[time-nuts] Why discipline Rubidium oscillator?

Bob kb8tq kb8tq at n1k.org
Tue Nov 21 10:35:25 EST 2017


Cesiums (that may be on their last legs or maybe not) are pretty common 
in the market. Prices vary, but generally are < $4,000. Bought new they are
in the $70,000 range.  Masers show up much less often. Price wise … that
depends. The cheapest working unit I have heard of was in the $30,000 range.
New, you see some with $150,000 price tags on them. 

Fountain standards for the commercial market have been a “real soon now” 
sort of thing since the 1980’s. I have yet to see anybody selling one (as opposed 
to building it in a lab and using it). Yes, there always has been a lot of talk. 
There don’t seem to be any shipments….

State of the art Ion standards are something you lock up a building full of very 
smart people for a good chunk of their career to come up with. Unless you have 
a budget funded by a rich uncle (or something similar)… don’t go there. 

That sounds very discouraging. Actually it’s not. There is no real need to have
a “best in the world” fountain or ion standard. One that simply works probably 
would be fine by any of us. The same is true of the Maser. Putting in a few years
of work to get one up and running might be an ok thing if the price was right. 


The bigger point is: what do you do / what can you do with this stuff? 

As you scale up the standard, the bench that goes around it probably scales
as well. The counter that was fine back when you only had a partially working 
OCXO as a standard may not be “good enough” with your maser. Watching
the second tick on your WWVB clock may no longer be “interesting” you may
want to plot signals from far away stars ….

It just keeps getting worse !!!


> On Nov 20, 2017, at 9:43 PM, Dana Whitlow <k8yumdoober at gmail.com> wrote:
> As far as I knew, the highest level steps *actually on the market* are
> the Cesium beam clocks and the active hydrogen masers.  Are any
> of the newer technologies available for purchase today?
> Dana
> On Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 6:13 PM, Hal Murray <hmurray at megapathdsl.net> wrote:
>>> aren’t too many steps after that
>> Your imagination is broken.
>> There are lots more steps.  Most of them are very expensive.
>> --
>> These are my opinions.  I hate spam.
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