Tag Archives: WWV Audio

Updated release: “At The Tone: A Little History of NIST Radio Stations WWV & WWVH”


Almost five years ago, I wrote about a unique collection of archived recordings called At The Tone: A Little History of NIST Radio Stations WWV & WWVH.

Producer Myke Dodge Weiskopf recently released a new and expanded edition of At The Tone which is now available for purchase and download.

Myke describes the update:

“The new edition significantly expands on the previous CD reissue from 2009. It incorporates a bunch of tapes sourced from the original announcer tracks made by Jane Barbe herself for WWVH, as well as a handful of vintage broadcast recordings previously left out of the set. I’ve also taken the opportunity to clean up and remaster the set overall, so it’s a much more cohesive listening experience as a body of work.”

Click here to purchase the new digital edition of At The Tone.

Please comment!

Myke is also giving away a free download of At The Tone to a lucky SWLing Post reader!

Simply comment on this post, noting the first time you heard WWV: note both the year and the model of receiver used.

For example, I would comment: “The year was 1976 and the receiver was an RCA Model 6K3 console radio.”

Myke will pick a winner from the comments next Wednesday (November 25th). If the winner has already purchased the expanded edition of At The Tone, Myke will reimburse the purchase. Good luck!

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: WWV changes announcement format,1971

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

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

Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Brian D. Smith, recently contacted me; I was enthused when he described the recording he was sharing:

This recording captures the last 5 minutes of WWV’s old format (giving the time every 5 minutes) and the first 5 minutes of the new format (giving the time every 1 minute), which took place on July 1, 1971 UTC.

Apologies for the less-than-stellar audio quality, but I recorded this as a 15-year-old fledgling SWL with limited knowledge of audio recording techniques. So I simply placed the microphone from my cassette tape recorder next to the speaker on the receiver and hit the record button. The signal quality wasn’t the greatest, either — lots of QSB and QRM — but I still managed to get what I was going for.

The resulting recording has accompanied me everywhere since then, preserved only on its original cassette, until 2008, when I finally decided it was time to learn how to transfer it onto my hard drive, burn it onto a CD and stop having to rely on the integrity of 37-year-old audio tape.

Even as a teenager, I regarded the WWV changeover as historic, and felt I should attempt to record it for posterity. Consider yourself posterity!

Brian received this broadcast on 10 MHz care of a Hallicrafters S-108, with random length of wire attached to the back of the receiver serving as an antenna. Location was Franklin, Indiana.

As Brian mentions, the audio quality is a little rough, but this is still quite a treasure of a recording!

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

Again, thanks so much for bringing us this recording, Brian! We look forward to any other archived recordings you–or any other readers–may have to share with us here at the Post.

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“At The Tone”–A history of WWV in audio

NIST Radio Station WWV Transmitter Building in Fort Collins, Colorado.

If shortwave radio has a pulse, it is the constant beat of the WWV and WWVH time stations.

Some of the first memories I have of hearing shortwave radio are of my father tuning in WWV each Sunday morning (on his RCA 6K3), to set his watch. Had this not been my father’s routine, I’m not so sure I would have known what  shortwave radio was for many years.

Indeed, I’m so fond of WWV, that I have to make a modest confession: I often tune it in simply to listen to its predictably reassuring announcements of the time. Somehow it calms and comforts me that all is right on the airwaves.

Actually, WWV is and has always been much more than simply a time station. It is the most reliable way for us here in North America to check propagation characteristics both by listening to the signal strengths of the transmissions on 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz, but also by the announcements made at specific times throughout the day.

Lately, WWV has even been announcing test tsunami warnings. It was the search for broadcasts of these warnings that lead me to Myke Dodge Weiskopf’s site, Myke.me. (Regular readers of the SWLing Post will be familiar with Myke’s work.) When I wrote to thank Myke for the audio, he drew my attention to something irresistible to a WWV disciple like me.

“At The Tone: A Little History of NIST Radio Stations WWV & WWVH”

Myke has meticulously and artfully created a CD audio archive of the WWV and WWVH time stations. A description of the project from its “about” section:

At The Tone is the first comprehensive audio survey of NIST Radio Stations WWV and WWVH: two legendary shortwave radio broadcasters whose primary purpose is the dissemination of scientifically precise time and frequency. Comprised of a 74-minute audio CD and a 32-page, full-color booklet, the set represents a huge cross-section of the stations’ “life and times,” including recordings of obsolete formats, original voices and identifications, special announcements, format changes, “leap seconds,” and other aural oddities from 1958 to 2005.

After listening to some of the sample audio from the project, I was hooked: I purchased the CD on Myke’s website and have enjoyed hearing the many tracks of audio history from WWV. The accompanying track notes alone provide a very complete history of the these NIST stations, and are the perfect companion to the audio tracks.

Indeed, I liken this audio journey to learning some untold life experience of a good friend or family member. WWV has been my radio companion all these years, but until I encountered Myke’s archive I had never heard the many voices of the station, leap seconds, experimental formats, etc. It puts the station in perspective, and opens an audio window to the time before “Coordinated Universal Time.”

It may seem foolish to wax enthusiastic about a time station.  But before you judge me for my indulgence in this unlikely source of nostalgia, I encourage you to cruise to Myke’s site, purchase “At The Tone” and see (or rather, hear) for yourself!

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