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Surfin’: WWV Goes Digital

03/16/2012

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ discovers that WWV has a new voice -- and she is digital.

Time and frequency radio station WWV recently switched to a digital female voice for its 18th minute of the hour geophysical alert broadcasts. A text-to-speech engine from NeoSpeech generates the new voice “Kate,” which was chosen for its clarity and consistency.

The new voice is getting rave reviews. It is “incredibly easier to understand; higher apparent modulation, consistent, well articulated and at a higher audio frequency/pitch that comes through well in spite of fading,” according to Dean Lewis, W9WGV, who alerted me about the change.

The website of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) details the time and frequency services of WWV and its sister stations WWVH and WWVB. Of particular interest is the Digital Time Code and Broadcast Format web page that describes the minutia of WWV and WWVH broadcasts. Also, check out the QSL Gallery for NIST Radio Stations and the Station Library, which has an interesting collection of papers and article (downloadable PDFs) related to radio, time, and frequency standards and measurements.

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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