Author Topic: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block  (Read 11980 times)

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2018, 06:17:39 PM »
That's a cool app! 

The closest thing I've been able to find in the iOS world is the Emerald Observatory.

Observatory Clock is very useful too. It allows you tap to set marks for navigation.  The only wish I have is that it incorporated solar data rather than martian time.  Local apparent solar time (where sun actually is in sky) and sunrise/sunset (which along with moon phase tells you when/how dark night will be) would really be helpful.

The app you show is pretty cool.  It tells you:

UTC - Universal Coordinated Time.  Very useful for talking with people around the world.

Sidereal time.  This tells you where the stars are in the sky.  The stars rotate around the earth more quickly than the sun by about 4 minutes.  This is because earth not only rotates (23 hours 56 minutes) but orbits sun (adds 4 more minutes to face sun).



Solar time is probably the apparent solar time.  Clock time is actually a mean (average) solar time. Primarily because the Earth is tilted relative to its orbit and the orbit is an ellipse (vs a perfect circle) the sun runs ahead or behind clock time depending on time of year. This difference is called the equation of time.  This tells us how sundials compare to clocks.  This is explicitely given in bottom right corner of app.



The sun azimuth and altitude tells where the sun is in sky on its east/west path and how high (angle) it is in the sky. This last also changes due to tilt of earth. This is called declination and follows a pattern like this:



They are also showing planet postions relative to stars and moon relative to sun around the clock dial.

Net, there are thousands of years of astronomical knowledge embedded in that clock!  With it you know the position of the celestial bodies.

I got a Tecsun AM loop antenna and experimented with transmitting the Clock Wave app signal via the phone's audio jack.

Amazingly, I was able to sync all my devices at a distance of 25m inside my house, through one interior wall even, with the devices reporting the signal as full strength.  However, it appears the devices must be aligned within a few degrees perpendicular to the plane of the loop.  More than 5 degrees outside of that orientation the sync would fail, despite the devices reporting full receive strength of the signal.  I couldn't tell that adjusting the tuning dial on the Tecsun made any difference.

I had considered trying to make a larger loop antenna out of ribbon cable, but kind of doubt it's worth the effort, especially if it remains that directional.  Ideally it would be nice to have an antenna that was capable of 20 degrees either side of perpendicular, so I could put it at one corner of the house and broadcast the signal overnight and all the devices could sync in place as they normally do.

Wow!  I think you have the record now.  You made short work of that problem.  I wonder how much the price will fall on the clocks/watches if the cuts go through?  Maybe these will become steals because people wont know how to sync them.



Offline FreeLancer

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2018, 09:54:43 PM »
Wow!  I think you have the record now.  You made short work of that problem.  I wonder how much the price will fall on the clocks/watches if the cuts go through?  Maybe these will become steals because people wont know how to sync them.

Yeah, canceling WWVB got me all worked up because it's not even two years since I finally found the perfect watch, all the way from Japan.  For me it's the ideal boring "gray man" watch with analog-only display, solar power, and multi-band 6 synchronization.  The only time have to touch it is to move the timezone when traveling, otherwise I know that the date and time are perfectly spot on every day of the year.  So being able to continue sync it with something as simple as a phone app through the speakers makes me very happy. 

I don't care nearly so much about my other clocks and watches becoming obsolete, I'll happily replace them with WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, whatever technology comes next.  But being be able to sync them, too, with an AM loop, at a significant distance, is icing on the cake. 

I worry, though, about whether I may be transmitting more than the legal limit of 40 μV/m at 300m.  Receiving a full-strength strength signal at 25m, through a wall, kinda makes me wonder.......   

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2018, 05:09:26 PM »
My christmas wish list has a brg precision double oven multi-zone (local, utc, sidereal) on it. 

Which one is that?

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2018, 10:35:00 PM »
Which one is that?

