Information from the NIST regarding possible closure WWV radio stations

WWV’s transmitter building in Fort Collins, Colorado (2014)

Regarding the NIST FY2019 budget which includes a request to shutdown WWV, WWVH, and WWVB, many of you have been asking if there has been an update.

We will keep you posted as this budget moves through the process, but in the meantime I’ll share the feedback and links provided by Gail Porter, Public Relations Director for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Ms. Porter writes:

We are proud of the time and frequency services we provide through our radio stations and understand that these services are important to many people.

As you likely know, the President proposes budgets for executive branch agencies and then the Congress considers that request before determining funding levels for each agency and passing an appropriations law to implement a budget for a given year.

The President’s full NIST FY 2019 budget request to the Congress is available at the link below, including a brief description of why the shutdown of the radio stations is proposed:’s_Budget_for_508_comp.pdf. see page NIST-25.

[…]The sentence below, which appears on page NIST 25, is the best description we have available to respond to your question.

“To consolidate and focus work on NIST efforts in quantum science, while maintaining essential core capabilities in measurement science research and measurement dissemination NIST will eliminate efforts that have been replaced by newer technologies, measurement science work that lies outside of NIST’s core mission space, and programs that can no longer be supported due to facility deterioration.”

[…]Here is a link to the NIST Budget Table for the FY2019 Presidential Request.

Also, in case these are of interest, here are links to press releases issued in May and June 2018 by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Committees’ on Appropriations about the FY2019 budget process:



Hope this information is helpful.

Many readers have been asking if all NIST stations are included in these cuts–the answer is yes.

If this budget passes as written, WWV, WWVH, and WWVB will all be closed.

If you value these NIST time stations, I would encourage you to contact your local representatives, and sign this White House petition.

Spread the radio love

29 thoughts on “Information from the NIST regarding possible closure WWV radio stations

  1. Jayson Smith

    For what it’s worth, the National Weather Service did finally discontinue marine and high seas storm warnings and related information broadcasts on WWV and WWVH on January 31. A friend recorded the final announcements from both stations.

  2. ShortWaveGuy

    Sad to see this coming to an end after almost 100 years. I have signed the petition at Whitehouse.Gov and at, however as of this posting, the Change.Org petition is only at 72%, not even enough signatures to get to 1000 and the Whitehouse.Gov petition sits at just 20% of its goal of 100,000. I find these stations useful and another piece of American history being needlessly thrown to the wind because it isn’t understood by the internet generation. As I type this, I have been reacclimating myself to the sounds of CHU, which will be about the only thing of it’s kind in the western hemisphere once WWV and WWVH mark time for the last time.

  3. Ken Irwin

    I think It’s time the clock industry embraced modern technology and install GPS modules in self correcting clocks.

    1. Dave Campbell

      There is more than simple time broadcasts served by these stations. Propagation conditions and critical alerts are made available that could otherwise be lost in the event of catastrophe when other form of communication become unavailable. Swinging the ax at NIST services to satisfy an ignorant and idealistic agenda risks diluting our technical superiority worldwide and is a dangerous thing to do. We cannot begin to treat NIST the reckless way the previous administration treated NASA – the consequences would be dire. Anyone that doesn’t understand those consequences obviously doesn’t know what NIST really does or what it is responsible for regarding the integrity and traceability of all electrical and physical measurements worldwide.

    2. John Henry Wheeler

      Where do you think the GPS systems get their time from? They come from the master clocks at WWV. It’s not just magic.

  4. Ralph O. Ewers, Ph.D

    The services provided by NIST and WWV are unique and important to many area of science and technology addionaly to the regulation of our lives. The standards of time and frequency provided by WWV are not only unique, but recognized the world over as the ultimate standards.


    As someone who spent several years at sea, I urge the NIST to reconsider this foolish and short sited decision. WWV, WWVH and WWVB are serious aids to navigation, especially when the maritime community depends so heavily on various satellite services such as INMARSAT-C. The NIST stations provide not only their critical information but also serve as an HF beacon for at least four HF frequency bands.

