Timing – History

The ancient Egyptians built obelisks and were using their moving shadow to divide up the day.  Later the ancient Greeks realised that keeping a vessel full of water caused the water to leave a vessel at a constant rate. They created the first mechanical clock based on a constant flow of water.

Mechanical clocks started appearing in churches between the 11th and 14th Century, these would have been reliant on water, weights or springs to regulate their movement. In the 17th Century Galileo realised that the regular swing of a pendulum could be used to regulate a mechanical clock mechanism, 50 years later the pendulum clock was born. A miniature version consisting of a sprung mechanism could be found in pocket / wrist watches.

In the 1930s Quartz Crystals made it possible to keep more accurate time, when quartz is exposed to an electrical charge it resonates 30000 times per second. An electrical circuit measures the quartz frequency and drives the hands of the clock.

By the 1960s the discovery that an electrical charge could be applied to Caesium atom causing it to resonate over 9 billion times a second. This was the birth of the Atomic clock and the new international unit of time was born.

Timing - Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)

Timing/Time is of vital importance to the way a GNSS system works.

Whether time is constantly adjusted by synchronising their clocks with their own timing reference which is the case with GPS, Galileo and Beidou, or to the Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) which is the case for GLONASS time is at the very core of the way these systems work.

Location on earth is determined by taking the time stamp of intermittent bursts of signals sent by satellites and multiplying the time stamp by the speed of light, thus allowing a receiver to know its distance from a specific satellite. In order to get an accurate idea of location, the receiver needs to be able to do this with at least 3 satellites while using a 4th to correctly calculate the time delay between the highly accurate atomic clocks of the satellites and the time of the Chrystal clocks found in most receiver devices.

Time is therefore essential and ensuring the absolute minimum delay between the receiving antenna and the receiver is paramount to both location and accurate time keeping.

Timing – How can we help?

In order to achieve the very best timing, the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) antennas required for this have to offer superior acute and precise performance.

We are pleased to work with manufacturers who design antennas to provide these levels of performance.

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