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PROPOSED QSY OF IARU REGION-1 BEACONS

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Kerry, G8VR
Tue Mar 23 2010, 07:01PM
Kerry, G8VR
Registered Member #107
Joined: Mon Mar 31 2008, 07:00PM

Posts: 27
I do not support the RGSB viewpoint. Or, to put it more correctly, the views of whoever the VHF manager is representing (including his own, if indeed they are also his). The RGSB will go along with, in principle, what it's VHF manager tells it is the 'right' direction, that's why it has one. If the VHF manager or those whose views he supports have got it wrong, you'll be hard pushed to get anything from RSGB and that is understandable. They rely on their manager, and it is the manager himself who must hear these views. For the MUF reasons outlined by others, I support no change and strong opposition to the proposals.
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David, N3DB
Tue Mar 23 2010, 07:07PM
David, N3DB
Registered Member #161
Joined: Fri Apr 04 2008, 10:44PM

Posts: 1
This is my personal take on this move, not representative of the Beacon Project. In a word, dumb. With 48 MHz TV videos going QRT in droves, from this side of the pond beacons are often crucial in determining openings, and as has been pointed out by another poster, the MUF at 6 meters may not make it to 50.400. Moreover, most of us over here that are serious DXers have antennas that are so HiQ that they lose a LOT of gain that high up the band.
I have talked to enough of you in person to understand that EU, like the US, has "beacon-AIDS"- a proliferation of low power beacons packed into a small area. We are lucky that the un-manned beacon band is only 20 kHz wide, and this helps somewhat. During domestic openings (equivilent to 2 hop openings in EU) they become redundant & counter-productive, most certainly the QRP variety.
Herein lies the problem- the vanity beacon issue. Everybody wants one, or so it seems. In the US it is often just vanity or ignorance, but I bet in EU it is a Nationalistic issue as well. I have no answer for that one except to suggest a small 20 kHz EU beacon window similar to that we use here in the States, and make that applicable to all the IARU. Sure, you won't be able to coordinate them 100% because everybody wants one for their entity, but you might be able to establish other prerequisites that would eliminate some of the low power-small antenna garbage that I assume led up to this proposal to begin with.
I can't tell you how many times I have emailed people here in the States BEGGING them not to put yet another noise-maker in areas already well-covered. On the most part I have been successful in disuading them from installing the things. On the other hand, coastal beacons with decent power, takeoff and gain are often the first indication the band is open. By moving IARU up to 50.400, you render useless terrific transAtlantic propagation indicators for North America. CU, D4, EA, CT1ART/b, CN, CQ3 and a few others. What will happen, in effect, is that you'll have many more people "trolling" by CQing on .110 - If you think it a problem now, wait and see how much worse it gets.
I am also disturbed with this digital-down-band idea. If you are using a computer to detect signals you cannot hear by ear, it seems to be patently unfair to require those of us who prefer to hear the other guy with our own ears move up to a higher MUF threshhold. Is the PC Software that bad?
I would suggest allowing the higher-power, useful beacons, especially on the coast, to stay right where they are. Otherwise, the only "beacons" that are going to do anyone any good for DX are the key coastal beacons in North America, which will of course only help EU, and those of us who are willing to spend hours CQing when conditions seem right. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
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Ken, G4IGO
Tue Mar 23 2010, 09:09PM
Ken, G4IGO
Registered Member #31
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 08:16PM

Posts: 62
Firstly I find it irrelevant to have personality clashes on the subject - it just waste bandwidth. We are where we are.
Remember David is just expressing the views of RSGB ( that is UK Amateurs) - what about the views that must have been expressed by the other R1 managers present at the meeting - they must have all agreed with the proposal? - so Amateurs in other countries have to lobby their VHF managers. At the end of the day they can only go on what input they get - and the UK cannot speak for the rest of R1 - that is the job of each country VHF manager.
I have expressed the view that to move the beacons up would be the best course - I still believe that given what is going on at the moment. However if, as David indicates, the Vanity / ego beacons could be removed and the "Beacon coordinator" in Region 1 have teeth and be allowed to govern by all the countries licensing authorities and the proper / registered / required beacons (after being coordinated) are put into a section of say 50010 to 50070 (the rest of the band can then remain as it is) then I might change my mind - but - hey there goes a flying pig
If it is accepted that the MUF can be a sharp cut-off then even more reason to have a useable area at the bottom end - what's the points in having a beacon coming in on say 50010 - but its closed at 50100?? who wants to work a beacon?? work the DX at 50010. However I have to say that in past cycles those with savvy just kept checking the bottom end and we were working each other - this was mainly to the US.