    It is astounding to me that the Federal Government can waste billions on frivolous programs and deny funding to something as useful and as inexpensive as the WWV stations. There is technilogical snobbery at work here which, treats anything on HF as obsolete or out of touch, The U.S. MiIlitary is beginning to realize that this sort attitude is folly, especially if many or most of these vulnerable satellite and or IP based services fail.

    Lloyd Bankson Roach
    Bedford , Pennsylvania

  6. Jayson Smith

    Last night I was listening to WWV by phone at 0 hours UTC, and during minutes 4 and 16 there was a 500 Hz tone, meaning they aren’t running any station-specific announcements right now. I would think if there was a shutdown in the works and they were announcing it, they would keep that announcement active as long as there wasn’t anything more immediate to announce E.G. discontinuation of NOAA marine storm warning announcements.

  7. Jayson Smith

    I just called into WWVH in time to hear 12:51 and 12:52 UTC announcements. 12:51 was a weather report. 12:52 was an announcement that starting October 31, the National Weather Service will no longer provide marine storm warnings to WWV and WWVH, if you have comments please Email them. I’m about to call into WWV for the 13:04 and 13:16 announcements if any, to see what they’re saying. On August 12 at 21:04 UTC the minute 4 announcement was that you could listen to WWV by phone, giving the phone number (303-499-7111).

  8. Dave Carr

    I was listening to WWVH this evening and at 51 mins into the hour I believe I heard the announcement that WWV & WWVH will cease transmissions at the end of 2018, can anyone out there please confirm that is the case?

  9. Jayson Smith

    Last Friday I found a WWV/WWVH simulator which runs under Linux and Mac natively, and can be coaxed to run under Windows. It uses the system speech synthesizer (Espeak on Linux, Say for MacOS) to generate the announcements. It sends its audio to stdout and you have to pipe it to something like SoX. Accuracy needs a lot of work, but it’s cool to listen to, and you can set the DUT1 value, and simulate positive and even negative leap seconds!

  10. Jayson Smith

    I’m very concerned about the possible shutdown of WWVB, as this would render the millions of so-called atomic clocks and watches useless. If this were to actually happen, who would have the authority to be licensed to transmit on 60KHZ and provide a WWVB-compatible substitute? Would it be legal—or could it be made legal by the FCC—to build/buy and operate low-power WWVB simulators for home use?

    1. Nobody of Import

      The legitimacy for a GPS or NNTP constrained simulator for WWVB would likely be covered under Subpart 15 of the regs. Means for the ranges and distances possible, it’d be legal. But it’d be obnoxious all the same as you’d have to buy a GPS synchronizer or have Internet access to the NNTP server pool for setting/precision.

      One of the dumbest damn things I’ve heard. They’re cutting budget in the wrong places, to be blunt. This is a pittance on what they’re WASTING elsewhere and there should be a price for this one as well.

  11. pkoning

    Would MSF (in England, also on 60 kHz) reach the USA well enough?
    There are other shortwave standard time/frequency stations, though on different frequencies. MSF used to be one, but apparently no longer.

    1. Mohammed Fred

      Yes.. It can be picked up in the East Coast of the US, especially in RI, ME, NE, CT and VT. Also, go to (receiver located in Rockport, ME) and tune to 60 kHz. You can hear the co channel interference between WWVB and MSF Anthorn, UK at certain time intervals. Since both signals are nearly identical to each other, you’ll need very sharp hearing to distinguish between the two signals.. Usually the weaker signal is MSF, while the stronger one is WWVB, also MSF doesn’t have the 3 second gap at the 29 second marker , while this is the case for WWVB.

      Don’t be surprised if your clock syncs with British time once you arrive in RI, CT, ME, NE or VT. (only if your watch is a G-Shock Multiband 6 or something similar)

  12. Richard Cuff

    I’ve gone ahead and sent faxes of protest to my two senators (our district’s congressman retired earlier this year).

