Saturday, February 26, 2022

New 40 MHz beacon in Washington State - Feb 2022

Halden Field, NR7V is one of the few US radio amateurs who managed to get a special experimental permit to operate on the 40 MHz band and was allocated the callsign WM2XCW back in the second half of 2021.

He has now announced that he has an experimental CW beacon is on the air on the 40 MHz band.

He writes..."The purposes of this beacon are:
1.  To enable detection of propagation openings on this band that would not be detected by reception of WSPR transmissions.
2.  To enable analytical measurements of such detected propagation, including
 a.  signal strength and its variations
 b.  wavelength shift and broadening during propagation

This beacon transmits on 40.6630 MHz which is about 400 Hz below the 200Hz of spectrum used at present for WSPR transmissions.

This will allow people to listen both for the new beacon and to WSPR transmissions at the same time. The same method is used for QRSS transmissions on the HF bands and is very effective.

The beacon will transmit once every 10 minutes, following its WSPR transmissions.  It sends identifying information in 18 wpm Morse code and then a carrier for 30 seconds.  The beacon location is at Point Roberts in the far north-west of Washington State and the locator square is CN88. 

The beacon uses a QRP-Labs U3S with a 10W Linear PA and the antenna is a dipole about 9m above ground level. It is orientated to favour transmission to the NW and SE.

The map above shows the location of the beacon in the NW of the United States. The lobes of the antenna are also shown going NW & SE.

Most of the reception reports are likely to come from the western half of the USA and in the region of 1000-2100 kms and the propagation mode will be Sporadic-E. At the peak of the Sp-E season in late May and all of June, there will be double hop Sp-E openings to the eastern part of the USA in the range of 2600-3500kms.

It will be very difficult to hear the beacon in Europe as it's a northerly path and it's in the null of the dipole.

There is the possibility of some very interesting openings to Japan with multi-hop Sp-E or via Sp-E & TEP to South America. The biggest challenge here is getting someone interested enough to try and listen.

As we head towards the peak of the solar cycle, some F2 openings are likely on the 40 MHz band and it will be interesting to see if the beacon is heard on the east coast of the United States.

Any reception reports should be sent to NR7V or on the DX-Maps website.

1) For more info on the 8m band, check out my 40 MHz page.

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