Re: [time-nuts] Loran Europe Lessay seems to be back on air?

2016-01-05 Thread John Seamons
On LoranView (http://www.df6nm.bplaced.net/LoranView/LoranGrabber.htm) you can 
easily see various outages on Anthorn beginning at about 1500Z 4-Jan.

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[time-nuts] Loran-C Norway/France/Germany shutdown

2015-12-31 Thread John Seamons
Looks like Sylt went off-air in addition to the Norway and France stations. 
Perhaps it is not a permanent decommissioning.
http://www.jks.com/signals/loran/LV.shutdown1.jpg

The above capture from the Loran-C Live Grabber site of Markus Vester, DF6NM:
http://www.df6nm.bplaced.net/LoranView/LoranGrabber.htm

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Re: [time-nuts] End of Loran-C in Europe confirmed.

2015-12-28 Thread John Seamons
A very nice reply from Markus, DF6NM, creator of the Loran-C Live Grabber page 
with a new temporary URL to overcome the outage on the current site.

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Markus Vester <markusves...@aol.com>
> Subject: Re: document shutdown of European Loran-C?
> Date: December 28, 2015 10:42:21 AM GMT+13:00
> To: j...@jks.com
> 
> Hi John,
>  
> thanks a lot for your email - I'm glad (and even somewhat surprised) that 
> someone is watching the Loran "grabber" page.
>  
> The monitor has actually been running continuously, but unfortunately since 
> Christmas eve FTP access to the df6nm.de server has been down, so all uploads 
> have failed since then. I have temporarily relocated the LoranView page to 
> another site
> http://df6nm.darc.de/LoranView/LoranGrabber.htm
> which is updating every 15 minutes, as usual. Unfortunately I cannot even 
> place a note or a link on the normal website so no one knows about the 
> alternate URL - please feel free to post it to anyone who might be interested.
>  
> As you can imagine I was surprised and sad to read that Loran-C France and 
> Norway is going to quit. I guess this time it may be for real. A few years 
> ago (I think it was new year 2005), Sylt had been announced to shut down. I 
> sat up and listened for the last pulses but that just didn't happen then.
>  
> I'd be keen to know whether Sylt will continue because it is used as the sync 
> source for my monitor - if it goes off with the others, I'd loose timing and 
> the rest of the event wouldn't be preserved in an image. I could also switch 
> over to GPS sync before new year which might be safer, but somehow I'd hate 
> to do just that... In any case I can set up an recording of 100 kHz IQ raw 
> data for keeping.
>  
> The Russian GRI 8000 stations have come back after one of their usual 
> temporary outages. If all Europe should become dark, as far as I can see we 
> will be left with the following chains / GRI's:
>  
>  8000, 5990, 5960, 7950 (Russia)
>  8830 (Saudi)
>  6000, 6780, 7430, 8390 (China),
>  9930 (Korea)
>  8970 (USA occasionally)
>  
> All the best,
> Markus (DF6NM)
>  
> 
> 
> -Ursprüngliche Mitteilung- 
> Von: John Seamons <j...@jks.com>
> An: markusvester <markusves...@aol.com>
> Verschickt: So, 27 Dez 2015 7:39 pm
> Betreff: document shutdown of European Loran-C?
>  
> Hello Markus, 
> 
> Any chance you could run your Loran-C Live Grabber to document the shutdown 
> on 
> December 31 of European Loran-C? 
> It looks to me that the Live Grabber has not updated in some time. Although 
> interestingly the last display does seem to show a shutdown of the 
> Chayka-8000 
> chain. Any idea when that last display was recorded? 
> 
> Kind Regards, 
> 
> John Seamons, ZL/KF6VO 
> Tauranga, New Zealand 
> jks.com 
> 
> ref: 
> http://www.mail-archive.com/time-nuts@febo.com/msg76146.html (End of Loran-C 
> in 
> Europe confirmed) 
> http://www.mail-archive.com/time-nuts@febo.com/msg76191.html (Anybody who can 
> record last Loran-C transmissions?) 
> 
> 
> 

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[time-nuts] GPS/SDR project design feedback needed

2015-06-04 Thread John Seamons
Hi group,

Please email any follow-up to me directly, and not to the list, unless it is 
relevant to the GPS aspect.

My little GPS / SDR add-on board project for the BeagleBone Black (GPS 
front-end + FPGA + ADC) is ready for first PCB fab. But I'd like to get some 
feedback on the design before I spend money. I'd particularly like to hear from 
any of you with EMI/EMC, FCC testing or PCB DFM experience.

While the software-defined GPS on the board is fun to play around with, and 
educational if you've ever been curious about the details of a functioning GPS 
receiver, this board will probably never be the basis of a GPSDO because of the 
unknown quality of the L1 VCO inside the front-end chip. You can supply a 
high-quality external 16.368 MHz clock to the VCO PLL, but I don't think that's 
good enough without knowing the PLL quality. But I don't understand the fine 
points of GPSDO design, so maybe someone can comment.

