Re: [time-nuts] Humor break

2012-06-11 Thread Jim Hickstein

In it she remarked that the woman who caused the accident appears to
have a face that would stop a clock and raise hell with small watches.

One of my Dave Barry books contains a short segment about someone having 
BO to the point where it _interferes with radio transmissions_. [my 
emphasis]  This always cracks me up.


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Re: [time-nuts] wwvb weak on east coast especially when the pre-amps under water.

2012-05-14 Thread Jim Hickstein

 How does water get in?

Is this a Spectracom 8206?  Should I worry about mine (that one that's 
outdoors)?

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Re: [time-nuts] Why are 1PPS signals so skinny?

2012-05-14 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/05/14 18:02, time-nuts-requ...@febo.com wrote:

https://assist.daps.dla.mil/quicksearch/  is the search site for military 
standards.


Hmm.  Doesn't find MIL-TGDBP-41.  I got this from my (now late) great uncle, Bob 
Sedgwick -- who was to hydraulics what I am to computers, only he has a number 
of patents.


Some smart-aleck at Wright Field, as it then was, put this on a drawing, and it 
went without comment for quite a while until someone tried to look it up.  This 
escalated to a bird colonel, who then tracked down the miscreant.


It stands for Make It Like The G-D Blueprint For Once.

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Re: [time-nuts] Question about precise frequency / phase measurement

2012-04-20 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/04/20 13:44, time-nuts-requ...@febo.com wrote:

For a high end example showing external influences causing small freq 
variation, see the swinging OSC test  at
http://www.thegleam.com/ke5fx/tpll/swing.gif


Neat!  Is there a page explaining a bit more about it?

I was summarizing the Hafele-Keating experiment to my brother the other day -- 
just bullshitting, really, 'cause I barely know what's going on here myself -- 
so it occurs to me to wonder.  Acceleration is probably the cause, but a 
mechanical effect in the oscillator, something tightened in cockpit?  Surely 
not a relativistic effect.  Not at 18 inches.  (This is where we figure out that 
I grasp the concepts, but can't actually do the problems.)


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB phase-modulation test

2012-04-16 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/04/16 10:41, time-nuts-requ...@febo.com wrote:

Spectracom 8182 relocked at 1403Z today.


8164 and 8170 still unlocked at 1955Z.  Maybe they stay locked during the day, 
just barely? (8164 AGC 1.3V, a few days ago), but can't lock up from unlocked 
easily.  We'll see what the dark-path brings.


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB phase-modulation test

2012-04-15 Thread Jim Hickstein

psk fixer-uppers not working all that well. Back to the drawing boards as
they say.

My Spectracom 8170 was showing lock but not time sync, for a while last night, 
several hours.  Longer than usual, when it's just getting a grip.  (I didn't set 
up to record its outputs, alas!)  At other times, and this morning, it's just 
unlocked.


The 8164 has been unlocked throughout, as expected, and its strip-chart recorder 
shows the usual open-loop pattern.  When the test ends I should have a nice 
picture bracketing it.


My MFJ-133 clock is happy enough, as predicted.  The Junghans Mega seems to be. 
 It's harder to tell with the others, that only have hands and no direct 
indication of receiver state.


Interesting that the NIST's own monitoring stations 
(http://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/wwvbmonitor_e.cgi) variously show readable time 
codes, and highly atypical plots of relative field strength.  I wonder how 
they're measuring those.  Again, LaCrosse is the big loser on readability, for 
some reason.


I also finally hauled the spectrum analyzer (HP 141T/8552B/8553B) up from the 
basement, got together a DC block and a BNC tee, and tried to see what I could 
see.  Nothing.  60 kHz is mighty close to DC, on this thing.  Too close, 
evidently.  Perhaps I should be looking somewhere inside the 8164.


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[time-nuts] LORAN-C at MIT

2012-04-15 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/04/15 16:54, time-nuts-requ...@febo.com wrote:

It is indeed quite an interesting meet. There are some in San Francisco
with the same feel. Though my Ham friends say that may be kind of in the
past.


