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Author Topic: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW  (Read 3620 times)

Offline Looking-Glass

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Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« on: March 17, 2019, 1738 UTC »
Does any one chase/log/look for the many, mostly or assumed Asian, drift net fishing beacons on 1.7 to 2.6MHz CW which transmit usually on a four minute key off cycle?

They come into Eastern Australia very well in the hours of darkness and there are literally hundreds of them. 

Scattered around the vast Pacific Ocean bobbing around sending their low powered (10-25w) call sign every four or so minutes three times I have been logging quite a few.

Does any one else share this interest and if so what do you hear and when?

Are they exclusive to the Pacific or are they also being heard in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions too?
Trundle, NSW.

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Offline Boriken

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2019, 2047 UTC »
I've been chasing them for years, ~125 in the log. Mostly around daybreak here on the east coast. Only logged a few new ones this winter, work schedule keeps getting in the way. Using a TS-520SE & 40m dipole so finding them is kind of like playing "whack-a-mole". Never tried to DF any so not sure where they come from.
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Offline Strange Beacons

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 0101 UTC »
Does any one chase/log/look for the many, mostly or assumed Asian, drift net fishing beacons on 1.7 to 2.6MHz CW which transmit usually on a four minute key off cycle?

They come into Eastern Australia very well in the hours of darkness and there are literally hundreds of them. 

Scattered around the vast Pacific Ocean bobbing around sending their low powered (10-25w) call sign every four or so minutes three times I have been logging quite a few.

Does any one else share this interest and if so what do you hear and when?

Are they exclusive to the Pacific or are they also being heard in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions too?

I'm definitely interested, but so far, I've never been able to copy one of these signals. Can you recommend any frequencies and times to listen? I live in Seattle, WA and figure that I should be able to pick up something from here.  :D

Offline Looking-Glass

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 0854 UTC »
Strange Beacons:

These beacons were logged here on Australian east coast the last two nights/mornings (just a sample as log actually much larger):

1.717MHz  PA2  1646z                               2.206MHz  ZW6  1206z
1.747MHz  PO5  1300z                               2.226MHz  CA6  1418z
1.759MHz  RO3  1303z                               2.265MHz  AN6  1450z
1.759MHz  QG3  1259z                               2.265MHz  BP8  1500z
1.789MHz  PO9  1258z                               2.281MHz  BR1  1021z
                                                                2.595MHz  KQ0  1452z
1.801MHz  OA9  1302z                               2.595MHz  EM1  1550z
1.842MHz  OB3  1156z                               2.635MHz  UL9  1508z

2.042MHz  MJ0  1604z
2.059MHz  DA8  1710z
2.102MHz  CR2  1611z
2.122MHz  DO63 1414z
2.123MHz  DB37 1415z
2.151MHz  CQ9  1104z

On rare occasions you can get two beacons on the same frequency as I did last night with 2.595KHz with KQ0 and EM1, the other morning I had one beacon starting within five seconds of the other keying off.

When propagation is good you can easily log up to 30 beacons or more in one sitting up and down the band between 1.710MHz and 2.700MHz, I tend to use the CW mode for reception with both the ICOM and Yaesu radio gear I run here.

Propagation can be very narrow too, sometimes they are easily heard in the 2MHz band whilst the 1.710MHz sector is a lot lighter in copy.

Best times to listen are the hours of darkness.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 0856 UTC by Looking-Glass »
Trundle, NSW.

Grid Square:  QF37ub

Yaesu FT-1000D, Yaesu FT-2000D, ICOM IC-736 HF/50MHz, ICOM IC R75 & Tecsun S-2000 to 450 feet of wire, 27MHz 1/2 wave CB antenna converted to 21MHz & a multi band vertical of dubious reliability.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 0957 UTC »
I've logged drift net beacons from time to time. You can find logs of them here on the HFU by myself and others, but they could be scattered around a few of the boards.
Chris Smolinski
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Offline Strange Beacons

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 1421 UTC »
Strange Beacons:

(Snipped out and saved big list of frequencies)

Best times to listen are the hours of darkness.

Excellent, thank you. I don't know if the same amount of activity will be true for my area of the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, WA USA. But this will give me some idea of the frequency ranges.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2019, 1445 UTC »
I ran across two this morning around 2110 kHz while checking for the A beacon on 2097 kHz. One was continuously transmitting, rather than the usual pattern of a few IDs and then silent for several minutes.
Chris Smolinski
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Offline R4002

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2019, 1450 UTC »
Does any one chase/log/look for the many, mostly or assumed Asian, drift net fishing beacons on 1.7 to 2.6MHz CW which transmit usually on a four minute key off cycle?

They come into Eastern Australia very well in the hours of darkness and there are literally hundreds of them. 

Scattered around the vast Pacific Ocean bobbing around sending their low powered (10-25w) call sign every four or so minutes three times I have been logging quite a few.

Does any one else share this interest and if so what do you hear and when?

Are they exclusive to the Pacific or are they also being heard in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions too?