Live prototype SDR: http://www.jks.com:8073 (password is 'kiwi')
Design review document: www.jks.com/docs/wrx/wrx.design.review.pdf (60 pages, 
which I don't expect anyone to fully read)
PCB Gerbers and sources: : https://github.com/jks-prv/Beagle_SDR_GPS
History: www.jks.com/wrx/wrx.html

Thanks in advance!
John

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Re: [time-nuts] CGSIC: FW: New NANU 2014090

2014-12-17 Thread John Seamons
On Dec 17, 2014, at 1:38 PM, Jim Lux jim...@earthlink.net wrote:

 but there probably are some software receivers (open source?) out there..

I'll add to the list:

Fellow time-nut Peter Monta's GNSS Firehose 
http://pmonta.com/blog/2014/06/17/new-gnss-firehose-board/ 
https://github.com/pmonta/GNSS_Firehose

The designer of the NSL Primo, Michele Bavaro 
http://michelebavaro.blogspot.com, sells a better alternative to the US$500, 
L1-only GN3S, namely the SdrNav00 for EUR 220 
http://www.onetalent-gnss.com/ideas/software-defined-radio/sdrnav00

One of these days, yours truly will be selling a cape for the BeagleBone 
Black SBC containing an L1-only Si 4150L (maybe I should rethink that) plus 
Xilinx LX45 FPGA www.jks.com/wrx/wrx.html which runs Andrew Holme's homemade 
software-defined GPS receiver http://www.aholme.co.uk/GPS/Main.htm
Plus you get a shortwave SDR for free..

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Re: [time-nuts] Where the 5370's are...

2014-10-18 Thread John Seamons
On Oct 18, 2014, at 3:48 PM, Mark Sims hol...@hotmail.com wrote:

 It is rather interesting that well over half have gone international  …

Agreed. I have shipped processor boards to Canada, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, 
Sweden, Spain, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Italy and maybe South Africa if 
their post office strike ever ends.

Being a part-time resident of New Zealand also makes me painfully aware of the 
high costs of international shipping, VAT/GST and generally poor treatment by 
customs and post offices. It varies a lot though. My shipments from Shenzhen 
just fly from there through customs in LA (usually less than 24 hours), then 
proceed to get lost inside DHL for a week or more while they try and decide, 
again, if New Mexico is really a legitimate US state.

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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 processor boards available

2014-10-08 Thread John Seamons
On Oct 8, 2014, at 8:00 AM, Chuck Harris cfhar...@erols.com wrote:

 Is removing the HPIB connector the way?
 
 Is anyone making a replacement panel that has a USB
 and an RJ connector mounted?

I have looked into the mechanical issues of doing that, but haven't done a PCB 
layout yet.

My plan was to include a USB isolation chip on the board so the USB connection 
has as much galvanic isolation as the transformer-coupled Ethernet. Also, I 
wanted to add a regulator to supply +5 on the internal side of the USB, driven 
from one of the large caps of the HP supply. That would provide some hold-up 
power for orderly shutdown of the Beagle on 5370 power-off. Alternatively, 
there would be some jumpers so the USB could bypass the isolator so the USB 
power could be supplied full-time from an external USB charger. That way the 
Beagle would run continuously for an instant on experience on 5370 power-up.

There are some EMI/EMC and ground loop issues with all this. My guess is that 
if you use shielded Ethernet cable the shield/drain wire, and the shield/gnd 
wire of the USB,  should probably be left floating on the 5370 end (i.e. 
non-shielded USB/RJ45 connectors on the PCB or making sure shielded connectors 
are isolated from the back panel). But I am no expert with such issues and 
would appreciate any advice. I kinda like PHK's solution: use a hole to get the 
cables out of there as quickly as possible.

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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 processor boards available

2014-10-08 Thread John Seamons
On Oct 8, 2014, at 6:46 AM, Chuck Harris cfhar...@erols.com wrote:

 Can you share with the group any interesting applications this
 new processor board has enabled?

I haven't done much of interest beyond the high speed binary-mode-over-Ethernet 
hack (about 39K meas/sec last time I checked). I'm not even sure how useful 
that is in a time-nut context.

There are lots of possibilities though. Adding a timestamp counting mode would 
be pretty nice assuming you could get NTP on the Beagle working well. There is 
some code that allows a user application to generate content for the little 
integrated web server. So creating some plots on the instrument itself would be 
pretty easy (right now a browser connection shows you the display  LEDs and 
accepts virtual button pushes).

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[time-nuts] 5370 processor boards available

2014-10-06 Thread John Seamons
Boards from the second build of the 5370 processor replacement board project 
are now available.
Details here: www.jks.com/5370/5370.html

Please email me off-list with any non general-interest questions.

Thanks,
John

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[time-nuts] 2nd hp 5370 processor board build

2014-08-11 Thread John Seamons
Please excuse this commercial announcement (although it's still a near-zero 
profit project).

There has been enough accumulated interest for me to consider doing a second 
build of the 5370 processor replacement boards.
If you are interested, but have not previously done so, please fill-out the 
form available at www.jks.com/5370/5370.html
If you've sent one in the past I have emailed you and request that you 
re-confirm via an email reply.

Thanks

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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB for Time Nuts

2014-08-09 Thread John Seamons
On Aug 10, 2014, at 5:49 AM, Brooke Clarke bro...@pacific.net wrote:
 I don't understand how Xtendwave can get patents when their work was 
 partially funded by NIST?

