JJJJJ YR-MO-DA HH:MM:SS TT L H msADV UTC(NIST) OTM
where the following applies:
JJJJJ is the Modified Julian Date (MJD). The MJD is the last five digits of the Julian Date, which is simply a count of the number of days since January 1, 4713 B.C. To get the Julian Date, add 2.4 million to the MJD.
YR-MO-DA is the date. It shows the last two digits of the year, the month, and the current day of month.
HH:MM:SS is the time in hours, minutes, and seconds. The time is always sent as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). An offset needs to be applied to UTC to obtain local time. For example, Mountain Time in the U. S. is 7 hours behind UTC during Standard Time, and 6 hours behind UTC during Daylight Saving Time.
TT is a two digit code (00 to 99) that indicates whether the United States is on Standard Time (ST) or Daylight Saving Time (DST). It also indicates when ST or DST is approaching. This code is set to 00 when ST is in effect, or to 50 when DST is in effect. During the month in which the time change actually occurs, this number will decrement every day until the change occurs. For example, during the month of October, the U.S. changes from DST to ST. On October 1, the number will change from 50 to the actual number of days until the time change. It will decrement by 1 every day until the change occurs at 2 a.m. local time when the value is 1. Likewise, the spring change is at 2 a.m. local time when the value reaches 51.
L is a one-digit code that indicates whether a leap second will be added or subtracted at midnight on the last day of the current month. If the code is 0, no leap second will occur this month. If the code is 1, a positive leap second will be added at the end of the month. This means that the last minute of the month will contain 61 seconds instead of 60. If the code is 2, a second will be deleted on the last day of the month. Leap seconds occur at a rate of about one per year. They are used to correct for irregularity in the earth's rotation. The correction is made just before midnight UTC (not local time).
H is a health digit that indicates the health of the server. If H=0, the server is healthy. If H=1, then the server is operating properly but its time may be in error by up to 5 seconds. This state should change to fully healthy within 10 minutes. If H=2, then the server is operating properly but its time is known to be wrong by more than 5 seconds. If H=4, then a hardware or software failure has occurred and the amount of the time error is unknown.
msADV displays the number of milliseconds that NIST advances the time code to partially compensate for network delays. The advance is currently set to 50.0 milliseconds.
The label UTC(NIST) is contained in every time code. It indicates that you are receiving Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
OTM (on-time marker) is an asterisk (*). The time values sent by the time code refer to the arrival time of the OTM. In other words, if the time code says it is 12:45:45, this means it is 12:45:45 when the OTM arrives.
Time Protocol (RFC-868)
This simple protocol is now used by only about 1% of ITS customers. It returns a 32-bit unformatted binary number that represents the time in UTC seconds since January 1, 1900. The server listens for Time Protocol requests on port 37, and responds in either tcp/ip or udp/ip formats. Conversion to local time (if necessary) is the responsibility of the client program. The 32-bit binary format can represent times over a span of about 136 years with a resolution of 1 second. There is no provision for increasing the resolution or increasing the range of years.
The strength of the time protocol is its simplicity. Since many computers keep time internally as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 (or another date), converting the received time to the necessary format is often a simple matter of binary arithmetic. However, the format does not allow any additional information to be transmitted, such as advance notification of leap seconds or daylight saving time, or information about the health of the server.