Time servers are used throughout UK industry. Many of which receive the MSF signal from the National Physical Laboratoruy in Cumbria. Here are some FAQ’s about British time and the MSF signal:
Who decides when clocks should go forward or back for summer time?
If you live in Europe, the time at which summer time begins and ends is given in the relevant EU Directive and UK Statutory Instrument as 1 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Does ‘midnight’ belong to the day before or the day after?
The use of the word midnight is heavily dependent on its context but 00.00 (often called 12 am) is the start of the next day. There are no standards established for the meaning of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. and often a 24 hour time is less confusing.
Is there an approved way to represent dates and times?
The standard notation for the date is the sequence YYYY-MM-DD or YY-MM-DD although in the USA it is the convention to have days and months the other way around.
When did the new millennium really begin?
A millennium is any period of a thousand years. So you could say that the next millennium begins now. The third millennium of the Christian Era began at the start of the year 2001 A.D.
How do you know atomic clocks keep better time?
If you look at several atomic clocks all set to the same time you’ll find that they still agree within ten millionths of a second after a week.
What is the accuracy of the ‘speaking clock’?
Even allowing for the delay in the telephone network, you can probably expect the starts of the seconds pips to be accurate seconds markers within about one-tenth of a second.
Why did my radio-controlled clock move to summer time at 2 a.m., one hour late?
Battery powered radio-controlled clocks typically check the time only every hour or two, or even less, This is to conserve the battery.
Why does my radio-controlled clock receive the MSF signal less well at night?
Users of the MSF service receive predominantly a ‘ground wave’ signal. However, there is also a residual ‘sky wave’ which is reflected off the ionosphere and is much stronger at night, this can result in a total received signal that is either stronger or weaker.
Is there a permanent one-hour difference between MSF time and DCF-77 time?
Since 1995 October 22 there has been a permanent one-hour difference between British time (as broadcast by MSF) and Central European Time, as broadcast by DCF-77 in Germany.
What does MSF stand for?
MSF is the three-letter call sign used to designate the UK’s 60 kHz standard-frequency and time signal.
Thanks to the National Physical Laboratory for their help with this blog.