?

Log in

No account? Create an account
EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile
> FREE ICE CREAM

December 29th, 2006


Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
05:24 pm - double-you BEE ZEE, BOS-tonnnnnn! A Westinghouse Broadcasting St(BOOOP)ation.
Ever wanted to synchronize your *nix computer's clock to WBZ 1030's dual-tone time signal? The 825 Hz and 950 Hz tones that automatically hit on top of the hour regardless of what's being broad(BOOOOOOP)cast at the time (usually a station ID or the beginning of the hourly news)? Well, you can. All you have to do is hook an AM receiver up to your sound card, compile some quick C code, and wait for that boop.

Of course, being New England and all, this does not work exactly perfect. WBZ's time signal is actually 8 seconds late. Googling around discovered some discussions over whether this delay is due to the FCC-compliant talk radio time delay ("The Dump Button") or the HD signal conversion, but apparently the delay is there.

So I guess I should say that if you've ever wanted to synch your *nix computer's clock to WBZ's dual-tone signal and be 8 seconds late to everything, you can. Or as phatmike points out, add a bit to the code to subtract 8 seconds from the mark. If you really insist on being on time.

The WBZ time signal, by the way, is a radio tradition I hope never goes away. On-air personalities have come and gone, the station itself has seen some major format changes, but since the 1940s that BOOOOOOP has been there. May it always herald the top of the hour (plus 8 seconds.)

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:phatmike
Date:December 29th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
(Link)
you can just subtract 8 seconds from the time, then no worries!
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 29th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

That was easy.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:December 30th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
(Link)
One peculiarity I recall from decades of listening to BZ -- I hope it's still true:

Most radio stations make sure to end their talk programs just before the hour so the news can start exactly on time. WBZ doesn't, or at least didn't. If the hour beep goes off and the talk show isn't quite at a convenient stopping point, they'd just run over a minute or two and start the news late.
[User Picture]
From:mmcirvin
Date:December 31st, 2006 12:57 am (UTC)
(Link)
The radio-based synchronization seems kind of pointless if you have any kind of Internet connection, since on balance NTP probably works better and there are free public servers that run off NIST's atomic clocks. But I suppose that if you are worried about network delay messing you up on the sub-second level, and you know the precise correction for the radio signal, it might be possible to get a slightly more accurate fix from that.
[User Picture]
From:mmcirvin
Date:December 31st, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
(Link)
...Also, aren't there radio frequencies that just broadcast a time signal? I have one of those never-needs-setting travel alarm clocks that works on that principle.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:December 31st, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
(Link)

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com