I know they're used in the Atlantic Ocean...as mentioned, the logs could be spread across the board.  Some versions of the radiobuoys/fishnet radio beacons also use the 26 to 30 MHz band instead of 1.8 to 4 MHz (I believe the allocation in ITU Region 2 is 1.6 to 4 MHz).  The 26 MHz region seems to be the most popular part although in previous sunspot peaks they've been heard in the 11 meter CB band, above CB channel 40 and in various parts of 10 meters.  I remember seeing a video on YouTube of a CBer in New Zealand who had come across a driftnet beacon transmitting on one of the 26 MHz New Zealand CB frequencies (26.450 MHz / 26450 kHz IIRC), probably of Asiatic origin. 

I do think the majority used operate in the 1.6 to 4 MHz region and the higher-frequency ones are less common. 

See also:

https://www.qsl.net/n2sln/driftnetbeacons.html
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 1458 UTC by R4002 »
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Offline IZS4

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2019, 1808 UTC »
This seems very interesting. Is there a way to figure out the geographic location of the beacon based on the CW information sent from the beacon? (Rough location anyway) Also any direction towards a frequency list would be great. I'll look around the boards a little now. Thanks
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Offline Josh

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2019, 1841 UTC »
This seems very interesting. Is there a way to figure out the geographic location of the beacon based on the CW information sent from the beacon? (Rough location anyway) Also any direction towards a frequency list would be great. I'll look around the boards a little now. Thanks

https://www.rtl-sdr.com/kiwisdr-tdoa-direction-finding-now-freely-available-for-public-use/
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2019, 0957 UTC »
Checking this morning, the beacon I heard the other morning is back, IC1 on 2115, continuously transmitting the ID and a dash. A very good signal at 0956 UTC.

And of course reliable A on 2097.3, the pirate beacon.

And now JC3 on 2075 at 1005 UTC.

An HFU Wiki page on these beacons was created some time ago, it could be updated and used to keep track of which beacons folks are hearing: https://www.hfunderground.com/wiki/index.php/Fishnet_beacon
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 1006 UTC by ChrisSmolinski »
Chris Smolinski
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Offline Looking-Glass

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2019, 0504 UTC »
Chris: Yes, I picked up on some other pages relating to this topic, would be nice to have a stand alone where everyone can sing from the same hymn page.  Also I came across two beacons last week transmitting continuous also, maybe they are in "homing programme" so the mother ship can obtain a continual signal fix for tracking purposes?

Noted your logging of JC3 on 2.075MHz and IC1 on 2.115 around the 1000z mark, will see if I can log them here, be interesting to see if they can be heard on both sides of the Pacific.

These beacons are in the Pacific somewhere as I have heard huge 30 to 40dB over signals from ZL amateurs on 160m and east coast northern VK same and the beacon reception has been great at that time.  Also I try and compare New Zealand NDB signals with the drift net beacons to try and work out a rough path.

Strange Beacons:  You have to remember that these beacons are not continuous transmission and have a roughly four minute key off period before a re-transmission of the call sign three times then key off for about four minutes.

Had 1.817MHz last night with a fault, it used to transmit "4QVZ" back on 25th Feb 2019, in the first week of March it was "TMT" and last night it was "EIE" with a wobbly carrier and uneven sending.  This probably suggests it has a battery fault/low battery or transmitter problem, also it had reverted to a 90 second key off.
Trundle, NSW.

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Yaesu FT-1000D, Yaesu FT-2000D, ICOM IC-736 HF/50MHz, ICOM IC R75 & Tecsun S-2000 to 450 feet of wire, 27MHz 1/2 wave CB antenna converted to 21MHz & a multi band vertical of dubious reliability.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2019, 0936 UTC »
Quote
Yes, I picked up on some other pages relating to this topic, would be nice to have a stand alone where everyone can sing from the same hymn page.

Would you prefer a separate board for these?  We already have HF beacons (originally meant to be the "pirate" beacons but ham and other beacons end up here as well) and the 22 meter beacon board. We could create one for the drift net / fishing beacons, and make all three of these sub boards of beacons category.  Posts / threads can be moved, so as we find existing drift net beacon posts they can be re-located to the new board.

At 0935z I have the 2115 beacon again with a good signal, noticed while checking for A on 2097.3 kHz. Perhaps I can TDoA 2115 since it is constantly on?

Hmm, I cannot find it on any KiwiSDRs. I found another one on 2115 on a Hawaii KiwiSDR but it is sending SN5 - so another beacon. Perhaps this is from the Atlantic?

Ok, I found it on another MD KiwiSDR, also one in PA and one in VA. Too weak to use TDoA, but I suspect it is off the Mid Atlantic coast.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 0953 UTC by ChrisSmolinski »
Chris Smolinski
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Offline Josh

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2019, 1719 UTC »
I've heard these creatures also thrive in the 160m band, irritating HAMs.
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Drift Net beacons 1.710 to 2.700MHz CW
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2019, 1804 UTC »
I've heard these creatures also thrive in the 160m band, irritating HAMs.

They were indeed a huge problem, I think many of them have moved out of the 160m band, although there could still be stragglers.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
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netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree