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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I am a fan of Citizen watches and own several; I recently acquired a Citizen watch with the H610 module, my first w/ radio control capability..

I seem to be having difficulties with receiving the timekeeping radio signal (i get the 'no' indicator when i try to initiate on-demand reception) and am located in the northeast not far from NYC. I was wondering what others' experience may be as far as reception (particularly in the above geographic area); am I far enough away from the originating signal in Colorado where this could be an ongoing issue? Would appreciate any tips, feedback...

Thanks in advance!
 

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Hi impar,

Unfortunately I have no experience whatsoever with reception conditions in the US. I have noticed though that my H610 watch is very particular about the placement of the antenna (in my watch located at three o'clock). If I place the watch in a window facing the general direction of the radio tower (circa 1500 km or 950 miles from my place) it only syncs if the antenna also points in this direction.

When you are as far away from the radio tower as you are local conditions get more important. Can you try another watch or even a radio clock? My cheapo weather stations synchs reliably even during day time with an antenna facing the wrong direction, but of course the receiver has a much bigger antenna encased in plastic, not metal.
 

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In my experience (Boston area), you will never get daytime reception this far east. OTOH, my Skyhawk AT gets superior reception at night on auto sync. Reception will vary depending on what kind of structure you live in, though.
 

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I don't yet have a Citizen AT H610, but currently own a German made Radio Controlled Junghans Mega 1000 watch:




Keep in mind though, that the United States is simply a huge country. For us East Coast dwellers, radio signal reception from the WWVB transmitter in Ft. Collins, Colorado tends to be the poorest. We simply get the shorter end of the stick.

I have never been able to obtain daytime reception. It is simply impossible. I am not gonna go into all the technicalities as to why, but suffice to say:

1) Reception for the East Coast of the United States is only possible at night (weather conditions permitting)

2) The main condition for successful night time reception is known as the "night path". This means that the signal will be strongest when it is already dark in Ft. Collins as well as the east coast. In the summer time, the "dark path" is not accomplished before 11:30PM-12:00AM in the east coast. This is the reason why most atomic sync watches and clocks are programmed at the factory to automatically initiate a sync signal request between 2AM-3AM when the signal quality is believed to be strongest.

3) The signal is transmitted at a very low frequency, I believe 60Khz but I could be wrong.

4) Again, North America is a huge continent. The distance between Ft. Collins and NYC is over 2,500 miles. These are mind boggling distances to our European and Japanese friends that live in smaller geographical areas, and therefore, enjoy higher quality of reception from their respective atomic clock towers, even in the daytime hours. (In Japan alone there are 2 transmitters, in Europe there are 2 or 3 in relative proximity to each other).

5) Citizen, among other manufacturers, were very hesitant for years to offer here Radio Controlled watches because of concerns with the ability of east coast watch owners to successfully sync their timepieces on a daily basis. fortunately, technology has advanced to the point that missed sync attempts are fewer and farther in between.

6) Weather and atmospheric conditions has much to do with signal quality. Big storms and other atmospheric disturbances may hinder your ability to get the watch sync on any given night.

7) Big structures, such as tall buildings, etc, may also affect signal quality, If you live in NYC, don't be surprised if your watch fails to sync frequently.

8) Try to place your watch flat, facing up (think of the antenna inside) and put it closer to a window. Orienting the watch towards the west may also help.

So this is the lowdown on the intricacies of atomic watch sync.

Last but not least, educate yourself as to how atomic clock sync works and the ins and outs of atomic clock sync technology... Very interesting read if you enjoy this type of technical knowledge:

http://tf.nist.gov/timefreq/stations/radioclocks.htm

Also NIST has a radio signal status reception map that they update aprox every 10 minutes. In there you can see more or less the signal quality currently for the east coast of the United States (I highly recommend checking it every 2 or 3 days, make it a favorite in your browser):

http://tf.nist.gov/tf-cgi/wwvbmonitor_e.cgi

People that live in the Mid-west, South West and west coasts of the US and Canada may enjoy better, more solid reception. Having said that, my Junghans Mega syns automatically to the WWVB signal every night without fail at 2AM. I live in Miami, FL over 2,500 south east of Ft. Collins, CO.
 

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I guess the other thing I'll volunteer here is that my one Citizen is much, much more sensitive than my "atomic" Casios.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi all,

Thank you for the very informative replies (and links)...I guess I will start by trying to position the watch as suggested (in my case, the antenna is located at the 9 o clock position) and put the watch next to a window away from the computer (as is mentioned in the manual), point it west, etc. It sounds like it is likely pointless to try synching during the day..hopefully, I'll be able to get it to work. It is a really neat watch (Attesa jet setter series) but obviously, it would be that much better if I can get it to receive the radio signal in the region where I spend most of my time!

