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Surfin’: Time for Ham Radio

09/17/2010

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ considers how time has changed over time.

Time is an integral part of ham radio. For example, our logging and scheduling depend on it.

So, one of the first accessories I added to my first ham shack was a clock. It was a secondhand mechanical digital alarm clock set to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

My second ham shack clock was an electrical digital clock with a one-inch high LED-readout that I built from a kit and set to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Since then, I have upgraded to digital clocks with taller readouts in reverse synch with my shorter eyesight.

Time on the Internet changed over time, too. In the “good old days” (circa 2009), you browsed over to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Official US Time Clock to get the time.

Today, you google “time” and Google gives you the time. That is, literally “today” after I discovered a time warp at work where my computer clock was four minutes behind the telephone clock and five minutes behind the 2004 World Series Championship commemorative watch on my wrist.

Google provides instant answers to many things. For example, I use Google regularly to convert between English/Imperial and metric units of measurement and between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales, so I thought that maybe by now that Google has instant time, too.

I guessed correctly. Just enter “time” in the Google search field and you will have your answer. (To convert measurements, enter your query in the format "n u1 = ? u2" where n is the number you wish to convert, u1 is the unit of measurement you are converting, and u2 is the resulting unit of measurement. Some examples, 5280 ft = ? km, 1000 cm = ? in, 212 F = ? C, and such -- you get the idea.

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, prefers his analog watch over his digital watch. To contact Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog.



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