Not at all!  I just went to the DeAnza event a month ago. 
http://www.electronicsfleamarket.com/  Came home with a scope.  Livermore has 
been cancelled, though.


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[time-nuts] WWVB phase-modulation test

2012-04-14 Thread Jim Hickstein
Did they start early?  Both my Spectracom 8164 and 8170 are unlocked.  I was 
expecting this, but not before 0130Z.


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Re: [time-nuts] Antenna restrictions [was Lucent 40 dB Antenna]

2012-04-13 Thread Jim Hickstein
For a quick guide to the OTARD Rule, see 
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule.


Interesting!  Now I know I was right and my landlord was wrong, when they made 
me tear down my DBS dish.  But now I own a house.


For the Amateur Radio service there is also the PRB-1 federal preemption, which 
covers actions of local governments, but not private parties such as condo 
associations.  Some states have extended it to such, and the ARRL is actively 
trying to get the remaining states to follow suit.


http://www.arrl.org/prb-1

http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=prb-1id=amateurpage=1

Who wants to make a test case to see if a working timebase or frequency 
standard, in the form of a GPSDO, is or might be necessary for proper operation 
of the Amateur Radio station? :-)  The Amateur service does have rules governing 
frequency accuracy, after all, and how are you supposed to know?  A judge might 
say buy a commercial transmitter, but that (arguably) violates an important 
principle of the Amateur Radio service.


Then again, put up an Amateur antenna, and stick your GPS mushroom on top. 
They'd never know.


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[time-nuts] WWVB relative field strength graph

2012-04-12 Thread Jim Hickstein
Over at http://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/wwvbmonitor_e.cgi there is a relative field 
strength plot for each of the monitoring stations.  I'm trying to correlate 
LaCrosse with my own measurements in St. Paul (AGC voltage in my Spectracom 
8164) and it's very bothersome that this graph has no scale and no origin.  The 
unit is said to be uV/m.  Does anyone here happen to know what the evident top 
rail value is?  It often hits it during the dark-path period.  And the magnitude 
of a vertical tick?  I suppose it's logarithmic.


The 8164 manual says that AGC 2.0V corresponds to 100uV/m at a properly oriented 
antenna.


I got both the 8170 and the 8164 going last night, after finding the other 8206 
antenna[1], still mounted in the attic of the garage.  So I have one outdoors 
(in the back yard, up 10 feet on a PVC pipe), but with a long and maybe lossy 
feed line, and the other one nearby but indoors.  Today they both seem quite 
happy (AGC 1.3V), even though LaCrosse is unreadable.


[1] Engine #3 found on right wing after brief search.

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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB phase modulation test April 15-16

2012-04-11 Thread Jim Hickstein
For this test coming up, I really want to get both my Spectracom devices, 8164 
and 8170, going at the same time, if only to see that they both go crazy exactly 
on time, yet I'm too lazy to install the second 8206 antenna in a decent 
location.  Do I need a power splitter to do this?  Over at 
http://www.febo.com/time-freq/wwvb/sig-strength/spectracom-antenna.html John 
says he just used a BNC tee and a DC block.  Did he get an even balance?  Close 
enough?  Is there not enough power in a receiver system to make a difference?


I realize the AGC will be open-loop in one of them.  Big deal?  I will lose at 
least 3dB on each.  Can I afford to?  My reception has been lousy lately, 
unlocking during the day when it used to power straight through, even after I 
moved my 8206 to a much better, outdoor location.  But so has the monitoring 
station's in LaCrosse, which is not far from here.



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Re: [time-nuts] Holy cesium clock, Batman!

2012-04-09 Thread Jim Hickstein

So the picture of the Clock King here:

http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Clock_King_(Walter_Slezak)

is a crop of a different photo here:

http://bruehoyt.com/superheroes/DC/batman/rogues/rogues.htm

In the latter, he also has a clock face on the crest on his jacket.  Who can 
read the motto on the crest?  Is it Tempus Fugit, as it surely should be?


(They got Otto Preminger?  I suppose even he had to work, back then.)

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Re: [time-nuts] Holy cesium clock, Batman!

2012-04-08 Thread Jim Hickstein

So, what's the time?

