[lug] What's up with the NIST time servers (fwd)

George Sexton gsexton at mhsoftware.com
Thu May 10 10:57:07 MDT 2001

I have written an RFC867 TCP based clock-setting program for Windows. You
can download it from


Usage: RFC867 <ServerName>

NOTE: Don't use a browser with passive mode. The FTP Site doesn't speak

RFC867 is similar to the ACTS system, but based on TCP. If you want, I can
give you the source code for it. I have used the program for a long time
without problem.

I also have an NT based program that uses ACTS to set the system clock. It
installs as a service and uses a modem. Their are two REALLY cool things
about this program:

1)	Echo's back characters to get the latency measurement offset.
2)	Adjusts the NT System clock tick frequency to reduce drift. Assuming a
stable temperature environment, the maximum drift rate is 3/10ths of a
second per day. Actual performance is usually better than that.

You can have this too if you want. It's more involved to set up because it
actually has to do the dialling. I'm not sure about the source, since some
of the service handler is based on code from a book.

George Sexton
MH Software, Inc.
Voice: 303 438 9585

-----Original Message-----
From: lug-admin at lug.boulder.co.us [mailto:lug-admin at lug.boulder.co.us]On
Behalf Of Gary Hodges
Sent: 10 May, 2001 9:31 AM
To: lug at lug.boulder.co.us; jlevine at clock.bldrdoc.gov
Subject: Re: [lug] What's up with the NIST time servers (fwd)

I have six Win9.x machines located around the country that use a scheduling
program called Clockman95 to set machine time nightly.  I know little about
application, other than making it work.  Clockman95 uses a scripting
language to
accomplish various tasks.  There are also various tools included to
build various scripts, one of which is to set machine time using a time
The script dials an ISP to establish a connection, then sets the time to
time server is in the script.  In my case, I dial the NIST 1-800 number to
establish my connection, and set the time using time-A.timefreq.bldrdoc.gov.
quick scan through the log files on these six machines indicate five of them
been having trouble connecting to the time server.  A closer scan at one log
indicates it was in early April when I started getting "time outs."  Lately
the same machine) it has been 4-6 "time outs" to every connect, which is
what I have observed with the 3-4 Linux machines I operate here that use
and the same time server.  Curiously, the machine located in Las Vegas
has no trouble connecting, though there are other strange things going on
the time on that particular machine.  A "failed" log file entry looks like

Thu May 10 00:10:50 2001 -- Error attempting to adjust time:/Couldn't
connect to
"time-A.timefreq.bldrdoc.gov": WSock: Timed out waiting for response

And some Linux content for the list...  One of the things I liked about
rdate was
it also set the time in the BIOS.  That's a feature I would like to have
whatever I replace rdate with.


> Finally, if there are problems with programs OTHER than rdate, please
> give me as much information as you can about the program, the error
> message (if any), etc. If the program is something that is not in
> one of the common things, it would help if you could tell me how it
> communicates with our servers and what sort of reply it expects.

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