Monthly Archives: June 2015

Hang on a second…seriously

WWV-TimeCodeGenerator

One of four WWV time code generators in late August, 2014

Tonight, for the first time in three years, we will experience a leap second. What is a leap second?  Wikipedia provides a concise explanation:

A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time, or UT1. Without such a correction, time reckoned by Earth’s rotation drifts away from atomic time because of irregularities in the Earth’s rate of rotation. Since this system of correction was implemented in 1972, 25 such leap seconds have been inserted. The most recent one happened on June 30, 2012 at 23:59:60 UTC. A leap second, the 26th, will again be inserted at the end of June 30, 2015 at 23:59:60 UTC.

Like many of you, when I think of time–or UTC–I think about the NIST radio station WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I had the honor of visiting the facility last year (yes, photo tour still forthcoming!).  During the tour, my guide and Chief Engineer at WWV and WWVB, Matthew Deutch, told me that he’s always going to be on site come Leap Second!

MattDeutch-WWVB

WWV’s Matthew Deutch with WWVB antennas in background

I wrote Matt this morning to ask what were his plans tonight?  His reply:

“The leap second happens at 0000 UTC tonight, which is 6:00 pm here in Fort Collins. All of the programming took place at the beginning of the month, so the equipment is armed…we just sit back and watch for the leap this evening.

Even though it is automated I hang around the station to make sure everything goes smoothly at the critical moment…”

WWV-First-Sign-SMMatthew closed his message by wishing me a “Happy Leap Second.”

Back at you, Matt! We hope that second leaps as smoothly as you’d like!

Not to put Matt on the spot, but you can listen to WWV (or the atomic clock of your choice) make the leap second tonight at 00:00 UTC. As for me, I’ll hop on 10 MHz and 15 MHz to hear (and hopefully record) the extra “tick.” At the end of this post, I’ve provided a list of time stations for your convenience.

Happy Leap Second!

20MHZtransmitter

WWV 20 MHz Collins transmitter

List of shortwave radio time stations

  • CHU Canada: 3330 kHz, 7850 kHz, 14670 kHz
  • BPM China: 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, and 15,000 kHz
  • HLA South Korea: 5,000 kHz
  • BSF Taiwan: 5,000 and 15,000 kHz
  • WWV (Ft. Collins)/WWVH (Hawaii) United States:  2,500, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 and 25,000 kHz

Update

Click here to listen to Leap Second recordings from WWV and CHU.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Greece

greeceFor your listening pleasure: the Voice of Greece.

This was recorded on 29 June 2015 starting around 01:50 UTC on  9,420 kHz using my WinRadio Excalibur and my horizontal delta loop external (wire) antenna.

I’m very pleased with this off-air recording because it contains several minutes of multi-language station IDs in the last 10 minutes or so of the broadcast.

Click here to download this recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

A map of languages

MapOfLanguages

(Source: IFLScience)

This beautifully illustrated infographic (above), designed by South China Morning Post’s graphics director Alberto Lucas Lopéz, shows the most spoken known languages in the world and where they’re spoken by the 6.3 billion people included in the study.

Based on records collated from the database Ethnologue, the infographic illustrates the wide-ranging facts and figures of the world’s living languages catalogued since 1951.

“There are at least 7,102 known languages alive in the world today. Twenty-three of these languages are a mother tongue for more than 50 million people. The 23 languages make up the native tongue of 4.1 billion people,” says Lopez on his infographic.

“We represent each language within black borders and then provide the numbers of native speakers (in millions) by country. The colour of these countries shows how languages have taken root in many different regions,” added Lopez.

You can see the full pie chart in all its technicolor glory here.

WRMI test transmission of Armed Forces Radio of Nigeria

Radio Miami International

(Source: WRMI on Facebook)

Radio Miami has arranged for a one-week test transmission of the Armed Forces Radio of Nigeria from the Issoudun, France relay site beginning Tuesday, June 30.

The transmission, which will be directed to West Africa, will be from 0600-0700 UTC on two frequencies:

  • 11,825 kHz will carry a Hausa-language program, and
  • 13,775 kHz will carry an English-language program.

Passport to World Band Radio now available for download

PassportToWorldband RadioMany thanks to my buddy, Skip Arey (N2EI), who informed me that the American Radio History website has added 18 issues of the late Passport To World Band Radio to their free downloads archive. These issues span 1986-2009 and are free to download. What a treasure trove!

Click here to view Passport To World Band Radio on the American Radio History website.