Digital Beacons Seen Using WSJT-X at IO83NI

Perhaps like me you are not so keen on endless QSOs. Or perhaps you want to try some of the modes contained within WSJT-X without breaking cover just yet. Or perhaps you are just curious. Well some kind souls run beacons with digital signals you can, if propagation permits, watch on screen. Here are some of those I have seen. I will add others when/if they appear at my QTH. One thing about beacons, once you have spotted them at least, that on days when you cannot hear them still you learn something ;)


If you click the link above you can see how to receive this JT65B beacon. Except you might not actually find it works. Let me explain. This is a 2m beacon. That means your radio needs to be accurately calibrated. There are ways and means to check this which I may get onto one day. Assuming you have an accurate radio set it up as per instructions for frequency and then load up your WSJT-X software. When first I did this I managed to select JT65 easily enough, but this did not decode the beacon. I was stumped. There was no JT65B selectable from the Mode menu. After a day (oh yes!) of fiddling about I discovered the submode menu just above 'sync'.

[Note: in later versions of WSJT-X you must have enabled 'VHF/UHF/Microwave features' in Settings-->General tab to have this option]

When mode B was selected all became clear... well almost. I then set the F Tol to 1000 to give the best chance of having the beacon within my receiver's window. My PC had no problem with this setting. I have heard of issues with processing power, in which case you might have to reduce this value.

Here is the beacon. I was very pleased to see it. Also it made me wonder... why don't more amateurs use this (SUB) mode and why does it not upload to PSKReporter? How nice it would be to have this upload to Wspr-Net! If you use MSHV and right click on the text you can upload the spot to cluster: here.


As above GB3UHF uses JT65B. So you can follow the same reasoning employed for GB3VHF. Of course there is the possibility of greater frequency error at UHF. But with a little patience you might be rewarded as was I. I would guess this beacon, on this frequency, is at about the limit for my loft mounted 15 element antenna. I did acquire a very neat LNA and inserted it right at the feed point of the antenna. It really helped, 10db or better - possibly as it compensated for losses in 10m of cheap coax at 432mhz. Great price and with RF switching (QRP I suspect) - oh and lest I am accused: I have no connection with this company beyond gratitude. It really helped as the antenna gain is much reduced by roof tiles etc.Spots on cluster: here.

Update Here!


'GB3ORK was repaired and upgraded in July-2017 and now adds JT9A to its transmission' RSGB Website

This one is a little different in that it employs JT9 as part of a sequence of 'events'. The JT9 beacon deploys every 15 minutes (03,18,33,48). Also it is a HF beacon utilising the 60m band. This is generally always audible here in Liverpool, located as it is in The Orkney Isles I believe. No problems with frequency accuracy on HF. But you have to wait...


Another JT65B beacon. This one across the Irish Sea. Cluster spots here - right click on the text in MSHV to upload