I do have an older Casio G-Shock ('atomic') that is kind of my 'beater' to some extent; after I first confirmed that it was able to receive, I never really bothered checking on this again (and this was years ago!). So I should look into that also..

Thanks again! Will let you know how it turns out..
 

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I'm in NYC and have never been able to get any of my watches to sync.

o|
 

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All 3 of My Casio Protrek/G-shocks Sync even when worn on the wrist i'm in SW England Citizen's watches are superb but are very particular when it comes to Syncing with a radio signal.
 

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Hi Evertonian,

Casio's watches can sync with the MSF signal from the Anthorn tower in Cumbria, England which means that you are never more than a couple of hundred miles away from the radio tower. Even my radio controlled Promasters (AS4030 and H610) could sync indoors during the daytime when I was in in Hamburg (250 miles from the tower in Frankfurt). I didn't have to think about windows and placement etc. When I'm at home (900 miles/1500 km from the tower) I have to consider where to put my watches at night.

The distance between the US tower in Fort Collins and New York is about 1600 miles which makes reception a lot tougher and more likely to be blocked by external factors such as building structures etc.
 

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Hi impar,

Unfortunately I have no experience whatsoever with reception conditions in the US. I have noticed though that my H610 watch is very particular about the placement of the antenna (in my watch located at three o'clock). If I place the watch in a window facing the general direction of the radio tower (circa 1500 km or 950 miles from my place) it only syncs if the antenna also points in this direction.

When you are as far away from the radio tower as you are local conditions get more important. Can you try another watch or even a radio clock? My cheapo weather stations synchs reliably even during day time with an antenna facing the wrong direction, but of course the receiver has a much bigger antenna encased in plastic, not metal.
In my experience the longwave signal can only be reliably received in the early morning. During the day the signal level will be down and probably buried in the overall noise floor. Try setting the watch near a window overnight.
 

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The only thing I can add is try changing not only the position of your watch but also the location in your room or house. Does it have some indicator of signal strength? With my Casios I have seen reception drop from full to nothing just by moving the watch a few inches. Late one night I just moved the watch around in different locations to find the best. Oddly, the strongest reception is right in the top slot of my watch box.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just as a brief update,

I am quite happy to report that the watch (Attesa jetsetter) was successfully able to synch last night, albeit at a 'low' signal--so at least it is possible, though I imagine consistent reception where I am may be quite sketchy. I actually observed the synching process, and at one point the watch indicated a 'medium' signal, but otherwise stayed at 'low.'

In any case, I wound up positioning the watch next to an upstairs window w/ the antenna oriented westward...probably took about 15 min. Thanks again for the suggestions.
 

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I am from Toronto, Canada and my Chronotime AT (as well as the Skyhawk AT & Casio G-Shock) have been really good at receiving the signal nightly even if worn in bed. I usually get the High and only very occasionally Medium or Low signal strengths.

Attached is a borrowed picture which shows the coverage in North America and NY looks to be within range. So along with all the suggestions posted before, I hope both your Citizen and Casio watches can now successfully sync every night.

 

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One other thing I'll add is that the time of year and weather conditions can interfere with reception. Right now, reception seems to be a bit spotty, whereas a couple of weeks ago, all five of my atomics were syncing every night. Also, my Citizen Skyhawk AT seems to receive the signal better than my Casios do. And some of my Casios are better than others. So, your mileage may vary, as they say.
 

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Stirring up an old topic, but does anyone know if it matters where you buy your watch? Still dreaming about getting that one Citizen I love, but it's JDM and Radio Controlled. Can radio controlled watches travel? i.e. will they synch to any radio tower?
 

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Stirring up an old topic, but does anyone know if it matters where you buy your watch? Still dreaming about getting that one Citizen I love, but it's JDM and Radio Controlled. Can radio controlled watches travel? i.e. will they synch to any radio tower?
It does not matter where you buy it but it maters a HUGE LOT what caliber it has (and on what radios that caliber works) :-d

H610 and U600/U610 are multi-radios and should work well in most places, however for instance the radio from caliber E610 only works in JP and E670 only works in Europe ! Also some of the latest Exceed radio models only work in JP :-(
 

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Stirring up an old topic, but does anyone know if it matters where you buy your watch? Still dreaming about getting that one Citizen I love, but it's JDM and Radio Controlled. Can radio controlled watches travel? i.e. will they synch to any radio tower?
Some radio controlled watches have the ability to switch or be switched between some or all of the radio time standards. However others can only catch the signal in one locality. It's an important question to ask the seller before buying. Sellers like Seiya, Higuchi and Chino watch are quite responsive to quesitons and have access to several JDM watches.
For example here's a retro styled Seiko solar powered quartz that receives Japan, Germany, England and the United States.


 

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Hi,

Quote AadmanZ
"Still dreaming about getting that one Citizen I love"

Which one is it ? :-! We wanna knowwww.


Elf.
 
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