Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?
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  1. #1
    Member BlueSmokeLounge's Avatar
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    Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    As read on Hackaday:
    Buried on page 25 of the 2019 budget proposal for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), under the heading “Fundamental Measurement, Quantum Science, and Measurement Dissemination”, there’s a short entry that has caused plenty of debate and even a fair deal of anger among those in the amateur radio scene:

    NIST will discontinue the dissemination of the U.S. time and frequency via the NIST radio stations in Hawaii and Ft. Collins, CO. These radio stations transmit signals that are used to synchronize consumer electronic products like wall clocks, clock radios, and wristwatches, and may be used in other applications like appliances, cameras, and irrigation controllers.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Really! How much can that save...not much I’d think.

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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Can't be much, no.

    There's more I could say but we can't talk politics here.
    41Mets, Synequano, Medusa and 1 others like this.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Its another exemplification of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted.

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    Member J.D.B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Has this been proposed in previous years budgets? Also are the signals ONLY used by consumers? NO official users?
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    Member Semper Jeep's Avatar
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D.B. View Post
    Has this been proposed in previous years budgets?
    That was my initial thought as well. Politics aside, knowing what I know about the federal budgeting process I wouldn't be surprised if that line is in there with every budget proposal for the NIST and then routinely gets struck from the final version.

    FWIW, I'd hate to see it end though since I love that feature on my G-Shocks.
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Just browsed at a few years of commerce dept budgets for nist, and no this has not been in there. In fact they did some upgrades in Colorado recently. Wilbur Ross is the current commerce secretary and to put it mildly he doesn't much care about science and technology, it's part of the many cuts he has proposed, and will probably get.

    Unless the watchmakers and whoever else that is using these signals lobby congress, I'll have to start setting my RC watches.

  9. #8
    Member OvrSteer's Avatar
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D.B. View Post
    Has this been proposed in previous years budgets? Also are the signals ONLY used by consumers? NO official users?
    Any recent mobile vehicle or remote instrumentation is almost certainly going to have GPS, which is probably slightly more accurate and equally authoritative.

    I'm sure someone will complain that now because GPS watches exist, we don't need terrestrial atomic. Terrestrial atomic's not perfect, but pulling the transmitter without at least 20+ years of warning is a d**che move, like Apple pulling the standard headphone port from phones... People invested in a very standard standard and expect that standard to remain in place with very long phase-outs.
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    Member MissileExpert's Avatar
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    That's their budget request, but no budget has been passed and no appropriations bill passed either, so it's not a done deal. They save a whopping $6.3M by doing that. Their FY19 budget request is about 28% less than their FY18 budget for that area. It's pretty easy to set up local repeaters that get the NIST time from the internet. Watches can use the app that simulates the signal. Their rationale must be that it's available via the internet, so why duplicate it with radio stations that require care and feeding?
    Last edited by MissileExpert; August 23rd, 2018 at 04:20.

  11. #10
    Member X2-Elijah's Avatar
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    Re: Possible end to atomic/radio signal in the US?

    Heh.

    Well, if this happens, we can all say bye-bye to radio-controlled watches.
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