Thursday, 5 April 2012

33. Radio Ga Ga

Rather than set the time myself, I thought I might be able to get the time signal from the Rugby Transmitter in the UK. Well its not in Rugby anymore but the name still sticks. Its in Anthorn in Cumbria and is called the MSF Signal transmitting on 60KHz. The National Physics Laboratory (NPL) give you all the details of how to decode the signal so all I need is a receiver.

I bought one from PV Electronics. It come with an antenna and a receiver module which sends a signal that you can simply connect to an IC and decode the message.

Well I get a signal, but not very well. Its anything I can use. I should get a pulse of varying length every second, but all I get are random on/offs. I have no way to tell if either the antenna or the receiver are faulty. I am assuming that I am not getting very good reception. It does get better when I point the antenna directly towards Anthorn, but still nothing useful.

Maybe I just need a bigger antenna, so I started reading about them so I could make one, and found that its not a simple subject. Check this out: My brain hurts!

A glimmer of hope though, it turns out that MSF was turned off from 26/03/2012 until today. Alas no, still a random signal.

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