Time Beacons

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A time beacon is a special type of beacon that transmits time data on a continuous basis. Time data is derived from atomic clocks - clocks that maintain an accuracy to within one billionth of a second per day. A number of time scales are generated, including UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) often of most use to radio amateurs.

Use for Amateurs

  • Calibrating local VFO frequencies for receivers and transmitters (WWV is an exact, precise 10MHz reference frequency)
  • Aligning SSTV software to computer clock speed so as to reduce/eliminate slant on received pictures.

Time beacon facilities


  • CHU in Canada (3.330MHz, 7.85MHz, 14.670 MHz)


  • BPC in China (68.5kHz)


  • TDF in France (162kHz)


  • DCF77 in Germany (77.5kHz)


  • JJY in Japan (Frequency 40kHz and 60kHz)


  • HBG Switzerland (75kHz)

United Kingdom

  • MSF in the United Kingdom (60kHz)


  • NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technlogy); WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado and WWVH in Hawaii USA. (2.5 MHz, 5MHz, 10MHz, 15MHz, 20MHz)
  • NIST also operates WWVB (60kHz) from the Colorado location only

Related pages

Operating procedures
Operation Callsigns and ITU prefixes * Codes and Alphabets * Modes * Morse code * Nets * UK licensing * Terminology
DX and Contesting Awards and Certificates * DXCC * DX cluster * Field day * Gridsquares * Logging * QSL and QSL Bureaus * Records - Distance
Emergencies Emergency Frequencies * ARES * IRESC * SATERN * Weather spotting
QRP Trail-Friendly Radio
Utilities Beacons (/B) and Time Beacons