There are several different.  My favorite (but super expensive) is 6618J.  This is day, date, day number topline and three zones underneith. You can then flip through 5 sets of zones!   It comes standard with OCXO Oscillator accurate to 1 second in 20 years but i was looking to custom upgrade to 1/10th of a second over 20 years.  Only problem (besides price!) is that oven controlled oscillators are power hogs.  They need to maintain temperatures in hundreds of degrees for maximum stability.  But a prepper can wish, no?  Here is the video:

http://www.brgprecision.com/phpinclude/tz_program/style6618/BRG%20Precision%20Product's%206618J%20-%203%20Zone,%20Programmable%20Time%20Zone%20Clock.mp4

I worry, though, about whether I may be transmitting more than the legal limit of 40 μV/m at 300m.  Receiving a full-strength strength signal at 25m, through a wall, kinda makes me wonder.......   

If I understand the reception specs, the time pieces are supposed to be able to read a signal down to at least 50 μV/m in strength.  So if they dont sync at, say, 200 meters from antenna chances are slim that you broadcasting at 40 μV/m at 300m. 

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2018, 11:08:48 AM »
One disadvantage I should mention about high precision disconnected clocks is that they do not update automatically for the occasional leap second.  The earth is going through some internal geological/geographical changes as of late which is impacting the rotation around its axis.  So we have to add (or subtract) seconds every so often to match atomic clock time with the astronomical times.  While models are very poor predictors of this, it is likely we will have another coming up in the next five years. The connected clocks have a provision for doing this, so they will be correct.  But the non-connected clocks will be off if not manually adjusted.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2018, 01:43:34 PM »
How about a GPS disciplined NTP server for your home network?

Offline Carl

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2018, 05:04:07 AM »
I feel like the odd man out when I ask Why is such accuracy of time needed by the average person??  I often don't even keep track of what day it is.

Offline Redman

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #37 on: October 06, 2018, 06:24:47 AM »
I feel like the odd man out when I ask Why is such accuracy of time needed by the average person??  I often don't even keep track of what day it is.

^^^^^ This


Offline Alan Georges

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #38 on: October 06, 2018, 07:24:25 AM »
Very good point Carl, thanks for bringing things back around.

So... for all the digital ink spilled here, how many have written congress urging them to keep WWV on the air?  It's still not too late, and it takes all of 5 minutes to look up your Rep's and Sens' web contact pages and type a short, polite note to keep WWV, WWVB, and WWVH funded.

Offline Redman

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2018, 07:37:29 AM »
In the line of Carl's post I just labeled a bunch of stuff I canned yesterday. Got through applying the labels and looked at a calendar. I had pre-dated them by a week and a half.  :facepalm: :rofl: Just going to leave as is.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2018, 08:37:01 AM »
The average person or the average prepper?  Personally, I think navigation is an important skill for a prepper to have.  Depending solely on gps is a bit risky IMO. I like being able to navigate on land, sea, and air by star and sun positions.

A time reference is critical for measuring the error of your other time pieces.  If your doing navigation, you should know how accurate your time piece is (both systematic and random drift). This is done by tracking its performance to a reference.  To put it into perspective, every second not corrected is approximately a quarter mile error.

Another example is being able to predict satellite positions to bounce signals off of them.  The window of opportunity is small so you really dont want time errors in calculation.

These are just a couple of the practical applications.

So... for all the digital ink spilled here, how many have written congress urging them to keep WWV on the air?  It's still not too late, and it takes all of 5 minutes to look up your Rep's and Sens' web contact pages and type a short, polite note to keep WWV, WWVB, and WWVH funded.

I am not sure it is worth saving. WWVB is insufficient even with the recent improvements. From NIST report It looks like they are leaning more towards eLORAN and PTP being potentially better backup time systems to GPS: https://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.1500-12

Offline Redman

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #41 on: October 06, 2018, 09:06:28 AM »

  If your doing navigation, you should know how accurate your time piece is (both systematic and random drift). This is done by tracking its performance to a reference.  To put it into perspective, every second not corrected is approximately a quarter mile error.


Just an observation/question here. What and how accurate were the early timepieces used for celestial navigation. I learned a little celestial navigation in the 70's and we were taught that if you knew your position within a quarter mile you would usually be OK because you could see where you expected to be. This was navigation on the water with a sextant and wrist watch. Granted that if there was no land insight that was different. GPS did not or just barely existed then. Loran did exist but may not even have had full coverage I don't remember.

