Monday, April 30, 2012

It's About Time

Thought for the day:  All good things must come to an end.

[THEME: Amateur radio]

Yep, it's the end of the road, partner. But let's not get caught up in any long good-byes, okay? Gonna keep it short and sweet.

ZULU TIME. Ever hear of that before?

Notice anything unusual about this clock? This 1443 piece, Paolo Uccelo's Face with Four Prophets, appears in the Florence Cathedral, and it represents a full twenty-four hours. Sure we all know there ARE twenty-four hours in a day, but twelve of them on a clock should suffice, right?

Not necessarily.

Suppose you need an accurate expression of time, but the people involved live in separate parts of the world? Just as one example, Europe can be anywhere from four to eleven hours ahead of U.S. time, so using local time certainly wouldn't work as a common point of reference. It could be morning in one place, and evening in the other. Heck, it can even be two different calendar dates.

That's where ZULU TIME comes in. You may have heard it called by another name: Greenwich Mean Time. (GMT) It's also referred to as Universal or Coordinated Universal Time. (UTC) The time at zero degrees longitude, the Prime Meridian, which runs through the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Greenwich, England is universally accepted as the absolute time reference.

Venice tower clock

And to express that time, we always base it on a twenty-four hour  clock (i.e. 2300Z), so no matter where anyone is in the world, no matter what time zone they're in, we're all talking the same language when it comes to time. This is the accepted standard for conducting all international affairs, and that includes ... amateur radio.

And ya know what time it is NOW? Time to say adieu to this year's A-Z challenge. It's been fun. But now ... woo HOO!... it's done. Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Great Post. Great treatment of the A-Z project. Must admit I predicted a tribute perhaps to the Zener Diode, but I liked learning about Zulu Time better. Thanks for this fine series!

  2. I learned more from your series than I have anywhere else in a long time. Well done!

  3. I have always wondered why it is called Zulu time and not something else. We go by the 24 hour clock here, to the confusion of my American friends :D

    Greetings from the A to Z trail,
    Sylvia @ Playful Creative

  4. Zulu time. Who knew? This has been a great and an informative series. Congratulations on getting from A to Z on no more than a radio wave.

  5. Geo- Thanks. Glad ya enjoyed it. Zener diode would've been a good Z word, too, but I figured I'd end on a less technical note. (At this point, I just wanted to be DONE!)

    Austan- Super! Thanks you. I'm glad to hear it.

    Sylvia- It's funny how a simple system designed to eliminate confusion can sometimes create it. (Like a universal remote control ...) Thanks so much for stopping by.

  6. Zulu time? Had not heard of that. I always learn something new here! :)

  7. I've heard of Zulu time, but I never realize where the "Zulu" came from. Cool!

    And congrats on making it from A to Z. :)

  8. Your posts have been interesting, informative, and fun to read. I have enjoyed them all. After that month long challenge, you deserve to take a few Zs and rest on your laurels. Well done, Susan.

  9. Congratulations on a fabulous job with the A-to-Z blogathon, Susan! Your posts were fun and informative and I enjoyed reading them!

  10. Delores- Thanks. Congrats to you for making the full trip, too. Can hardly wait to see what delicacy you've cooked up for us today. Zucchini, maybe?

    Jennifer- Cool. Glad to hear it.

    Linda- Thanks. It was fun, but I'm not sure I'll participate next year.

    Arleen- Catching a few Zs sounds like a darned good idea. Thanks.

  11. Woo hoo is right. Very glad it's the last day.
    Congrats, Susan

  12. I used to work in telecommunications and we always expressed time as Zulu.

    Great series of posts!

  13. Karen- Me, too! I had about all the blog-hopping I can handle. That's the most exercise I've gotten in a long time!Congrats to you, too.

    G- Cool. Sounds like you may be the only one who was already familiar with Zulu time, you smarty.

  14. Great Z, Susan. Loved the photo of that clock in Florence. I'm in awe of the Ancients and how beauty exemplifies complex thinking put into operation. And congrats to you for completing the journey. It was fun.

  15. Not heard of Zulu time before. Love the pics of those clocks.

  16. Hi Susan .. yes I had heard of it -but of course not related it to amateur radio. Great tie in for Z - I'll be back to read through the posts properly and the ones I've not got to.

    Oh yes - Zulu time just about runs through where I live .. but for now we operate at BST - British Summer Time as far as blogging is concerned ..

    The Zulu time I know is like manyana x 20 - sometime something will happen, when someone feels like it!!