Don't get to tied up with Aerails and the higher frequency for receiving beacons - yes the SWR may be higher - but that is only a problem for transmitters that should ideally be seeing a 1:1 SWR - for RX the higher SWR will have little or no effect - remember - we can all RX 5B4CY - and we all copied the VK6 and ZS5 beacons no problem.
Bluntly most beacons in EU are now no longer required (however see above) but to have them in very sparsely populated areas is very useful - but remember - hearing a beacon only tells you that you can hear that beacon - not necessarily that the band is open near to it. I do believe we are on path of self destruction - we are getting so dependant on having to hear beacons that we are not using the band.
The days of legalising beacons on propagation studies are long gone - with a very few exceptions there are no articles based solely on beacon reports around nowadays.
Bluntly - get rid of the personal etc beacons, get rid of most of the beacons in EU ( why do we need 7 (Seevvven) beacons in the UK - and are they all Armature beacons??) - and then make sure the rest are properly coordinated - then we can forget having to change anything - but as I say - did I just see a flying pig. There is no guarantee whatsoever that if the" legal" beacons are moved up the "illegal" ones will close down - so maybe its best to leave the mess as it is.
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Kerry, G8VR
Tue Mar 23 2010, 09:38PM
Kerry, G8VR
Registered Member #107
Joined: Mon Mar 31 2008, 07:00PM

Posts: 27
Ken, can you clairfy for me what you mean by:
'Firstly I find it irrelevant to have personality clashes on the subject - it just waste bandwidth.'
I genuinely can't follow what you are referring to here, and if I can't follow the intent, I can't respond to it if relevant. Thanks
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Zaba, OH1ZAA
Tue Mar 23 2010, 10:57PM
Zaba, OH1ZAA
Registered Member #123
Joined: Thu Apr 03 2008, 02:54PM

Posts: 25
After reading subsequent comments, just a quick remark: give the EME'ers and the fringe MUF group some 20 kHz: 50.000-50.020 for urgency.... Put all the weak and vanity beacons on one small garbage sector 50.020 - 50.022... a trained operator will sort them out, fading permitting (as it always does).. Rest of Region 1 beacons from 50.022 - 50.060 with natural exceptions, and keep an eye on Region 2 up from there.... 73, "Zaba" OH1ZAA/OHoMZA ---
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Neil, G0JHC
Wed Mar 24 2010, 08:47AM
Neil, G0JHC
Registered Member #110
Joined: Tue Apr 01 2008, 01:51PM

Posts: 19
Like any thread it is easy to digress and quickly get away from the proposal

I’m sure we would all agree, if we were starting from scratch in every region today, we would do things a little differently.

Lets refresh our memory, the proposal is:


“That the 50MHz beacon sub-band within IARU Region-1 be moved to 50.400 – 50.500MHz.

“That the sub-band 50.000 – 50.100MHz be allocated for Telegraphy (Exclusive) usage.”

If this is the only proposal I would like to register my vote of support and “agree”, as I view it as an improvement to what we have now, although maybe not the ultimate solution.

However it rather puts all our eggs in one basket.

My frustration relates to the bandplan currently not accommodating Telegraphy operation below 50.080MHz.
If the above Proposal is too contentious in its present form I would like to see a back up proposal taken to the meeting to include at the very least an immediate footnote allowing us to officially operate the lower 80KHz of the band.

The beacons could stay for now. It’s hardly difficult for a “narrow mode” operator to slot in-between them with the array of filters/DSP available radios today.

Wouldn’t this be the best of both world’s? The beacons could stay and we could use the bottom 80KHz as well. Unless a weak station appears within 100Hz of your local beacon we have the tools in our radios to Co-exist.
I did a test last night with my local beacon, it is 59+20dB 24/7. I could happily work any weak signal mode (data/cw etc) a couple of hundred Hz away.

Lets 1st focus on opening up the bottom 80KHz for shared use and look at a more gradual approach to the Beacon “problem”.
Thanks to David G4ASR and the UKSMG for their vision and pro-active approach taking this forward.
Ken G4IGO makes perhaps the best point. Those who use the band do need to engage in this debate and make their views known. Trevor G3ZYY makes this easy for you, by asking for a one word reply “agree or disagree”. Please try and take the time, even to just say that. There should be 1000 posts here by the end of the week, not 10.

