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View of the Mainflingen long-wave radio station for transmission of the DCF77 signal: transmitter building (in the back), antenna building (yellow bricks) and antenna masts.

Dissemination of Time

Working Group 4.42

Profile

The Working Group 4.42 is providing accurate time to Germany. Hereby the realization of the national reference time scale UTC(PTB) is the basis of all activities and is done jointly with Working Group 4.41 Time Standards.

Alike to about 70 timing institutes scattered world- wide, PTB contributes with its atomic clocks to the realization of International Atomic Time TAI by BIPM (Bureau international des poids et mesures). This requires that UTC(PTB) is regularly compared via international time- and frequency comparisons with practically all other timing institutes world-wide. Therefore we have numerous international contacts and are frequently invited to cooperate in leading roles in the various working groups of the Consultative Committee for Time and Frequency (CCTF).

UTC(PTB) is the basis for legal time in Germany. An important task with large impact in the public is the dissemination of legal time using different methods.

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Research/Development

In cooperation with various institutes our working group is striving for an improvement of the performance of satellite-based time comparisons.

Starting 2010 the time scale UTC(PTB) has been realized using an active hydrogen maser as physical source, steered with respect to the very accurate and long-term stable caesium fountains. In the meantime, other institutes have followed our example as one can see here.

Not far from now, a communication terminal reaching to the International Space Station will be put in operation in PTB. This will allow time comparisons between PTB and the Atomic Clock Ensemble (ACES) in Space with unprecendented accuracy. In early 2016 one can see structures of the ground terminal on a roof of a high building of PTB, waiting for completion with the electronics inside. 

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Services

The dissemination of legal time is prerequisite for the availability of accurate time in our country (and beyond).

Radio-controlled clocks are very popular in Germany and in common usage. Signals of the long-wave transmitter are received by estimated 100 million receivers in Germany and almost all over Europe.

Of similar significance ist he time dissemination vie the Internet that is pursued by our colleagues from PTB’s IT-sector (Q.42). Our group provides the timing information that is then distributed using the Network Time Protocoll (NTP).

A few staff members of our group are active as technical consultants for the Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle DAkkS. In total 60 accreditated calibration laboratories with time and frequency activities are supervised thereby in Germany.

 

 

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News

Some news on Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time has arrived, that lasts until 30 October 2016. Now we need apparently to wait for true summer to arrive. Already in 1916 DST was introduced for the first time in Germany, and that is commemorated in an exhibition at the Deutsche Uhrenmuseum, Furtwangen, Black Forest.