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Author Topic: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons  (Read 2706 times)

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2018, 2101 UTC »
A slightly tipsy dasher beacon?
Could this be another mode of the "ZN" Morse Beacon, which has been caught lately drifting around this frequency with irregular Morse characters and timing?

When first copying it yesterday, it seemed like some kind of erratic RFI interference, but that has been ruled out.
It seems like a wild beacon with strange timing characteristics.

So, here's today's report on it.
Listen to the audio and see if it reminds one of a drunken CW operator :)

Report
2009 UTC 09SEP2018
4114.42 kHz dasher, 1 second dash, 0.5 ~ 1 Second dash length, 0.5 ~ 1.6 second space length, irregular timing, weak readable, fading

2120 UTC 09SEP2018
4111.2 kHz dasher, 1 second dash, 0.5 ~ 1 Second dash length, 0.5 ~ 1.6 second space length, irregular timing, weak readable, fading
Note: This dasher or a similar one , was reported on this frequency by ChrisSmolinski in January 2017.

PLAY AUDIO 4114.42 kHz dasher 2009UTC 09SEP2018

Below: Waterfall image of the 4114.42 kHz dasher 09SEP2018



Below: Waterfall image of the 4114.42 kHz dasher near the "Windy" Morse telemetry beacon for comparison 09SEP2018

« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 2225 UTC by Exo »
Exo
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kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2018, 0012 UTC »
Some wild beacons tend to vary in frequency.
Some dasher beacons tend to vary in dash length and repetition rate cycle.
For the wild beacons, this is most likely due to variations in battery voltage with solar cell charging and/or ambient temperature affecting the components.

This report captures some of the characteristics of 3 well-known dasher beacons around 4096 kHz.
The report was generated for a reception during the local afternoon, with very sunny weather conditions and moderately warm temperature throughout the Western USA desert region (where these beacons are believed to exist in the wild) .

Report
2332UTC 10SEP2018
4095.85 kHz, dasher, "Viking", dash 4 sec, 6.8 sec repetition, good readable
4095.96 kHz, dasher, "Coxie", dash 5.8 sec, 10.5 sec repetition rate, chirp signature, good readable
4096.37 kHz, dasher, "Haystack", dash 2.3 sec, 5.4 sec repetition rate, good readable

When tuned to 4095.5 kHz USB, the trio of beacons seem to play an audible musical melody of flute-like notes :)

PLAY AUDIO 4096 kHz symphony of three dashers 2332UTC 10SEP2018


Below: Waterfall image of 4096 kHz 3 dashers 2332UTC 10SEP2018 Viking, Coxie, Haystack.


« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 0123 UTC by Exo »
Exo
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kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2018, 0035 UTC »
Report: A look at the timing cycle of the 4102 kHz "Windy" Morse telemetry beacon

2323UTC 11SEP2018
4102.8 kHz "Windy" Morse telemetry beacon, good readable, downward chirp

PLAY AUDIO Windy Morse telemetry beacon 2323UTC 11SEP2018

Below: Audio waveform image of Windy Morse telemetry beacon, timing measurements, telemetry decode.

Exo
HF aficionado. On the coast of northern California.
Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Strange Beacons

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2018, 0328 UTC »
Report: A look at the timing cycle of the 4102 kHz "Windy" Morse telemetry beacon

Outstanding report and great graphic on this unusual beacon. I tuned in tonight and heard a pretty clear copy of it, using Token's Web SDR.

Question: Who can tell me what kind of kit may be available to build a beacon like this? Or is it all done by scratch?

Curt / W9SPY
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 0348 UTC by Strange Beacons »

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2018, 1018 UTC »
A great illustration, thanks. Maybe you could add it to the HFU Wiki? https://www.hfunderground.com/wiki/Main_Page

p.s. a nice signal from Windy around 1113z. 76F and 12.6V I think.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 1414 UTC by ChrisSmolinski »
Chris Smolinski
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Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2018, 2310 UTC »
A great illustration, thanks. Maybe you could add it to the HFU Wiki?

