Border Television News has confirmed that the first test transmission took place today of the Time Signal Station MSF from its new transmitter site at Anthorn in Cumbria (latitude 54° 55′ N, and longitude 3° 15′W). The test took place at 1000-1200 UTC, and follows a series of tests with silent carrier. There will be a further test tomorrow at the same time, and then a series of tests leading up to the start of full service at midnight on 31 March 2007. A full test schedule is available on the MSF website.
During these tests the Rugby signal will be off air. Users of the signal as a frequency reference will notice a phase jump at the start and finish of each test as well as a difference in signal strength during the tests, and are advised not to take measurements at these times. Radio controlled clocks may have difficulty locking to the time code during the lower power tests, or during the tests of nominal operation if their antenna is not well aligned with the Anthorn transmitter, but should otherwise be unaffected.
The MSF 60 kHz standard time and frequency service is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as part of its provision of time and frequency measurement standards in the UK. The maintenance and development of those standards is carried out by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), with the MSF 60 kHz signal currently being transmitted from the Rugby Radio Station by BT Radio Engineering Services under contract from NPL. From the 1st April 2007 the signal will be transmitted from Anthorn by VT Communications under contract from NPL.