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Messages - Dave Richards

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HF Beacons / Gendarme
« on: April 21, 2022, 0154 UTC »
I don't see a thread dedicated to Gendarme, though I do see fairly frequent loggings of it by Teotwaki in his log threads. That's why I'm posting this in it's own thread.

I'm currently slumming it in style with my cat Sprout in my campervan. A week or so ago, we were in Prescott National Forest, AZ, from where I logged the following on my Belka-DX receiver with set-top whip -

Gendarme on ~6627 at 2115z on 4/10/2022. Very weak, but copyable, due to low band noise.

HF Beacons / Re: The Desert Whooper
« on: April 21, 2022, 0132 UTC »
I'm on an extended campervan trip, to wherever my fancy takes me. I've been doing very little SW listening, but did catch Gendarme (which I will report elsewhere) and DW, on my little Belka-DX portable receiver, with the set top whip.

I'm in Coconino National Forest, a few miles north of Flagstaff, AZ, from where I logged DW, at 0010z on 4/21/2022. Weak sigs, but no QSB and perfectly copyable.

If I recall correctly, from another post in this forum, DW was intended more as a method of supplying reliable weather telemetry, than as a propagation beacon. If that is the case, it would seem to be a resounding success in that regard.

I miss the golden age of shortwave broadcasting, of which I was lucky enough to catch the tail end in the 70's and 80's. However, things change, time marches on, and the old fun is replaced with new types of fun. Besides, if everything stayed the same, life would be as dull as dishwater.

HF Beacons / Re: D is back
« on: December 04, 2021, 1804 UTC »
Coming in very weakly, yet clearly, on the KPH SDR at 1800z. It's good to hear such a beacon up in the 8MHz region.

HF Beacons / Re: 2097.3 kHz. "A" Beacon Returns...Again...
« on: December 04, 2021, 1731 UTC »
This is fantastic news! I'm planning a long campervan trip to the deserts of the SW in March/April of next year, and hope it will still be on the air then. Hoping to take in So Cal, Southern NV, AZ, and maybe other states, depending on time and inclination. The A beacon could be a solid friend during these travels.

HF Beacons / Re: Some Loggings From The Eastern Sierras
« on: November 13, 2021, 2141 UTC »
I used to live in San Rafael, BTW...


I knew you used to live in Marin, but can't remember if I knew it was San Rafael. I pass through there fairly regularly, on my way to San Anselmo when visiting family. In fact, I'm heading there this coming week. Will take a small receiver to listen for the Marin Ditter (on both fundamental and second harmonic). Will be sure to report it here if I do.

73 for now

HF Beacons / Re: Some Loggings From The Eastern Sierras
« on: November 07, 2021, 0732 UTC »
Thanks for providing the detailed logs! It sounds like a really successful adventure.

I think DW was not built to be a low power Ditter or Dasher pirate beacon but instead was required to provide solid telemetry from whatever area it is hidden at.

It was great fun Jim. Based on comments made by Desert Whooper, that would certainly seem to be the case (the solid telemetry).

I certainly never thought way back in 1988 what this would become, but I find it as fascinating as hamming but without the edicts and chit-chit.  Same kind of social situation here as on the ham bands, though... ;-0.

I have come around on many things, and I should say I appreciate all of Jim's input here - this is what keeps the torch running... 73MB

It is rare for me to find a conversation on the amateur bands which I find engaging. Beaconing allows one to experience the interesting aspects of radio propagation in it's purest form, without having to suffer the tedium of the average ham QSO. That's my take on it anyway ;D  I have gradually changed from being a teenager who could barely stop talking on 2M FM and 80M DSB, to a late middle-aged feller who rarely, if ever, gets on the air, much preferring to listen.

And yes +100 to your comments about Jim. The regular participation and contributions from folks like Jim and Chris in these forums, act to keep interest alive in this idiosyncratic and somewhat engaging facet of the radio hobby.

HF Beacons / Re: Some Loggings From The Eastern Sierras
« on: November 03, 2021, 1809 UTC »
Thanks for the info MB. That helps a lot!

HF Beacons / Re: Some Loggings From The Eastern Sierras
« on: November 03, 2021, 1603 UTC »
I wonder if a small loop antenna would be useful on DXing trips like this?

That's very possible. There was one time, in Independence, when I could really have used a good bandpass filter too. The Belka-DX has a BPF when in CW mode. Apparently, it has a 300Hz B/W, though I haven't measured it. I could use a tighter B/W for these types of listening sessions. The Desert Whooper was coming in much more strongly than the weak beacon I was trying to listen to on a nearby frequency, and effectively knocking it out. On a few of my listening sessions, DW was almost like the Woodpecker. Just when you find a signal you want to listen to, DW arrives and covers it up! Better bandpass filtering at my end would have helped a lot. A directional loop could help too.

HF Beacons / Some Loggings From The Eastern Sierras
« on: November 02, 2021, 1903 UTC »
I recently returned from a campervan trip in the Eastern Sierras in California. All following loggings were taken while standing outside with the set-top whip. Frequencies are approximate, though should be to within a few tens of Hz, due to the difficulty in zero-beating this receiver when in CW mode.

