[ntp:questions] Arcron (type 27) driver users needed

Dave Hart davehart at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 01:56:48 UTC 2011

On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 17:45 UTC, Joe Landers
<ntpquestions at hireindex.com> wrote:
> I have a couple of Arcron's, although I don't actively use them anymore.
> If you let us know exactly what you'd like us to do, we'd be happy
> to help. Alternatively, I can ship one to you or Harlan and you can verify
> the fix yourself.

Thanks, Joe.  You didn't mention which radio station your Arcron
receivers were used with (or are compatible with).  I have never used
the 127.127.27.x refclock_arc.c driver myself, and I am informed
primarily by the comments and patches in:


Which time radio stations do your Arcron's support?  MSF (UK), DCF
(Germany), and/or WWVB (US)?  I ask because my understanding of the
patch in question is it is primarily of use to those tuning into one
of the European stations, both of which transmit local time.  WWVB
transmits UTC.  The patch changes the meaning of flag1=0 from
"hardware provides localtime" (that is, the timezone of the computer
must be set to match the timezone of the radio station) to "hardware
provides transmitter time", that is, GMT/BST for MSF and CET for DCF.
It is unclear to me if the patch can be usefully tested against WWVB
where there is no difference between UTC and the station's transmitted

Sadly, yours is the _only_ reply I have received to my request that
users of the ARCRON_MSF aka refclock_arc.c aka 127.127.27.x reference
clock driver contact me.  The current driver maintainer, Nigel Roles,
no longer uses the driver and has asked that a new maintainer be
located.  The reporter of the bug has not commented in a couple of
years on the bug report, so I've cc'd him on this message.  Again,
anyone using the driver, please contact me.

If there is no further response, there are two obvious paths forward:
Yank the driver from the distribution, hoping that anyone who does use
it will scream and thereby identify themselves, or alternatively that
the code can be retired as unused.  The other path would be to apply
the patch provided by Nigel for bug 402, since the reporter (using
DCF) commented that the patch solved the bug for him.  The patch is
backwards-incompatible, so I'm a bit uncomfortable doing that, but
then so far for all I know NO ONE IS USING THE DRIVER.

Thank you for the kind offer to send one of your units to someone who
could test the change to the driver.  At this point, I'm inclined to
thankfully decline, though circumstances could change and I may yet
ask later if you are still willing.  I believe it would need to be
tested by someone in DCF or MSF reception range, and moreover, it is
not clear that any effort should be invested improving the driver,
since it is apparently used by few.

Dave Hart

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