Tag Archives: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Update: Discontinuation of NWS High Seas and Storm Warnings on WWV and WWVH

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mohamed, who comments with an update about the loss of NWS High Seas and Storm Warnings on WWV and WWVH. Mohamed writes:

The decision to terminate the broadcasts has not been retracted. It has only been delayed to January 31, 2019:

(Source: National Weather Service)

NOUS41 KWBC 151610
PNSWSH

Service Change Notice 18-102
National Weather Service Headquarters Silver Spring MD 1210 PM EST Thu Nov 15 2018

To: Subscribers:
-NOAA Weather Wire Service

-Emergency Managers Weather Information Network -NOAAPORT
Other NWS Partners, Users and Employees

From: Craig Hodan, Chief Dissemination Systems Branch

Subject: Discontinuation of NWS High Seas and Storm Warnings
over NIST Time Frequency Broadcasts Effective January 31, 2019

Effective Thursday, January 31, 2019, at 200 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) or 1800 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the NWS will discontinue dissemination of High Seas and Storm Warnings portion of the National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST) time frequency broadcasts as issued by WWV and WWVH “shortwave” radio covering the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.

This service is being terminated because weather information in the current broadcast format does not support frequent enough updates for changes in marine weather and cannot provide enough detail in the allotted window required by mariners to avoid hazardous weather. Additionally, alternative technologies and numerous media outlets that provide weather information in various formats have overtaken the need for providing weather information through the NIST frequency signals.

Other sources of marine weather and high seas alerts and detailed forecasts are available over satellite, telephone, the Internet, Marine Fax, Radio Fax and VHF radio. Currently the NWS, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the U.S. Navy (USN) provide multiple dissemination methods for storm positioning, high sea areas, observations, forecasts, outlooks and warnings for both coastal and oceanic marine zones near the United States using Navigational Telex (NAVTEX), Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and High Seas SImplex Teletype Over Radio (HFSITOR) in compliance with World Meteorological Organization (WMO) policies and the International Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.
Please refer to the following websites for more information on how to use these technologies:

1. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/navtex.htm (NAVTEX)

2. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/gmdss.htm (GMDSS)

3. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfsitor.htm HFSITOR)

4. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/inmarsat.htm (SAFETYNET)

5. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/vhfvoice.htm (USCG VHF)

For additional information, please contact:

Gregory Zwicker
National Weather Service
Dissemination Systems Branch
301-427-9682
gregory.zwicker@noaa.gov

National Service Change Notices are online at:

https://www.weather.gov/notification/

NNNN

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WWV & WWVH marine storm warning announcements continue

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who notes that WWV & WWVH marine storm warning announcements continue despite a recent announcement that they would end.

Richard has been monitoring WWV/WWVH broadcasts and shared the following note earlier this month:

The weather broadcasts (storm information) were still there at 8, 9, and 10 minutes past 0:00 UTC on 1 November on WWV as monitored here in NB. Haven’t had a chance to check them since. Are they actually gone? If so, when were the last ones broadcast. The warning at the 4-minute mark hadn’t been heard for days. I’m wondering if the decision to terminate the broadcasts was reversed.

Yesterday, Richard added the following:

[…]And still there on WWV (and presumably WWVH) on 16 November at 03:08 UTC on 10 MHz. So I guess this conclusively means that the proposal to cancel the broadcasts has been rescinded at least for the time being.

Thanks for sharing this, Richard.

Your observation prompted me to check the NOAA Marine Forecast page. I discovered that it has been updated it since the notice to stop marine forecasts was first announced last month.

Before, it stated that the “end of the high seas warnings [is] scheduled for October 31, 2017.” Either NOAA made the decision to end the the forecasts in 2017 and never followed through, else the individual who posted the announcement mistakenly noted 2017 instead of 2018.

NOAA does not note edit dates on this page, so there’s no way of knowing when the page was updated. Regardless, there is no longer a firm termination date mentioned on the page. Now the National Weather Service simply states:

“the NWS is considering a proposal to discontinue this service.”

So I believe, Richard, you are correct: the NWS has at least temporarily rescinded cancellation of the service.

Thanks for following this development, Richard!

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WWV & WWVH to drop NOAA marine storm warning announcements October 31, 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who notes that WWV and WWVH are announcing the end of marine storm warning announcements on October 31, 2018.

This morning, I made the following recording of the announcement via WWV 5 MHz at 4 minutes past the hour:

Last year this time NOAA announced the end of the high seas warnings scheduled for October 31, 2017.

