de A A 2 A EThe NCDXF HF- Beacon Network



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The HF Beacon project initiated by the Northern California DX foundation, along with the IARU has developed one of the most extensive HF beacon networks available to the radio amateur. Strategically located in 18 different countries, each beacon in the network transmits in an accurately timed sequence one after the other in 10 second intervals. To keep each beacon transmitting on time, GPS receivers are linked to hardware controllers designed specifically for the NCDXF network. All 18 beacons use Kenood TS50 transceivers and a 5 band CushCraft R5 vertical.

Each beacon transmits its CW I.D followed by four one-second dashes. The callsign and the first dash are sent at 100 watts. The remaining dashes are sent at 10 watts, 1 watt and 0.1 watts. The screenshot above graphically illustrates these power steps during an actual recording of the New Zealand beacon ZL6B.

Recorded at my QTH using the Digital "Paint" recording software CoolEdit , you can see the 10db drop in each dash as the line fades and thins into the noise. Despite the 9,000 mile path from New Zealand to New York, conditions were such that the 100mw level was heard ( 4th dash ) that day. As you can see, the CoolEdit software presents each Morse element of the callsign, an added benefit for those who have difficulty with CW.


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73, Tony