Friday 19 February 2016

The VE3OT 630m Beacon

I suspect there are probably a lot of Canadian amateurs still thinking that our new 630m is not very practical for anything other than local two-way contacts.

During the winter 'DX season', this is definitely not the case, as 630m shares many, if not all, of the propagation characteristics found in the lower end of our AM broadcast band. As well, a quick tune through the even lower NDB band on a normal night will reveal dozens of 25-watters, often from over a thousand miles away and with very robust signals.

With no 630m amateur activity yet coming from VE6, VE5 or VE4, it is difficult to get a sense of just how interesting the band could become on these normal nights, or how great it would be on a really good night of propagation. My recent CW contact with the nearest out of province station, VE3OT (Mitch), on a normal night, demonstrates that there is a lot of potential for some really effective two-way work over long distances.

So ... what do signals sound like between here and Ontario? Here is Mitch's CW beacon as heard here on the evening of February 11th, at around 2300 hours local time, using my 10' x 20' loop. I have heard Mitch at even higher levels than this, but his beacon is usually audible here on most undisturbed nights, sometimes as early as 2000 hours local time. His beacon signal runs 200 watts to a 340' circumference loop, from his London, Ontario, suburban backyard.

Even if you are not able to hear Mitch's signal audibly, it should be fairly easy to copy in one of the QRSS CW modes, such as QRSS3 or QRSS10 ... both of which could yield a reasonably quick two-way contact.

Judging from the reliability of the VE3 signal, any activity from the prairie provinces should be even easier to hear. Should any of you in the prairies take up the 630m challenge, I can assure you that you'll be very, very popular out west ... every night!

This blog also provides an opportunity for my initial use of the 'tunestotube' web site. It provides a nice online interface for posting audio files to Youtube, along with an image, or a slideshow. It seemed to work seamlessly and will save me having to link to audio files stored on my own web site, which really eat up what little space I have left.


QRSS QRP Beacon IK1HGI said...

hello Steve inform you've activated a beacon, using 1 month 476.00 kHz frequency so QRSS 3 with 1 watt EIRP I hope in the future will have the opportunity to hear.
73 Antonio ik1hgi

ciao Steve informo ho attivato un beacon, utilizzando da 1 mese frequenza 476.00 Khz modo QRSS 3 con 1 watt EIRP spero in futuro avranno il modo di ascoltare.
73 Antonio ik1hgi

QRSS QRP Beacon IK1HGI said...
73 Antonio ik1hgi

Anonymous said...

I was taken back by how good a signal VE3OT put out. I doubt I would hear him with my S9+ noise level at my QTH but if we could interest some VE6's and VE5's it may even be possible for have a two QSO. I need to concentrate on building a better RX antenna for 630. Enjoy the experimenting Steve. You are a leader on this band, 73 MK VE7CA

Steve McDonald said...

Thanks for your comments Markus and I certainly agree with you ... we need some activity from VE6 and VE5! This region would be very easy to work on any normal night for certain. Come on you guys!