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Marketplace: “Time may be up for timekeeping radio stations”

Photo taken in 2014 of the sign above WWV’s primary 10 MHz transmitter.

(Source: Marketplace via Richard Cuff)

The Trump administration wants to shut down two shortwave radio stations that broadcast time signals from the nation’s master clock.

The administration’s budget proposal would eliminate nearly $27 million in funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the two stations. WWV, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, has been transmitting one rock-steady pulse per second for more than 80 years. Its sister station, Hawaii’s WWVH, has been extending the time signal across the Pacific for nearly 70 years. WWV is also the world’s longest continuously-broadcasting radio station. (NIST doesn’t stream the stations online because signals are often delayed as they stream over the internet. But you can hear the stations by calling (303) 499-7111 for WWV or (808) 335-4363 for WWVH . There are also online recordings of the stations’ gentle announcements.)[…]

Click here to read the full story and listen to the program audio.

If you feel strongly about keeping the atomic clock signals on the air, I urge you to contact your local representatives,and sign this White House petition.

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Synchronizing “atomic” clock’s final tock? Time may no longer be synchronous

Do you have a self-setting “atomic” clock or watch?

Yep, so do I.  A number of them.  In fact, although I’m a tech geek of a sort, I don’t even know how many of my standard, everyday devices––devices I rely on every day––fall into this category…But I may find out soon.

Many of us own self-setting clocks known as “atomic” clocks.  Indeed, a large portion of wall clocks, alarm clocks, and watches, not to mention weather stations, cameras, and potentially a number of other devices, have a built-in receiver that self-calibrates. And all of these sync to a radio station you use more than any other, yet likely have never heard of: NIST Time Signal Station WWVB in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Here’s the issue: WWVB, the atomic clock time signal station that synchronizes time devices, may be shut down next year if a presidential budget request passes as proposed.

WWVB is a time station operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which derives its time from a system of atomic clocks with frequency uncertainty of less than 1 part in 1012.

Translation: How accurate is this time signal? Crazily, insanely accurate.

And that’s a good thing, as so many of the things we rely on all the time (and often take for granted) rely on it. WWVB provides a continuous 60 kHz carrier wave that, among other things, is employed by self-setting “atomic” clocks used by consumers and industry. WWVB receivers are embedded in so many consumer appliances from cameras to irrigation controllers, these devices depend upon the very accurate timing the station imparts.

Per the NIST:

For huge numbers of people in North America who spend their days in schools, offices, stores, factories and public facilities, the time of their lives comes from clocks controlled by a single radio station that few people have ever heard: WWVB in Ft. Collins, Colorado, operated by PML’s Time and Frequency Division.

According to the latest estimates, there are at least 50 million radio-controlled clocks in operation (and another few million wristwatches) all receiving accurate time from WWVB’s 60 kHz broadcast—and approximately a million new commercial radio-controlled products are sold each year.[…]

Regular readers of the SWLing Post are already aware that the NIST Fiscal Year 2019 Presidential Budget Request includes a call to shutdown WWVB and two shortwave radio NIST time stations, WWV and WWVH.

What happens if WWVB is shut down?

This budget was not approved by Sir Topham Hatt!

If the budget is passed as proposed, after WWVB is closed your atomic clock synchronized devices will no longer be accurate, nor will they automatically be able to toggle the time between Standard to Daylight Savings Time.

They’ll continue to operate, albeit without a self-setting function…thus eventually leading, in the words of Thomas the tank engine’s ubiquitous station master, Sir Topham Hatt, to “confusion and delays.”

And, unfortunately, should the closure occur, there may not even be any public announcement to that effect.

But what does this have to do with us?

These devices are so embedded in our lives here in North America, we scarcely notice them, and many consumers likely assume they’re set by the Internet.

They’re just an overlooked part of our lives that help keep us ticking––quite literally. Until a shutdown happens, we won’t know how many of the millions of devices that we rely upon will be affected. While there may be (arguably lesser) alternatives to this station’s time-setting provision, such as those provided by the Navy and the Internet, we will be without the one we rely upon most for accuracy.

The bottom line…

Something that belongs to all of us, and that we all rely upon to help us keep accurate time, may soon be taken away.  If you feel strongly about keeping the atomic clock signal on the air, I urge you to contact your local representatives,and sign this White House petition.

Otherwise? Time will tell. Or not, as the case may be.

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