HFU HF Underground

Loggings => 22 Meter Band Beacons => Topic started by: Finman on November 07, 2017, 1900 UTC

Title: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 07, 2017, 1900 UTC
Just completed construction and it's on the air...

13.561.82 mhz (+/- 100hz) 5wpm CW, Grid square EM96

(edit = moved to 13.564.20mhz)

Two transistor, scratch built, (except for the $12 keyer board) xtal controlled, Antenna is an 80ft end fed wire connected to an MFJ artificial ground tuner. The beacon transmitter is located in my very temporary radio desk/shack on the second story in my home, a terrible radio location but I'm making due until my basement shack is completed in a few months from now.

I had to work through a few stability issues but it's pretty solid now.

Reports please!!

Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: tesla on November 09, 2017, 0151 UTC
I will listen for it tomorrow didn't have a chance today...
Is the power around 4 mw?
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 09, 2017, 1236 UTC
Hi.... it's probably a bit more than 4mw but there is quite a bit of loss in the antenna, tuner and ground system so field strength is most likely within the limit.
Maybe the FCC will stop by and measure it for me. ;D

Let me know if you can copy it.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: tesla on November 10, 2017, 1446 UTC
There is nothing but tremendous qrm on that area of the band...I recommend that
you go to lwca.org and see the current placement of beacons and also quarry John Davis
who owns the LWCA web site on what a good freq. would be.

I doubt anyone would ever hear your beacon where it is...thats the name of that tune
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 10, 2017, 1500 UTC
Understood. Right now I'm crystal controlled so i can't move very much without causing stability issues. I have a digital exciter on the way so i will be able to select any freq. It will also allow me to adjust power based on losses. I looked at the LWCA beacon list and it's pretty obvious everyone avoids the 13.559 - 13.561 and I know why...

The crystal I'm using is a mass produced, off the shelf 13.560 xtal which is probably used by many manufacturers of RFID and other industrial devices on this band hence the QRM on this freq.

When I get home tonight I'm going to install a different crystal that should be lower in frequency. I'll post here when it's running with the new freq change. Should be later today.

Thanks for the advice Tesla!  8)
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 10, 2017, 2145 UTC
Ok, I replaced the xtal with a higher freq one.. a big old HC6U xtal.

I'm now sending away on 13.564.2mhz.

Officially out of the QRM hole.  ;D ;D I've updated the top post.

Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: tesla on November 10, 2017, 2354 UTC
Now that is a good freq.  I would try to keep it there.

What is the keying speed?  10 wpm is fast enough to cope with rapid qsb
that occurs on 22 meters IMO.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 11, 2017, 0016 UTC
Thanks Tesla... 5wpm always.. Let me know if you hear it. I have a feeling my erp is not what it should be all things considered.. :'( and propagation kinda sucks right now..  :o
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: tesla on November 11, 2017, 1308 UTC
Your be surprised...I bet someone will hear you I have some friends that are very good Hifer dx ers...and they will be listening...
If it is to slow it is hard to copy by the wet processor  you know by the human brain...anyway this weekend I will really give it a try...
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 11, 2017, 1349 UTC
It got very cold here this morning.... hopefully propagation will improve soon.

Once my new transmitter arrives, I'll set it to this same frequency.  ;)

Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Nomadiq on November 22, 2017, 2050 UTC
Heard in Cape Code, MA 22nd November at 2049 UTC - about S3 with noise at S1-2. Pretty good copy.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 22, 2017, 2054 UTC
Heard in Cape Code, MA 22nd November at 2049 UTC - about S3 with noise at S1-2. Pretty good copy.

Very cool!... I've spent lots of time on the cape.. thanks  very much for the report.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Ed H on November 29, 2017, 0029 UTC
Heard here in CA on 21st Nov. A strong signal, good enough to be copied by ear. As reported on LWCA.

Nice to have a new beacon on the band - welcome Finman
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 29, 2017, 1213 UTC
Thanks very much for the report Ed. Glad it's making it to the west coast!  8)

Heard here in CA on 21st Nov. A strong signal, good enough to be copied by ear. As reported on LWCA.

Nice to have a new beacon on the band - welcome Finman
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Skipmuck on November 29, 2017, 1715 UTC
Hearing this now at 1711 UTC 29 NOV 2017 in Springfield MA with signal fading in and out of the noise floor...my first ID'able 22 meter beacon! "RF"  8)
1725 UTC Now mixing with another beacon "GNK"
Sadly, determining exact frequencies for CW with the NRD-515 is somewhat of a crap shoot! In fact, I have to off tune to hear them  :(
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Ed H on November 29, 2017, 2345 UTC
Skipmuck - can you connect the receiver audio to a computer?

If so, there are some great free programs - I use Spectrum Lab, a spectrum analyser application - that provide a visual of the signal. You can enter the VFO setting from the receiver and determine the signal frequency very accurately. Another benefit is that you can use the program to "see" signals that you can't hear, and run slow traces to visualise the slow modes that some beacons use.

Ed
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Skipmuck on November 30, 2017, 0003 UTC
Thanks for the information Ed H! I've downloaded the Spectrum Lab and will have to study up a bit on the Help section to see if I can get it working properly. Yes, I have a direct patch from the Old analog NRD-515 to my PC. I regularly use Shazam, MMSSTV, and record using Audacity.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on November 30, 2017, 1230 UTC
Awesome! thank you for the report Skipmuck.

