Hunting For NDBs In CLE242

Online KiwiSDR Network


CLE242 runs this weekend and is a bit different than most. This time, listeners are required to use an online remote receiver to do their beacon-hunting.


There are many parts of the world where beacons have yet to be recorded to the database and this will be a great opportunity to find and report them.

Over the past few years, the number of online SDRs has grown immensely, as has their ease of use. Although there are several online systems, my favorite is the KiwiSDR network, where one can normally find over 400 receivers available at any time. As well, every one of them has the same familiar intuitive interface ... figuring out how to tune them and make them behave the way you want only takes a few moments.

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 1020Hz tone approximately.

For example, 'AA' near Fargo, ND, 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, come details via the The NDB List Group:

Hello all 

Our 242nd listening event starts this Friday.   The last time everyone
listened via remote receivers was 40 CLEs and over 3 years ago. Since
then the receivers have improved enormously – easier to use, better
design and a much greater choice of sites Worldwide for you to use.

If you don’t like the idea of remote listening we urge you to at least
please give it a try.  I predict that several of us who ‘have a go’ in this
CLE will be very pleased to discover a fascinating new world of NDBs.
You only need a modest PC and a slow internet connection - and the
ability to read slow Morse!   (Even a tablet is sufficient, though a bit
difficult to use without a mouse)

  Days:    Friday 22 March - Monday 25 March
  Times:  Midday on Friday to Midday on Monday, local time AT THE REMOTE RX
  QRG:    Normal LF/MF frequencies (190 - 1740 kHz)
  NDBs:   A MAXIMUM of 100 normal NDBs (not DGPS, Navtex, Amateur)
               (that’s not intended to be a target to reach!)

Choose any ONE receiver, remote from you, for all your CLE listening.
Remember that reception conditions will depend on the local time of
day/night at the receiver (no through-the-night listening for us this time?)

The ‘biggest and best’ of the remote receivers is probably still the SDR
at the University of Twente at Enschede in the east of Holland.
Several hundred listeners use it, all at the same time and all unaware
of each other.   Its PA0RDT mini-whip aerial high above the metal roof
of the building allows it to receive well on the NDB range of frequencies.
Just enter http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/ into your browser.
In seconds you should see details of the receiver and advice on how to
use it.

If you want to choose a different location, or an easier-to-use receiver
with fewer facilities, the Kiwi receivers are also SDRs.  They are mostly
in radio enthusiasts homes and they usually only support a handful of
simultaneous users.
Go to https://sdr.hu
To display the Worldwide map use the button on the right side of the screen
- experiment with (multiple) use of the + and – buttons.
Some sites of any kind have aerials that are quite unsuitable for NDB
listening, but others are excellent.  Some of our members have been busy
recently researching them and their suggested ‘best ones’ are listed below.

For each receiver, whatever its kind, do read the helpful advice carefully
before using it.  There is no charge and you don’t register or 'log in', but
you may be invited to type your chosen identification in a 'Name’ or
‘Callsign' box.  There may be a time limit for each user (e.g. 2 hours in
any 24 hours) and ‘late comers’ may temporarily have reduced facilities.

Seeklists?   The REU/RNA/RWW Website can help a lot if you enter the
Locator of your chosen receiver in the From GSQ box there.
To avoid getting details of thousands of NDBs, initially set the DX limit
to something small and/or enter one or two nearby states or countries.


LOGS  (Please read CAREFULLY):

Please show the LOCATION details and the TYPE OF REMOTE RECEIVER
clearly  (and your own location to help us identify you).
Include on EVERY LINE of your log:

  #   the UTC date  - e.g. ‘2019-03-22' (or just '22')
       and UTC time  (the day changes at 00:00 UTC).
  #   kHz   - the nominal, published, frequency.
  #   Call Ident.

Show those main log items FIRST.  Any other, optional, details such as
the NDB's location, etc., must go LATER on the same line.
You could include any UNIDs - e.g. separately if you already have 100
identified loggings.

As this is a special CLE, any extra comments in your log on your listening
experience (whether good or not!) will certainly be of interest.

Please post your log to NDB List, preferably as a Plain Text email
(not in an attachment) using 'CLE242' and ‘FINAL’ in its title.  We will
send the usual 'Any More Logs?' email at about 21:00 UTC on Tuesday
so you can check that your log has been found OK.
(NB:  that is 3 hours later than usual)

Do make sure your log has arrived on the List by 09:00 UTC on Wednesday
27 March at the very latest.  Joachim and I hope to finish making the main
combined results later on that day or soon after.

REMINDERS:
    Only ONE remote receiver of your choice.
    Not more than 100 loggings
    Start and End at midday at the receiver.

Enjoy!
  Brian
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Brian Keyte G3SIA        ndbcle'at'gmail.com
Location:   Surrey, SE England       (CLE Coordinator)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


To help you with your choice of a remote receiver, below are recommendations
and/or advice provided by from some of our members:



To help you with your choice of a remote receiver, below are recommendations
and/or advice provided by from some of our members:


The stations in yellow are among the ones that disable the waterfall when there are more than two users - 
they can still be used and are still excellent stations.


Advice about their own and other Kiwis have been given in emails to NDB List,
mostly in the last few days:

Roelof B:  His KiwiSDR is making all four channels available for the CLE

Tony C:  Has added his openwebrx NDB receiver to SDRHU.  3 or 4 users

Bill S:   Email to NDB List on 4 Feb  (A list of USA and CAN SDR's that may 
         be useful, compiled by Dave AB5S and posted on the Boatanchor List)

Joe N5PYK: The West Texas KiwiSDR welcomes CLE participants. 

We are grateful to all the above.


Any further advice about suitable remotes will be welcome. 
Do you fancy using something really basic for the CLE?  The Global Tuners
still exist – we used 6 of them successfully in CLE202.  There are usually
about 50 of them on-line and many are older traditional receivers that
support only one user and are seldom suitable for the NDB frequencies.
But there might still be a gem or two among them:
https://www.globaltuners.com/   (You need to sign up for a free account
and provide an email address for a password to be sent to you)


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.


The NDB List 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 NDB List member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers. 

Remember - 'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the NDB List Group or e-mailed to CLE co-ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above. If you are a member of the group, all final results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

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 AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Hunting For NDBs In CLE242”

  • AG7QH:

    For someone who came to this website looking for something else I haven’t a clue what NDB is or what CLE242 is.
    I guess it’s isn’t something I’ve read about before and maybe a short introduction to the topic might interest more to participate.
    Mike

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