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NV4B/B Beacon
28.258 MHz CW

Equipment | QSL Info | Location & Coverage | History | Purposes | Log | Links

Status (19 Jun 2009)

The NV4B beacon is back on the air!

The beacon has been returned to the air for the 2009 sporadic-E season

Reports, as always, are appreciated!

I finishing debugging a homebrew transmitter, which will soon take the HTX-100's place.  This will likely be a 1-watt or so transmitter, though I may adjust the ultimate power level up or down. 

I have not been looking for a permanent home for the beacon, but will begin doing so as soon as I have the equipment finalized.

Equipment

TX:  Realistic HTX-100 at 5 watts
Keyer:  NorCal Keyer, set at 16 WPM  N0XAS PicoKeyer set at 18 WPM
Antenna:  Vertical (Solarcon A99 w/radial kit) at 60' AGL (& approximate HAAT), 810' AMSL
Power Supply:  Daiwa RS-300

QSLing

Reception reports/comments would be greatly appreciated to the following e-mail address: beacon at chrisarthur.com.

Please provide as much of the following information as you can in your report:

  • Your call
  • Your QTH
  • Date and time you heard the beacon
  • Preferably a transcript of the beacon text for a cycle to confirm it was actually NV4B/B that you heard
  • A signal report in RST format (i.e. 599 is the best possible).

Currently, paper QSLs are not available.

Location

Beacon location is Russellville, Alabama at the NV4B license address, 65 miles WSW of Huntsville, Alabama; 85 miles NNW of Birmingham, Alabama; 33 miles S of Tennessee, 25 miles E of Mississippi state lines.

Groundwave Coverage

Using an HTX-10 and a modified 11-meter mobile antenna, I can receive the beacon mobile in an approximate 30 mile radius.  The beacon can be heard from a few miles across the Mississippi state line on Highway 23 to the Lawrence/Morgan County line on Alabama Highway 24. 

Recent History

(6/19/09): Beacon reactivated at 1200Z.

(7/7/08):  Beacon QRT

(6/23/08):  Halfway to "WAS" - tnx KG2GL in New Jersey!

(6/22/08):  Beacon back online!

(2/07):  Beacon offline; power supply acting funny again.

(1/28/07):  Beacon online again!  Power supply repaired in October or November and beacon placed back online January 28, 2007.

(7/30/06): Beacon offline due to power supply problem.

(3/26/06):  Paper QSLs available for a limited time.

(2/21/06):  First European spot (EA2CMY).

(2/13/06):  Beacon placed back on the air after about 3 days of inactivity. 

(1/11/06):  Beacon placed back on the air at 1245Z.

(1/10/06):  Beacon taken off the air at 2330Z for possible severe weather.

(1/4/06):  Beacon placed back on the air at 1715Z.

(1/2/06):  Beacon taken off the air around 0300Z due to the threat of severe weather.

(1/1/06):  New DX record and 1000 miles-per-watt:  PY3FF in Porto Alegre (5051 miles) received the beacon 559.

(12/31/05):  Received via groundwave 72 miles away (K5DZE).

(12/26/05):  Beacon placed back online at 1700Z.  Keyer is now connected to the beacon power supply to eliminate downtime from changing batteries.

(12/25/05):  Beacon offline beginning at 0200Z due to travel and battery death.

(12/20/05):  Beacon offline from approximately 0200Z to 2400Z due to travel.

(12/13/05):  Beacon back online at 2055Z.

(mid-August 2005):  Beacon has been offline for some time now.  The beacon will be back online again, eventually.

(8/9/05):  Second 9V battery (for keyer) died.  Beacon went off-line sometime this afternoon.  Placed back into service at 2240Z, Aug 9.

(8/4/05):  Beacon back on-line at 1755Z.

(8/3/05):  Beacon off-line at 1600Z for a day of personal on-air activity.

(7/20/05):  First 9V battery (for keyer) died.  Beacon went off-line sometime this afternoon.  Placed back into service at 0150Z, July 21.

(7/13/05):  First 599 signal report (N4WO).

(7/7/05):  First DX report received (HP1AC).

(7/4/05):  Beacon offline from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. CDT due to thunderstorms in the area.  Beacon turned on at 11 p.m. for first overnight operation.

(7/1/05):  New e-mail address for beacon-related mail:  beacon at chrisarthur.com

(6/30/05):  Beacon listed on WJ5O's list of 10 meter beacons.

(6/29/05):  Beacon listed in the G3USF List of Worldwide Beacons.

(6/28/05):  Beacon first heard by a non-local (K9QU); beacon announced to the HFbeacons mailing list.