Hearing this now at 1711 UTC 29 NOV 2017 in Springfield MA with signal fading in and out of the noise floor...my first ID'able 22 meter beacon! "RF"  8)
1725 UTC Now mixing with another beacon "GNK"
Sadly, determining exact frequencies for CW with the NRD-515 is somewhat of a crap shoot! In fact, I have to off tune to hear them  :(
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Ed H on November 30, 2017, 1850 UTC
Thanks for the information Ed H! I've downloaded the Spectrum Lab and will have to study up a bit on the Help section to see if I can get it working properly. Yes, I have a direct patch from the Old analog NRD-515 to my PC. I regularly use Shazam, MMSSTV, and record using Audacity.

Great! sounds like you are all set. There can be lots of fun stuff to dig out if you have patience for the slower modes :).
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on December 01, 2017, 1852 UTC
I have a very good signal from RF at 1849z on 1 Dec 2017 on 13564.34 kHz ! I think my first time hearing RF.

Here is a screenshot. Slightly below RF you can see my beacon CDS, which is actually sitting in the basement now with no antenna connected.

(https://i.imgur.com/QOkno3t.png)
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on December 01, 2017, 1913 UTC
Hey Chris!.. fantastic!.... was it audible? or just visible..

..was that with your new loop?.........

wow... look at all that noise on 13.560!
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on December 02, 2017, 1355 UTC
It was quite audible, with a strong clear signal at times. I checked the ionosondes, and Wallops Island was reporting an foF2 value of 14 MHz, which is amazing. It only lasted half an hour or an hour though.

Yes, this was with the new loop, and the AirSpyHF+
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on December 02, 2017, 1938 UTC
RF fading in at 1938z on 2 Dec 2017.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on December 03, 2017, 1418 UTC
Great! I hope this is a preview of possible good wintertime conditions!
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Ed H on December 04, 2017, 1746 UTC
RF was coming in to California nicely yesterday afternoon, several IDs plainly audible between fade. Time was around 1900UTC. Nice clean signal, by the way, no hint of roughness as I'd previously thought.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on December 04, 2017, 1755 UTC
Thank you very much for the report Ed. I shut the beacon off for about an hour yesterday to try and listen for some beacons.... nothing but noise  :(
I was originally going to switch over to the QRP labs U3S which I just completed (and it's working very well) but my homebrew design is working so well I may just leave it like it is.


RF was coming in to California nicely yesterday afternoon, several IDs plainly audible between fade. Time was around 1900UTC. Nice clean signal, by the way, no hint of roughness as I'd previously thought.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on December 12, 2017, 1504 UTC
RF coming in here at 1503z on 13564.32. Weak but audible. Clearly visible on the waterfall. Pleasantly surprised to hear some 22m activity this early in the day,
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: tesla on December 12, 2017, 1754 UTC
Dec 12   time 1751 utc   RF making the trip out to Colorado.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on December 12, 2017, 1808 UTC
RF re-appeared here at 1805z, with a really strong signal at times. GNK is in the mix as well.  We had a little bump in the foF2 values around 1500z when I was picking up RF earlier, probably another one now.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on December 13, 2017, 2212 UTC
RF just faded in with a really nice signal here at 2210z. The little beacon that could!  :)
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on December 15, 2017, 1708 UTC
RF just faded in with a really nice signal here at 2210z. The little beacon that could!  :)

"I think I can! I think I can!"  ;D
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Mateo on April 03, 2018, 1600 UTC
Heard near St. Louis, MO at 1600 UTC on 4/3/2018

Only S-1 to S-2 but still clear.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: tesla on April 04, 2018, 1356 UTC
I suspect that the Black Cat circuit is putting out much more power then the part 15 Fcc rules allow...
Therefore that's why some of these beacons are being heard quite often.  I did not realize that getting a Hifer page up on HFU would
create this situation.



Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on April 04, 2018, 1522 UTC
Are you referring to my beacon? RF?

FYI.... I'm not using a "black cat circuit"


I suspect that the Black Cat circuit is putting out much more power then the part 15 Fcc rules allow...
Therefore that's why some of these beacons are being heard quite often.  I did not realize that getting a Hifer page up on HFU would
create this situation.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on April 04, 2018, 1557 UTC
I suspect that the Black Cat circuit is putting out much more power then the part 15 Fcc rules allow...
Therefore that's why some of these beacons are being heard quite often.  I did not realize that getting a Hifer page up on HFU would
create this situation.

There is a trimmer pot to adjust your output, and remain within Part 15 limits.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Finman on April 04, 2018, 1843 UTC
Thanks for the report Mateo. Glad it's making it to St Louie!

Heard near St. Louis, MO at 1600 UTC on 4/3/2018

Only S-1 to S-2 but still clear.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: Prairiedog on April 04, 2018, 2009 UTC
It does seem a bit touchy trying to adjust the trimmer pot. It's easy to go from a couple of milliwatts to 30 in no time flat. A lower value in the 220 ohm range might be better, and is well within the drive capabilities of the three paralleled NAND gates.
Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: tesla on April 04, 2018, 2027 UTC
I'm not referring to any specific beacon...what I meant to say is that I would suspect
that a HIFER beacon that was being heard often could be a Black Cat circuit because the circuit
has the potential to run higher power then Part 15 rules allow. Of course higher power beacons
could come from home brew circuits.

I'm not the police or a guru to anyone...

Chris and RF beacon operator I meant no personal attack to either of you guys.
Often I don't really communicate well via E mail. 73

Title: Re: New HIFER Beacon "RF" is on the air!!
Post by: ChrisSmolinski on April 04, 2018, 2106 UTC
It does seem a bit touchy trying to adjust the trimmer pot. It's easy to go from a couple of milliwatts to 30 in no time flat. A lower value in the 220 ohm range might be better, and is well within the drive capabilities of the three paralleled NAND gates.

A good idea. Also, I suspect you could solder a fixed resistor across the wiper and ground on the pot, to reduce the maximum output range.