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UDCF(4) Device Drivers Manual UDCF(4)

udcfGude ADS Expert mouseCLOCK USB timedelta sensor

udcf* at uhub?

The udcf driver provides support for the Gude ADS Expert mouseCLOCK USB and the Expert mouseCLOCK USB II, receivers for the German DCF77. While receivers for the British MSF time signal station are also being made, udcf lacks support for them.

udcf implements a timedelta sensor and the delta (in nanoseconds) between the received time information and the local time can be accessed through the sysctl(8) interface. The clock type is indicated in the sensor description:

German DCF77 time signal station (77.5 kHz longwave transmitter located in Mainflingen near Frankfurt).

The quality of the timedelta is reported as the sensor status:

No valid time information has been received yet.
The time information is valid and the timedelta is safe to use for applications like ntpd(8).
The time information is still valid, but no new time information has been decoded for at least 5 minutes due to a reception or parity error. The timedelta should be used with care.
No valid time information has been received for more than 15 minutes since the sensor state degraded from OK to WARN. This is an indication that hardware should be checked to see if it is still functional. The timedelta will eventually degrade to a lie as all computer internal clocks have a drift.

intro(4), uhub(4), usb(4), ntpd(8), sysctl(8)

The udcf driver first appeared in OpenBSD 4.0.

The udcf driver was written by Marc Balmer <>.

DCF77 uses a 77.5 kHz long wave radio signal transmitted from near Frankfurt, Germany. Up to about 900 km, the radio signal can travel directly to the receiver, providing a linearly increasing time offset based on distance. Due to the curvature of the Earth, beyond this distance the signal must bounce off the lower ionosphere (residing at approximately 70 km elevation during the day, and 90 km at night), thus causing a non-linearly increasing time offset which can only be roughly calculated using trigonometry. Since the distance and transmission geometry is not known, the clock receivers and udcf driver currently make no effort to calculate this offset. We simply assume that the offset is small.

In Germany, the train system uses DCF77 clocks. As the distance from Frankfurt increases, trains can be expected to run later.

June 7, 2015 OpenBSD-current