-John

What is the frequency, Kenneth?

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Re: [time-nuts] NIST's WWVB phase modulation format paper from PTTI 2011

2012-03-15 Thread Jim Hickstein
 If I'm right, that's another broken egg in the frequency reference 
basket.


I read the paper, but I could use an expert ruling from the list:

What does this actually mean for my Spectracom 8170 and Spectracom 8164, 
i.e. the twins?  The latter I frankly don't use much (I'm early in the 
time-nuts disease progression), but the 8170 I want to continue to rely 
on, at least to set itself.  A little phase noise I can tolerate.  But 
the recent transmission-format experiments coincided (to a first 
approximation) with the recent coronal mass ejection that knocked the 
8170 on its ass for most of a week, so my observations are not conclusive.


The circuit (still a-building) to set my SWCC clock will take the 1PPS 
edge, but the speed of the solenoid, not to mention the time constant of 
the current-loop, I'm sure vastly outweighs this new source of error. 
Right?  Will the strip-chart recorder on the 8164 provide a new source 
of amusement, as it tries to plot the 180-degree phase changes every second?


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[time-nuts] WWVB and solar flare

2012-03-08 Thread Jim Hickstein
My Spectracom 8170 WWVB receiver hasn't locked up since yesterday sometime.  It 
was a bit flakey before, but at least one other WWVB clock in the house is also 
struggling (the others don't give a clear indication), so I'm thinking of 
blaming the solar flare.  Does this affect LF especially?


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB and solar flare

2012-03-08 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/03/08 11:17, Brent Gordon wrote:

There are three things going on with WWVB right now

1. They are testing a new data format:
http://www.nist.gov/pml/div688/grp40/wwvb.cfm
2. They had an outage for about an hour earlier today:
http://www.nist.gov/pml/div688/grp40/wwvb-station-outages.cfm
3. There are reception failures at monitoring stations in Wisconsin and
California (but Maryland is fine): http://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/wwvbmonitor_e.cgi


Excellent, thanks!

I gave the antenna to the 8164, which isn't doing any better.  I'm not far from 
the monitoring station in La Crosse (I'm in St. Paul).  I guess I'll just have 
to wait it out.



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Re: [time-nuts] Schematic capture, anyone?

2012-02-26 Thread Jim Hickstein
In case anyone is following my progress, I started with EAGLE.  It works fine on 
the Mac.  I can tell it's not quite native (it even has a man(1) page!), but 
it's no problem.  One afternoon with the tutorial, and I have a schematic.


It's not yet complete, but that's not Eagle's fault: I'm still thinking about 
that current-loop driver, and the whole thing isn't even to the breadboard stage.


Off to buy an 8255A and assorted parts somewhere.

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Re: [time-nuts] Schematic capture, anyone?

2012-02-24 Thread Jim Hickstein
 If you can stomach Xwindows applications, then there are many open-source 
applications such as the Chipmunk system:


I'm a UNIX guy, really.  It so happens I can't use a Mac unless it has a 
3-button mouse and between 9 and 16 xterms open at any given time. :-)  And yet 
it can print!


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[time-nuts] Schematic capture, anyone?

2012-02-23 Thread Jim Hickstein
What do people use these days for schematic capture (and just possibly PCB 
layout), for low-budget homebrew stuff?  It's been so long since I did this, I 
still own a T-square and a pile of contemporary relics like rules and triangles. 
 I'll get out my pencil sharpener if I have to.  But really, this must be a 
solved problem by now.  For less than $300?  I only need TTL, not striplines or 
any black magic like that.


I'm a Mac shop, but can of course run Windows if need be.  And to make matters 
worse, I prefer ANSI logic symbology over shovels-and-spades (or, really, over 
plain rectangles where you're expected to know what the part number means). 
This comes from exposure to Control Data, who were big on it back in the day.  I 
even used to be on the mailing list of the standards committee.  I suppose that 
all sank without a trace?  If it's still controversial, I apologize in advance 
for trolling.


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Re: [time-nuts] ANFSCD - Synchronizing time in home video recorders

2012-02-02 Thread Jim Hickstein

 ... since the analogs went dark.

