[time-nuts] VLF time stations in Europe

Peter Vince pvince at theiet.org
Wed Sep 30 19:30:16 UTC 2009

Hi Magnus,

     The BBC's "Radio 4" signal on 198 KHz should be another contender.  Beware
that it has slow (25Hz?) phase mod that carries commercial data signals.  From
memory, the data packets are 50 bits each, so each spans 2 seconds.  Time is sent
leading up to the top of the minute, and other packet(s) are used by the
Electricity industry to switch our domestic off-peak "Economy-7" storage heater
systems on and off. But the service was never fully exploited or utilised, and so
many packets just carry nulls.  If you beat the signal with a local oscillator,
then view a narrow band waterfall display on a spectrum analyser program, you can
see a repeating pattern!

     Peter Vince   (G8ZZR, London)

On Wed Sep 30 20:43 , Magnus Danielson <magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org> sent:

>Fellow time-nuts,
>I am trying to make an overview of VLF time stations that can reach 
>Sweden and may be of practical use.
>Loran-C at 100 kHz seems obvious.
>DCF77 at 77,5 kHz (50 kW in Germany) is known, certainly within range 
>(my receiver works without much trouble).
>MSF at 60 kHz (17 kW in GB) also works (a friend has working reception).
>TDF at 162 kHz (2 MW in France) should reach according to published 
>chart, 3500 km range includes all of Sweden.
>HBG at 75 kHz (25 kW in Switzerland) may be a little to faint to be 
>useable? 1000 km range seems too short. To close down in 2011.
>I know of the Russian military Beta signal (20,5 kHz to 25,5 kHz), but 
>consider it of less importance in this case. Is received in Norway where 
>reverse-engineering has been done.
>I also know of Chayka, the Russian equalent of Loran-C. Considering to 
>include it.
>I assume that signal should be of considerable strength such that 
>regular use does not require DX-ing skills and that fairly regular use 
>can be made without having to figth wars agains S/N issues.
>Can anyone spot an obvious missing signal?
>Cheers, Magnus

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