(6/27/05):  Beacon now online approximately 16 hours a day, and will continue intermittently according to this schedule for the time being.  Groundwave coverage tested and approximated at 35 miles, with a weak signal received at Monte Sano Mountain in Huntsville, AL (75 miles).

(6/26/05):  Stupid me.  There's a reset procedure for the NorCal Keyer.  So, despite the fact that I've ordered and already received a PicoKeyer chip... the NorCal keyer rides again.  The beacon will be back online as soon as I recover from Field Day, hopefully 6/26 or 6/27.

(12/22/04):  Beacon online for short test.  First true NV4B/B beacon test.

Complete History

The NV4B beacon is the result of many years of interest in the 10-meter band.  Ten meters is one of my favorite bands by far, and I have wanted to operate a beacon since 1997 or so.

The original KT4XA beacon was operated only for brief periods on 28.277 MHz, and was listed in KC4DPC's (now K4DPC's) 10-meter beacon list in June 1998. However, no reception reports were ever received due to the relatively brief periods it was actually on the air.  Equipment then consisted of an MFJ Grandmaster keyer and various different rigs, including a Kenwood TS-430, an AEA DX Handy which I blew up by powering it directly with 13.8V and attempting beacon operation :(   an HTX-100, and others.

The beacon project had stalled somewhat until a couple of years ago, when I first visited WJ5O's site detailing easy CB-to-10 meter conversions.  I searched for a suitable radio to convert for a long time, but couldn't find one until the 2004 Huntsville Hamfest.  I did convert an older Midland, but decided not to use it due to uncertain stability and signal purity.

When I learned about the availability of crystals for 28.258 MHz from Expanded Spectrum Systems, better facilitating the use of a homebrewed transmitter as a beacon transmitter, interest in the project picked up greatly.  I then decided to move directly forward with the beacon, given the new homebrewing opportunities.  Although I am not using a homebrew transmitter at the moment, the frequency has, so far, proved to be a good frequency for the beacon, as there are no other beacons within approximately 800 Hz of this frequency.

NV4B/B first went on the air on 28.258 for a two-hour test in December 2004 after the construction of a NorCal Keyer.  The project has been on hold during the spring college semester, and is now active once again here in the summer.

The beacon is not operating in its "final" state.  It is unlikely that any configuration will become truly "final."  I plan on making many changes before putting it online in continuous mode.  Some of the potential hardware changes are detailed below in the Experimentation section.

I may also consider relocating the beacon--or perhaps a new one--to Northeast Mississippi, about 30 miles away, as the state of Mississippi does not currently have any operating beacons.

Purposes

The beacon is a valuable tool for observing propagation to and from Northwest Alabama on the 10-meter band.  Additionally, I'm using the beacon as a way to experiment with microcontroller design, RF design, and computer programming; after all, experimentation is what amateur radio is all about.

NV4B/B was the first permanent ten meter beacon in north Alabama when it first went on the air.

Future Changes/Experimentation

Eventually, I hope to have a homebrewed transmitter and keyer running the beacon, which will be continuous on 28.258.

NV4B/B Logbook

Each recipient is logged once.