    Cheers and many congratulations on finishing .. and I too love the clocks - they are wonderful .. Hilary

  17. I had heard of Zulu time because of my brother, who is a pilot.

    You did a fantastic job with topical posts -- every letter felt like it belonged and nothing seemed 'trying too hard' or extraneous. Yours was one of my favorite blogs to visit throughout this challenge. Very well done, Sus.

  18. I can't believe how much I've learned about amateur radio thanks to your series. This was a great theme and your love of your subject definitely came through. I really enjoyed your posts!

  19. I think they should print a booklet of your A-Z for amateur radio fans everywhere. It's truly exceptional and you did a stellar job. Smartie pants.

  20. I agree with CarrieBoo - have caught a few of your A-Z posts and enjoyed them all, including today's - Wish we could stick to GMT in UK, rather than changing to British Summer Time (especially as we don't really have a British Summer ...
    Great job - well done on getting through - thanks for all the posts

  21. I never heard of Zulu time before...interesting! Obviously it's not something that will take over our modern day time I would think :)can you imagine changing all our clocks?
    Congrats on making it through to Z! Hurray!

  22. Kittie- Thanks. I thought that clock was pretty amazing, too. Yeah, it was fun, but I am reeeeally glad it's finished.

    Madeleine- So now you HAVE heard of Zulu. 'Bout time, huh? HA!

    Hilary- Ah, HA! So you live near the prime meridian, huh? Maybe that's why your posts are always so ... (ready?)... timely.

    Suze- Thank you so much. I really loved visiting your blog, too, and am looking forward to coming back lots more in the future.

    Julie- Thanks! I'm really glad to hear it.

    CarrieBoo- Thank you, cute little geek girl. Smartie pants, huh? Okeydoke. I'll accept that label. (I've probably been called worse!)

    Karla- Thanks. I'm not a huge fan of changing our clocks twice a year, either.

    Tracy- You're right. Zulu time is perfect for international activities, but it won't ever replace all the time zones and local time designations in the world.

  23. Love the picture of that 15th century clock. And I had no idea about Zulu time or that it was called that. Learned stuff right up to the last day of the challenge!

    Take it easy...and I mean it. We deserve it. :))

  24. Truly a splendid clock! And some very jolly posts- and finally it's Z o'clock! I think that means I can have a glass of wine :-)

  25. L.G.- You betcha. You take it easy, too. Time for a little rest for the weary.

  26. Really liked your theme. Awesome final post :)

  27. We made it!! Great original theme for today. Congrats and cheers!!

  28. This has been a sleeper. Such a surprise to find the ins and workings of radioland. Great job, a topic that has wide spread interest.

  29. I never heard about Zulu time, but then again you taught me a lot this month. I wrote on my blog that you were a wonderful cheerleader last year, and it's been great going through the challenge with you this year! Congratulations Susan! Thanks, Julie

  30. I must admit to never having heard of Zulu Time. It sounds like a great Happy Hour theme. :) Thanks for the education.

  31. Hey, one more thing -- I know you're just over the 200-followers limit, but I'm still nominating you for a Liebster Blogging Award!

    Stop by my post if you'd like to accept it and pass it on:

  32. Lily- I'd say a glass of wine is definitely in order. As they say, it's gotta be happy hour SOMEWHERE!

    Cherie- Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

    Marcy- Thank you, ma'am. It was fun, but I'm ready to get back to the old routine again. Every day is a bit too much for me.

    Martha- We sure did! Break out the bubbly!

    Manzie- Thank you. I was afraid the topic might be boring to some people, but the response has been super.

    Julie- Aw, gee. Thanks. How sweet of you. Congrats to you, too. I LOVED all your clever poems.

    Liz- Seems a number of us are thinking "happy hour." Works for me.

    Chris- How sweet of you. I already received one a while back, so I'm not sure if it's kosher for me to hog another one, but I'll be hopping (make the limping) over to your blog in just a little bit. Thank you, dear sir. I appreciate the thought.

  33. I'm obviously behind schedule. I enjoyed your A-Z posts. Definitely a unique Z one. :)

  34. I had never heard of Zulu Time! Oh the things I learn from your blog, Susan!

  35. Tonja- Nah, you're not behind schedule. That's one of the cool things about blogging. We may set goals for ourselves, but the schedules and deadlines are entirely of our own making. (once we survive the A-Z, that is ...) So technically, we're never "late."

    Karen- Congrats on making it through the challenge. I'll bet you were one busy lady!