The VE3OT 630m Beacon

I suspect there are probably a lot of Canadian amateurs still thinking that our new 630m is not very practical for anything other than local two-way contacts.

During the winter 'DX season', this is definitely not the case, as 630m shares many, if not all, of the propagation characteristics found in the lower end of our AM broadcast band. As well, a quick tune through the even lower NDB band on a normal night will reveal dozens of 25-watters, often from over a thousand miles away and with very robust signals.

With no 630m amateur activity yet coming from VE6, VE5 or VE4, it is difficult to get a sense of just how interesting the band could become on these normal nights, or how great it would be on a really good night of propagation. My recent CW contact with the nearest out of province station, VE3OT (Mitch), on a normal night, demonstrates that there is a lot of potential for some really effective two-way work over long distances.

So ... what do signals sound like between here and Ontario? Here is Mitch's CW beacon as heard here on the evening of February 11th, at around 2300 hours local time, using my 10' x 20' loop. I have heard Mitch at even higher levels than this, but his beacon is usually audible here on most undisturbed nights, sometimes as early as 2000 hours local time. His beacon signal runs 200 watts to a 340' circumference loop, from his London, Ontario, suburban backyard.

Even if you are not able to hear Mitch's signal audibly, it should be fairly easy to copy in one of the QRSS CW modes, such as QRSS3 or QRSS10 ... both of which could yield a reasonably quick two-way contact.

Judging from the reliability of the VE3 signal, any activity from the prairie provinces should be even easier to hear. Should any of you in the prairies take up the 630m challenge, I can assure you that you'll be very, very popular out west ... every night!

This blog also provides an opportunity for my initial use of the 'tunestotube' web site. It provides a nice online interface for posting audio files to Youtube, along with an image, or a slideshow. It seemed to work seamlessly and will save me having to link to audio files stored on my own web site, which really eat up what little space I have left.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “The VE3OT 630m Beacon”

  • VE2NNX:

    Hi, that is a new band allocation for us, give the time to properly setup are rigs and antenna HI HI.
    For me, I have recently purchased an ultimate 3S specially for those lower band and I began to beaconing in WSPR mode on 2200 and 600 meters… But my antenna not perform well yet… Summer time will be the time for me to install antenna to prepare next DX season 😉

    Best 73 to all from Quebec de VE2NNX

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Hello Nicolas…it’s always good to see new Canadian activity on 630m! I hope that you will be able to get a CW signal on the band one day as well so that we might have a QSO attempt. Really good 630m conditions will soon be here as Cycle 24 reaches the bottom.

    73 Steve

  • VE2NNX:

    Hello Steve, i look forward for this day (night) that will happen.
    But for now I will have to do propaganda in my area to stimulate Quebec Amateur to those new bands.

    73 Nicolas

  • Don ve3lyx:

    Trying 474khz nightly 7pm EST CW . Stay ten minutes
    Don VE3LYX

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