A modest proposal

From: James Maynard <james.h.maynard_at_usa.net>
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 19:32:59 -0800

(But not the famous one from Jonathan Swift!)

Perhaps standard time and frequency broadcast stations could disseminate
both UTC and TAI (or TI, if that is desired). Civil time would remain
tied to UTC, but TAI (or TI) would also be widely available.

Consider, for instance, the audio stream from WWV and WWVH. Let the
aspects of this audio stream that are more noticeable to human ears
continue to convey UTC. Thus, the voice announcemnts (male voice for
WWV, female voice for WWVH) would continue to announce, "At the tone, HH
hours, MM minutes Coordinated Universal Time." Let the ticks marking
the one-second UTC epochs remain as they are: 5 cycles of 1000 Hz from
WWV, six cycle of 1200 Hz from WWVH. Continue to emphasize (by double
ticks) those second markers that ITU-R Recommendation TF.460 requires to
be emphasized in order to convey DUT1.

But let the less noticeable (to human ears, at least) 100 Hz subcarrier
tone be used to convey the new TI time scale rather than UTC.

LF broadcast stations should probably continue to disseminate UTC, since
they are used in so many consumer wrist watches and wall clocks. If
there _are_ any currently unassigned bits in the WWVB data stream (there
can't be many), then those bits could be multiplexed over several
cycling one-minute "pages" of WWVB data to convey the current value of
(UTC - TAI) [or of (UTC - TI)].

We need to widely disseminate BOTH UTC (beacuse it is, and should
remain, the basis of civil time) AND ALSO a more regular time scale that
lacks leap seconds (e.g., TAI).

James Maynard
Salem, Oregon, USA
Received on Sun Jan 22 2006 - 19:33:17 PST

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