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?
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.