Last year, WWV and WWVH were on a list of Department of Commerce list of budget cut items and it concerned many amateur radio operators. As this ARRL news article indicates, the Department of Defense is sending a message via WWV/WWVH as part of an upcoming interoperability exercise and they’re also asking listeners to complete a survey on how they use WWV/WWVH and how they rate the service. WWV/WWVH is something amateur radios use frequently, so it would be a very good idea for the amateur radio community to generate a large response to the survey and show our support for WWV/WWVH so they don’t become budget cuts.
Through Saturday, August 24, WWV and WWVH will transmit a US Department of Defense (DOD) message in conjunction with the COMEX 19-3 interoperability exercise in Tennessee. The broadcast also urges listeners to complete a surveyon WWV/WWVH listenership and listening habits. The messages are broadcast on WWV at 10 minutes past the hour and on WWVH at 50 minutes past the hour. WWV and WWVH transmit on 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 MHz.
In addition to asking for the name, email address, and location of those completing the “WWV/WWVH Reception Report,” the survey seeks information on which station (i.e., WWV or WWVH) was heard, the frequency, the transmitted audio quality, whether the information was relevant or useful, how often the respondent monitors WWV/WWVH broadcasts, whether the respondent uses a clock or other device that synchronizes with the low-frequency (60 kHz) WWVB time transmissions, and any other information the respondent would consider useful to hear on WWV/WWVH broadcasts.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — part of the US Department of Commerce — is using the information gathered to determine “how often their stations are monitored and how the various timing signals and messages are used by the listeners,” Chief of US Army MARS Paul English, WD8DBY, said on the US Army MARS Facebook page. “As the saying goes, ‘every vote counts,’ and your input to this survey is being used to help demonstrate the importance of these stations.” Listeners may file multiple reception reports, and anyone may complete the survey.
Earlier this year, the Defense Department began making use of the provisional time slots on WWV and WWVH to announce upcoming HF military communication exercises and to explain how the Amateur Radio community can become involved in them. Use of the time slots has corresponded with Department of Defense communication exercises (COMEX); COMEX 19-3 takes place this month. The announcements will resume during COMEX 19-4 in October.
Following a proof of concept this year, DOD anticipates making use of the WWV/WWVH broadcast time slot full time, all year.
Concern arose in 2018 after WWV and WWVH were included on a list of proposed cuts in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for NIST.