Thursday, December 16, 2010

Amateur Radio Beacons

I was talking to some friends today about beacons and the MFJ-890 DX Beacon Monitor.
I know of three Amateurs that have the MFJ-890. They all say it is a great conversation piece and also make the shack look cool.
My friend Bryce sent this e-mail to me.

The Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF)operates eighteen beacons on five continents which transmit in successive one-minute intervals on 14.100, 18.110, 21.150, 24.930 and 28.200 MHz.

The NCDXF beacon call sign and the first dash is sent at 100Watts. The remaining dashes are sent at 10Watts, 1 Watt and 0.1 Watts. Very handy info for QRPers!

Almost all ten meter beacons transmit between 28.190 MHz and 28.300 MHz. You will find a comprehensive list at this URL


Six meter beacons are mostly found between 50.0 MHz and 50.1 MHz, with a concentration between 50.06 MHz and 50.08 MHz.

One example is W4CLM/B transmitting 30 Watts continuously into a vertical on 50.065 MHz (+/-) from location EM74 (Atlanta, GA.).

FCC; Amendment of the Amateur Service Rules

New rules affecting vanity and club station call signs within the Amateur Radio Service were published in the Federal Register. These new rules will go into effect on February 14, 2011. Thirteen months ago, the FCC announced its intention of modifying Part 97 as it applies to the vanity call sign system and club station call signs, aligning the rules to prior Commission decisions. Last month, the Commission released a Report and Order (R&O), outlining its decision. Along with the changes to the call sign rules, the FCC made “certain minor, non-substantive amendments” to portions of Part 97. (ARRL - FCC)
Read the full report; click here

HIGH SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2009 (OT)

OK, this is not amateur radio related. I like to throw somethings off topic (OT) every once in a while.

HIGH SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2009
Scenario 1:
Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.

1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2009 - School goes into lockdown, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins.. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2009 - Police called and SWAT team arrives -- they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not sit still in class, he disrupts other students.

1957 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2009 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The school gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt..

1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2009 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2009 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.

1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2009 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.

1957 - Ants die.

2009 - ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents -- and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated.
Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:
Wally falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Nancy. Nancy hugs him to comfort him.

1957 - In a short time, Wally feels better and goes on playing.

2009 - Nancy is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison... Wally undergoes 5 years of therapy.

My Stamp Collecting Blog

Counter Added January 1, 2011

free counters


The A index [ LOW is GOOD ]

  • 1 to 6 is BEST
  • 7 to 9 is OK
  • 11 or more is BAD

Represents the overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Ap" if averaged from the Kp-Index) (an average of the eight 3-hour K-Indices) ('A' referring to amplitude) over a given 24 hour period, ranging (linearly) typically from 1-100 but theoretically up to 400.

A lower A-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Ap-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.

SFI index [ HIGH is GOOD ]

  • 70 NOT GOOD
  • 80 GOOD
  • 90 BETTER
  • 100+ BEST

The measure of total radio emissions from the sun at 10.7cm (2800 MHz), on a scale of 60 (no sunspots) to 300, generally corresponding to the sunspot level, but being too low in energy to cause ionization, not related to the ionization level of the Ionosphere.

Higher Solar Flux generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; Solar Flux rarely affects the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.

K index [ LOW is GOOD ]

  • 0 or 1 is BEST
  • 2 is OK
  • 3 or more is BAD
  • 5 is VERY VERY BAD

The overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Kp" if averaged over the planet) over the past 3 hours, measured by 13 magnetometers between 46 & 63 degrees of latitude, and ranging quasi-logarithmically from 0-9. Designed to detect solar particle radiation by its magnetic effect. A higher K-index generally means worse HF conditions.

A lower K-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Kp-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.

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