I don’t know about you, but I like to know the correct time.  I’m not exactly a fanatic about it, but I like it when the clock is correct.  I used to rely on the one clock I knew I could count on to be accurate to be the one whose time I used to set all others in the house.  But, no more.

About 10 years ago I learned about the nation’s atomic clock.  This is the clock our government uses as the standard by which our nation’s clocks are set.  It’s really cool technology.  You can just imagine why it is so important for government and industry to really know and be synchronized to the exact time.  Well, someone’s got to provide this vital information. In the words of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), “What is an atomic clock?  An atomic clock is a clock that keeps time using natural characteristic frequencies of atoms, such as cesium, hydrogen, or rubidium. Atomic clocks are extremely stable because the frequencies are almost unaffected by factors like temperature, pressure, or humidity.”  Learn more about atomic time HERE.  Visit the NIST to learn more about all they do for us that you never even knew (and it’s a lot) HERE.

Anyway, at that time, I saw in the Heathkit catalog a kit called the Most Accurate Clock.  For those of you too young to remember the old Heathkit, now in a different business from the old days, it was a company that sold electronic kits for building everything from radios and TVs to test equipment and communication equipment.  Ah, those were the days!  Well, that kit I saw promised it could receive the government’s official time signal broadcast via short wave radio, and display it in lights, as well as play the spoken time through a built-in speaker on the minute as it was broadcast.  It promised to display accuracy to within one tenth of a second.  One of the things that attracted me was the fact that it was completely automatic.  In other words, it set itself.  Here in Southern California we are prone to occasional power outages due to weather-related problems as well as earthquakes.  So, I figured, this clock would, even after a power outage, come back on and set itself.  Then, I could use it to set all the other clocks and clock radios around the house to the accurate time.  And, it promised to set itself for daylight savings and back to standard time automatically.  All this was accomplished by receiving that time signal broadcast from Ft. Collins, Colorado.  Amazing, I thought.

My loving family gave me this clock kit as a gift.  I think it cost about $140.  I laid out my soldering tools, spread out the hundreds of parts atop towels on the dining room table and for most of the next couple of days, I worked to complete the project.  When completed, I plugged it in and waited.  It worked!  (If you have your own short wave receiver, you can listen on 5, 10 and 15 MHz.)  There was even a precise adjustment to be made to compensate for the distance the clock is from the broadcast site at Ft. Collins.  That clock is still in use in my house today.

Think about just how many clocks you now have – time displays on the TV and clock radios, VCRs (before they set themselves as many do today), plug-in clocks, battery-operated clocks, watches (lots of these) and even on the computers (my Macintosh computers automatically use these same signals via the Internet to keep the precise time). What a chore it can be to reset them all, especially if you want them to be accurate.

Fast forward to more recent times.  I’ve noticed clocks and watches with this atomic time technology built in for a few years now.  I’ve even tested several of them and reported on them.  Now, prices have come down to really affordable levels so we can all enjoy this hassle-free way of keeping perfectly accurate time.

Imagine battery-operated wall and desk clocks with miniature radios inside to receive the correct time, to a millionth of a second accuracy.  They set themselves and maintain this perfect accuracy, day in, day out, changing automatically twice a year for seasonal time change.  Just install the battery and forget about it, until the occasional battery replacement is needed.  Pretty simple and amazing, if you ask me.

So, just how inexpensively can you get all this technology?  Thanks to newly patented US-developed and US-made products, you can buy one of these new wall clocks for as little as $25 at Wal-Mart starting in May of this year.  The products carry the brand name “Atomix” and are supplied by Chaney Instrument Company with the newest technology inside.  Other Atomix clocks range in price from about $36.  They even have a desktop model I really like with jumbo LCD digital numerals.  It’s a clock, calendar and thermometer all in one.  The jumbo LCD model sells for what I think is a very reasonable $70.

Regardless of the style, accuracy is assured and consistent.  For more information, find them on the Web HERE, or call Chaney Instrument at 1-800-777-0565.

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