Noon Friday —
I don’t mention beacons all that often at kc9bqa.com because the goal here is to increase on-air activity — meaning voices and CW keys that are attached to live humans.
But beacons are very important and with some new ones on the air, it’s time for an update.
I am not trying to list every beacon within tropo range of EN63. If you have one I’m not aware of, please use the “comment” feature and share your beacon discoveries. Bands I’ll cover are 50, 144, 222, 432, 902/3 and 1296 MHz. Try to keep the territory within 200-300 miles of WI.
If you want a much longer list of beacons, here’s two good links:
http://www.newsvhf.com/beacons2.html covers 144 MHz and higher and…
http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/por/50.htm covers exclusively 50 MHz (6 meters)
Save those to your VHF/UHF favorites folder. Don’t rely on kc9bqa.com for your only source of beacon info.
Sharp-eyed readers of the 144 and higher beacon list may notice a 144.290 beacon out of EN43, LaCrosse WI. That one went off the air at least 1-2 years ago, and as far as I know, has not come back on the air.
The one beacon you will hear the most often in WI is on 144.298. It’s the WD9BGA beacon from EN53ba, in the SW corner of the grid, about 40 miles WSW of Madison, WI. This beacon is up very high and gets out a long ways with its 10 watts. VHF’ers from hundreds of miles away listen for this beacon, to gauge whether the band is open beyond the normal 200-400 mile range.
Another beacon I always hear is the WR9L/B, on 144.283, located in EN61bd, an hour S of Chicago – runs 10 watts.
On 432 MHz, a very reliable beacon is on 432.300 – the W2UHI/B from EN63vb, Grand Haven, in western MI. Runs 10w, also.
If you’re looking for a 222 MHz beacon, I suggest W0ZQ’s 222.062 beacon from EN34it, Bloomington, MN (Twin Cities). Jon’s running 10w into a Big Wheel at 60′. I see a 222.051/B listed in EN82ln, Detroit area and a 222.055/B listed in EN93vd, Waterford, ONT. Unsure if either of those are currently operating. Actual reports are welcome — again — use the “comment” feature at the bottom of every post.
Want to mention several newer beacons…
1) W9WZJ/B on 144.289 from EM69jr, just west of Indianapolis. 1 watt to a pair of M2 omni-loops up 30’. (Horizontally-polarized because that’s the custom on 144 MHz) Darin would appreciate reception reports to email@example.com
EDIT — EDIT Jan. 10, 2013. W9WZJ just emailed to say that his beacon is now OFF the air. The rig has been loaned to a ham who needs a 2m SSB rig right now. If this beacon comes back on the air, I will update kc9bqa.com.
EDIT — EDIT April 2013. As mentioned in this newer post from April 13th, http://kc9bqa.com/?p=6964m the W9WZJ/B in EM69jr is back on the air, and the power is up to 10w.
2) N4PZ has powerful beacons on 432 MHz and 1.2 GHz. They are located in EN52gb, a good hour west of Chicago. The 432.280 beacon runs 50w and the 1296.274 beacon is 10 watts split to a pair of yagis. One is pointed at the Twin Cities and the other at Kansas City. Both beacons are active from 6-9am and again from 6pm-midnight, central time. N4PZ would appreciate reception reports. Remember that N4PZ also calls 432.100 activity every Monday evening at 8pm central from his EN52gb QTH. He’s got a box of yagis and big QRO, when he peaks up on you, you know it.
3) WI8Z/B is on 144.282 from EN84ca, or 40-45 miles north of Saginaw, MI. Power and height unknown at this time.
4) WB2LHP/B is on 144.285 from EN74gq, on a TV tower just outside of Traverse City, MI. The beacon runs 1w and unfortunately, has a vertical antenna. I say unfortunately because that’s the wrong polarization if you want the SSB/CW guys on 144 MHz to hear this beacon. It’ll work great for the FM/repeater community, but I doubt that’s the intended audience. Hopefully in time, this beacon will transmit via a horizontally-polarized antenna, because it sounds like a great location. Either way, appreciate any ham who goes to the trouble to put up a beacon.
Speaking of MI beacons, want to mention N8PUM in the Upper Peninsula. For years, Brandon has had various beacons. Some of them (144 and 222, I believe) use yagis pointed north, to help hams know when the bands come alive with auroral propagation. As of July 2012, N8PUM’s QRZ.com writeup says only his 6m beacon is currently active. But lately, I’ve seen a beacon talked about on 432.311 from EN57vi, Mt. Horace, Greeley, MI – on the Keweenaw Peninsula, the part that juts out into Lake Superior. The new info says the 432.311 N8PUM/B runs 3w into a turnstile antenna.