We had this discussion a few years back: 
http://www.mail-archive.com/time-nuts%40febo.com/msg51742.html

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Re: [time-nuts] Beaglebone´s PRUs

2014-06-25 Thread John Seamons
If you're looking for example code that uses the BeagleBone PRU: The 5370 
processor replacement project https://github.com/jks-prv/5370_proc uses the 
PRU to meet real-time requirements accessing the 5370 and Beagle GPIOs 
(basically, by staying away from Linux). The code shows how to communicate to a 
PRU program from a C program running on the main processor via shared memory. 
The code includes, builds and runs the PRU assembler and runtime loader. So 
it's pretty much a self-contained PRU build environment.

The only problem is that I haven't tested it on the newer Beagles that run the 
Ubuntu distribution instead of Angstrom. So there may be some adjustment 
required.

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Re: [time-nuts] Why using HP5370 ext-ref is (maybe) a bad idea

2014-03-01 Thread John Seamons
On Mar 2, 2014, at 6:20 AM, Brian Lloyd br...@lloyd.com wrote:

 Instead of using the external reference input, any thoughts on actually
 disciplining the internal OCXO to bypass the problem?

I almost put a GPS front-end chip and small FPGA on the 5370 board. You can 
imagine where that idea was going. I mean, you've got that whole BeagleBone 
just sitting there with some spare cycles now that I use the PRU. But it would 
have doubled the BOM cost. Probably more depending on the choice of DAC 
solution.

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Re: [time-nuts] Why using HP5370 ext-ref is (maybe) a bad idea

2014-03-01 Thread John Seamons

On Mar 2, 2014, at 7:05 AM, Pete Lancashire p...@petelancashire.com wrote:

 Idea. On the next go around for the board put the copper down and holes for
 a couple small daughter cards and any support logic needed to interface
 with the BBB.
 The the only additional cost would be limited to the daughter board I/O
 since my guess it would be SMT hence a bit hard to leave it unpopulated.

Good idea. Also the Beagle spec allows for multiple, stacked interface boards 
('capes' they call them). So for a backwards compatible solution an 
experimental GPSDO + backup power cape could be interposed between the Beagle 
and 5370 board. I say experimental because I have no idea if any of the SDGPS 
projects out there would be ultimately suitable for a DO.

This brings up a question I have about how the PPS edge is actually derived by 
a GPS receiver. Does it originally come from the NAV data stream and then get 
corrected by the (fixed-mode) positioning solution to account for 
transmission/system delays? I know about the issue of alignment with the VCTCXO 
clock, but I'm talking about upstream of that.

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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 processor boards available

2014-02-27 Thread John Seamons

On Feb 28, 2014, at 4:34 PM, Bob Camp li...@rtty.us wrote:

 Is there any performance data on how the card does with a 5370A and / or a 
 5370B compared to the original CPU on the exact same box? Put another way - 
 does the counter get better or worse with the new card? I realize that an A 
 will do some things with B firmware, that’s not the question I’m asking. I’m 
 looking for A to A or B to B timing data.

Yes. I made some measurements with the previous microcontroller-based board (48 
MHz sam7x) versus the stock CPU card. I have not yet had a chance to repeat 
that exercise with the current board. Look at the 23-Jul-2011 entry on 
www.jks.com/5370/5370.html Very much dependent on what the measurement is, 
but a range of 5-72% faster.

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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 processor boards available

2014-02-26 Thread John Seamons
On Feb 25, 2014, at 12:59 PM, John Seamons j...@jks.com wrote:

 I may have a solution for the power-off problem that doesn't involve 
 batteries or supercaps. It has the added advantage of providing instant-on.

From the latest documentation:

One solution to the annoyance of having to halt the BBB before the instrument 
is
powered off is simply to keep the BBB running by providing it a secondary source
of power via the USB-mini port. The BBB already understands how to select
between two sources of power: the USB-mini and +5V barrel connectors (the latter
of which is actually being delivered from the 5370 via the board expansion
connectors). The app detects when the instrument has powered down and resumes
running when power is restored. USB power could come from an external USB hub or
charger. You may have to obtain a longer USB cable than the one supplied. Be
certain to only use the USB-mini connector that is adjacent to the Ethernet RJ45
connector. Do not use the USB-A connector on the other end of the board as that
port will not accept input power.

Some of you might even figure out how to derive +5V for the USB-mini cable from
the 5370 oven power supply card that is always powered if the instrument is off
but the line cord is plugged in. But beware of the potential problem of
conducting noise from the BBB to the reference oscillator over such a
connection. Some experimentation and measurement is necessary. The planned
USB/Ethernet connector card that replaces the current HPIB one at the back-panel
could host a voltage regulator. Aligator clip connections to the '+25V UNREG'
and GND test points on the oven power supply would alleviate the need for any
soldering.

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[time-nuts] 5370 processor boards available

2014-02-24 Thread John Seamons
Please excuse this commercial announcement (although it is a near-zero profit 
endeavor).
I am now accepting general orders for the hp 5370 processor replacement board.
More info and ordering information at: www.jks.com/5370/5370.html

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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 processor boards available

2014-02-24 Thread John Seamons
I may have a solution for the power-off problem that doesn't involve batteries 
or supercaps. It has the added advantage of providing instant-on. I need to run 
some tests..

