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Topics - Ed H

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Hi Folks,
It occurred to me that it would be a good idea to share the quietest listening spots in the 13553-13567 ISM allocation we know and love as the HiFER band.

My reasoning for this is more or less obvious - Where is a good spot to put one's beacon, if trying to reach a particular area?

For my QTH in the SF bay area, the only spot with consistent interference is 13560 - 13562 (as tuned in USB with a typical 2.2 kHz filter). Ergo, I can easily listen from the lower portion of the band, up to about 13,559 before whistles and bleeps interfere with hearing, or the AGC kicks into action. Using a Spectrum Lab, this can be pushed a little further. On the high side, 13,562 kHz up is all quiet.

I would be interested to hear from other beaconeers on their local conditions.



Hi Folks,

One thing I have been attempting to pursue is finding a predictor/barometer for propagation at 22 m. Helpfully, there is a broadcast band nearby, and SW.info indicates that there are some potentially helpful signals:

13,840 - Radio New Zealand International
13,845 - WWCR University Network, based in Nashville USA

Ideally, schedules should line up with beacon listening, so that reception of beacons and broadcast can be compared. Has anyone else tried this approach?



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / 2nd June HiFER report
« on: June 08, 2018, 1842 UTC »
I found time to switch on and listen for a while on 2nd June (Around 030 UTC) and was rewarded with quite good conditions. Observations were aided by the use of Spectrum Lab.

In the higher portion of the band, EPA provided a strong trace, along with a hint of BUH (or perhaps BUZ) Both are new to the log here. A trace corresponded to RF, another to KC7MMI, and GNK appeared for a while.

Lower down, I Caught PBJ, TON and a hint of trace from a possible PLM.

Below this, EH was plainly audible, and an easy trace to read. Neighbor SIW was visible below, and USC above.

Quite the best conditions we have had here for some time.


22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / PVC Antenna change
« on: April 09, 2018, 2201 UTC »
Hi Folks,

Just for a change, I tuned up PVC on the garden longwire: approx 80ft span between trees at ~20ft above ground. There is a balun and a ground rod at the feed-point. I think the usual dipole might benefit from a little attention in the mean time.

No opportunity for listening of late, so just antenna experiments for now. Longer term, I also want to test a small tuned loop on 22m operation.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Loud Data station Sunday 18 March
« on: March 21, 2018, 1427 UTC »
Hi Folks,

Wonder if anyone else heard this around 4 to 5 PM on Sunday (circa 1100UTC)? Classic RTTY type data signal, strength around S7 on the random dipole here in the CA Bay Area. It ceased as I was monitoring.

No beacons recorded during or after.


22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / 3rd & 4th Feb listening
« on: February 05, 2018, 1737 UTC »
Just a quick report

Saturday's listening, at around 15:15 PST/23:15UTC. At the 13,555 kHz spot, I noted a trace of NC and SIW using Spectrum Lab, but no other signals were detectable. Further up the band there was a big lift for PCO, and it was plain copy by ear - a lovely clean signal, with some slow fading minute to minute. No sign of any of the other beacons in that region.

Sunday listening around 16:00 PST, often a fair time, revealed a quiet band - even the constant drones around 13,560 were subdued.

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Beacons Sunday 28 Jan
« on: February 01, 2018, 1744 UTC »
Finally had some time to listen, early on Sunday Morning (~0300 UTC)

Alas things were rather flat. By ear, I heard traces of RF, and with software, a few of the cluster around 13,555+ including EH, SIW and USC. The latter were very weak traces, and conditions only degraded during the remainder of the day.

It is great, however, to see new beacons coming on air, and this section of the forum growing. I shall be watching and listening with interest :)

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / PCO loud and clear 13563.55 Khz
« on: December 10, 2017, 0400 UTC »
There seemed to be good conditions today for reception here in Calif. PCO faded up to easy readibility a few times around 1520 PST.. GNK was in the mix, and a few signals around the 13.555 zone including USC and WM

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / RQ, RF, GNK heard Sunday 3rd
« on: December 04, 2017, 1827 UTC »
Monitoring yesterday, I heard solid copy from RQ, RF and GNK, around 2100 UTC (Afternoon Pacific Time). No need for Spectrum Lab :)

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Poor conditions, interference
« on: August 07, 2017, 2140 UTC »
Hi Folks,

Monitoring this past 5th 6th August, showed very weak conditions. A feint spectrogram trace of signals in the 13,555.xxx mini band, not readable.

Often I am getting a rapid repeating swept signal. It passes through the 22m band perhaps 2x per sec, and has a swept range of at least 100 kHz. Signal strength is up to S7 at times, but has characteristics suggesting it is reaching me as a skywave. Any ideas? This emission precludes any weak signal work, as one might imagine. It isnt CODAR as we get that too sometimes.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / PVC loop aerial experiments.
« on: May 17, 2017, 1846 UTC »
I have been doing some tinkering with loop aerials lately. The present example is approximately 12 ft of #12 solid wire on a square frame of white PVC pipe. Some experimentation a receiver noise bridge enabled a coupling loop to be configured so that a 50 ohm impedance is presented to the coax. A ceramic bodied 15-150 pF trimmer at the top of the loop permits tuning from ~6 MHz to ~15 MHz and is the only purchase made specifically for the project. For the latest experiments, the loop was suspended from a tree, borrowing the feeder for my long-wire. This disposition is somewhat close to the house, and not especially "out in the clear", but does allow the loop tuning to be trimmed, which is quite demanding on account of the sharp peak, and the need to use a long trimmer tool so as to minimise one's influence on the loop due to stray capacitance. The loop was tuned in situ, on transmit, using a small portable receiver to detect peak output.

