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Time code Updates with clock change

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Alan Wood 401/11/2021 09:06:53
229 forum posts
12 photos

Being of a lazy disposition I have a number of clocks (>6) around the house and workshop that are time code transmission linked to DCF in Germany. These normally relieve me of the faff of going round changing them twice each year.

On Sunday morning the clocks had not changed back to GMT. (This caused some confusion with domestic management). Batteries were checked and the clocks were taken down the garden to remove all possible sources of household RFI that might be blocking the signal from Germany. The clocks either continued on BST or if fitted with a new battery sat at their hour waiting time waiting for an update.

Could this be Macron ? He is keen to cut the power feed to the Channel Islands in retaliation for fishing rights and maybe he had secretly constructed a modern equivalent of the Atlantic Wall - a huge Faraday Shield along the French coast to block the nasty BBC Propaganda broadcasts reaching his yellow vested population. He must be blocking my timecode updates ....

Then the more technical less jingoistic side of my brain kicked in. The said propaganda source had made mention of a major solar flair at the weekend with the possibility of the Northern Lights being seen very far south in the UK. Solar flairs affect D Layer propagation which impacts on VLF signals. Was this the source of my lack of updates and was Macron maybe not such a bad guy ?.. (Probably better not to set that hare running ...)

Clocks all still showing the wrong time this morning. Domestic confusion still reigns. Where did I put Macron's mobile number ?

Circlip01/11/2021 09:17:18
1500 forum posts

My solar charged R/C controlled watch had managed to reset itself by 2am Sunday morning.

Regards Ian.

Martin Connelly01/11/2021 09:20:44
2123 forum posts
222 photos

My watch and other RC clocks had changed by 8am GMT on Sunday as well.

Martin C

not done it yet01/11/2021 09:22:13
6733 forum posts
20 photos

Probably brexit!

Alan Wood 401/11/2021 09:22:39
229 forum posts
12 photos

Would be interesting to know if they are referenced to DCF in Germany or MSF here in the UK ?

Dave Daniels01/11/2021 09:23:02
83 forum posts

My Acctim in the w/shop had changed by 08:30 ( GMT ).

No idea where it derives it's signal.

When I replace the battery it gallops around to 12 o'clock then usually waits a bit then resets to correct time.

Had it for years, always seems to perform. Don't recollect ever having to intervene.


Just found the Instructions PDF.  Apparently MSF,  60 KHz,  Anthorn, Cumbria.


Edited By Dave Daniels on 01/11/2021 09:26:42

Edited By Dave Daniels on 01/11/2021 09:27:00

Edited By Dave Daniels on 01/11/2021 09:36:16

Alan Wood 401/11/2021 09:38:11
229 forum posts
12 photos

Just been down the garden to check the clocks that I put down there on Sunday morning and one of them has finally sync'd suggesting it is a propagation issue so it could be the solar flare influence.

Howard Lewis01/11/2021 09:44:39
6013 forum posts
14 photos

We have three radio controlled clocks, all seemingly of German origin.

Two allow an offset to be selected used.

The third, the cheapest, definitely DCF controlled, does not. The solution was to remove from the case and to retard the hour hand by one hour, before refitting to the case..

All three changed over during the night, as did my watch, (MSF controlled ).


Edited By Howard Lewis on 01/11/2021 09:46:43

Peter G. Shaw01/11/2021 10:07:56
1409 forum posts
44 photos

Most of our timepieces are manual, and require manual resetting which in most instances is dead easy. My watch is manual and unfortunately, is a right pain to alter the time requiring a large number of key presses to change it. As it is quite accurate, it means that in 6 months time, I will have forgotten how to do it and will have to resort to the instruction sheet again! Our oven has a clock, and the only way I can reset the time appears to be to switch off at the switch outlet, wait a few minutes, switch back on whereupon the oven goes straight into time set mode. Computers do it automatically, but the landline cordless 'phones wait until a call is received before resetting. The VCR (yes we still have one) involves going into the menu to reset it, but it's usually straightforward. The car, however, appears on the face of it to be straightforward - unless one waits a bit too long in which case it times out and automatically moves onto the next setting. Otherwise, the most difficult thing is putting the wall clocks back on their locating screws - miss the hole, and the clock ends up on the floor!

I suppose the most awkward point is trying to remember where all the timespieces actually are, and which do need changing.

