Hunting For NDBs in CLE 228

ZQT-263 courtesy:

This coming weekend will see another monthly CLE challenge. This time the hunting grounds will be: 260 - 269.9 kHz and 440 - 1740 kHz.


For those unfamiliar with this monthly activity, a 'CLE' is a 'Co-ordinated Listening Event', as NDB DXers around the world focus their listening time on one small slice of the NDB spectrum.


A nice challenge in this one is to hear the Thunder Bay (ONT) NDB, 'ZQT', on 263 kHz. It seems to be well-heard throughout most of North America as its reported 50W does a good job into a very high vertical. Listen for its upper-sideband CW identifier (with your receiver in the CW mode) on 263.384 kHz.

If last month's great MF propagation continues into the weekend, we should see some great logs. Conditions are still very good at the moment.

If you are interested in building a system for the new (U.S.) 630m band, the CLE will give you the chance to test out your MF receiving capabilities and compare against what others in your area might be hearing.

When tuning for NDBs, put your receiver in the CW mode and listen for the NDB's CW identifier, repeated every few seconds. Listen for U.S. NDB identifiers approximately 1 kHz higher or lower than the published transmitted frequency since these beacons are modulated with a 1020 Hz tone approximately.

For example, 'AA' in Fargo transmits on 365 kHz and its upper sideband CW identifier is tuned at 366.025 kHz while its lower sideband CW ident can be tuned at 363.946 kHz. Its USB tone is actually 1025 Hz while its LSB tone is 1054 Hz.

Often, one sideband will be much stronger than the other so if you don't hear the first one, try listening on the other sideband.

Canadian NDBs normally have an USB tone only, usually very close to 400 Hz. They also have a long dash (keydown) following the CW identifier.

All NDBs heard in North America will be listed in the RNA database (updated daily) while those heard in Europe may be found in the REU database. Beacons heard outside of these regions will be found in the RWW database.

From CLE organizer Brian Keyte, G3SIA, comes the details:


Hi all,

Here are the final details for this weekend's Co-ordinated Listening Event.
This one uses some challenging frequencies and the possibility of hearing
some experimental amateur beacons. Any first-time CLE logs will also
be very welcome, however modest - it is not a contest!

Days: Friday 26 January - Monday 29 January

Times: Start and end at midday, your local time

Targets: Normal NDBs and Amateur beacons

QRG: 260.0 - 269.9 kHz

plus: 440.0 - 1740.0 kHz

Please log the beacons you can identify that are listed in those ranges
(not NAVTEX signals) plus any UNIDs that you come across there.

The range from 440 kHz gives some relaxing listening - it has wide
open spaces where you can often detect the carrier signals before
identifying them it from an offset. For Europe listeners most of the
targets are in the eastern countries where listeners will have a real
BONANZA - that's a lot! The CLE will be much more of a challenge
for those of us in Western Europe and in the rest of the World.

You can find details of the beacons in these ranges, lists and maps,
by clicking on the 'SEEKLIST' link in the CLE page
( )

We ask operators of the amateur beacons mainly around 474-478 kHz
to be on air during the CLE using a simple Morse mode which requires
no software to decode it. We are interested in anything operating IN
BEACON MODE in the range (no reports of any QSOs).
If possible, please include the amateur beacons' 6-character Locators
in your log - they are normally transmitted as part of the message.

Send your final CLE log to the List, preferably as a plain text email,
not in an attachment, with CLE228 and FINAL at the start of its title.
Please show on EVERY LINE of your log:

# The full Date (or Day no.) and UTC (the day changes at 00:00 UTC).
# kHz (show the beacon's nominal published frequency if you know it)
# The Call Ident.

Other optional details, Location, Distance, etc., go LATER in the same
line (or in footnotes). Any extra details about UNIDs, especially strong
ones that may be near to you (maybe their approximate direction, etc.)
will help us to discover more about them. Please make your log useful
to old and new members alike by ALWAYS including your own location
and brief details of the equipment and aerial(s) that you were using.

We will send an 'Any More Logs?' email at about 18:00 UTC on Tuesday
evening. From it you can check that your log has been found OK.
Do make sure that your log has arrived at the very latest by 09:00 UTC
on Wednesday 31 January.
The Combined Results should be finished soon after that.

Good listening
From: Brian Keyte G3SIA ndbcle'at'
Location: Surrey, SE England (CLE co-ordinator)

If you are interested in some remote listening - maybe due to local
difficulties - you could use any one remote receiver for your loggings,
stating its location and with the owner’s permission if required.
A remote listener may NOT also use another receiver, local or remote,
to make further loggings for the same CLE.



These listening events serve several purposes. They:
  • determine, worldwide, which beacons are actually in service and on-the-air so the online database can be kept up-to-date
  • determine, worldwide, which beacons are out-of-service or have gone silent since the last CLE covering this range
  • will indicate the state of propagation conditions at the various participant locations
  • will give you an indication of how well your LF/MF receiving system is working
  • give participants a fun yet challenging activity to keep their listening skills honed

Final details can be found at the NDB List website, and worldwide results, for every participant, will be posted there a few days after the event. If you are a member of the ndblist Group, results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

The very active Yahoo ndblist Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other listeners in your region. There is a lot of good information available there and new members are always very welcome. As well, you can follow the results of other CLE participants from night to night as propagation is always an active topic of discussion.

You need not be an ndblist member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers. 

'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the ndblist or e-mailed to either myself or CLE co-ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above.

Please ... give the CLE a try ... then let us know what NDB's can be heard from your location! Your report can then be added to the worldwide database to help keep it up-to-date.

Have fun and good hunting!
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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