Radio controlled clock question

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On 23 Oct 2003, S Viemeister wrote

He mentioned a "display" with minutes and seconds, though: doesn't that imply a digital display?
(Can you misalign a digital display?)
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Harvey
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Harvey Van Sickle wrote:

Ah - I missed that. I was thinking second hand, minute hand, hour hand.

I've never tried.
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I changed the batteries in my r/c clock last weekend & it took a few hours before it picked up the Rugby signal. It tries to sync every hour. Just leave it near a window overnight & forget about it.
JW
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wrote:

I've got one on which you need to set the time manually to the nearest hour before the current time and then it adjusts itself on the next time pulse. It's quite uncanny to watch the second hand moving round on the time pips and hitting the 12 spot on
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You don't have DAB, then?
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On 17 Oct 2003, Mark wrote

-snip-
I suspect that out of sheer rotten luck you've hit an outage during the annual maintenance period -- my bedside clock hasn't updated since about 9 am this morning.
This shouldn't last more than a day, though: take a look at the NPL outages page at http://www.npl.co.uk/time/msfoutages.html : that notes that this year's annual maintenance fortnight is 6 - 20 October, and that:
Usually during annual maintenance periods it is likely that the service will be interrupted, although these outages will be kept to a minimum. The service is restored overnight between 2000 BST and 0800 BST whenever possible.
So: leave it overnight, and see if it picks up the signal.
HTH
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It's possible it's not receiving the signal. Mine shows a steady 'receive' indication when things are ok, flashes when it's not happy, and goes out completely when the signal is lost.
I'd say mine is sited well to receive an LF signal but still shows no signal at times - perhaps you could try moving yours to see if it works ok elsewhere.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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The radio station at which I used to work had a very fancy Rugby receiving clock. Several hundred pounds worth. Of course, this was purchased in the days before you could get one for a tenner from Argos.
It sat in Racks and had an external antenna that had to be placed as nearly outside the building as possible as VLF is easily blocked by structure (look at the way R4 LW disappears briefly as you pass underneath motorway bridges. That's at 198kHz, so 60kHz is worse.)
The main point of it was to keep all the clocks in the building precisely synchronised with each other. It was nice if they also synchronised with the NPL! To this end it had a serial line daisy-chained to a clock in each studio. It had its own battery backup in case of mains failure (so that you wouldn't have to wait 5 minutes for it to reset itself), it also had its own, laser-trimmed quartz crystal clock so that if Rugby went off air for an extended period (the annual maintenance *might* take it off for the complete 2 weeks rather than off in the day and on in the night) it could keep very accurate time, and each studio clock also had its own quartz movement so that if the main clock failed, you had a couple of days before they became more than a second or two out of synch.
It used to confuse the overnight jocks by fast-forwarding at GMT/BST changes!
One presenter was severely lacking in the sight-department and as soon as stand-alone clocks became available we had to buy a couple (at about 40 each ISTR) so that we could put one on the desk next to him. For some reason it seemed to get the signal better inside the building than the "big" clock in Racks did!
Just a fun story...
Hwyl!
M.
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"Martin Angove" wrote | The radio station at which I used to work had a very fancy | Rugby receiving clock. Several hundred pounds worth. Of | course, this was purchased in the days before you could | get one for a tenner from Argos. It sat in Racks
It wasn't a Wharton was it? I used to salivate looking at the Wharton clocks in the catalogue.
.... | It used to confuse the overnight jocks by fast-forwarding at GMT/BST | changes!
I can remember when the studio clock was stuck during a late night programme phoning the porter's desk asking them what the time was (on the asusmption that if you want to know anything you asked a porter). "Are you having a bleedin' laugh sonny?" "No I'm on air and the clock has broken and I need to reset it before the next record finishes"
Owain
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The Rugby transmitter sends a continuous time signal. It takes exactly one minute to send the time *once*. Most clocks try to receive two or three consecutive signals, with time values that differ by one minute, before they commit to updating the clock itself. So, a weak signal can mean they don't ever update, and even a string one will take three or four minutes.
Bear in mind this is long wave. It's subsceptible to nearby metallic objects, so try moving the clock around the room and trying again. Try it upstairs too. Some of them have pretty useless antenna systems.
Try also taking it upstairs!
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Bob Eager
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The signal is transmitted at 1 bit per second, represented by a 100ms or 200ms break in the carrier IIRC. I built a rugby clock receiver about 12 years ago, together with a driver for Interactive UNIX for it to keep the system clock in sync. If you arrange for the breaks in the carrier to cause an audiable tone, it's quite easy to decode it by ear. I sat up on a few occasions to listen to it handling the daylight savings shift (not sure I should admit things like this;-).
For some years (certainly when I built my receiver 12 years ago), there was also a fastcode transmission in the last second of each minute which encoded much (maybe all) of the data again within that second. I vaguely recall hearing they have since dropped the fastcode transmission.
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Andrew Gabriel

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wrote:

Yes Fast Code has been droped and MSF is currently OFF AIR
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On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 16:47:01 UTC, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

I didn't notice it, although there are some gaps during the minute. I supervised a student's hardware/software project last year and part of it was to design and build a clock peripheral for a PC...had a lot of trouble in a reinforced concrete building.
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Bob Eager
rde at tavi.co.uk
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The MSF Annual Maintenance Period in 2003 The MSF 60 kHz transmitter system at the BT Rugby Radio Station will be shut down for maintenance for the following period:
From 0800 UTC Monday 6 October 2003 to 0800 UTC Monday 20 October 2003.
Please note that the scheduled outage for maintenance on Tuesday 7 October 2003 falls within this period.
Usually during annual maintenance periods it is likely that the service will be interrupted, although these outages will be kept to a minimum. The service is restored overnight between 2000 BST and 0800 BST whenever possible.
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Some of these time clocks originate from Europe and use the German DCF (MSF Rugby equivalent) as the transmitting station (on a different frequency)
Nick
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frequency)
I got one the other day from Aldi (or was it Lidl) for 3.99 and it works a treat of DCF on 77KHz - even on the floor of the car (before got it home.
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Woody

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You might have to place it next to window or even outside for a while to make sure it is picking up the signal properly. If this doesn't help matters, then take it back and get a refund 'cause it's a duff radio.
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I was after one of the Lidl weather stations in last weeks special offers. I'm not sure if it also had a built in RC clock but even so it was a great buy at 9.99. Unfortunately they sold out before I could get down.
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Mine is switchable, and of course won't be on BST in this mode. It also goes to a 24 hour display - which I'd actually prefer.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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London SW 12

Curiosly mine is DCF - it says so on the box - but it shows UK time! Hmmm.....
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Woody

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