Neil G0JHC

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Trev, EA5ISZ
Wed Mar 24 2010, 11:40AM
Trev, EA5ISZ

Registered Member #13
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 01:43PM

Posts: 143
Thanks Neil, its important that we get as much feedback as possible, especially from operators who may not have been aware what is being proposed on their behalf.  Whilst a one word answer 'Agree' or Disagree' is welcome, it would also be useful to know which side of the discussion you are agreeing or disagreeing with

From a purely personal viewpoint, I note Neil's suggestion that we fit beacons and CW useage in the same bandspace however I feel that this will cause problems on at least two fronts.

1. As we all know, propagation and a stations ability to hear DX varies from location to location.  Whats audible to you is likely not audible to me at any given time.  Given that I don't carry a list of DX beacon frequencies in my head, the chances are that at some stage I will end up QRM'ing one or more beacons from  time to time.  Bear in mind this QRM will be made by an operator (me) who has both a vested interest and willingness to avoid causing it. The band will always have newcomers unaware of 'current protocol'. 

2. The spread of beacons worldwide means there is virtually no free space between beacons in which to fit CW QSO's. Allocate a common bandwidth for beacons and CW and I will guarantee that despite any footnote in the table there will be large numbers of operators who will operate wherever they like in that area and under those circumstances why shouldn't they?  Sods law dictates that QRM will be to the beacons that should be alerting an opening at that time.

There is no one fits all solution to this problem, but here is my personal view:

We should allocate a suitable block of frequencies at the low end of the band to cater for permanent co-ordinated beacons.  It would be useful if these beacons incorporated new technology allowing dual use of both ears and computers for detection. Above this a further block allocated for CW use only which would , in the interim, also allow reception of existing beacons until an agreed changeover between Regions can be effected.  We should ensure that 'personal beacons' have an allocation further up the band.  These beacons are largely useful for indicating the direction of Sporadic E openings and, as they are largely unco-ordinated, have no place in the co-ordinated beacon section.  Here frequencies above 50.4 make perfect sense.

Attempting to co-ordinate all of the 50MHz allocations across all Regions is not possible or desirable.  Changes to the band plan above say,  50.3 MHz in one Region will have minimal effect in the others and could be made unilaterally.*

Finally, it is vitally important, in my opinion, that common agreement across all Regions is sought before changes are made that affect the lower parts of the band.  These are effectively 'common frequencies' and changes in one Region have an affect upon all other Regions.  Lets get some commonality of purpose between Regions for the bottom end of the band first and then move on from there.

* I note that some countries allocations may make the use of some frequencies at the low end of the band impossible at present.  I believe we should be lobbying on behalf of these countries to achieve a common allocation rather than attempting to modify the bandplan to squeeze them in.

[ Edited Wed Mar 24 2010, 11:47AM ]
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Dai, G8FXM
Wed Mar 24 2010, 11:51AM
Webmaster

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My personal view, I fully support the idea of 'personal beacons' having an allocation further up the band for the reasons Trev mentions above.
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Per, LA7DFA
Wed Mar 24 2010, 01:12PM
Per, LA7DFA
Registered Member #189
Joined: Sun Apr 06 2008, 04:05PM

Posts: 44
I support Neils view. If operators QSOs in the beacon band, that is absolutely fine with 99% of us. Dont mess around with the band plan, its already complex enough. Beacons above MUF does not help much to find out when the band opens up on 50.1 anyway.

[ Edited Wed Mar 24 2010, 01:13PM ]
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Christoph, DF9CY
Thu Mar 25 2010, 01:30PM
Christoph, DF9CY
Registered Member #65
Joined: Thu Mar 20 2008, 04:27PM

Posts: 31
Hi all,
* moving CW below 50.080 MHz ? Without at least DL, where the band is from 50.080 - 50.500 MHz.
* EME in the first 20 kHz ?? Mmh, all those 50 MHz oscillators (or harmonics of lower frequencies oscillators) around there do not make reception of very weak signals easier.
* Most DXers use high gain antennas designed for 50.150 MHz or so. Afterhaving seen many designs with simulation tools, I must say, many of those antennas already act close to an omnidirectional antenna at 50.500 MHz. Antennas must be more wideband then ...
* During the last soloar maximum I have often observed the MUF "creaping up" from 45 to 50 MHz, then suddenly the first U.S. beacons very low in the band became audiable. Later beacons close to 50.80 were "in" - and the first stations above that became audiable. The DX is over when the MUF reaches 50.400, if it reaches there at all. Once I made QSY with a station (K2..) from 50.130 to 50.195 MHz - and I lost it because it was above the MUF. Any questions ??
So that were some of my thoughts I had on the topic ...
73 de Christoph DF9CY
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