Sunday, September 5, 2021

Video: South African 144 MHz Next Generation Beacon Project

At the South African Radio League workshop in March of 2021, Brian ZS6YZ gave a presentation about the 144 MHz Next Generation Project. This involves moving away from the traditional CW only beacons and combining them instead with digital modes to investigate propagation on the 144 MHz band.

While the initial project seems primarily be for internal use in South Africa, ZS6YZ also raises the possibility of testing other very long distance paths as well.

In the past when only CW and SSB was used on the 2-metre band, beacons on CW would often appear first during a tropo opening. The beacon was then spotted on the cluster and stations were alerted about the opening.

Now, CW only beacons are of limited use with weak digital signals like FT8 making an appearance long before the CW signals can be heard. In todays world where computers can just sit and listen for signals 24 hours a day, a modern mixed mode beacon using CW and a digital mode like PI4 makes a lot more sense.

The video is just over 40 minutes long and it can be seen below...


Bo, OZ2M said...

The picture with the potential "FT8 Wide" DX paths was made by me for the presentation I gave in June 2020, prior to the release of Q65. Now in September 2021 I think Q65-15C might be worth a try.

Brian ZS6YZ said...

Bo, Is correct.

The SARL NGN Beacon uses the hardware developed by the OZ7IGY project team.

More information about the South African Beacon can be found here

and here

Two additional NGN beacons are being planned and we are now in the process of developing a reverse beacon monitoring system where we plan to deploy low cost monitoring receivers around the country that will provide automated reception reports that will be logged into a database and mapped.