Added description and the image of Windy telemetry to the HFU Wiki, in a new section "Telemetry Pirate Beacon" of the High Frequency Beacon wiki page.
Exo
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Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2018, 2143 UTC »
Report highlight: 4114.4 kHz Mystery Irregular Dasher Beacon

Report
2050UTC 13SEP2018
4095.92 kHz dasher, "Viking", weak readable
4096.09 kHz dasher, "Coxie", very weak readable
4096.38 kHz dasher, "Haystack", weak readable
4102.83 kHz Morse telemetry, "Windy", good readable
4114.44 kHz dasher, irregular timing, average 21 dashes per minute, tipsy, good readable

4114.44 kHz irregular dasher beacon was much stronger today, out of about a week of copying it, receiving it only around mid-day, it seems to be in the western USA.

PLAY AUDIO 4114.44 kHz irregular dasher beacon 2050UTC 13SEP2018

Below: waterfall image of the 4114.44 kHz irregular dasher beacon seen at 2050 UTC on 13SEP2018.



Below: waterfall image of 5 of the 4 MHz beacons simultaneously seen at 2050 UTC on 13SEP2018.


« Last Edit: September 13, 2018, 2233 UTC by Exo »
Exo
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Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2018, 0115 UTC »
Report:
6 CW beacons simultaneously copied around 4.1 MHz

0050UTC 15SEP 2018
(1.5 hours before local sunset in California)

4095.70 kHz dasher, "Viking", weak readable
4095.81 kHz dasher, "Coxie", chirp signature, weak readable
4096.37 kHz dasher, "Haystack", good readable
4096.87 kHz ditter, "MarinDit", 1.1 dits per second, very weak, barely readable, fading
4102.82 kHz "W", "Windy", Morse telemetry, good readable, W with wind velocity dits, TMP100, B131 (Temperature 100F, Battery 13.1V)
4104.34 kHz "ZN", weak readable, erratic Morse characters run together, then at 0105 UTC good characters just before it shifted to 4104.13 kHz, good readable

Report
0405UTC 15SEP 2018
(after local sunset in California)

4096.36 kHz dasher, "Haystack", weak readable
4100.02 kHz "H", Morse, weak readable
4102.81 kHz "W", "Windy", Morse telemetry, good readable, W with wind velocity dits, TMP86, B128 (Temperature 86F, Battery 12.8V)
 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 0411 UTC by Exo »
Exo
HF aficionado. On the coast of northern California.
Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2018, 0653 UTC »
0745 UTC 18SEP2018
Report
4100.05 kHz "H", weak,  Morse beacon, weak readable, 3 second repetition
4102.82 kHz "Windy", Morse telemetry beacon, good readable, chirpy, Wind:variable, TMP:83F, B:12.7V
4103.97 kHz "ZN", Morse beacon, weak, weak readable, stable

Around midnight local time in California.
Exo
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Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2018, 2046 UTC »
A slightly tipsy dasher beacon?  When first copying it yesterday, it seemed like some kind of erratic RFI interference, but that has been ruled out. It seems like a wild beacon with strange timing characteristics. 
Report
2009 UTC 09SEP2018
4114.42 kHz dasher, 1 second dash, 0.5 ~ 1 Second dash length, 0.5 ~ 1.6 second space length, irregular timing, weak readable, fading
2120 UTC 09SEP2018
4111.2 kHz dasher, 1 second dash, 0.5 ~ 1 Second dash length, 0.5 ~ 1.6 second space length, irregular timing, weak readable, fading 

Report 2030UTC 19SEP2018
4114.42 kHz dasher and 4111.2 kHz dasher ,

After looking and listening more closely today at the pattern of these 2 signals previously reported:
  • It now appears that these are actually very slow symbol rate communication signals.
  • These signals do not appear to have the characteristics of beacons.
  • No need to speculate further, so, discontinuing to report on them as beacons.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 1751 UTC by Exo »
Exo
HF aficionado. On the coast of northern California.
Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2018, 0613 UTC »
Report
0550UTC 05OCT2018
(local night in California)

