How do these Radio controlled clocks supposed to work? I today bought a
cheap LCD rc alarm clock from Littlewoods but can't get the clock to
automatically update to the correct time. The instructions say the clock
updates itself at certain times of the day from the the signal via a
transmitter in Rugby. There's also a manual "receive" button to start
receiving the signal immediately if required (or as soon as the
batteries are inserted). The "receive" indicator will flash for about 8
minutes but then goes out without updating the clock. I thought perhaps
I may have bought a faulty clock so took it back and swapped it for
another one but the same thing is happening. It's been about 3 hours now
and still no correct time. Any ideas welcome?
The clock incorporates a radio receiver to receive the time signal, as you
say, from Rugby on 16kHz, very low frequency.I believe it is continuous, it
is not a 'pips' type time signal but a complex signal containing time info
which the clock/radio de-codes.Make sure you are not using it in a shielded
area where radio waves can be attenuated,re-check the instructions etc. More
info on Rugby Radio just put the name into Google.
I did wonder if perhaps I'm in an area where the signal's not getting
through but I did try it during the 5 mile trip home in the car and
still no update! Can't see that I'm doing anything wrong, Just press
the receiving button to start a forced update. The instructions say the
RCC symbol will flash for a maximum of 8 minutes and if signal is
successful it will update the clock and the RCC symbol will become
stationary - otherwise the RCC symbol will be off (which mine is after
the maximum 8 minutes of trying). I will have a read up on the Rugby
Being low frequency it won't have a problem going round corners
because the signal bounces off the upper atmosphere, whereas with high
frequency (FM, VHF, TV etc) you have to have line of sight.
They use low frequency to communicate with submarines on the other
side of the world from Northwood in north London (the signal might go
out from Rugby though - I don't know the details). A sub can receive
signals at periscope depth, as happened in the Falklands when HMS
Conqueror was told to take out Belgrano by Northwood (the instruction
was issued from Downing Street).
Leastways, that's what was explained to me a few years back. So if I'm
right then the submarine will always have an accurate clock.... :)
I've got one of those radio clocks sitting on my desk. Every so often
the receiving signal flashes for a period of time when it updates
itself. I don't have a problem with the clock being wrong.
Are you sure you haven't got it set to some other time zone? You need
GMT in the UK.
Are you sure it's been able to reset itself during the day, today?
As noted in my other posts, the NPL site says the Rugby transmitter is
on annual maintenance from 6 to 20 October, with signal transmission
probably out from 9 am to 9 pm. (There's an indicator on my clock that
shows if the hourly update was successful, and if not how many hours
it's been since the last update was made: that's now sitting at 8 hours
missed, and since it's currently 17:30, it must have last updated at 8
am, in line with what the NPL site says.)
The time standard, MSF, on 60kHz is the only signal transmitted from
the BT site at Rugby now. I think most of the masts have or are about
to be removed apart from the single MSF mast.
One of the 16kHz transmitter sites for subs etc was at Criggion, but
that has been closed and the masts removed. Take a peek at
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
Rugby has never transmitted R4. It has always been for shipping and MoD
work. Each of the big masts is mounted on a large ball bearing so that they
can move in the wind. Some of them have a sort of lift arrangement up the
middle. Its quite interesting to watch them in a thunderstorm, apparently
they also produce roast beef and lamb in the surrounding fields.
As a child, I lived about a mile from them.
Radio 4 from Daventry has a carrier wave on 198 Khz which is referenced
to the national physical lab who in turn reference to God in order to
provide an ultra stable frequency reference fore test equipment and the
Rugby wireless station transmits MSF on 16 Khz for time clocks etc. It
has been down for maintenance recently which has caused some clocks some
problems. It has a website something like www.npl.something or
Lidl in Holland have recently been selling cheap clocks like this.
They can be switched between receiving the Rugby signal and one that
transmits European time from a transmitter located somewhere in
Europe. Perhaps yours has this feature, and is set for continental
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