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Thanks for taking time to answer.

Be better to look to WWV or GPS signals than hitch a ride... Even cellular has gaps, they do try to backfill, but I know a couple spots where it's still almost guaranteed it's going to go away... An atomic Casio wristwatch, tap into on of those!

The problem with WWV (NIST) is that it's very difficult to pick up this far away from Ft. Collins Colorado. Clocks that rely on the NIST transmission (so-called "atomic" clocks) generally work poorly here, if at all. GPS is do-able, indeed there are clocks available that use GPS, but it's expensive and you still have to manually set the time zone (which you wouldn't have to do when picking up cell phone transmissions). In theory you could figure out the time zone from your GPS coordinates, but the map data required to do such a thing is large... not something you want to put into an inexpensive clock.

One could also use existing WiFi hotspots, but that's problematic if they are all set for encryption (if one wants a clock that doesn't require any setup at all). Plus, you'd have to actually send requests for Internet Time info if you use WiFi.

I'm thinking you wouldn't have to transmit to the cell towers, just pick up the transmissions being made to the handsets. That is, whenever a cell tower sends the current time to somebody's cell phone, you pick up that transmission and then you have the correct time (already adjusted for time zone). But I don't know how often cell towers send the time, or in what format, or if it's encrypted, and so forth.

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