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[time-nuts] software-defined WWVB receivers

2014-02-21 Thread John Seamons
As a starting point: Here's an extension of the SAQrx PC sound card receiver 
that supports 192 KHz sample-rate sound cards. Enough to get you WWVB.
https://sites.google.com/site/swljo30tb

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[time-nuts] 5370 project now on github

2013-10-26 Thread John Seamons
https://github.com/jks-prv/5370_proc

Source code, documentation, Gerbers, BOM, KiCAD schematic and PCB layout. I'm 
new to github so please let me know of any screwups.

I decided to pull the USB isolation stuff off the board since it's pricey and 
uncertain when it might be working with the BBB. It can be part of a separate 
back-panel connector board in the future. You can still use USB with the BBB, 
you just won't have galvanic isolation. You could also run USB-WiFi off of a 
USB cable dangling out the back of the instrument I suppose. So for now the 
best way is to use a wired Ethernet connection.

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Re: [time-nuts] beta tester needed: hp5370 processor replacement project

2013-10-25 Thread John Seamons
Okay, the board has been spoken for. Thanks for your interest.
I will soon post gerbers and source so you can build one yourself if you want. 
We should also figure out how to get a larger number of boards made if there is 
sufficient interest.

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Re: [time-nuts] beta tester needed: hp5370 processor replacement project

2013-10-25 Thread John Seamons
Since I'm getting a bunch of replies let me ask that you please answer a 
question in your emails.

Please indicate:
1. Just publish the gerbers and source and I'll deal with it myself.
2. I want to buy a blank PCB (no components).
3. I want to buy a finished PCB and I'll buy the BBB, plug it in and 
download the software myself.
4. I want to buy a finished PCB that includes the BBB pre-loaded with 
the software.

I'm not intending to make any profit on this. And I'd welcome any help.
Thanks.

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[time-nuts] beta tester need: hp5370 processor replacement project

2013-10-24 Thread John Seamons
Please do not reply to the list -- send me an email.

I need one (just one) additional beta tester for the hp5370 processor 
replacement project: http://www.jks.com/5370/5370.html
Ideally you'd be able to write some C code that extends the instrument to do 
something interesting for the time-nuts community and uncover problems in the 
process.

You must be capable of removing/installing some 5370 boards, hooking up a wired 
Ethernet+DHCP connection and using various Linux tools on the BeagleBone Black 
SBC that is part of the new board.
No cost, other than your time, unless you'd like to reimburse me the list price 
(US$45) for the BBB since that should be useful to you no matter what happens.

Thanks

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[time-nuts] Software-defined GPS receiver: the breadboard

2013-09-25 Thread John Seamons
For your amusement: http://www.jks.com/sdgps/sdgps.html

A version of Andrew Holme's SD-GPS built using a BeagleBone Black + LX25 FPGA + 
SE4150 GPS front-end chip.

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Re: [time-nuts] HP3048 RMB software

2013-09-14 Thread John Seamons
On Sep 13, 2013, at 6:03 AM, David Hooke wrote:

 Does anyone have a secret stash of the RMB A.03.0x version?

I don't have that. But what I do have that might be of interest to someone is 
the source code (BASIC) for the older 3047A system (11740A/35601A). I have 
uploaded it to KO4BB (give Didier a while to move it to the correct directory 
before you can look at it). I had originally intended to port that code to a 
more modern controller running instrument basic, but alas that it yet another 
unfinished project.

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Re: [time-nuts] Raw GPS signal samples

2013-09-04 Thread John Seamons
On Sep 5, 2013, at 9:05 AM, Tom Van Baak wrote:

 Hi John,
 
 It's not off-topic at all. Thanks for posting. Someday it would be cool if an 
 amateur precise time project emerged from this effort.
 
 What is not clear from your link is the accuracy or stability of the LO that 
 was used. It seems to me, for timing purposes, that one would want to have a 
 very precise timebase for the binary samples that are collected.
 
 I suppose it depends if someone just wants to make a homebrew (50 baud) GPS 
 subcode decoder and navigation receiver, or if someone is interested in 
 extracting as much precise time from the code and carrier phase as possible. 
 For our timing niche, SDGPS (Software-Defined GPS) doesn't even need to be 
 real-time. It's the after-the-fact corrections to the LO that are of interest.

So far I've only looked at this trying to better understand how GPS 
fundamentally works. But of course I've also wondered if any of these SDGPS 
projects are a suitable base to experiment with some form of carrier phase 
tracking for time-nut purposes.

Holme's project is interesting in that his front-end is built up from discrete 
parts rather than using one of the single chip solutions (SE4150, MAX2769). 
That allows you to use whatever source of better-behaved L1 band LO and 
reference you might have (e.g. 8662A and doubler). And it would be simple to 
add some sort of processing of the de-spread signal in the FPGA if this has 
some advantage over only post-processing. Anyway, lots to think about.

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[time-nuts] Raw GPS signal samples

2013-09-03 Thread John Seamons
Somewhat off-topic but it might help someone out: I've had a tough time 
finding, and using, files on the net containing raw GPS signal samples to be 
used with the various software-only (or software-mostly) GPS receivers out 
there. I finally got a file of data that works and have have posted it plus a 
description of the file format here: http://www.jks.com/gps/gps.html I've 
used it successfully with Andrew Holme's excellent homemade GPS receiver. Now 
on to building an actual RF front-end to get some real signals..