Experiment 1: Receive
In this endeavour, I compared the loop against the "random wire dipole" that has become the de facto standard for 22m HiFER reception. Firstly, I noticed a higher (atmospheric) noise floor against the dipole. Not much man made "hash" that I could identify. Attention turned to the cluster of signals around 13,555.+++ kHz (though I did try the top and bottom of the bands as always). The dipole showed some activity from both SIW stations, and IIRC WM. See the http://lwca.org/sitepage/part15/index.htm website for details. Switching to the loop brought traces that were obviously a continuation, but would be hard to have logged without the previous observations.

I decided to experiment with feeding PVC's signal to the loop, to compare the received signal at the receive dipole with the numbers I see from PVC's usual (separate) dipole. I'd played before (indoors) and seen S9 +30 dB, now, curiously, the signal was swinging (hint) from barely S9 to S9 +20 dB. Then I realised the swing had a fairly consistent period/time constant. I visited the loop and saw the issue immediately. With a little stabilisation (another piece of string) I arrested the twisting motion. Also, I arranged the loop so that in theory, it's pattern should match the direction of the dipole. Result: S9 +30 dB and steady, very similar to the dipole.

Return to receive:

The re-oriented loop showed improved sensitivity to the HiFERs that could also be seen with the dipole. It would be instructive to monitor both simultaneously, as an A/B comparison is at the mercy of the short timescale variations in propagation. However, the loop's performance is very encouraging, especially considering its compact size. It might be expected that better results could be obtained with improved siting. The dipole against which the comparison took place has it's apex in a tree at ~20 ft and the ends > 6 ft above ground. By contrast the loop center was perhaps 6 ft above ground, but further down the hill, and potentially affected by other nearby structures - quite a disadvantaged site in my opinion.

This work provides anecdotal evidence to support the enthusiasm for tuned loops that I have seen from a significant number of credible internet sources. Attention to a few details appears to show that these aerials are suitable for aspects of HiFER work. One aspect that has not been addressed is the desire/requirement to adjust tuning remotely for easy optimisation, and convenient use on a wider range of frequencies. This is under consideration at present.

PVC is transmitting from the loop this week, so reports from 13,558.400 would be very welcome.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / AA0RQ running fast
« on: March 21, 2017, 2245 UTC »
Heard in the later afternoon (0100 Z) on Sunday afternoon, AA0RQ with very speedy Morse, occasionally audible. None of the other neighbors in the 13,563.XXX kHz vicinity were coming through.

Lower down, I received USC and NC amongst the FSK beacons nearer 13,555 kHz. These reached ocasional audibility, solid copy using Spectrum Lab. Not much sign of anyone else.

One thing I am trying to do is find nearby signals (up to few 100 kHz away) that would make useful sources for a gauge comparison for HiFer propagation. Ideally, this would be a signal or signals nearly always audible a skip away. The aim is to track reception and correlate it with activity within the 22m ISM band. There is the 22m broadcast band - I may start there - and Volmet broadcasts amongst the 13 MHz ATC frequencies. Food for thought, as there are signals from Honolulu to the West, and New York to the East.


22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / 17th March Listening
« on: March 17, 2017, 1653 UTC »
Brief listening session this morning (~0800 PST/ 1500z)

Using spectrum lab and the "random wire dipole" aerial, the FSK beacons NC, USC and EH in the narrow band around 13,555.xxx kHz came in strongly. Hints of another signal too, but I couldn't identify.

I listened for the regular Morse beacons in the higher portion of the band, but heard/saw nothing. Quite often they come up later in the day.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / HiFer Operator Info - Discuss!
« on: March 14, 2017, 2258 UTC »
I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread for details of 22 m HiFer operators to share details, operating modes and schedules, and also their monitoring habits.

So to start of off, I run beacon PVC on 13,558.4 kHz from Northern California. Transmitter is a converted and attenuated QRP transmitter kit operated by a memory keyer sending at 5 WPM. The antenna is a sloping dipole with the centre about 20 ft above the house roof with the "legs" sloping downward, oriented approximately NorthWest-SouthEast.

For monitoring, I have a separate dipole at a quieter location in the garden. The beacon is de-activated whilst listening.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Weekend Listening 11&12 March 2017
« on: March 14, 2017, 2247 UTC »
From my QTH in Northern California, I spent time monitoring the 22 m band Typically ~18:00 UTC each day.

Logged using Spectrum Lab on the pc, connected to the receiver's audio line output, I detected NC (13,555.6~), USC (13,555.5) and MTI (13,557,530). in the  The former two use narrow FSK modes, all three operate at QRSS speeds.
During a later 12 March session (23:00Z) NC was audible as well as a strng trace via spectrum lab.

Conditions did not favour the commonly heard AZ, AA0RQ or GNK this time around.


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