Posts Tagged ‘Beacons’

VHF/UHF beacons

In the next few days I must continue my search to find out which beacons will be good propagation indicators. I am surprised how well some (long way away) beacons can be copied nearly all of the time.

Access to the shack will be more limited these next few days as I have to walk through the guest bedroom to get there and we have visitors staying. I have still to hear the GB3MCB 2m beacon in Cornwall and I am wondering if it is operational? By ow I would have expected the odd MS ping, at least.

I am looking forward to a more complete 70cm beacon network again. At the moment there are very few operational 70cm beacons in the UK. GB3UHF at Fairmile in Kent should be very useful when it becomes operational as I can peak the beams using the 2m GB3VHF beacon first.

During the last solar peak I remember copying a 6m beacon in NW Canada on just a whip antenna!

A week later and there is something wrong

At the back end of last week I set Faros off and running to listen into the various NCDXF beacons.

All is not well

The set up of rig, Signalink, sound card (either as a usb or internal) is inconsistent at best and not hearing anything at all at worst. After a few days of twiddling and mucking about I am at a loss. I’ve never really got the thing going with my ft817 and frankly don’t want to spend a whole heap of time trying to sort it out. Perhaps I’ll go back to it once I’ve had a chance to think about it a bit more.

Here’s what’s stumping me:

Computer – More powerful than the one it used to run off 24/. Both internal and usb sound cards have failed to get any signals. in fact the usb sound card made the software act very oddly. Audio in directly from the rig…no difference. Adjusting the volume makes no observable difference.

Rig – CAT OK, timing OK, audio out OK

The software is reporting 100% QSB which I don’t recall from the last set up so I can only surmise that it doesn’t like the two options for the sound card. Time to take a break from it.

 

Beacon pages

The NCDXF beacon network may not be as popular now that WSPR has hit the mainstream but I think it still has a purpose.

For me, the benefit of programmes like Faros gives life to a receiver that wouldn’t otherwise be used. Yes, you can do the same with WSPR but because it’s a more robust system means that just because my pc can hear a station. Doesn’t mean I can work them.

Beacons,on the other hand , give you a reason to listen out. For example, if I can’t hear the Northern Ireland 2m beacon, GB3NGI on 144.482Mhz then chances are I will not be successful putting out a CQ call and expecting to get some DX (DX for me is probably a lot less in mileage terms than you might think at my QTH).

So I’ve resurrected the NCDXF beacon monitor and the results are on the Beacon pages. I hope they are still useful. Time will tell but it looks like the soundcard / rig combo isn’t working too well as its reporting 100% QSB and nowhere near as many spots as I would expect it to. I remember the software being quite precise about the signal input and I spent many hours waiting then adjusting.


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