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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB and Free Democracies Survival

2012-07-15 Thread John Seamons
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/01septoct/gwen.cfm;
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=SiteLocations;
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/ndgps/DGPS_Site_Table.pdf;

The only ones I know for a fact were former GWEN sites are Essex CA and ABQ NM.
I can hear 29 +/- of these with an indoor loopstick in the winter when 
conditions are quiet.

On Jul 15, 2012, at 12:09 PM, Tom Miller wrote:

 I believe many of the GWEN sites were converted to VLF beacons transmitting 
 differential GPS reference data.
 
 I know of one site in Crownsville, Maryland that does just that.
 
 I don't know the up to data status of these sites now.
 
 
 Regards,
 Tom


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB and Free Democracies Survival

2012-07-15 Thread John Seamons
I can't seem to remember it's angle brackets you use to quote a url. Sorry 
about that for those of you reading on the archive and getting bad links. Try 
below:

On Jul 15, 2012, at 1:42 PM, John Seamons wrote:

 http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/01septoct/gwen.cfm
 http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=SiteLocations
 http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/ndgps/DGPS_Site_Table.pdf
 
 The only ones I know for a fact were former GWEN sites are Essex CA and ABQ 
 NM.
 I can hear 29 +/- of these with an indoor loopstick in the winter when 
 conditions are quiet.


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Re: [time-nuts] Leap second coming...

2012-06-29 Thread John Seamons
Even the LHC doesn't trust leap second effects.
A slide from Friday morning's status report:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/68809050/2012.06.29-830meeting.pdf;

(start-up referring to the recovery from this week's technical stop)


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[time-nuts] WWVB test: some results

2012-04-15 Thread John Seamons
It appears that, like last month's test, the phase data pattern transmitted is 
constant and repeats every minute. The pattern is different than last time 
however:

+-- sec 0
v
 April 15 2012
1001100101 010011 111000 1110101100 0010111000 1101101000 -- sec 59
101100 100111 1001100111 010010 010010 10
 March 11 2012

 April 15 2012
sync=01001100101010 tpar=0 hour=001110101100 min=010111
sync=010110 tpar=01001 hour=1100110011010010 min=100101
 March 11 2012

 April 15 2012
dston=0 leap=0 dlpar=110 dst=110100 r=1000
dston=1 leap=1 dlpar=111 dst=11 r=1101
 March 11 2012

I'm pretty sure I have the phase ambiguity correct since the two sync bits 
between minute frames (at secs 0 and 59) have the same value across both tests.

But the other bits and fields don't make any sense with respect to the NIST 
spec: The minute field doesn't increment, the dston/leap parity bits aren't 
correct, etc.
So my guess is that they're only testing the autocorrelation properties of 
different sync patterns rather than the full protocol. But who knows..


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

2012-04-14 Thread John Seamons
On Apr 14, 2012, at 7:05 PM, Jim Hickstein wrote:

 Did they start early?  Both my Spectracom 8164 and 8170 are unlocked.  I was 
 expecting this, but not before 0130Z.

The transmitter went off-air starting at 0100Z. Back on now at 0130 presumably 
with PSK. I'm recording, but haven't done any decoding yet. I'm hoping this 
test is more than just the static data pattern from last time.


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB phase plots

2012-03-20 Thread John Seamons
On Mar 20, 2012, at 4:18 AM, Peter Monta wrote:

 John, if you're reading this, would your receiver be capable of
 recording with wider RF bandwidth?  Your recordings made during the
 test period have a bandwidth of about 30 Hz; can it go any wider?  I
 think your web page says you're using an active whip antenna, which is
 good because the resonant loops would impose their own bandwidth
 limit.  If you could eliminate the narrowband receiver and record the
 antenna signal directly with the 192 ksa/s ADC, that would be ideal.

So the goal here is to measure the bandwidth of their antenna system? (or what 
they limit the transmitted bandwidth to be to make sure no power is wasted by 
the bandwidth limitations of the antenna).
The first IF of the 3586B is 50 MHz and is filtered to 10 kHz BW before mixing 
to 15.625 kHz. So recording the second IF is one possibility. The other as you 
say is to connect the active antenna directly to the sound card, crank up the 
input gain and hope for the best. No reason I couldn't playback the recording 
and run it through the SA and 3586 again to see what it looks like. Let me work 
on that.


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB phase plots

2012-03-18 Thread John Seamons
On Mar 16, 2012, at 1:32 AM, Peter Monta wrote:

 Attached are some more renderings of John Seamons' WWVB data.  This is
 what one might expect from a receiver that knows when the phase
 reversals happen and takes them out noiselessly---re-reversing the
 out-of-phase bursts to recover an approximation of the usual WWVB
 signal.

Thanks for the additional analysis Peter. Odd that there is significant phase 
jitter.

I've added to my website the only other significant recording I made: ten 
minutes in the dead of night (2:27 AM MST, 9:27 UT).
http://www.jks.com/wwvb/wwvb.html#10-min

The phase data I extracted is the same as the two minutes of data I captured 
earlier. A constant pattern that repeats every minute. Certainly not the full 
protocol as described in the NIST paper. So maybe this test was to simply 
evaluate the phase modulation effects on receiving equipment (in which case 
it's shame we didn't find out earlier so we could do more boat-anchor 
compatibility testing).

