Saturday, September 22, 2007

W4JE Prop Beacon OTA for Shakedown

Courtesy of Andy Clegg and the Scan-DC newsgroup:

After a hiatus, my 10 meter amateur radio propagation beacon is getting back on the air, just in time for the beginning of the new solar cycle (Cycle 24). It is running now and through the weekend for a shakedown cruise, in which I will do some tests and track down and attempt to reconcile any RFI or equipment problems.

The beacon antenna is located on the roof of a high rise building (21 stories) in the Ballston section of Arlington, grid square FM18kv. It is a 3 dB gain (theoretical) quarter-wave vertical antenna, fed by a RadioShack HTX-100 10-meter radio operating with 25 W output. However, there is about 100 ft of RG-8 type coax in between, so the power into the antenna is significantly less than 25 W (this is one of the parameters I will be measuring).

Take a listen in CW (or SSB) mode on 28.210 MHz. Initial reception reports are welcome (w4jecom @! Reports of non-reception are also welcome. If your radio doesn't do CW or SSB mode, listen in AM or FM mode for the CW carrier going on and off.

I plan to do a lot more beacon development, including possibly adding a simultaneous 2m beacon at the same location, and adding a dedicated web site for information, reception reports, statistics, and maps of confirmed reports. I hope to keep this going throughout the entire Cycle 24.