Date Time Distance Location Grid Sq Signal Report by
             
26 Jul 09 2342Z  1852 mi Valley Springs, CA CM98nd 579 K6FRC
25 Jul 09 1445Z   452 mi Lometa, TX EM23fp 529 W5OTR
24 Jul 09 0037Z  1013 mi North Swanzey, NH FN32uv 599 AE1P
21 Jul 09 1959Z   604 mi Muskegon, MI EN63ue 559 NR9B
21 Jul 09 1425Z   775 mi Saint Paul, MN EN34jv   W0RSB
 9 Jul 09 1704Z   808 mi Saint Francis, MN EN35hj 559 WE0H
 9 Jul 09 1319Z  3244 mi Wasilla, AK BP51dm 559 NL7Z
 8 Jul 09 2030Z   666 mi Bonita Springs, FL EL96ci 589 KB9ABX
 8 Jul 09 0015Z   714 mi New Cumberland, PA FN10nf 439 N3SW
 7 Jul 09 0315Z  1051 mi Malden, MA FN42lk 579 NM1J
 4 Jul 09 2230Z   830 mi Kah-She Island, ON EN95wc 459 VE3DJI
 4 Jul 09 0032Z   790 mi Markham, ON FN03jv   VA3CDX
 3 Jul 09 1635Z   340 mi Dry Ridge, KY EM78qs 559 K5DZE
 3 Jul 09 1310Z   692 mi Owings Mills, MD FM19ok 479 KB3MXM
 3 Jul 09 0010Z   526 mi Raleigh, NC FM05rv 579 KH2AR/4/P
 1 Jul 09 1558Z   608 mi Montpelier, VA FM17et S5 WD4LBR
30 Jun 09 1704Z  1852 mi Valley Springs, CA CM98nd 529 K6FRC
30 Jun 09 0032Z   781 mi Drums, PA FN11xa 599 K3BS
29 Jun 09 2255Z   794 mi Maple Grove, MN EN35fc S1 N9GC
25 Jun 09 0125Z   996 mi Dayville, CT FN41bu -- KB1NRB
24 Jun 09 1840Z  1386 mi Paradise Valley, AZ DM43am 559 AC7XP
22 Jun 09 1913Z  1600 mi Mexicali, Mexico DM22gp 519 XE2ES
22 Jun 09 1840Z  1888 mi Sacramento, CA CM98fm S1 N6DXX
22 Jun 09 0130Z   518 mi Sturgis, MI EN71hs 578 AJ8T
21 Jun 09 1451Z   669 mi Kyle, TX EL19bx -- KD5HOP
21 Jun 09 1344Z   561 mi Oklahoma City, OK EM15fm S7 NE5I
21 Jun 09 0135Z   634 mi Martinsburg, WV FM19aj 599 W8YT
21 Jun 09 0131Z   498 mi Hillsborough, NC FM06kb -- WD4ELG
21 Jun 09 0106Z   853 mi West Orange, NJ FN20ut 419 N2MH
21 Jun 09 0016Z   944 mi Winsted, CT FN31lw 569 K1KUZ
20 Jun 09 2050Z   751 mi Avondale, PA FM29ct 569 AB3AP
19 Jun 09 2155Z  4659 mi Lautert, Germany JO30we -- DL8WX
 7 Jul 08 0445Z  1987 mi Spanaway, WA CN87TB -- K7EK
 7 Jul 08 0000Z   755 mi Amherst, NY FN02ox 559 WB2VUO
 6 Jul 08 0100Z   537 mi Cary, IL EN52qg -- N9AVY
 6 Jul 08 0038Z   708 mi Clinton, ON EN93fo 569 VA3NN
 2 Jul 08 0100Z   223 mi Troy, AL EM71as -- WJ5O
25 Jun 08 0323Z   826 mi Ishpeming, MI EN66dl -- N8PUM
24 Jun 08 1338Z  1050 mi Box Elder, SD DN84lc 559 NR5A
23 Jun 08 0250Z   859 mi Nutley, NJ FN20wt 559 KG2GL
23 Jun 08 1959Z  1693 mi Carlsbad, CA DM13id 419 N6RY
22 Jun 08 0030Z   806 mi Rochester, NY FN13ee -- N2NXZ
12 Jul 06 0257Z  1037 mi Westford, MA FN42go 219 WD9HBC
26 Jun 06 1800Z   598 mi Lake Station, IN EN61in 599 KB9YGD
18 Jun 06 2237Z   626 mi Quinton, VA FM17km - KA4H
17 Jun 06 1820Z   658 mi Alexandria, VA FM18lr -- AJ3G
 5 Jun 06 0031Z  2005 mi Port Orchard, WA CN87ql -- KQ7W
31 May 06 0243Z   628 mi Catlett, VA FM18eq -- KA4RRU
25 May 06 1456Z  1964 mi Boring, OR CN85tk 519 N7DB
25 May 06 0037Z   905 mi Kings Park, NY FN30jv -- KT2Q
23 May 06 1822Z   643 mi North Fond du Lac, WI EN53st 599 KB9KEG
21 May 06 2110Z   886 mi Harrison, NY FN31db -- AE5X
20 May 06 1314Z   693 mi Jupiter, FL EL96xw 589 WY5I
18 May 06 1456Z  1010 mi Littleton, CO DM79mn -- K0FX
17 May 06 1405Z  1202 mi Val Belair, PQ FN46hu -- VE2CRH
16 May 06 2339Z   757 mi Mississauga, ON FN03dn -- VE3XAP
