The Frequency Measuring Test for Fall 2019: Results Are In!

Despite minimal preparation, our new Icom and Jim Berilla’s rubidium standard didn’t do half bad:


The Frequency Measuring Test is competition of an acquired taste.  The task is to measure, within two minutes, the frequency of an amateur radio signal being sent from K5CM, Connie Marshall’s home version of the NIST in Muskogee, OK.  This is why we like amateur radio so much, everybody has his, her, or their own version of it.  Some chat on walkie-talkies.  Some lovingly maintain caesium clocks. Connie does the clocks.

Measuring radio frequency is not by itself that difficult a problem.  Cleveland’s WCCR is 1260 kilohertz on your AM dial, right where WIXY-1260 once lived. My sister was a WIXY Pixy circa 1965, she could find it.  W8EDU’s measurement of K5CM differ in being over a long distance, and therefore affected by solar weather and the ever-changing state of the ionosphere–and that they are to 10 significant digits.  Competitors have reason to grin broadly and drink Chianti from paper cups if their measurements are within one Hertz (at 7 MHz).  Entries are considered very good if within 0.1 Hz.  W8EDU achieved one entered measurement off by 0.05 Hz, and another at 0.02 (the referee’s official measurements this trip were 3,599,172.15 and 7,064,240.62 Hz; W8EDU’s were 3,599,172.20 and 7,064,240.64. That put us in top quintile of 115 entries.

The contest requires well-calibrated receiving equipment and knowledge to operate it–along with quite a bit of advance preparation.  We used a transceiver compatible with our existing time standard; a computer analysis of the frequency and further computerized analysis of the results from the two minute run completed our entry.

What we didn’t do was spend a few hours before the competition characterizing the ionospheric Doppler shift, which might have given us a winning entry.  Next time!  For now, the Club members increased their skill in handling radio equipment and performing a statistical analysis of collected data.  This all feathers nicely with Nerdstock, the WWV centennial celebrations in Colorado.


We note that CARC Technical Advisor John Gibbons, N8OBJ, entered from his home station and was nearly as high up the ranks as we were.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s