Are you near any Class-A or low-power stations?  Those are still permitted to 
broadcast NTSC signals.  What's in their vertical interval would be a separate 
question, though.


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Re: [time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-23 Thread Jim Hickstein
Reviewing the schematic for the 8170 (I'll get back to the setting coil in the 
clock a bit later), my unit does not seem to have Option 18 and A4-U4, the 8255A 
at its heart, is not populated.  A pity: it would have lovely BCD outputs and an 
on-time pulse, just what I need.  (The recent discussion of multiplexed 
7-segment LED outputs tells me I don't want to try to detect :00:00 or 
:59:59 there.)


What are the chances my EEPROMs would DTRT if I just added an 8255A to this 
board?  What other components should I add to complete the Option 18 installation?


If I need different EEPROMs to enable Option 18, where could I get the image? 
(The parts and the programmer I can probably get.)


On 2012/01/20 16:23, Jim Hickstein wrote:

I have a Spectracom 8170 in the living room (who doesn't?), and a Western Union
time-service clock, a.k.a SWCC clock -- a nice one, in a 3-foot-high wood case.
I've been watching TV with this combination for years and years but never got
around to feeding a pulse from the 8170 to discipline the other one. Now that
Western Union no longer provides the service. :-) But it just begs to be done.

I did draw up a TTL circuit, once (on a napkin, naturally, which I have now
misplaced), that could live inside the 8170. I figured out the minimum number of
inputs needed to detect when the MM:SS LED displays said 00:00 (for one second).
It would close a relay, which could feed the winding-battery power to the
hour-set solenoid down a pair of wires from 10 feet away. But I never built it.

A little over a year ago the TS clock was getting gummy and free-running slower
and slower, so I sent it to the clock hospital. It's back and free-running
nicely, so maybe it's finally time I did this. Anyone got a better idea than my
little TTL circuit, on a breadboard inside the 8170? I'd like to get it across
the rear panel without cutting a new hole, if I can avoid it. But maybe the
right connector would do. Another time-code receiver in the TS clock, e.g. a GPS
module that provides a relay closure for 1 second on the hour (if such exists)
might be neater. But the living room faces north.

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Re: [time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-22 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 1/22/12 1:56 PM, paul swed wrote:

Yahoo for real voltage power and current. Teletype style.
Yes indeed the old loop currents seriously worked.
No AA batteries here. ;-)

When will we see a pix of this unit??


It's my day off. :-)


Regards
Paul
WB8TSL

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 9:25 PM, Brooke Clarkebro...@pacific.net  wrote:


Hi Jim:

There are a number of options.

Ken's clock clinic sells what appears to be a No. 6 Battery that has a
synchronization function for the Western Union clocks.
But the problem with it and the drivers for slave clocks is that they use
fairly low voltage circuitry.

Stock Tickers and Teletype machines are tpically run with loop voltages in
the 60 to 200 Volt range.

Have Fun,

Brooke Clarke
http://www.PRC68.com
http://www.**end2partygovernment.com/**Brooke4Congress.htmlhttp://www.end2partygovernment.com/Brooke4Congress.html


Jim Hickstein wrote:


I have a Spectracom 8170 in the living room (who doesn't?), and a Western
Union time-service clock, a.k.a SWCC clock -- a nice one, in a 3-foot-high
wood case.  I've been watching TV with this combination for years and years
but never got around to feeding a pulse from the 8170 to discipline the
other one. Now that Western Union no longer provides the service. :-)  But
it just begs to be done.

I did draw up a TTL circuit, once (on a napkin, naturally, which I have
now misplaced), that could live inside the 8170.  I figured out the minimum
number of inputs needed to detect when the MM:SS LED displays said 00:00
(for one second).  It would close a relay, which could feed the
winding-battery power to the hour-set solenoid down a pair of wires from 10
feet away.  But I never built it.

