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AirSpy HF+ Discovery and the MSF Time Signal


Receiving the UK 'Civil Time' on 60kHz, with the AirSpy HF+ Discovery.

MSF with the Airspy HF+ Discovery

The Airspy HF + Discovery is a very compact, yet powerful, software-defined receiver. I wanted to see how it fared in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) band today. I am preparing an article for the April issue of RadioUser, on the relationship between time and frequency, and especially on time signals being broadcast on the short wave bands. According to the 2019/2020 Guide to Utility Radio Stations, there are some time signal beacons still around, and the most obvious one for me is the National Physical Laboratory (MSF) UK Civil Time signal from Anthorn in Cumbria, on 60kHz. This is not a ‘DX-challenge’, since the transmitter is less than 100 miles from where I live. I enjoyed adjusting the display until the signal trace was visible. I used a special VLF ferrite bar aerial for this, but also a bog-standard HF vertical RX aerial. Great performance from the small SDR, and I think those screenshots are where radio science meets art. The SDR is available from all the best known UK radio traders.

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