Sunday, April 17, 2011

Time to ditch Dimension 4

Digital modes such as WSPR and JT65A are time-synchronous and require the computer clock to be accurate to within a second. New users frequently don't realize this and find that they aren't decoding any signals. When they go to a forum for advice they are inevitably advised by well-meaning helpers to run a bit of software called Dimension 4.

Once upon a time there may have been a good reason for using this program but today it is not a good idea at all. I have seen several forum threads where people have installed Dimension 4 and believed that their PC clock was now accurate, but were still not decoding signals. I suspect that this is because newer versions of Windows have tightened the security controlling whether programs are allowed to do things like change the system clock. Dimension 4, being last updated in 2004 according to its website, knows nothing of this.

There may or may not be ways to make Dimension 4 work under Windows 7 or Vista but there is no reason to bother with them. Instead, just install Meinberg NTP for Windows. Not only is this every bit as free as Dimension 4, it is also the official Network Time Protocol client software. Nothing is ever going to keep your computer clock more accurate than this, and if installed using the default settings it will "just work" even on the latest versions of Windows.

So please, computer Elmers, stop telling people who need to get their clocks synchronized to install an old and unsupported program.
Post a Comment