4096.37 kHz dasher, "Haystack", weak readable, heavy lightning static
4100.05 kHz "H", Morse, weak readable, heavy lightning static
4102.84 kHz "W", "Windy", Morse telemetry, good readable, W with wind velocity rapid dits, TMP68, B126 (Temperature 68F, Battery 12.6V)

In the gap between beacons H and W, copying some marine band traffic (this is in the maritime 4MHz band)
4100.0 USB peskies, voice, S. Korean language (KO), ship-to-ship, Pacific, good readable
4101.4 CW peskies, Morse, ship-to-ship, same Korean ops using voice USB on 4100 USB, callsigns: HL[...], good readable
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 0619 UTC by Exo »
Exo
HF aficionado. On the coast of northern California.
Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.

Offline MojaveBeaconeer

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2018, 2051 UTC »
Exo,

ABSOLUTLY FABULOUS reporting and waterfalls!  The stable 24/7 bcn. is HAYSTACK on 4096.37 or so (xtal/temp drift) and with only about 150 mW output to an inverted-vee - the center is atop a big rock-pile. COXIE is a strong 1-watt output drifting day-timer hovering around 4096.0 but variable  +/- 150 Hz.

VIKING is on 4095.87 and is weak and drifty by a tad halfway between the Owens Valley and the Panamint Valley, and sometimes mid-day develops a weird trill in the noon Sun. 

COXIE is about 1 watt but long ago lost its battery so it runs day only and so varies a lot (cloud passages are neat to see).

The other ner 4 MHz stuff I do not know about... except a friend and I long ago in 2001 DFed Windy...

BTW if you do hear a weak signal ditting on 4096.85 or so it is the faint 5 mW fundamental of "MarinDit" hrd only 3x in the Moj desrt...  MB

Offline MojaveBeaconeer

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2018, 2057 UTC »
Yes COXIE in Joshua tree NP does have a funky chirp also, variable 4095.8 to 4096.15 (it has quite a freq.range!). 

Long ago, about 2006, its battery gave out and so it goes on day by day just by day and is about 1 watt to a tuned LC output to a straight dipole in a canyon with its best signal northward by far...

fab reports Exo! MB

Offline MojaveBeaconeer

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2018, 2104 UTC »

"When tuned to 4095.5 kHz USB, the trio of beacons seem to play an audible musical melody of flute-like notes :) "

hee hee,  that was the original idea long ago when the 4096 project began in '97... MB

Offline Exo

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Re: 4 MHz Western USA Beacons
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2018, 0920 UTC »
Exo,

ABSOLUTLY FABULOUS reporting and waterfalls!  The stable 24/7 bcn. is HAYSTACK on 4096.37 or so (xtal/temp drift) and with only about 150 mW output to an inverted-vee - the center is atop a big rock-pile. COXIE is a strong 1-watt output drifting day-timer hovering around 4096.0 but variable  +/- 150 Hz.

VIKING is on 4095.87 and is weak and drifty by a tad halfway between the Owens Valley and the Panamint Valley, and sometimes mid-day develops a weird trill in the noon Sun. 

COXIE is about 1 watt but long ago lost its battery so it runs day only and so varies a lot (cloud passages are neat to see).

The other ner 4 MHz stuff I do not know about... except a friend and I long ago in 2001 DFed Windy...

BTW if you do hear a weak signal ditting on 4096.85 or so it is the faint 5 mW fundamental of "MarinDit" hrd only 3x in the Moj desrt...  MB

Thanks, @MB, for all the great details on these wild beacons in the Mojave!
They seem to have quite a fascinating backstory.
The Mojave is a harsh place for solar powered electronics in the wild.
The extremes of temperature, weather, and sunlight have broken down many remote sites.
It is really amazing that these wild beacons keep on ticking :)
 
Exo
HF aficionado. On the coast of northern California.
Various receivers, transceivers, and broadband antennas.
kiwiSDR receiver on private LAN for multi-freq HF monitoring.