Desert Whooper on 4095.65. I almost didn't bother to include loggings for this beacon, as it was a given I was going to hear it. My only criticism of DW is that it is radiating so well, that it's not exactly that hard to hear. Not much of a challenge  ;D

Travertine Hot Springs - 10/20 0217z BAT 13.1 OTMP 65 ITMP 72 PV 0
                                    10/20 0226z BAT 13.0 OTMP 66 ITMP 71 PV 0
                                    10/20 0230z BAT 13.0 OTMP 64 ITMP 71 PV 0
All above loggings were an S unit or two above noise.

Mono Lake South Shore - 10/22 0025z BAT 13.2 OTMP 76 ITMP 82 PV 106 ~ 1 S unit above noise level.
                                     10/22 0030z BAT 13.1 OTMP 76 ITMP 82 PV 106 ~ 2 S units above noise level.
                                     10/22 0035z BAT 13.2 OTMP 77 ITMP 82 PV 68 ~ 2 S units above noise level.
                                     10/23 2156z BAT 13.7 OTMP 74 ITMP 84 PV 4 ~ 2 S units above noise level with QSB.
                                     10/23 2201z BAT 14.0 OTMP 73 ITMP 84 PV 4 ~ 2 S units above noise level with QSB.

Windy on 4102.85

Travertine Hot Springs - 10/20 0244z TMP 66 B 12.0 A few S units above the noise.
                                    10/20 1150z TMP 80 B 11.9 At noise level, with very slow QSB that occasionally brought it significantly above the noise level.

Mono Lake South Shore - 10/22 0020z TMP 81 B 11.7 A little above noise level with some QSB.

Madonna on 4097.23 Fast dasher

Travertine Hot Springs - 10/20 1120z At the noise level. Disappeared below it about 7 minutes later.
                                    10/25 2013z on 4097.21 (my best estimate) ~S1 but clear.

Undetermined Beacon(s)

Independence, CA - 10/23 2205z ~4095.95 slow dasher, about 3 seconds on and 3 seconds off. At 2225, it started coming in stronger.
                              At same time as above, a beacon on ~4095.86. Sounds like fairly long dashes. Very weak with QSB.
My guess is that the first beacon was Coxie, and the second one Buddha. It's possible my frequency measurement was off by a few tens of Hz.

Alabama Hills near Lone Pine - 10/25 2020z ~4095.85 ~3 or 4 second dashes, with ~ 2 seconds between each dash. Just above noise but clear. Am thinking this was Coxie.

I also logged the Part 15 beacon FJB from the Alabama Hills, and have reported it in the Part 15 forum.

For outings like these, I need a small and portable receiver, with accurate frequency readout, and a built-in spotting tone. As I see it, the only option is a KX2. I want something I can slip in my pocket and go on a walk with, but that also has the performance of a communications receiver. The Belka-DX is the closest I have been able to come to this so far, without incurring the cost of a KX2.


22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Re: FJB
« on: November 01, 2021, 0322 UTC »
Here are my loggings of FJB, all from the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA with a handheld Belka-DX receiver and the set-top whip.

10/25/2021 0045z 13563.47 KHz Deep QSB which took the signal from a very clear 2 or 3 S units in strength, to completely unreadable. It was magical to hear the signal rise so clearly out of the noise on a little handheld receiver and whip antenna. Pretty good for 588 miles as the crow flies, and a handful of milliwatts!

10/25/2021 2005z 13563.53 KHz An estimated S1, but low band noise, and very clear.

It's hard for me to zero beat on this receiver, so the above frequencies are my best estimates. I would like a small, portable receiver that can easily zero beat signals, as well as one which has a narrow bandpass filter, but I don't feel like shelling out for a KX2.

I was in DM16 (Keeler, CA to be precise) on Mon Oct 25th, hoping to catch a whiff of the groundwave from RR-dash. Didn't hear a thing, disappointingly.

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Re: FJB
« on: October 27, 2021, 0223 UTC »
I've heard FJB a couple of times in the last few days, very clearly, with a handheld Belka DX receiver with the set-top whip antenna, in the Eastern California desert.

According to this page, it is operated by Bill Hensel AA0RQ, from his QTH in Colorado. He also talks about it on his QRZ page, for those who have a log-in for QRZ.


I'll put in a more detailed report in about a week, when I return home from my trip, but it was a thrill to hear it. It was the first Part 15 beacon I have heard, apart from my own.

I tried talking her into making a QSL card, but all she's interested in is playing, eating treats, and sleeping (a lot)  ;D

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / "SPT" Campervan Beacon on 13557.89 KHz
« on: October 19, 2021, 2322 UTC »
I've had a little Part 15 beacon in my campervan for a while now. It's running a few mW to an untuned 12 foot length of wire in the fiberglass muffin top of the van. I don't think it gets out very well when parked at home in the city. However, in open flat terrain, I can easily hear the ground wave over a mile away. Have not yet tested the limits of the groundwave.

Am currently traveling south on US395, from the Nevada state line, in the direction of Lone Pine, and maybe even further south than that. My beacon is on all the time 24/7, except for any times I am SWL'ing.

It sends the letters SPT at 6wpm on 13557.89 KHz 10 or 20Hz, depending on ambient temperature. SPT stands for Sprout, my little cat, who is traveling with me. I don't imagine anyone will hear SPT, but you never know........

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