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Author Topic: Please post your log details for any West Coast US drift net beacons heard  (Read 2645 times)

Offline Strange Beacons

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Over the past week, I have been monitoring my SDR for drift net beacons, from around 1750 to 2500 kHz, mostly in the very early hours of the morning (before dawn, approximately 6:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time) and in the evening (after dark, from around 7:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time). I'm a pretty patient radio listener, but given the wide frequency range where these signals can be found, along with the fact that they seem to only transmit every four or five minutes at a go, it has been a time-consuming effort on my part.

So far, I've not seen/heard anything at all. My location is in Seattle, Washington USA and I'm using my own KiwiSDR with W6LVP mag loop. I generally can hear all signals in the lower frequency ranges quite well.

So, this begs the question here, has anyone else been able to locate and track any of these beacons on the west coast of the United States? I note that Token has posted a video of his catches, but most of the talk on these signals seem to be coming from either people on the east coast of the US, or from the coastal areas of Australia and Asia.

If anyone has picked up any of these signals from a US west coast location, please post frequencies, dates and times, as I'd like to start keeping a log of what others are catching near my location in order to improve my chances.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2019, 1845 UTC by Strange Beacons »

Offline Looking-Glass

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To cater for DX readership outside of the Americas please post your logs and requests in GMT/UTC date and time format, have no idea about converting US local time zones.

Regarding logging beacons, they have a four minute key off, during this period I look for other beacons and log them, if the call is not understood I note four minutes from key off and come back to it for another go.  Before you know it your list starts to build and you can tune back and forth between frequencies and make confirmed loggings.

I have an advantage of three receivers, one has dual receive so I can listen to two frequencies at same time on the one radio, so I can literally monitor three other frequencies whilst using another to tune for other beacons.  If your receiver has dual receive functions then you will find this of most benefit by utilising such.

Another aspect is loading up any vacant memory channels with outstanding beacons too, a lot quicker to flick between memory channels than free wheeling the VFO between large gaps of frequency.  I have 10 spare memory channels for this purpose.

No fancing computer assistance this way, or remote receivers, just a good antenna, some good receiving radios and an aging set of ears linked to a finger fatigued by constant winding of the VFO.

Be patient and the rewards will come. :) ;)


« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 1936 UTC by Looking-Glass »
Hermitage Flat, 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 Strange Beacons

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Wow, drift net beacons are definitely pricey pieces of equipment.

Offline Looking-Glass

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You need some patience and basic understanding of propagation on the low bands to benefit, I have logged around 130 different (unique calls) Drift Net Beacons in March alone. 

Waiting four minutes for another ident on one beacon is four minutes wasted as you can have a quick look around and come back to that one when it's due to key up, as I mentioned in last post you need to utilise your equipment to the maximum, use vacant memory channels or two receivers if you have them, your log will soon start to fill. 8)

Good luck and let me know how you are faring... ;)
Hermitage Flat, NSW.

Grid Square:  QF56dm.

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 Strange Beacons

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I've been monitoring in the evenings and early mornings before sunrise. So far, I've still not heard or seen anything. I've mainly been using my own KiwiSDR for this. It is pretty sensitive for the lower frequencies and I've copied known signals out of Russia from my Seattle, Washington QTH. But, I'm a patient person who feels that the hunt is 90% of the fun.

And yes, I'll certainly post any results here.

Offline Looking-Glass

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What equipment are you using?  You will need a decent antenna for Low Wave to have any chance of capturing Drift Net Beacons and not to mention a half decent CW receiver... ;)
Hermitage Flat, NSW.

Grid Square:  QF56dm.

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 Strange Beacons

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What equipment are you using?  You will need a decent antenna for Low Wave to have any chance of capturing Drift Net Beacons and not to mention a half decent CW receiver... ;)

I'm using my KiwiSDR with W6LVP magnetic loop antenna, or various other KiwiSDRs located around the planet. I also use my ICOM 7300 with Alpha Loop antenna. You'll note the use of only mag loops by me, as I live in a condominium that has zero tolerance/allowance for external antennas and those are the only types that seem to allow good sending and receiving in my indoor situation. But I have managed to do well with most signals, so far.

Offline R4002

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Wow, drift net beacons are definitely pricey pieces of equipment.

Indeed.

Quote
RDF Radio Buoys used by commercial fishermen around the world. Nobody in Australia stocks more or sells more Radio Beacons than Fishing International. The beacons transmit a unique radio signal at a specific  frequency to allow the mother vessel to use a radio direction finder to locate the gear and prevent "ghost" fishing or lost gear. Frequency range from 1600 kHertz to 2850 kHertz. Please specify your own required frequency range or choose from our wide selection. Sel Call and GPS beacons have a transmitter/receiver incorporated in each beacon that is "called" by the mother vessel. The beacon responds with its position and other details. Fishing International stocks more types of radio beacons than everyone else in Australia combined! All have Marine Grade 304 stainless steel foot. We also offer Ryokusei, Taiyo and Sea Star beacons and parts. We have battery canisters, solid batteries, antennae, aerials and rechargeable batteries and chargers for all radio beacons.

1600 kHz to 2850 kHz.  I know there's 1600 kHz to 4000 kHz versions on the market as well.
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline Looking-Glass

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Never logged any so far above 2.700MHz, have listened but nil so far.

They would be hard pressed to track a beacon near Australia between 1.600 to 1.710MHz as that is part of our Medium Wave band.  I can hear "Radio Faith" in Sydney on 1.701MHz plus 30dB over and I am around 160kms west of the city. There are additional stations in Melbourne and Brisbane also on that frequency.

I find the majority between 1.7 and 2.7MHz with around 134 unique calls logged in March in that allocation.
Hermitage Flat, NSW.

Grid Square:  QF56dm.

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 R4002

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Given that the 1600 kHz - 1710 kHz range is also part of the medium wave AM broadcasting band in the Americas I would be surprised if there's much use of that band off the Atlantic coast but I could be wrong.  The 1710 kHz to 1800 kHz range is often forgotten by DXers but is probably prime real estate for marine radiolocation services like fishnet buoy beacons. 
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline Looking-Glass

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From personal observations I seem to log a great deal more DNB's in the 2.0 to 2.7MHz sector than the 1.7 to 2.0MHz sector, sometimes I have logged two or three beacons on the same frequency during the course of a week in the latter sector.

The thing that irks me is not knowing where they actually are these DNB's. I try and compare signals and paths with the lower down NDB with little comparison as many of the NDB's are either 15 or 25 and 50w output this way.
Hermitage Flat, NSW.

Grid Square:  QF56dm.

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.