In an earlier message Dennis Ferguson points out that the paper doesn't fully 
specify the 11/14-bit minute-sync and 60-bit hour-sync codes. So it's not clear 
what they were actually transmitting. They do talk about using the 11-bit 
Barker code for autocorrelation. But the sync bits transmitted only match the 
Barker code if you interpret them a little bit out-of-order.




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

2012-03-14 Thread John Seamons
Here is a copy of the paper NIST co-authored describing the new WWVB phase 
modulation format:
http://jks.com/wwvb.pdf  (2MB PDF)

John Lowe from NIST said I could redistribute it to the list. It will be 
available on the NIST website sometime in April once the official PTTI 2011 
proceedings are published. When that happens I'll remove my link above and you 
can find the paper here:
http://tf.boulder.nist.gov/general/publications.htm  (search for Bin 
Number 2591)

Also of interest, a company contracted to help with the development will have 
silicon (and patents) at some point:

http://www.xtendwave.com/xtendwave-awarded-grant-for-atomic-clock-enhancements.html
http://www.xtendwave.com/atomictimekeeping.html


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB phase modulation format?

2012-03-11 Thread John Seamons
On Mar 9, 2012, at 4:28 PM, Peter Monta wrote:

 Interesting that WWVB is running a phase-modulation test---thanks for
 the links.  Is the signal format known?  A quick search shows nothing
 specific, just we're testing.
 
 Could someone record a few minutes of the broadband signal so that
 those of us without ready-to-hand LF receivers can have a look?
 
 Cheers,
 Peter

I took a look at this. Pictures and video here: http://jks.com

I believe what they were doing is applying a simple 180 deg phase shift to the 
carrier (BPSK) during certain one second timecode intervals.
Whether there was anything fancier going on or not (like what DCF77 does) I 
couldn't tell immediately, although I did make a 192 ksps sound card recording 
for future analysis.

Apologies for the crude measurement and presentation. I had to throw this 
together in a hurry.


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Re: [time-nuts] WWVB phase modulation format?

2012-03-11 Thread John Seamons
On Mar 11, 2012, at 12:53 PM, John Seamons wrote:

 I took a look at this. Pictures and video here: http://jks.com
 
 I believe what they were doing is applying a simple 180 deg phase shift to 
 the carrier (BPSK) during certain one second timecode intervals.
 Whether there was anything fancier going on or not (like what DCF77 does) I 
 couldn't tell immediately, although I did make a 192 ksps sound card 
 recording for future analysis.

Okay, so I did a little analysis of the data. See the website for details. For 
the few minutes I recorded there was a fixed pattern of phase changes that 
repeated each minute. They did not seem related to the changing timecode. I 
tried interpreting the bits as various things, including ascii characters, but 
no luck. Maybe one of you will figure it out, or I suppose we could ask.


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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 firmware hacking status report

2011-07-25 Thread John Seamons
On Jul 25, 2011, at 2:32 PM, Tijd Dingen wrote:

 A quick check shows digikey sells them in single quantities, and has current 
 stock.

Good news. I hadn't checked for five months, but maybe my original search was 
faulty. Funny that they're $1.40 more expensive than the microcontroller ($10 
vs $8.60 for 25 pieces).


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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 firmware hacking status report

2011-07-24 Thread John Seamons
On Jul 24, 2011, at 12:32 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

 I would worry a bit about the PLL locking too, but I have no idea how
 to actually measure it.
 
 I think the 1sec max gate-time is related to the eventcounter width,
 but it might be possible to simulate a wider counter in software.
 
 The obvious idea for advanced functionality is calculation of
 allan deviations

Interpolator PLL unlock: From the schematic, each VCO control voltage gets 
limit checked by a comparator located on the 200MHz multiplier card. If either 
one goes out of range a latch gets set on the count chain board which shows up 
as a status bit in N0ST. That latch is what drives the red led on the top edge 
of the count board. I currently check it at the top of the 500 sample/packet 
loop. This is often enough since it gets latched even if the VCO drops out only 
once. Whether the comparator is good enough if you're on the edge of failure 
sampling at 100 K/sec is another matter.

Event counter width: It seems to be 16-bits wide with an overflow bit also in 
N0ST. So extending the bit length in software is not impossible. I notice now 
that the N0 counter has an overflow as well. This explains why binary mode 
readout is limited to TIs  320 ns (typo in manual, it says ps). An HPIB binary 
connection has no way of dealing with software overflow from a 16-bit N0. And 
16-bits @ 200MHz is about +/- 328 ns. In non-binary mode the software must be 
maintaining a 28-bit N0 counter for the max +/- 10 sec TI spec.


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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 firmware hacking status report

2011-07-24 Thread John Seamons
On Jul 24, 2011, at 11:18 AM, paul swed wrote:

 Took a look at your setup and bench. So the support for the 5370 in a HP
 vector network analyzer. Now thats some support. :-) I might tend to have
 the two flipped in the stack.
 So you are suggesting the potential to make this operational to a wider
 audience. Any thoughts on a timeline? I personally have no problems
 soldering in 40-60 wires from a daughter board as an example.

