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The Use of GPS Disciplined Oscillators as Primary Frequency Standards for Calibration and Metrology Laboratories

Published

Author(s)

Michael A. Lombardi

Abstract

An increasing number of calibration and metrology laboratories now employ a Global Positioning System disciplined oscillator (GPSDO) as their primary standard for frequency. GPSDOs have the advantage of costing much less than cesium oscillators, and serve as "self-calibrating" standards that should not require adjustment or calibration. These attributes make them an attractive choice for many laboratories. However, a few of their characteristics can make a GPSDO less suitable than a cesium oscillator for some applications. This paper explores the use of GPSDOs in calibration laboratories. It discusses how GPSDOs work, how measurement traceability can be established with a GPSDO, and how their performance can vary significantly from model to model. It also discusses possible GPSDO failure modes, and why a calibration laboratory must be able to verify whether or not a GPSDO is working properly.
Citation
Measure: The Journal of Measurement Science
Volume
3
Issue
3

Keywords

calibration, frequency, GPS, traceability, uncertainty
Created September 1, 2008, Updated February 17, 2017