but they try six times per night (Midnight thru 5 AM) rather than only two for the Citizen (2 and 3 AM).

  9. #9
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    Thanks, CitizenPromaster. Well, the first part of your post ("I believe if it doesn't hear the signal at all, it gives up pretty quickly") gave me hope that if the watch simply isn't hearing any signal at all, the problem might not lie with my watch. Of course, though, that still leaves open the possibility that the reason the watch isn't hearing anything at all might be due to some defect in the watch itself. And the various reports in the link (http://www.thewatchsite.com/21-japan...-coverage.html ) do seem to indicate that RC watches - especially AT Citizens - do sync quite reliably, pretty much everywhere in the US & southern Canada - including Vancouver BC (which is similarly situated and pretty close to Seattle, though even Vancouver is further from Fort Collins, CO) - whereas I've not had or gotten mine to sync successfully even once (or even to stay in "RX" mode "trying" to sync, without it quickly reverting back to "normal time indication" in ~35-50 seconds) in the almost two weeks I've had the watch...

    And Gary, your post leads me to believe that in my location, especially at night, the watch should at the very least be receiving enough of a signal to keep it in "RX" mode, "trying" to sync for more than ~35 to 50 seconds before it gives up and reverts back to normal time display, as it always does.

    The more I hear/read, the more it seems the watch is likely defective may need to go to Citizen for warranty work - or just plain back to Amazon for refund or replacement. But according to Amazon, it is, "Return eligible through March 16", so I still have time to first see what, if anything, Citizen says in reply to my email inquiry...
    Last edited by r-gordon-7; February 22nd, 2017 at 23:20.

  10. #10
    Member GaryK30's Avatar
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    Re: Unable to get my new Citizen AT9010-52E World Time Eco-Drive to Receive the Time Signal...

    Some Citizens have a meter that shows the signal level when the watch is syncing and records the signal level for display later. My BY0080-57E had this. Unfortunately my AT8020-03L does not have this (only shows success or failure). I believe your AT9010-52E does not have the signal level meter either. The signal level can be a useful diagnostic. I think all of my Casios have this feature, but they only show the signal level while syncing. Later they can show the last successful sync time/date, but not the signal level.

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