A Strategy for 6m Beacons Click here to go back to the home page
Adam Maurer, VK4CP (July 1997)

From my beacon lists there appears to be dozens of US beacons, mostly running pissy power into less than substantial antenna systems.

How about a bit of co-ordination amongst you lot over in the US and put together a beacon network that is practical and functional, rather the random scattering. Quality - not quantity.

The VK beacon situation is also less than ideal, the only beacons that seem to provide any meaningful results are VK3SIX with 50W into a 9element yagi, VK8RH up the Northern end and VK6RBU pointing out to the Indian Ocean. All the others aren't worth a pinch, unless local Es work is all you're interested in - boring.

Two years ago I tried to initiate a "smart beacon" project.  You would not believe how much opposition this raised amongst the local know alls in VK. Although the initial site wasn't ideal, a better alternative was found, where 1kW of EIRP would not degrade any one's noise floor and cause any problems.This was proven on paper before any practical test would show the same results.

Still opposition - unbelievable. The smart beacon concept appealed to me, and still does. Bob Coooper's, ZL4AAA, paper should be read by anyone interested in this subject. A beacon should be at the leading edge of an opening, not something you tune into after your awareness of the opening and subsequent working of DX stations. How many times have you done that?

See my point? Forget putting a beacon near a 45-48MHz Hi powered TV TX, there is nothing to achieve. Do activate a 50W -200W beacon with a 5+ element yagi AND point in a major population area. E.g.; How about co-siting 3 beacons in Southern Cal. Each with a antenna system that exhibits a figure 8 pattern. One pointing SW/NE (which will encompass VK ZL P29 YJ FK VK0 T30 T20 and EU etc etc). One pointing NW/SE (JA KH6 V73 UA0 HL and Africa etc)One N/S (VE KL7 and SAmerica). Only rough headings used above, but hopefully this gets the idea across. Same on the east Coast.  etc etc . I would put the question to the VK6 boys. Why do we bother having VK6RBU and VK6RPH both within 200 miles of each other when RPH is omni? RBU does a great job out to the Indian Ocean. Why not point RPH up to EU? Same with VK2RHV and VK2RSY. Wouldn't the resources be best utilised if they had exclusive target areas? Why double up?

In summary. More grunt and directional gain antenna systems. Co-site if possible. If power consumption is a concern then run them off a domestic $20 mains timer. Shut them down during your KNOWN periods of nil propagation. (Probably local midnight - dawn) Food for thought. Deflecto shields are up.

de Adam VK3ALM
ps I have developed controller boards based on a Motorola 68HC705C8 MCU. (This project was developed last year for my friend Pete VK3AMX/P29CW/WA6VDF who is now unfortunately a SK.) See the CDROM or contact me direct if you would like more info or any ideas etc.

Adam Maurer, VK4CP
UKSMG # 843

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