K7FL VHF/UHF Beacon Page

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Update: January 2, 2014

The 50, 144, 222 and 432 are QRT in preparation for a move to the Seattle area.

Callsign and beacon QTH information will be posted here when available.

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Beacons

The purpose of beacons is to facilitate receiver and antenna system testing, propagation observations, and to discern band openings as they occur. The K7FL beacons are operated in accordance with FCC Regulations Sec. 97.203.

Location

K7FL/B is located in Grid square CN85ss, 6 km ESE of Battle Ground, WA
45 Deg 46'13.48" N   122 Deg 29'13.70" W
Elevation: 468 feet ASL


Frequencies of Operation


K7FL beacons operate on five amateur radio bands:

Radio Band Frequency Power Antenna
10 Meters 28.2985 MHz 10 Watts Output Inverted vee antenna
6 Meters * 50.060 MHz  2.5 Watts Output Inverted vee antenna
2 Meters 144.299 MHz 10 Watts Output Stacked KB6KQ loops
1.25 Meters 222.050 MHz 15 Watts Output Stacked KB6KQ loops
70 cm 432.301 MHz 50 Watts Output Stacked KB6KQ loops

* The 6M beacon is QRT between May 1 and August 1 (e-skip season)


Transmitters

The K7FL beacons make extensive use of the excellent Hamtronics transmitter boards. I've operated these boards for several years with only one in-use failure, which was likely caused by an antenna issue. The boards are quite capable of running the near continuous duty message sequences typical of beacon modes. Below is a picture of the 50, 144, 222 and 432 boards with supporting control circuitry.

Beacon FrontBeacon tops off                                                                                                                                          
  

The 28 MHz beacon transmitter is a Radio Shack HTX-100 with an N0XAS pico-keyer(tm) installed inside to generate the beacon CW message. The transmitter is rated at 25 watts, but I reduced the output to 10 Watts. I doubt the HTX-100 was designed for the rigors of 24 x 7 x 365 beacon service. I've received reception reports from all continents proving, when 28 MHz is open it doesn't take much power to be heard.

10M beacon



Antennas

Two types of antennas are utilized at K7FL/B. The 432 MHz, 222 MHz and 144 MHz beacons each use two KB6KQ type loops. This type of antenna provides an omni directional signal pattern, and easily phased for increased gain. They are mounted 30 feet above the ground (~ 500 feet ASL). The 28 MHz and 50 MHz beacons feed inverted vees 20 feet above ground level. The pattern for the inverted vees is essentially omni directional.


Beacon Messages

The beacon's CW message, duration, cycle is primarily a function of the beacon purpose. If the beacon purpose is to provide a signal source for locals to align antennas, receivers, etc., a short identification including grid square followed by a steady carrier would be most useful. This is the purpose intended for the K7FL 432 MHz, 222 MHz, 144 MHz & 50 MHz beacons. The sequence is:

K7FL/B CN85ss, 16 seconds of carrier, 5 second pause, repeat message


This sequence provides the required identification and location information, but allocates maximum time to the steady carrier.

Alternatively, if the beacon purpose is to provide distant stations with information on propagation openings, cycling the call sign and grid square is best. The K7FL 28 MHz beacon uses the following sequence:

WA WA WA de K7FL K7FL K7FL/B CN85ss 8 second pause, repeat message

This sequence focuses on attracting the attention of a listening station as they tune across the frequency versus providing a steady carrier for equipment adjustment.

Message speed is also an important consideration as Morse code skills vary widely among listeners. K7FL/B messages are typically 13 WPM.

Beaconhaus

Beaconhaus is the name of the storage shed that houses the beacon equipment. The name was inspired while traveling through Germany with my good friend Claudio, ET3VSC/IV3VSC. Entering small towns we often noticed large poles with various symbols/structures announcing tradesmen that can be found in town. Always alert to ideas for making stealth antennas, it didn't take long to dream of camouflaging my beacon antennas as a tradesman pole from a German village. Fortunately these stealth measures were not necessary, but the name stuck.  

BeaconhausBeaconhaus plaque

Reception Reports

Beacon operators greatly appreciate reception reports from listeners. Please send an E-MAIL or QSL if you hear the beacons. I would be pleased to mail a QSL card in return. Current image is below.


QSL card



Mailing address:

K7FL/B
Dennis Ashworth
PO Box 1555
Brush Prairie, Washington 98606

Updated: 01.02.2014
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