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CB&KT course to improve contributions to the computation of UTC

Twenty-one participants from 21 countries recently completed a two-day course - 2018 "Effective participation in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)" as part of the BIPM Capacity Building and Knowledge Transfer (CB&KT) programme. The course was sponsored by the Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), Switzerland, and was held at the BIPM on 13-14 February 2018.

The course was designed to provide the necessary support to institutes to improve their contributions to the computation of UTC, through participation to BIPM Circular T and the key comparison CCTF-K001.UTC. The main objective of the course was to instruct participants in the calibration of their GPS time transfer equipment, since this is the major source of uncertainty.

Candidates were selected from the time and frequency laboratories that are:

  1. already contributing to UTC, but which are still under development or facing difficulties in regular operation;
  2. preparing to contribute for the first time;
  3. potential regional nodes for GNSS equipment calibration; and
  4. new RMO technical chairs in the field of time and frequency.

Content and Instructors

The course content followed a logical sequence, from the general concepts on the role and impact of the various levels of organizations concerned with time metrology, to specific actions and processes to make a successful contribution to the realization of UTC. Course activities included lectures, hands-on laboratory sessions and case studies to maximize knowledge transfer between participants and experts.

The lectures were jointly delivered by professional experts from leading NMIs and the BIPM Time Department, covering essential requirements and guidelines to laboratories contributions to UTC. These experts shared their personal experiences on the organization and operation of a time laboratory that provides a realization of UTC. They also gave tips on how to reduce uncertainty and explained the many procedures and processes involved.

Hands-on laboratory experience

The participants had the opportunity to understand the functioning of the latest GNSS receivers through practical demonstrations and hands-on experience. Three GNSS receiver manufacturers sent representatives to the course with the latest state-of-the-art equipment: Alexander Kuna (MESIT), Pawel Nogas (PikTime) and Jean-Marie Sleewaegen (Septentrio). The participants received the necessary guidance to perform all the measurements required for the accurate calibration of GNSS equipment, directly from the manufacturers.

Support of METAS

The BIPM acknowledges the sponsorship supplied by the Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), Switzerland, which enabled the BIPM to run this course.

Some feedback from the participants and lecturers:

Feedback from the participants has confirmed that their expectations were fulfilled, and that they have gained valuable knowledge which will be useful for their work. Many of them acknowledged the sponsorship of METAS, the BIPM for nominating and selecting them, and their NMIs for releasing them to attend.

"It was very rewarding to discuss with the participants and to answer their questions. Frankly the reality of the two-day course was even more rewarding and exciting than what I expected before it happened. Let me add that I also improved my own insights by answering questions from the participants and by listening to the other lecturers. The workshop with the GNSS receiver manufacturers on the second day was particularly interesting and helpful not only for the participants but also for me. It was good to have the opportunity to focus on the theme of "participation to UTC" for two whole days, without getting distracted by everyday urgent tasks."

Dr Laurent-Guy Bernier, METAS (Switzerland)

"We met with interesting personalities. Fortunately, most were very active and not shy to ask questions. During the two days I answered many questions regarding broader issues in T+F. I myself made five pages of comments on the other lectures - and I will enjoy having access to the material. Learning never ends."

Dr Andreas Bauch, PTB (Germany)
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