Tuesday, April 13, 2021

144 MHz beacon on the US Virgin Islands to investigate 6000km TEP path to South America

The 2m NP2X beacon is now operational from St.Croix in the US Virgin Islands and its primary purpose is to investigate the TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) path to South America.

The beacon is on 144.291 MHz and sends its ID in CW. It runs 100-watts into a 15-element Yagi antenna. The beam heading is 170 degrees as the primary target area is Uruguay (CX), the south of Brazil (PY) and Argentina (LU).

The beam width of a 15-element is about 30 degrees i.e. +/-15 deg. The map above shows the direction for the main beam heading as well as the -3dB points. The photo below shows the antenna and the sea path to the coast of South America.

Location: St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Elevation: 91 metres above sea level
Transceiver: Kenwood TR-751A
Amplifier: RF Concepts 160 watt, reduced to 100 watts for beacon operation
Antenna: 15 element Yagi @ beam heading (QTH) of 170 degrees (Uruguay)
Frequency: 144.291 MHz
Grid / Locator: FK77pr

This 144 MHz beacon is well placed to investigate the 6000km TEP path to Uruguay and Argentina considering its power, antenna and location. It's likely that the possible paths at 144 MHz will be perpendicular to the Geomagnetic Equator (Uruguay & Buenos Aires) and the paths at say the -3dB points of the beam width are less likely on 2m.

It's really important that stations in South America monitor the SSB and CW part of the 2m band for possible openings. If everyone sits on the FT8 frequency then many TEP openings may go unreported as digital signals like FT8 are often distorted by TEP.

If you are in South America and you do hear the beacon, please report it on the DX Cluster.

Thanks to Fred, NP2X for the above information.


Additional report from Colossi, PY3DU in Brazil.... "My 144 MHz TEP VHF in October 2011, with NP2X, happened exactly after my old friend @Rafael_Haag , PY3FF,listened to NP2X/B and warned me over the phone, to be listening to USA in two meters. I was having dinner, which I didn't finish.. KKKK..., there were several days of openings."

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