Accommodating both camps

From: James Maynard <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 08:57:12 -0800

It seems clear that we have two camps, or schools of thought, on this
mailing list:

1) Those who favour retaining the status quo ante, in which civil time
is based on UTC and the standard time and frequency stations broadcast
UTC; and

2) Those who find it difficult to cope with UTC's leap seconds mechanism
and which to abolish leap seconds. These people propose abolishing leap
seconds, thereby causing the offset from UTC (or its renamed
replacement, TI) to be constant.

I belong to the former camp. I want UTC, leap seconds and all, to
continue to be broadcast on the standard time and frequency stations,
and to continue to be used as the reference from which the various civil
time zones are offset.

I wonder, though, whether those in the other camp would find it
acceptable to have the standard time and frequency stations not only
broadcast UTC and DUT1 (= UT1 - UTC, to 0.1 s resolution), but also to
broadcast DTAI (= TAI - UTC, 1 s resolution)?

DTAI changes infrequently, so it could be broadcast at a rather low data
rate. Currently all the various one-bit-per-second digital time codes
from the various standard time and frequency stations have at least one
or two unassigned (reserved) bits. So one way to broadcast DTAI would to
be to change that bit or bits once per minute, to broadcast DTAI at a
one-bit-per-minute rate.

This would provide a backward-compatible way to accommodate all users.

James Maynard
Salem, Oregon, USA
Received on Tue Jan 24 2006 - 08:57:56 PST

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