    I also sent a fax to the Secretary of the Commerce Department, the Cabinet-level agency that NIST reports into.

    Will it make a difference? I don’t know. But I honestly believe a reasoned protest (which I believe I provided) can’t hurt.

  13. Jim Trame- W4FJT

    My take on the clocks is yes, they reference WWV stations to update the timebase and keep it in step with the atomic clock. I guess they’ll continue to run on the last update received and become less accurate over time as do all clocks. I have one in the shack, I don’t know if it is capable of being user set so it may just become another piece of outdated equipment eventually.

    I hate to see us give up the 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25 Mhz frequencies. When they’re vacated, there’s no going back because other users will jump in there.

    1. Chuck

      “I hate to see us give up the 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25 Mhz frequencies. When they’re vacated, there’s no going back because other users will jump in there.”

      These frequencies are designated by the ITU for use as time service only per agreement outlined in Article 1.53 of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Radio Regulations (RR).

      “…the World Administrative Radio Conference, Geneva, 1979, allocated the frequencies 20 kHz +/- 0.05 kHz, 2.5 MHz +/- 5 kHz (2.5 MHz +/- 2 kHz in Region 1), 5 MHz +/- 5 kHz, 10 MHz +/- 5 kHz, 15 MHz +/- 10 kHz, 20 MHz +/- 10 kHz and 25 MHz +/- 10 kHz to the standard-frequency and time-signal service;”

      This means we can go back at any time.

  14. Mario

    Wonder if these stations’ closing will affect those “atomic” clocks and watches that supposedly are linked to these time signal stations?

    1. Michael Black

      I’m not seeing clarity here.

      There’s lots of talk about WWV/WWVH, which are shortwave stations, but WWVB, the 60KHz station, seems to be pulled along by inference.

      The only commercial clock that I know about which used WWV was Heathkit’s “most accurate clock”. Maybe otgers, but so expensive as never heard of them.

      The “atomic clocks”, that we know and are so cheap rely on WWVB in North America. Way more people likely use those than WWV, but WWVB isn’t as explicitly mentioned. So either it’s not included, or the story is lacking, because dropping WWVB will affect many. If WWVB is going, then this story is completely lacking travel.

      I must add that the ARRL is lagging on this, not noticing until Thomas blogged about it, and not really showing leadership.


      1. Thomas Post author

        The people I’ve been in contact with at NIST believe that WWVB would also be included in these proposed closures; essentially all WWV stations.

        1. Michael Black

          Okay because Google search of “news” for WWVB turns up nothing about this. Lots of radio hobbyists have sentimental reasons for wanting WWV/WWVH but if WWVB goes away way more will be affected. If the story doesn’t make it to “regular” news, the people most affected won’t know, and their clout will be absent.


      2. Chuck

        “There’s lots of talk about WWV/WWVH, which are shortwave stations, but WWVB, the 60KHz station, seems to be pulled along by inference.”

        WWVB was not pulled along by inference, but by the clear description of the WWVB characteristics in the NIST budget proposals. The mistake of only highlighting WWV/WWVH was made, apparently on this blog, by that was later erroneously parroted by the ARRL who chose not to vet any of the details. Too many folks only read the incomplete bylines.

        1. Thomas Post author

          I only mentioned WWV and WWVH in the title of my initial item because they are the shortwave radio stations of the NIST. I’ve since amended both the item and the title to reflect WWVB’s inclusion as one of the NIST stations in the cuts:

          UPDATE: I’ve received a number of questions about Fort Collins-based station WWVB and if it would also be included in the closures. As the budget states, it includes: “the shutdown of NIST radio stations in Colorado and Hawaii.” At the budget’s current iteration, this implies all NIST radios stations including WWVB. 

          I’ve pointed out WWV and WWVH in particular as they’re the shortwave time stations of the NIST. WWVB, on the other hand, provides a continuous 60 kHz carrier wave that, among other things, is used by self-setting “atomic” clocks used by consumers and industry.


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