A little over a year ago the TS clock was getting gummy and free-running
slower and slower, so I sent it to the clock hospital.  It's back and
free-running nicely, so maybe it's finally time I did this.  Anyone got a
better idea than my little TTL circuit, on a breadboard inside the 8170?
  I'd like to get it across the rear panel without cutting a new hole, if I
can avoid it.  But maybe the right connector would do.  Another time-code
receiver in the TS clock, e.g. a GPS module that provides a relay closure
for 1 second on the hour (if such exists) might be neater.  But the living
room faces north.

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Re: [time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-22 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/01/22 13:58, Jim Hickstein wrote:

On 1/22/12 1:56 PM, paul swed wrote:

Yahoo for real voltage power and current. Teletype style.
Yes indeed the old loop currents seriously worked.
No AA batteries here. ;-)


How far will I get with my 3 D cells?  They make it wind nicely, but I've been 
afraid to try 6V, having read somewhere (probably Brooke's pages) not to exceed 
3V lest one damage something.  Then again, that's the local battery, not the 
setting signal.  (No. 6 dry cell?  Dear me, I hadn't even thought of one of 
those for 40 years.)



When will we see a pix of this unit??


It's my day off. :-)


Then again, what's a day off for, if not this kind of thing?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxh1/tags/clock/

Brooke Clarke's pix are nice, but I think I have the nicest SWCC clock out 
there, one of the nicest I've seen.  Coincidentally, I bought it in about 1986 
from a fellow named Clark (last name I don't recall), who was a member of the 
Minnesota horological society, or whatever it's called.  A friend of mine, 
another member, put me on to this, and I jumped at it.  (Actually, he has an 
even nicer one, a big Air Force unit IIRC that's about 6 feet tall, and with a 
mercury pendulum bob.)  Took the thing back home to California, and it came with 
me when I moved back to Minnesota in 2003.  It's been the primary time display 
in my house since I got it.  I also still keep the Textronix carton I scrounged, 
that's a perfect fit, for moving it.


-Jim
K6JXH/0

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Re: [time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-22 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/01/22 14:56, Don Latham wrote:

NICE!
Measure the resistance of the coil, and see what the current would be
with the voltage you want to use. Figure out what the current might have
been in the original installation. Ebay has an installation manual at
auction for these clocks, may have a description of the driving circuit.


I hate to pay twenty bucks for a PDF, or to pay twenty bucks just to find out. 
If it's anything like this:


http://electric-clocks.com/SWCC/

... it doesn't say.  The winding battery, and the setting signal, were supplied, 
and the installer didn't need to know the specs.  But, then again, I can't 
afford to experiment too broadly and damage my museum piece.  I think the guy 
who recently cleaned and repaired the movement tested this coil.  I'll call him 
back and ask what he put on it.



In extremis, measure or estimate the coil wire size and calculate the
heat loss for the actuated time with the voltage you want to use.
Don


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Re: [time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-22 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/01/22 15:29, Bob Camp wrote:

Hi

Teletype loop current as in 20 ma through the coil via a dropping resistor off 
of 125 vdc.


Value for the dropping resistor?  (I know, I'm an Extra, and I used to design 
digital circuits, so I should know this stuff.  But I've been in software for a 
long time.  Let's see E over I R.)


I measured the setting coil at the terminals: 11.5 ohms.  To limit 125 VDC to 
20mA, this would need an additional 6.2 Kohms.  I suppose that represents the 
metallic circuit back to WU plus a bunch of other 11.5-ohm clocks on the same 
circuit, plus a compensating resistor back at the head end?


Locally, a D cell (or 3 in series, which I have), with about 200 more ohms, 
might do.  (Reaches into desk drawer.)  Let's see if I still have that bunch of 
100-ohm resistors left over from making an ISDN terminator.  Why, yes! 
Quarter-watt.  P over I E.  90mW.  Eh, it probably won't blow up.


I tried measuring the winding coil, too: 0.1 ohms, but I'm not sure I was 
getting it in the right place.  And now I've put the face back on the clock. 
Otherwise I couldn't tell what time it was!  I am really trained to look at that 
spot on the wall for this information.  While the SWCC was in the hospital (for 
over a year) I had to buy another clock to put there.  The blank spot was 
driving me crazy.