Peter G. Shaw

Samsaranda01/11/2021 10:15:50
1399 forum posts
5 photos

My solar charged radio controlled watch reset itself ok on Sunday but had problems with my radio controlled bedside alarm radio. It decided to change from BST to GMT two days early, this happened last year as well, we have had the clock radio for a number of years and it has always behaved itself so I wonder what is going on, perhaps as suggested some French plot is afoot to punish us for Brexit! Anyway I have emailed Roberts the clock radio manufacturer to see if they can explain what happened. Dave W

Howard Lewis01/11/2021 10:23:59
6013 forum posts
14 photos

The oven clock has not been reset.

cannot remember which three buttons to use. The instruction book is no good, giving instructions and then, "But some models may differ from this" Ours does!

And as for the clock in the cars, definitely a "book in one hand" job. Still to do! AND they do not keep good time! An "old fashioned" watch with an escapement could do better

But we have "progressed" from simply doing the task manually, in the search to eliminate an error that will only manifest itself in thousands of years time.


SillyOldDuffer01/11/2021 10:28:28
8487 forum posts
1890 photos

I think this is down to the receiving clock. DCF77 transmits one pulse per second, where the seconds are atomic. Each 59 second pulse train carries HH:MMS and DD:MM:YY. HH:MMS is either Central European Time, or Central European Summer Time depending on whether a Daylight Saving Bit is set. CET is exactly one hour before CET, and their Daylight Saving is applied at the same time as ours.

So a clock in the UK might miss the change due to interfence, or not be smart enough to automatically apply BST.

My experience with MSF (Cumbria) and DCF (Frankfurt) is both are interfered with badly at my location, even in the garden. Monitoring the whole long wave band with an SDR shows massive noise characteristic of switch mode power supplies. Most of the village's power is on overhead lines, and very susceptible to picking up radio muck.

Never mind daylight saving, I can't get radio clocks to work at all.



Clive Hartland01/11/2021 10:30:38
2812 forum posts
40 photos

Yesterday, Sunday, the TV still had not changed time. I havent bothered to look this morning.

John Haine01/11/2021 10:54:20
4623 forum posts
273 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 01/11/2021 10:23:59:


But we have "progressed" from simply doing the task manually, in the search to eliminate an error that will only manifest itself in thousands of years time.


For everyday life it doesn't matter, but for things like financial transactions precise time stamping is essential. Since humans are involved somewhere in the chain it makes sense to ensure that the time stamp corresponds to the scale that humans use. I'm rather surprised actually that MSF and the other VLF time services are still maintained, since as SoD pointed out on another thread reception is pretty iffy in many locations - maybe it's mainly because of all those watches and clocks that use the service? Things like phones and PCs get their time from the Internet, while most serious timing applications use a combination of NTP (or the precision equivalent) and GNSS (GPS).

Clive Hartland01/11/2021 13:20:08
2812 forum posts
40 photos

Talking to the dog walker she tells me they have no clocks in their house, so no time changes. They rely on their mob. phones.

Versaboss01/11/2021 13:55:17
483 forum posts
55 photos

The Versaboss household has two radio controlled clocks, which update only once in a day, at midnight. As the switchover happens later, they are not correct at the morning. But they have a button, marked 'wave', and pressing this forces an update. A bit annoying, but I can live with that...

Kind regards,

Thor 🇳🇴01/11/2021 14:15:42
1602 forum posts
45 photos

My RC clocks had changed when I got up yesterday morning, they update just after 3 AM.


Oily Rag01/11/2021 22:55:13
540 forum posts
184 photos

Anyone noticed the divergence between BBC time, Apple time and Microsoft time? Apparently it is around 9 to 11 seconds. This was mentioned by a friend of mine who is a Prof at a local university, after he had a student whose dissertation was rejected by the authorities because she had presented it beyond the cut-off time and date. My acquaintance questioned his student about why she presented it too late and she said it was submitted just seconds prior to midnight on the closing date. He investigated the discrepancy and sure enough found the differences were genuine. Wonderful that in a digital world there are competing standards for time!


John Haine02/11/2021 07:14:38
4623 forum posts
273 photos

Well, I just checked Apple, Android, and RC clock time and they are all exactly the same to the second. I'll check Windoze later.

John Haine02/11/2021 08:53:38
4623 forum posts
273 photos

And Windoze agrees to the second as well, as does another RC clock. Perhaps the student didn't have her PC set to update time automatically?

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