16 May 06 2331Z   801 mi Keswick, ON FN04gf 599+* VE3FGU
15 May 06 0150Z   784 mi Mound, MN EN34ew 599 KD0SF
14 May 06 1820Z   597 mi Madison, WI EN53hb -- KC9GNK
21 Mar 06 0012Z   588 mi Springtown, TX EM12cx -- AD5VJ
20 Mar 06 2225Z   582 mi Zeeland, MI EN62xu 555 N8YEL
10 Mar 06 0220Z    56 mi Eva, AL EM64ph -- N5ROC
21 Feb 06 2001Z  4442 mi San Sebastian, Spain IN93ah -- EA2CMY
27 Jan 06 2136Z  4550 mi Pres. Venceslau, Brazil GG48bc 599 PY2SRB
14 Jan 06 0405Z   995 mi Cornwall, ON FN25oa 539 VE3GIB
14 Jan 06 0239Z  1080 mi Dover, NH FN43mf 559 AA1QD
14 Jan 06 0153Z   946 mi Troy, NY FN32er 449 WB2HPR
14 Jan 06 0138Z   577 mi Ypsilanti, MI EN82ef 599 N8UUP
 8 Jan 06 0200Z   792 mi Lehighton, PA FN20ev -- K3NG
 6 Jan 06 1600Z  1688 mi Vista, CA DM13jf -- W6WU
 1 Jan 06 1845Z  5051 mi Porto Alegre, Brazil GF49jx 559 PY3MM
31 Dec 05 2157Z    72 mi Owens Cross Roads, AL EM64sq 349 K5DZE
31 Dec 05 2150Z  1810 mi Edmonton, AB DO33hm 589 VE6TXT
27 Dec 05 1930Z  1980 mi Kent, WA CN87wi -- WB7AEI
27 Dec 05 0630Z   757 mi Brampton, ON FN03jg -- VA3UXB
25 Dec 05 1908Z  1549 mi Yuma, AZ DM22qq 569 N6QU
24 Dec 05 0336Z   889 mi Duluth, MN EN36vw -- K0KP
22 Dec 05 1919Z  1935 mi San Francisco, CA CM87tr -- WA6CDO
22 Dec 05 1810Z  1779 mi Spokane, WA DN17gq -- KL7FDQ/7
21 Dec 05 2340Z   677 mi Austin, TX EM10ce S3 KB5OGG
21 Dec 05 2115Z   290 mi Biloxi, MS EM60oj -- N5BO
16 Dec 05 1625Z   447 mi Summerville, SC EM93wa -- KG4GVV
11 Aug 05 1700Z  1261 mi Busby, MT DN65nm -- KL7FDQ/7
 5 Aug 05 2217Z  1835 mi Panama FJ09fa 555 HP1DCP
 5 Aug 05 1955Z   516 mi Spring Hill, FL EL88rl 589 KE4REM
 2 Aug 05 2134Z   440 mi Frontenac, KS EM27pk -- N2UHC
28 Jul 05 1915Z   534 mi Saint Joseph, MO EM29nr 559 WD0BBR
27 Jul 05 2045Z   544 mi Apopka, FL EL98fp S3 N4HLF
25 Jul 05 1640Z   697 mi Arnold, MD FM19sb -- K3DI
24 Jul 05 1347Z  1281 mi Aguascalientes, Mexico DL81uv 539 XE2AC
21 Jul 05 2020Z   853 mi New York, NY FN20wo 599+ KC2GOW
13 Jul 05 1550Z   511 mi Brooksville, FL EL88rn 599 N4WO
 8 Jul 05 0015Z   878 mi Roslyn Estates, NY FN30dt -- K2DUX
 7 Jul 05 1515Z  1834 mi Panama City, Panama FJ09gb 529 HP1AC
 3 Jul 05 0321Z    26 mi Allsboro area, AL EM54wq 519 KU4WW
30 Jun 05 1420Z   737 mi Corpus Christi, TX EL17ip Q5 WJ5O
29 Jun 05 0030Z  1027 mi Claremont, NH FN33uj 559 AA1TT
28 Jun 05 1908Z   675 mi Seward, NE EN10lw -- K0HA
28 Jun 05 1702Z   501 mi Downers Grove, IL EN51xs 579 K9QU
22 Dec 04 0420Z    31 mi Hamilton, AL EM54xd 589 K4EKG
 Via DX cluster.
 Via 10mbeacons.com beacon spotting page.
 Via HFBeacons mailing list.
Thanks to all who have reported!
NV4B/B has been reported heard in these states: 
AL AK AZ CA CO CT FL IL IN KS KY MA MD MI MN MO MS
MT NC NE NH NJ NY OK OR PA SC SD TX VA WA WI WV (33/50)

DXCC:  DL EA HP KL7 PY VE W XE

Links -- Many more to come!

10m beacon spotting page

Good 10 meter beacon information from WJ5O - go here to get your HF beacon frequency coordinated!
G3USF List of Worldwide Beacons
HFbeacons mailing list -- definitive source of up-to-the-minute information on beacons and receptions
N9SSA Grid Square Distance Calculator--also does miles/watt calculations for QRP'ers
Wayne Leman, KL7FDQ's web site--contains lots of beacon info and links