Offline Carl

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #42 on: October 06, 2018, 09:08:22 AM »
In the line of Carl's post I just labeled a bunch of stuff I canned yesterday. Got through applying the labels and looked at a calendar. I had pre-dated them by a week and a half.  :facepalm: :rofl: Just going to leave as is.

Optimism is a good thing!

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2018, 10:26:22 AM »
Just an observation/question here. What and how accurate were the early timepieces used for celestial navigation.

300 years ago, the Longitude Prize was offered for the invention of a timepiece with an accuracy of less than 3 seconds per day over a 6 week voyage.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2018, 10:45:10 PM »
The most expensive piece of equipment by far that Lewis and Clark had on their expedition was a chronometer (clock).  It was one key to the success of their mission.  They used careful measurement of the sun as a time reference to check it.  It consistently lost 15 to 20 seconds each day.


Offline Redman

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2018, 04:03:01 AM »
Interesting info here. I had not studied the subject that much.

Offline Carl

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2018, 10:22:52 AM »
The most expensive piece of equipment by far that Lewis and Clark had on their expedition was a chronometer (clock).  It was one key to the success of their mission.  They used careful measurement of the sun as a time reference to check it.  It consistently lost 15 to 20 seconds each day.

They had some good air rifles and plastic beads too...but yes , a good timepiece was worth major money in the past....today the value is in tennis shoes....

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2018, 10:11:40 PM »
200 years ago, the British Admiralty payed 25oz of gold ($30,000 today) per marine chronometer, and they'd usually need three or more per ship, depending the nature of the voyage, to detect if one of them quit working properly.  The HMS Beagle carried over 20 chronometers on its voyage around the world, which succeeded in establishing a linked chain of reference points around the globe of known longitude which could be used by subsequent voyages to calibrate their own chronometers.


Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #48 on: October 07, 2018, 10:36:30 PM »
Apparently it is NIST itself which is asking to stop operation of the radio stations.  They cut it from their budget requests.  See here for example:

https://www.g-central.com/usa-multi-band-6-wwvb-station-faces-possible-shutdown/

So it seems clear that the WWVB station is being targeted by this proposal and that the WWV and WWHV stations are likely targets as well. At this stage, the cuts are just a proposal and will need approval from Congress before being implemented. As to why the NIST wants to shut down the radio stations, it apparently believes they are no longer essential and are becoming obsolete due to newer technologies.

Maybe the best path forward is to have the house ask NIST to clarify why they feel operation should stop?  You would think NIST would be more transparent on this; for example giving definitive statement on which technology they are promoting.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2018, 06:22:06 AM »
Sometimes agencies will play financial chicken with their budgets.  By protecting some programs and offering up more well-known and popular items for cuts, an agency can try to buffalo congress into somehow finding the money at the last minute to keep all the programs funded.

This WWV case may – I stress may – be an example.  However the response from hams and the SWL community has been lukewarm.  Also, I haven't noticed any watch manufacturers riding to the rescue, although that could well be invisible from outside the beltway.  Most self-setting clock users won't even notice until things start drifting noticeably sometime next year.   Maybe NIST's management miscalculated this one.

Offline Carl

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2018, 06:44:34 AM »
 What popular watch company will pick up the ball and become the next APPLE???

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2018, 07:44:59 AM »
Sometimes agencies will play financial chicken with their budgets.  By protecting some programs and offering up more well-known and popular items for cuts, an agency can try to buffalo congress into somehow finding the money at the last minute to keep all the programs funded.

This WWV case may – I stress may – be an example.  However the response from hams and the SWL community has been lukewarm.  Also, I haven't noticed any watch manufacturers riding to the rescue, although that could well be invisible from outside the beltway.  Most self-setting clock users won't even notice until things start drifting noticeably sometime next year.   Maybe NIST's management miscalculated this one.

I dont think the watch makers care now.  It isnt a core technology, but rather just a nice to have stopgap for a decade while they advanced thier owned technology.

