Friday, May 15, 2020

New home wanted for the GB3RAL suite of HF & VHF beacons

The RSGB have announced that the GB3RAL suite of HF and VHF beacons at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, England have been turned off due to developments on the site. 

They are now looking for a new home for the beacons somewhere in the UK. It is also hoped that the beacons will be upgraded so that they are all locked with a more modern GPS technology.

Interested parties or groups should contact the Propagation Studies Committee of the RSGB.

The GB3RAL beacon was originally intended to operate on six bands (60m, 10m, 8m, 6m, 5m and 4m) but most have been out of action for some time.

60m - The 60-metre beacon on  5.290 MHz was last spotted on the DX Cluster in December of 2016.

10m - The 10-metre beacon on 28.215 MHz was last spotted as recently as February of 2020 and it was last spotted consistently in July of 2019.

8m - The 8-metre beacon on 40.050 MHz was last spotted in June of 2014. Despite the beacon being listed on current beacon lists, it hasn't been on the air for the last six years.

6m - The 6-metre beacon on 50.050 MHz was last spotted in June 2018.

5m - There was supposed to have been a 5-metre beacon on 60.050 MHz but the DX Cluster has no record of it ever being spotted.

4m - The 4-metre beacon on 70.050 MHz was last spotted in July 2016.

The two beacons of particular interest to me are the ones for 40 MHz and 60 MHz. There are only two beacons in the world currently on air on the 40 MHz band which these are in Ireland and Denmark. On 60 MHz, there is just one beacon in Ireland. It would be great to see these 8m and 5m beacons up and running properly from the UK.

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