Using a better antenna to improve DCF77 reception on long distances
We are in the prototyping phase of building a Nixie clock using 1N-14 Nixie tubes. The clock is designed around a PIC16F886 MCU, 74141N BCD decoder/driver and CNY74 optocouplers using common circuit topology. High DC voltage (+ 180VDC ) is generated using MAX1771 step-up switching regulator, which is quite efficient (if you use appropriate components).
Our clock will have some nice features:
- Compact design
- Manual time configuration
- DCF77 time synchronization
- Sync success indicator
- HV shutdown during sync (to reduce noise received by DCF module)
- Super-capacitor time backup
- Thermal protection
- ICSP connector etc.
When clock is complete we will release it as open source-hardware here at Electronics-Lab.com
We decided to use DCF77 signal as time reference for two main reasons, it’s quite easy to receive it and it’s very accurate for the reason that carrier signal is generated from atomic clocks.
But, what about receiving and decoding DCF77 signal? Read the rest of this entry »