Re: 10m beacon

Greg Troxel

"wa2cky" <bob.groh@...> writes:

Here is another question - I am familiar with the concept of beacons but
just became aware of WSPR (although I have no receiver setup for WSPR).
Doesn't WSPR kind of eliminate the need for beacons? What are the pluses
and minuses of beacons and WSPR?
WSPR is a type of beacon. Beacon means automatically-controlled
transmitter that's more or less always on, or on for significant long
periods, for the purpose of understanding propagation. Note that (if I
got this right) below 10m, that kind of automatic control isn't allowed,
so people doing WSPR always are present and monitor their transmitters,
and thus call them MEPT (roughly, manned experimental propagation
transmitter) instead of beacon. *I have heard rumors that one of them
was unattended at least once :-).

The benefit of a CW beacon over WSPR is that you can copy it by ear on a
simple receiver. Also that it's easier to build a beacon transmitter -
you don't need a linear amp for CW. But WSPR seems to be 4-FSK, so that
can run class C. You still need frequency stability. I can hear a 6m
beacon that has a huge level of chirp, and I'm pretty sure WSPR would
fail to decode from that transmitter. It's easy to copy by ear.

The benefit of WSPR is automatic decoding of multiple stations on the
same/similar frequency and including grid in a standardized way, with
automatic reporting.

Another variant is just sending "TEST TEST TEST DE CALL CALL CALL K",
and looking for spots on the reverse beacon network. I am not aware of
people doing this for extended periods under automatic control (would be
legit only on 10m and above). If you do it occasionally by hand, I
wouldn't call it a beacon.

73 de n1dam

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