Biggest problem is that GPS is a better RF technology.  It is more robust in that it has multiple redundant stations transmitting simultaneously vs single ground installation.  And it provides better reception because of antenna height.  And it provides a much better coverage area.  Some in SWL and Ham community push the stations as a backup to GPS.  But as shown it is a poor backup as it suffers from the same threats as GPS but worse (ie solar activity, physical attack, and spoofing). And it is a distant choice in popularity of use, NTP, and celluar are all more actively used as time reference sources. And their main partner, USNO, really seems to think a new LORAN system is critical infrastructure.  NIST has heavily promoted this in congress as it would design the microchip:

https://rntfnd.org/2016/02/11/will-fund-eloran-on-a-chip-nist/
“Will Fund eLoran on a Chip” – NIST

Last week the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced that it wanted to fund development of an eLoran receiver that would fit on a microchip and could be easily incorporated into a variety of systems.

The agency said its interest in this project was “… to help facilitate the broad dissemination of precise, accurate time standards and to provide robustness and resilience for critical cyber physical systems.” NIST is also responsible for the nation’s “Cyber Security Framework.”

In the announcement the agency explained the government’s concern and rationale (numbers indicate footnotes):

“The Global Positioning System (GPS) is used for a myriad of innovative—and now, essential—applications that were not envisioned when the system was first designed [1]. The Department of Homeland Security reports that of their 18 defined areas of U.S. critical infrastructure (e.g., communications, transportation, and energy), 16 of them rely on GPS for precision timing and synchronization in their system operations [2]. However, the GPS signal is exceedingly weak, and it is vulnerable to interference, both accidental and deliberate.

Programs have been proposed to provide resilience to the many modern cyber physical systems that rely on GPS for timing data. One that is often suggested is “eLoran,” which could augment GPS by providing a complementary data transmission channel for timing and more [3–8].”


Net, I am getting impression the scientists at NIST dont feel that the stations match its mandate any longer and want to focus limited resources on projects with greater impact.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #52 on: October 08, 2018, 10:41:37 AM »
More background.

NIST Information Technology Laboratory Priority List:

https://www.nist.gov/itl/itl-priority-areas
ITL Priority Areas
Cybersecurity
Internet of Things
Artificial Intelligence
Reliable Computing (coming soon)
Future Computing Technologies and Applications (coming soon)


GPS Vulnerability:

https://www.chron.com/techburger/article/GPS-system-highly-vulnerable-with-no-backups-13230614.php
GPS system highly vulnerable, with no backups, says Paul Hobby

Hobby cited a recently declassified, 219-page assessment of the risks to GPS prepared by the Department of Homeland Security. According to that document, the biggest risk to the system would be GPS jammers, a technology that exists and is relatively inexpensive to procure.
...
Hobby talked about a 2013 case in which the owner of a pickup truck equipped with an inexpensive GPS jammer - which is illegal - was parked near Newark International Airport. The man was trying to block a GPS reporting system his employer installed in the pickup so his boss wouldn’t know where he was. The jammer caused interference with the airport’s GPS-based system that helps aircraft take off and land.

“If one trucker with a scurrilous but relatively benign attempt to deceive his employer can bring down Newark Airport, imagine what a larger-scale attack could do,” Hobby said.
...
The most promising plan is to restore and enhance a ground-based system once used by aviation and maritime operations. LORAN, which stands for Long Range Navigation, was radio-based and dates back to World War II. It was in use until 2010 when it was shut down and replaced with GPS services. Hobby said efforts are underway to restore the system with more modern technology. It is being rebranded as eLoran.

“eLoran is virtually immune to the weakness of GPS,” Hobby said.


Practical case, eLORAN in South Korea:

http://insidegnss.com/south-korea-to-make-waze-other-navigation-more-efficient-with-eloran/
South Korea to Make Waze, other Navigation, More Efficient with eLoran

Hopping in the car and firing up the navigation system, only to have it take you in precisely the wrong direction while it gets its bearings, will be a thing of the past for South Korean users of combined GPS/eLoran navigation systems when the nation’s new eLoran network comes on line in 2020.

One of the biggest shortcomings of satellite-based navigation systems is that receivers sometimes take a while to initialize and, unless the receiver is moving, they don’t know which direction they are facing.

