Sunday, 20 October 2019

Hunting For NDBs In CLE249

YUT - 335 kHz (courtesy: VE3GOP)

It's CLE time once again! This coming weekend the CLE  hunting grounds will be 335.0 - 349.9 kHz.

For those unfamiliar with this monthly activity, a 'CLE' is a 'Co-ordinated Listening Event', as NDB DXers around the world focus their listening time on one small slice of the NDB spectrum.

If you've been meaning to participate in  CLE, then maybe this weekend is a fine time to try! Lately, we've had a lot of first time submissions so you won't be alone!

As well, if you're trying to learn CW, copying NDBs is perfect practice as the identifier speed is generally slow and the letters are repeated again every few seconds!

A nice challenge in this one is to hear YUT - 335 kHz. 'YUT' is located at Repulse Bay, Nunavut, way up on Baffin Island.

'YUT' runs just 25W into a massive vertical and is well-heard throughout North America and parts of northern Europe. Listen for its upper-sideband CW identifier repeated every 10 seconds (with your receiver in the CW mode) on 335.406 kHz.

At this time of the season, summer lightning storms should be drawing down significantly and with some decent propagation there will be many stations to be logged.

When tuning for NDBs, put your receiver in the CW mode and listen for the NDB's CW identifier, repeated every few seconds. Listen for U.S. NDB identifiers approximately 1 kHz higher or lower than the published transmitted frequency since these beacons are modulated with a 1020 Hz tone approximately.

For example, 'AA' near Fargo, ND, transmits on 365 kHz and its upper sideband CW identifier is tuned at 366.025 kHz while its lower sideband CW ident can be tuned at 363.946 kHz. Its USB tone is actually 1025 Hz while its LSB tone is 1054 Hz.

Often, one sideband will be much stronger than the other so if you don't hear the first one, try listening on the other sideband.

Canadian NDBs normally have an USB tone only, usually very close to 400 Hz. They also have a long dash (keydown) following the CW identifier.

All NDBs heard in North America will be listed in the RNA database (updated daily) while those heard in Europe may be found in the REU database. Beacons heard outside of these regions will be found in the RWW database.

From CLE organizer Brian Keyte, G3SIA, comes the details:

Hello all

Our 249th Co-ordinated Listening Event is less than a week away.
Just a normal CLE using a busy range of frequencies.
First-timers' CLE logs will also be very welcome, as always. 

    Days:      Friday 25 October - Monday 28 October
    Times:     Start and end at midday, your LOCAL time
    Range:     335.0 - 349.9 kHz

Please join us wherever you are - just log the NDBs you can identify
having their nominal frequencies in the range (it includes 335 kHz
but not 350 kHz) and any UNIDs that you come across there too.

We last concentrated on these frequencies in CLE233 (June 2018).

Please read the 'Final Details' which will follow on Wednesday.

Send your CLE log to the List (or to myself at the email address shown below), if possible as a plain text email and not in an attachment.  Put CLE249 and FINAL at the start of the email title.

Please show on EVERY LINE of your log:

   # The date and UTC (the day changes at 00:00 UTC).
   # kHz - the beacon's nominal published frequency, if you know it.
   # The Call Ident.

Show those main items FIRST on each line, before any optional details such
as the NDB's Location, Distance, Offsets, Cycle time, etc.

As always, make your log meaningful to everyone by including the listening
location and details of the receiver, aerial(s), etc.

It would be OK to use one remote receiver, with the owner's permission if
necessary, provided that ALL your loggings for the CLE are made using it.
We will send the usual 'Any More Logs?' email at about 20:00 UTC on WEDNESDAY so that you can check that your log has been found OK.

Do make sure that your log has arrived on the List at the very latest by 09:00 UTC on THURSDAY 31 October.  

Remember that you can find all CLE-related information from our CLE page
( ), including a link to the seek lists andmaps provided for this Event from the Rxx Database.

Good listening

From:      Brian Keyte G3SIA       ndbcle'at'
Location:  Surrey,  SE England     (CLE coordinator)

(Reminder:  You could use any one remote receiver for your loggings,
stating its location and owner - with their permission if required.
A remote listener may NOT also use another receiver, whether local
or remote, to obtain further loggings for the same CLE).

These listening events serve several purposes. They:
  • determine, worldwide, which beacons are actually in service and on-the-air so the online database can be kept up-to-date
  • determine, worldwide, which beacons are out-of-service or have gone silent since the last CLE covering this range
  • will indicate the state of propagation conditions at the various participant locations
  • will give you an indication of how well your LF/MF receiving system is working
  • give participants a fun yet challenging activity to keep their listening skills honed

The NDB List Group is a great place to learn more about the 'Art of NDB DXing' or to meet other listeners in your region. There is a lot of good information available there and new members are always very welcome. As well, you can follow the results of other CLE participants from night to night as propagation is always an active topic of discussion.