4396A NSA: I should have been more clear about that. I only use that box as a 
programmable HPIB master for testing. Nothing more. I really need to get a PCI 
or USB GPIB interface like everyone else. Anyone running John's GPIB Toolkit 
under Wine on Ubuntu? /insert Windows rant

Rather than trying to replicate my painful development setup we really just 
need to get a proper board made. That Atmel eval kit alone is $200. The board 
needs a boot loader that lets you re-flash over the network (instead of 
spending money on a JTAG dongle or using the awful Atmel USB flasher). Has 
anyone used KiCAD for pcb layout? Also, I don't know anything about USB, so I 
could use some help. Atmel has an existing stack for the micro. Big advantages 
over using Ethernet if you don't already have a network setup.


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Re: [time-nuts] 5370 firmware hacking status report

2011-07-24 Thread John Seamons
On Jul 24, 2011, at 2:40 PM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

 Ethernets big advantage is that it is galvanically isolated, USB is not.

You had mentioned this issue in February. And since I currently flash using USB 
I went ahead and bought the evaluation card for the Analog Devices ADuM4160 
power/signal isolator chip (see last pic on jks.com). Even though I programmed 
the GPIO pins on the micro for open drain I didn't know if the +5 on the USB 
from the host computer would fight the signals from the 5370. Plus I didn't 
want the ground loop. So the isolator chip splits the power domains and the 
micro is powered by +5 from the 5370. Works great. But I haven't found anyone 
who sells the chip in small quantities yet.

You also had mentioned PyRevEng back then. I will try it. It will be very 
useful at this point.


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[time-nuts] 5370 firmware hacking status report

2011-07-23 Thread John Seamons
Some progress since February's discussion:

My m6800 emulator running the 5370 firmware has been moved from the Linux box 
to a little 32-bit microcontroller on it's own small evaluation-kit board.
Pictures here: http://jks.com (click on images for larger versions)

You talk to it over an Ethernet connection. The 5370 device bus connects to the 
general-purpose I/O pins of the micro. Since the micro has 256KB Flash  128KB 
SRAM no off-chip memory is required. Everything just fits: emulator, firmware, 
lightweight TCP/IP stack, minimal C runtime, device drivers, performance hacks, 
...

All the front panel controls seem to work as expected. The operator 
verification section of the manual checks out. The HPIB hardware  remote 
programming work, but I have a limited ability to test it currently. I have no 
computer-based GPIB card yet, just a 4396A with HPIB + Instrument Basic (yuk). 
But I also have a mode that fools the firmware into thinking the 5370 has the 
HPIB card installed (when it doesn't) and instead sends the transactions over 
Ethernet (USB also possible). More about this in a bit.

Measurement performance is improved 40% on average and as much as 70% for some 
functions (see the spreadsheet and charts).

The ultimate goal is to produce a drop-in replacement for the CPU card which 
would also allow you to toss the ROM card (older 5370s) and HPIB card. You'd 
get serial, Ethernet and USB connectivity to replace the HPIB.

Now all this is fine, and somewhat amusing, but it's not clear there is any 
particular advantage. It's not as though there are piles of 5370s lying around 
with dead or missing CPU cards. Or that it's impossible to deal with HPIB 
anymore. One interesting possibility is adding new front-panel accessible 
measurement functions. Since the emulator has complete bus access it can detect 
new key press combinations before the firmware does and go into a mode where it 
gathers raw TI samples, processes them, and puts the results in the display. 
When an existing key sequence occurs the firmware is resumed and it doesn't 
even know it was paused while the new function was running.

But I discovered something else that's even more interesting (note that I am 
relatively new to this time-nut stuff, so please correct my nutty mistakes). 
There was a discussion about how the 5372 is nice because of the high-speed 
readout option and the lack of dead-time, but how it doesn't match the 5370 
one-shot resolution. The 5370 of course has this binary HPIB mode to get raw TI 
samples sent as fast as possible (roughly 6000/sec). I decided to try the same 
thing but from C code running on the (much faster) micro. I disassembled the 
firmware loop that reads samples from the TI count chain registers into the 
HPIB data-out register. I found that I could move 100K samples/sec out of the 
TI regs into a memory buffer (not a typo, one hundred K). Adding code to stream 
512 samples per Ethernet packet back to a host computer dropped the rate to 
80K/sec.

The screen shot of the logic analyzer shows this process. This trace has little 
jitter so as long as the host on the other end is reasonably fast, and the 
network isn't loaded, this streaming rate should be sustainable. Obviously 
there is huge dead-time while the network code runs, but there might be ways 
around this. I should mention that because I have more processing power now on 
the instrument side I can do some pre-computation and only send 2-bytes per 
sample as opposed to the 5370 which sends 5. So 512 * 2 bytes = 1024 
bytes/packet.

The last screen shot is of the host side. So far all the TI values seem to be 
reasonable.

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Re: [time-nuts] Rom Expansion for HP5370B

2011-02-21 Thread John Seamons
 Have you tried going through the various checkout procedures in the manual
 to make sure they all still work?  If the 5370 firmware authors *didn't*
 bake some timing dependencies into that 6800 code, they were the exception.
 Of course, if your emulator is cycle-for-cycle faithful to the 6800 it's all
 good.
 -- john, KE5FX
Most of the front panel functions I tried worked. But not all.