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Re: [time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-22 Thread Jim Hickstein

On 2012/01/22 17:03, Brooke Clarke wrote:

Hi Jim:

On web page:
http://www.prc68.com/I/SWCC2.shtml#SC

I have data from Henry W. that says 120 V (my memory was wrong on the 200 V) and
he says 250 ma.
This will give about 66 times faster response time than using 3 Volts.


Oh, I was reading the dual-coil section.


I'm spending time on this because with low loop voltage the action is so
sluggish that it will barely work or for a clock that's not brand new and
properly oiled may not work at all.


Got it, thanks.  Since I have 4.5V easily obtainable, and a freshly cleaned and 
oiled clock, I may give that a shot first, with or without the 200 ohms.  Then 
I'll know better what you're talking about.


I don't mind if it's a little sluggish.  I just want to keep the thing from 
drifting a minute a week, which is about where I have the pendulum adjusted now. 
 The local temperature variations introduce significant error.  The pendulum 
rod seems to be of wood, without much in the way of temperature compensation. 
But of course, with the setting signal, it didn't need to free-run with high 
accuracy.


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Re: [time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-21 Thread Jim Hickstein
Exellent intel, thanks! The face has a penciled legend I C Depot which I 
suppose stands for Illinois Central, the railroad. But I would think mine works 
the same way as all the others.  The coil holds down a follower against a cam, 
so the :59:59 thing makes sense. I will check this out by just doing it with a 
button at first.

On Jan 21, 2012, at 9:25, brucekar...@aol.com wrote:

 Jim,
 
 If your Western Union clock is similar to the type used in broadcasting,  
 you might want a setting pulse that starts at 59:59 and ends at 00:00 .   The 
 reason is that at 59:59 the magnet pulls the second hand to the 12 o'clock  
 position and releases it on the hour.  The one-second difference might seem 
 trivial, but it's actually about three words for an announcer beginning a  
 network broadcast.
 
 When Western Union got out of the clock business in the late 1970s  
 (following a technician strike where the master clocks were ignored and 
 service  
 deteriorated)  the company I worked for purchased the clock installation  
 from 
 Western Union (for $75 per clock as I remember) and we installed a digital  
 master system.  The Western Union clocks were all connected in series and  
 driven as a constant-current teletype type loop.  We had wire-wrap  logic 
 panels associated with the digital master time system.  Signals for  the W. 
 U. 
 clocks, for alerting control rooms before newscasts, starting  recordings, 
 etc., were implemented by simply adding chips, DIP  relays, 14/16-pin boards 
 with components such as timing capacitors,  and wire-wraping the underside 
 pins.  I/O was implemented with those  14 and 16-pin DIP connectors on one 
 end of ribbon cables -- the other  ends being terminated on barrier strips on 
 rack wall  panels.  
 
 Bruce 
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[time-nuts] Spectracom 8170 - SWCC clock

2012-01-20 Thread Jim Hickstein
I have a Spectracom 8170 in the living room (who doesn't?), and a Western Union 
time-service clock, a.k.a SWCC clock -- a nice one, in a 3-foot-high wood case. 
 I've been watching TV with this combination for years and years but never got 
around to feeding a pulse from the 8170 to discipline the other one. Now that 
Western Union no longer provides the service. :-)  But it just begs to be done.


I did draw up a TTL circuit, once (on a napkin, naturally, which I have now 
misplaced), that could live inside the 8170.  I figured out the minimum number 
of inputs needed to detect when the MM:SS LED displays said 00:00 (for one 
second).  It would close a relay, which could feed the winding-battery power to 
the hour-set solenoid down a pair of wires from 10 feet away.  But I never built it.


A little over a year ago the TS clock was getting gummy and free-running slower 
and slower, so I sent it to the clock hospital.  It's back and free-running 
nicely, so maybe it's finally time I did this.  Anyone got a better idea than my 
little TTL circuit, on a breadboard inside the 8170?  I'd like to get it across 
the rear panel without cutting a new hole, if I can avoid it.  But maybe the 
right connector would do.  Another time-code receiver in the TS clock, e.g. a 
GPS module that provides a relay closure for 1 second on the hour (if such 
exists) might be neater.  But the living room faces north.


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