10 Meter Beacon from Central California
NOTE 1: The KO6BB/B 10M beacon went QRT (off the air) on 30 August 2007. Due to the close proximity of all my HF antennas to each other, it desensed my HF receivers and could be heard "chuffing" on all bands, 40M through 10M. This page is left intact for historical purposes.
NOTE 2: As of 1 March 2009, steps are being taken to resurrect the beacon. A new radio (Ranger RCI-2950) has been obtained and only a replacement keyer yet remains to be purchased. Plans call to put it on the air by early spring, 2009. . .ALL BEACON SPECIFICS:
The KO6BB/B 10 Meter beacon was officially activated on 9 March 2007 from the home QTH of "Phil", KO6BB. The original intent was that it would be a "Near Zero Cost" project, and as it first went on the air that was true.
The original transmitter was homebrewed (built) from the remains of an old JC Penny 40 Channel CB transceiver and was able to run 7 Watts on several different frequencies in the Amateur Radio 10 Meter band. 28.248 MHz was chosen as being in the center of the Beacon sub-band, which falls in the 28.200 to 28.300 MHz part of the band.
The original antenna was an old Ringo CB antenna that had been salvaged in damaged condition from the estate of a local CBer. It was cut down to use as a Quarter Wave groundplane antenna.
The CW Keyer was/is an old NEC Pentium laptop computer that doesn't have enough 'horsepower' to run any modern programs. It boots to DOS from a floppy disk and automatically loads the keyer program and message.
The entire beacon station operates from the main KO6BB 12 Volt station battery, which is kept on charge 24/7 by an Astron VS-50M power supply. In the event of a power failure it will maintain operation for many hours before the battery bank goes dead.
In it's original configuration it was truly a "Zero Cost" project, and was heard from as far away as New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Alabama etc. Not too bad for 7 Watts at the Low of the 11 year Sunspot Cycle!
BEACON UPGRADED 20 May 2007:
At a local Ham fest I was able to purchase a good condition Uniden HR-2600 10 Meter transceiver for an almost unheard of price. It was so cheap I couldn't pass it up. To reduce heat, I reduced it's CW output from 25 Watts to 20 Watts and added a small cooling fan. A week or so later I picked up a nearly new Solarcon A-99 1/2 Wave Vertical antenna with the add-on radial kit, also at a very low price. The antenna was mounted about 9 feet above my mobile home roof.
While no longer a Zero Cost Project, the overall cost was still very low, and the new equipment may also be used for regular Hamming if I so wish. The antenna may be switched over to the main ham station by the coax switch and the Uniden may be used to work SSB, 10 Meter FM repeaters etc. Normally, the beacon runs 24/7, only being turned off when I wish to operate on 10 meters or listen for LF beacons. It's close proximity overloads my main transceiver on those bands as well as overloading the active whips used for LF beacons).
Beacon operation with the new equipment is greatly improved over the old. Keying is cleaner, with the higher power I'm receiving frequent and consistent reception reports from Alabama, Washington State, Oregon, Utah, Arizona as well as less frequent ones from other stations on the East Coast, Puerto Rico etc. Ground wave reports from hams up to roughly 50 miles away indicates good ground wave coverage.
Transmitter: Uniden HR-2600, 20 Watts CW.
Frequency: 28.2481 MHz.
Antenna: Solarcon A-99, 19 feet above ground, fed with 25 feet of RG-213 coax.
Location: Maidenhead Grid Square CM97sh, Merced, Central California.
Keyer: Still The old NEC laptop computer running DOS and Lyle Koelor's beacon keyer program. Beacon is keyed at two different CW speeds for the experienced and inexperienced CW operator.
Here is the HF-2600 and laptop that comprises the beacon. Note the 24 Volt fan operating on 12 Volts. It runs cool and quiet.
Here is a picture of part of the KO6BB antenna farm, the various wire antennas don't show up well. Left to right they are, Mast supporting the 40-10M fan dipole and amplified LF whip, Base of the Butternut HF-2V 80/40M vertical, mast suppporting the 15 & 10M Inverted Vees and North end of the fan dipole. Far right antenna is the A-99 that is used for the KO6BB/B 10M beacon.