You need not be an NDB List member to participate in the CLEs and all reports, no matter how small, are of much value to the organizers. 

Remember - 'First-time' logs are always VERY welcome!

Reports may be sent to the NDB List Group or e-mailed to CLE co-ordinator, Brian Keyte (G3SIA), whose address appears above. If you are a member of the group, all final results will also be e-mailed and posted there.

Please ... give the CLE a try ... then let us know what NDB's can be heard from your location! Your report can then be added to the worldwide database to help keep it up-to-date.

Have fun and good hunting!


Anonymous said...

Hi Steve. I didn't submit an NDB log for this CLE. It wasn't that I missed the session, or didn't hear enough beacons.

No - it was because the electricians pulled the power to Brock Hall at 5:30 AM and I lost my logfile.

At the time, conditions weren't very good. I remember logging a dozen receptions in 335-349.9 kHz including the usually reliable Americans LLD, ELF, SBX, RYN and the rejuvenated ADK and POY. I remember waiting a few hours for YC to strengthen, and sure enough it did, wedging its ID into XX's DAID pauses (otherwise swamped as usual). The North was not coming it at all. The Pacific began to open and ML was logged (also UKS). My CLE was interrupted when a curious student popped in. I gave him a station tour and a quick lesson on RF and HF, and he went back to his engineering studies. He worked all night in another part of the building. I saw him again after having my breakfast.

The sudden darkness and silence were very disorientating. A few seconds passed before I realized where I was. Worries set in that the whole city might be without power. But the campus seemed normal, and while the stars were bright, the sky was as light-polluted as usual. By the way, I was recently informed that "all UBC buildings have emergency power". So logically there was no way to confirm that power was indeed still coming in on the BC Hydro feeder. But Brock Annex (where the ham club is located) does not have emergency power. --Ironically. Eventually I discovered the electricians at work in the basement and cleared up my mystery before I took the decision to walk 4 miles home to assist my XYL, who might have been seriously disadvantaged by a lengthy power cut. Although another dwelling on my street was indeed without power, my own QTH was fine. --That is, until our elevator went on the blink Monday morning. Grrrr.

Anyway, looking up at the Yagi on the roof of Brock, it stood out clearly against the stars. But something was wrong. VE7UBC's 6-element KLM beam was now 5-and-half elements.

The electricians finished their work while I slept on the couch, and by noon things were back to normal at VE7UBC. I found the broken-off Yagi element lying on the grass in the morning. The boom/element insulator had cracked in half. A gust of the west wind took it down probably while I was turning the beam to work the Pitcairn DX-pedition, the only SSB signal on 20m that night and the only conceivable station with a 180 degree azimuth from UBC.

The Yagi was designed to handle a 160 km/h wind, when the peak gust was only 60. A post mortem of the insulator showed dirt inside the crack where it failed. Rain was puddling in the saddle and seeping into the crack. The element pipe was out of round where the screws go through. And the crack is a beeline between the screw holes. Were the screws overtightened in 1986? And the crack had developed over time?

The high SWR on 20m is explainable as the broken element was the D1, closest to the "drivens". I had noticed that the SWR was going up and down in the wind. The elements are in halves with a shorting strap across the ends where they are clamped into the insulator. Of course, the strap parted. It was too weak to hold the element together by itself, assuming it had not already failed. The strap may have been working back and forth in and out of contact, explaining the SWR changes.

And to add insult to injury, UBC still plans to decommission the tower, move the club's assets, and demolish the building in December. So we have no plans to risk injury working on the beam. Hopefully it will remain usable. It's fun and sad to imagine the rope holding the Sword of Damocles over this 100-year-old club.

I was able to reconstruct from memory all the 120 entries in my lost NDB logfile. Times were approximated, and none of the entries was worth submitting to CLE or RNA.

Life was a bigger box of chocolates than usual.


Steve McDonald said...

Hi Dan...the curious absence of your CLE log was noted but I'm happy to hear that it wasn't because you were MIA because of anything health related. Your story would make a blog unto itself.
Sorry to hear about the loss of logs. I guess that is one good reason to still be old-school and keep paper logs. I do this for most everything, not because I want to avoid the possibility of losing them in a crash but just because I'm too disorganized to deal with them on computer while on the fly.
Conditions truly sucked for all three nights. Here in SW BC, evidently we are still too close to that giant auroral zone whose influence always seem to stretch out just far enough to the SW to blast us with just the slightest hiccup from the Sun.
Let's hope this stuff abates at some point but I seem to have been saying this about Cycle 24 now for at least 4 years!

See you next CLE I hope. 73 Steve