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Troubleshooting WWVB Atomic Clocks








Radio Sync Troubleshooting
Tips on how to troubleshoot Radio Sync
This page addresses hardware and cabling issues relating to ClockWatch Radio Sync and the WWVB receiver.  You can also review the ClockWatch Server troubleshooting page for assistance with timeserver software installation and operation.

Problems with using ClockWatch Radio Sync with a WWVB receiver can be broken down into three categories:

Reception Problems
WWVB reception problems could be due to poor antenna reception or atmospheric problems. Connection problems involve the connection of the WWVB receiver to the computer which may be resolved with proper setup. The receiver requires a special data cable to connect it to the computer. 

Initial steps to troubleshoot a WWVB receiver with Radio Sync:

  • Check that the receiver has power. Note the green indicator light.

  • Check the cabling between the receiver and the computer.

  • Using the WWV Test screen in Radio Sync confirm that the receiver is working and is getting a readable signal.

Test screen showing WWVB receiver output

  • WWVB receivers can take 1 to 3 hours to initially validate a time signal. Reliable time data is output only after the time signal is validated.

  • Proper installation of the receiver antenna is critical in getting 24/7 time information.  Reception is generally best after dark, and some antenna positions may work for only certain hours of the day. See reception problems below.

Cabling Issues
Double check all cabling:

  • Receiver side:  check the cable connection as it plugs into the receiver.

  • PC side:  note the COM port in use. Verify it is a working serial port. Verify the com port number in the Options screen in Radio Sync. Try a different serial port if the no data can be read.

Data Output Issues
To get the time from the broadcast, the receiver must first validate the time signal.

To view the raw data output from  WWVB:

  • First, check the Setup screen to see that the WWVB model and serial port are correct. Press the 'Reset' button on the setup screen of the software if the model isn't set.

  • Open the WWV Test screen in Radio Sync

  • Open a connection with the receiver. Radio sync creates an output file that will save data output from the receiver for later review.

  • Verify that the receiver is outputting data the data list box should show strings of letters and numbers coming from the receiver when the connection is open.

  • Observe the receiver output.  Note the readability of the signal. If readability is consistently below 3 then the WWVB receiver will have difficulty validating the time signal in its current position. Try moving the receiver to a different position noting the change in readability.

  • Initial validation can take 1 to 3 hours.

  • Once the WWVB signal is validated then the Test screen will show the current time and date.


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Radio Sync Main Page
Radio Sync Site Index

Radio Sync Product Information:
  Advanced Features
  Frequently Asked Questions about radio broadcast time syncing
  Radio Sync WWVB Receiver
     Installation Information



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Copyright 2007 Beagle Software. All rights reserved
Last reviewed March 19, 2008