Show HN: Radio station WWV audio simulation

(wwv.mcodes.org)

64 points | by LVB 68 days ago

14 comments

  • dbcurtis 68 days ago

    Ha ha! Wonderful. Just by chance, happened to catch it as the top the hour rolled over, so got to hear the full station ID. Great fun. But what do you do about propagation and weather announcements? :)

    My favorite WWV story: Was helping set up a ham radio station with a rather low-end transceiver (I did not select it...) anyway, there was this one multi-band antenna we were tuning up, and every time we got it close to matched, the receiver went nuts -- crap all over. I needed a signal that I knew would be reliable and where I knew what I would be hearing, so I tuned in 10MHz WWV. When the antenna got close to a good match, I started hearing Mexican polkas.

    I quickly dismissed the possibility that WWV had changed its programming.....

    As it turns out, our station was about 4 miles away from a local AM station and we were right in a major lobe of their pattern. The crappy front end on our receiver got totally crushed by overload from the AM station, which of course caused IMD products in the first mixer from "DC to daylight", as they say.

    Solution: Quickly knocked out a high-pass filter that we could transmit through at 100W. The Polka-Be-Gone(TM).

    • JoeDaDude 68 days ago

      If you did not follow the links in the article, WWWV is at risk of getting shut down due to budget cuts [1]. There was a petition drive to keep the stations operating [2] but it failed to get enough signatures.

      [1]. https://www.voanews.com/a/time-may-be-running-out-for-millio...

      [2]. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/maintain-funding-n...

    • Stratoscope 68 days ago

      What a marvelous project! Thank you to the author for creating it.

      For anyone interested in the history and technology behind WWV/WWVH/WWVB, NIST has a great writeup from 2005:

      https://tf.nist.gov/general/pdf/1969.pdf

      Fun fact: the WWV announcer is San Francisco talk show host Lee Rodgers.

      You can also listen to WWV by phone. The number is in the PDF.

      • sciurus 68 days ago

        This is a fun idea!

        If you'd like to listen to the real thing, check the list of WebSDR servers at http://www.websdr.org/

        I have an SDR in my office hooked up to an outdoor random wire antenna. So far this morning I've listened to shortwave broadcasts from France, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. The HF band is even more fun at night when propagation is better.

        Shortwave listening is an easy hobby to get started with; an RTL-SDR dongle plus a 7M long wire antenna only costs $34 from https://www.rtl-sdr.com/buy-rtl-sdr-dvb-t-dongles/

        • kabdib 68 days ago

          I grew up just a few miles from WWV. When I was a teenager I had an electronics lab, and the most reliable noise in the circuits I built was the WWV signal.

          I could take a diode, a length of wire and a speaker and know the exact time, no tuning necessary :-)

          • jrockway 68 days ago

            It seems to be missing the 100Hz time code subcarrier: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWV_(radio_station)#Digital_ti...

            There should also be doubled ticks near the start of the minute to indicate the difference between UTC and UT1 (i.e., how close we are to needing a leap second). There is one right now, but I did not carefully count what second it should be attached to. (Going to guess 9 though.)

            • 68 days ago
              [deleted]
            • james_pm 68 days ago

              Canada also has three stations broadcasting time signals. More information: https://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/services/time/broadcast_codes...

              • LVB 68 days ago

                Yep! I tuned in CHU regularly. I originally intended to include it in the app as well but: getting audio was difficult since the telephone time isn’t the same as the broadcast, there is some ugly legalese about recording it IIRC, just the WWV portions were dragging out and I wanted to be done!

                • reaperducer 68 days ago

                  There's a couple of dozen more around the world

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_clock#List_of_radio_time...

                  Back when I was into SWL, I used to get a station in South America. My memory tells me it was out of Peru, but it's not on the wikimopedia list.

                  • dbcurtis 68 days ago

                    A time station? Or HCJB in Quito Equador. HCJB used to have a poindinf footprint into North America when I was a kid.

                    • reaperducer 68 days ago

                      Wow. Mentioning "HCJB" brought back a lot of memories. I'll have to check to see if it streams.

                      What I was thinking of was a time station. It was on the same frequency as WWV, and if the propagation was right you could hear it in Spanish.

                • anfractuosity 68 days ago

                  http://bastianborn.de/radio-clock-hack - I thought this was very cool, emulating the signal emitted by a time signal station, to alter radio clocks, using just a speaker.

                  • trothamel 68 days ago

                    It's pretty easy to listen to the real WWV, though it'll be delayed by a few second (making it less useful). Visit https://sdr.hu/map , then click on one of the pointers in the US.

                    In the lower right, there's a controll panel. Type 100000 into the text box in the upper left of it, hit enter. Make sure AM is selected (it should be), and you'll be hearing WWV.

                    • icebraining 68 days ago

                      It's pretty easy to listen to the real WWV

                      Maybe not for long, though: "the station's future is in doubt, because it, along with WWVB and WWVH, has been recommended for defunding and elimination in the NIST's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request. (https://www.nist.gov/fy-2019-presidential-budget-request-sum... )"

                      • LVB 68 days ago

                        I'd been dabbling with this project for a long time but didn't have much audio recorded. Seeing ^^^ announcement was the real "oh sh*t, I better get going on this" moment.

                      • drmpeg 68 days ago

                        This one is in Fort Collins and defaults to WWV.

                        http://n6gn.no-ip.org:8073/

                        • joezydeco 68 days ago

                          Or you can call (303) 499-7111 for WWV (Colorado), and (808) 335-4363 for WWVH (Hawaii)

                        • rmason 68 days ago

                          This makes me so happy. I started out as a short wave listener (SWL) before becoming a ham. WWV was part of both hobbies though it's been quite a while since I've heard those tones and it took me right back to my childhood. WWV should be part of the web, thanks for bringing it there.

                          • Rooster61 68 days ago

                            Bit of a tangent, but I just realized this is the radio station that is heard on Godspeed You! Black Emperor's song "Static".

                            I've always wondered where that sample came from. This simulation is pretty spot on. Well done :)

                            • jachee 68 days ago

                              This brought back memories of tuning in WWV as a young ham in the early 90's. Well done!

                              • llacb47 67 days ago

                                Awesome!

                                • jcburns 68 days ago

                                  Quite wonderful, and so static-free! thanks so much!