The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) FY 2019 budget request includes shutting down “NIST radio stations in Colorado and Hawaii” — in other words, WWV and WWVH. Radio amateurs, HF listeners, and others around the world routinely make use of the time and frequency standard signals, which also include propagation information. NIST said eliminating funding currently “supporting fundamental measurement dissemination” would include putting WWV and WWVH off the air for a saving of $6.3 million. The overall NIST FY 2019 budget request is $127 million, which, the agency said, is a net decrease of $49 million from FY 2018 levels.
“The proposed reductions will allow NIST to consolidate and focus on narrower core [fundamental] measurement programs while meeting budget levels,” the agency said in its FY 2019 budget summary. “NIST will focus on basic research while reducing funding for efforts applying some of its breakthroughs into new measurement applications.
The FY 2019 proposed budget cuts developed earlier this year came to light via Tom Witherspoon, K4SWL, who maintains The SWLing Post website, after a number of viewers called it to his attention. He posted an article on his blog.
“I’ve always considered WWV and WWVH to be the heartbeat of the shortwaves here in North America — a constant, timely companion and brilliant gauge of HF propagation,” Witherspoon wrote. I assumed both stations would be some of the last to go silent on the shortwaves.”