It's possible that the m6800 emulator is not bug-free. I just used one that I 
found on the net. I have not checked it.

Yes, then there are the timing issues. When I first ran the code, and printed 
every instruction executed, it was clear after a while that a timing loop was 
running. Now whether this delay is critical to a measurement function or not is 
unknown to me. Although Poul-Henning can probably tell us with his reverse 
engineering of the code.

Since that poor m6800 is only running at 1.5 MHz you would think that the 
emulator running on a modern machine would have no problem running many times 
faster than that. Unfortunately the software stack and USB delays when using 
that USB-to-parallel adapter in my setup causes everything to run many times 
-slower- than 1.5 MHz when any I/O is going on. The TI and frequency 
measurement functions work fine. The slowest effect I noticed is changing the 
trigger levels. The display update lags by 20 sec or so.

Now using a microcontroller with direct bus access is another story. You can 
clock it from the 5370 10 MHz and use an internal timer to generate the 1.5 MHz 
bus clock. Then the emulator, now running much faster than the m6800, can count 
emulated cycles and schedule I/O at the exact time it would have occurred at 
1.5 MHz.

I will try some more complete testing.

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Re: [time-nuts] Rom Expansion for HP5370B

2011-02-21 Thread John Seamons
 Perhaps an AT91SAM7SE512 - it has an external addr/data bus, with quite 
 flexible configuration, and USB - but no Ethernet :)

 Regards,
 Javier
One thing I like about the SAM7X512 (and others) is that in exchange for giving 
up the external bus interface you get USB -and- Ethernet. The m6800 A16/D8 bus 
is so simple and slow you can bit bang it using GPIO.
Plus in these parts there is plenty of flash and SRAM (512K/128K) so no 
external memory is needed.  It's bad enough to have to solder a single 
LQFP-100..

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Re: [time-nuts] Rom Expansion for HP5370B

2011-02-21 Thread John Seamons
On Feb 21, 2011, at 10:38 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

 In message a9edf64f-c7a2-4679-9f69-a9395b1a0...@jks.com, John Seamons 
 writes:
 
 It's bad enough to have to solder a single LQFP-100..
 
 Why even try ?  There are plenty of good eval boards from olimex.com
 (sparkfun.com in the USA)
 
 And yes, the HP5370B bus can probably be bitbanged just fine.
 
 Poul-Henning

For prototyping I agree.
I was thinking more about the difficulty of producing a low-cost, low-volume 
replacement board (assuming there are any takers)
By low-cost I'm thinking under $100 (hopefully this is also less than the 
original 5370 purchase price)

On Feb 21, 2011, at 10:40 AM, Javier Herrero wrote:

 That is true, the SAM7X... are very nice. ... The bad thing is that they have 
 Ethernet but no phy, so an external phy must be used.
 In that respect, for an application using Ethernet I would use a Luminary, 
 that has both MAC  PHY on-chip and only needs the magnetic ...
 Regards,
 
 Javier

I didn't know the Luminary parts had a phy. Nice.
Except for development boards ($100) the chips ($10) seem to be unobtainium at 
the moment. Although that will change.

John


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Re: [time-nuts] Rom Expansion for HP5370B

2011-02-21 Thread John Seamons
Well the hard part (or maybe the fun part) is still to come.
I wasn't going to talk about any of this until I had a board to sell, but this 
thread sort of forced the issue, lol.

On Feb 21, 2011, at 12:14 PM, jimlux wrote:

 On 2/20/11 8:55 PM, John Seamons wrote:
 I've been looking at this a bit recently.
 Pictures here: http://jks.com
 
 
 I *am* impressed...
 And what a coincidence that phk's name can be adequately done on a 7 segment 
 display (or did he have particularly clever parents?... I can only do one of 
 my children's names on 7 segs.. )
 
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Re: [time-nuts] Rom Expansion for HP5370B

2011-02-20 Thread John Seamons
I've been looking at this a bit recently.
Pictures here: http://jks.com

I run the 5370 firmware on an m6800 emulator written in C running on a Linux 
box.
Reads and writes to I/O space are caught and executed on the 5370 hardware via 
an interface board hooked up to the m6800 processor bus.

This interface board is a cheap USB to 32-bit parallel adapter card (Dimax 
sub-20).
I used an evaluation board for the Analog Devices ADuM4160 USB power/signal 
isolator chip.

The next step is to move everything to a microcontroller (e.g. SAM7X) on a card 
that replaces the processor board completely.
As has been mentioned you can do all sorts of crazy, and perhaps useful, stuff 
at this point.

~~~

I have a question about the dead time of the 5370.
Can it be eliminated with a fast enough processor, buffering, interface, etc. 
or is it intrinsic to the measurement hardware itself?


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[time-nuts] 3047a/11740a 35601a firmware

2008-01-11 Thread John Seamons
I have the 3047a BASIC firmware files (dated 1/16/1986) that were coded to
run on the hp 9835 calculator and control the 3582/3585/35601 over HPIB.
Some kind soul sent them to me over 10 years ago after I had acquired a
35601a.
The plan was to whack it for IBASIC in the 4395 SA and display the PN graphs
on same ‹ a project I never finished.
Drop me a msg at j-k-s a-t j-k-s-.-c-o-m and I¹ll forward them. For hobby
use only please.

-jks

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