Offline iam4liberty

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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #54 on: October 08, 2018, 05:04:14 PM »
Ok, I am now 99% sure this is the direction they believe we should go:
Hm, I do believe that you are correct about this.  Well, we'll have to wait and see how this one washes out in the new budget.

I wonder how loud when the shouts will be when Granny's auto-set clock starts to drift?  "What?  They turned off what?  Who knew!"  I expect we'll see it in the news for exactly one day, then the whole thing will be gone.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #55 on: October 08, 2018, 05:32:02 PM »
Maybe, maybe not.....

https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/wireless/longrunning-us-federal-radio-stations-beloved-by-hams-are-in-danger-of-shutdown

Quote
What’s more, the nonradio alternatives just aren’t reliable, says John Lowe, station manager for WWVB and its sister high-frequency stations WWV, also in Fort Collins, and WWVH out of Kauai.

Internet connections aren’t available everywhere. And “GPS does not penetrate into buildings, which is an obvious problem,” Lowe says. “Plus, it’s vulnerable, as it’s prone to jamming as well as spoofing.”


Quote
But, at least as written in the NIST budget plan, these airwaves are slated to go silent. So is Lowe worried about his job? “I am not,” he says flatly.

Lowe points out that it’s only the presidential budget proposal that suggests cuts to NIST; the House and Senate proposals both leave the agency’s budget intact. Plus, the WWV stations have survived similar presidential proposals before, he adds.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #56 on: October 08, 2018, 06:54:25 PM »
Maybe, maybe not.....

https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/wireless/longrunning-us-federal-radio-stations-beloved-by-hams-are-in-danger-of-shutdown

But that is part of it.  eLORAN is a radio technology.  It would use two to three dozen radio stations blanketing the US.  Each would have sizable antennas (up to 1400 feet) broadcasting at up to 4,000 Kilowatts.  Compare this to WWVB's 400 ft paired antennas quad arrays at 70 KW.  It would be compatible with GPS including implementations in friendly countries like South Korea and UK.  Eventually this would provide near global coverage of land, air, and sea.  It would have a frequency resolution passing the WVV stations. Each would also have three atomic clocks to ensure greater precision.   Because it is decentralized it would be robust to solar activity and most atracks. It also would provide coverage within buildings.  NIST would develop the chipset and pass this to the device manufacturers so they will have very low costs to implement within devices.


Offline FreeLancer

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2018, 07:08:40 PM »
I don't disagree with eLoran, etc...  But if neither the House or Senate budget proposals show WWV/WWVB defunding, as the station manager says, what are the chances of it actually being cut?

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #58 on: October 08, 2018, 07:40:15 PM »
I don't disagree with eLoran, etc...  But if neither the House or Senate budget proposals show WWV/WWVB defunding, as the station manager says, what are the chances of it actually being cut?
Sometimes programs take a long time to wind down.  Look at the National Helium Reserve: established in 1925 to ensure a reliable supply for airships, continued as a helium coolant supply in 1960, etc., etc.  It's still in operation.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Helium_Reserve

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: WWV time signal stations on the chopping block
« Reply #59 on: October 08, 2018, 08:00:09 PM »
Sometimes programs take a long time to wind down.  Look at the National Helium Reserve: established in 1925 to ensure a reliable supply for airships, continued as a helium coolant supply in 1960, etc., etc.  It's still in operation.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Helium_Reserve

Exactly.

I dont think NIST has to worry too much. House passed law directing NIST to place another $1.2 Billion in quantum computing and communications over 10 years. Unbreakable encryption, faster than light speed communications here we come. And this is the lowest item on their priority list.  Compared to these initiatives what we are talking about is round off.  Congress also signalled they will fund agency well beyond requested budget.

https://www.top500.org/news/us-house-passes-bill-to-invest-more-than-12-billion-in-quantum-information-science/

US House Passes Bill to Invest More Than $1.2 Billion in Quantum Information Science

Known as the National Quantum Initiative Act, the bill defines a 10-year national strategy to advance quantum computing and communication technology through activities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE). The 10-year initiative is split into two five-year plans, the first of which will run from fiscal year 2019 to 2023.