Six meter beacon temporarily shut down (it’s back on now)

Update: We’re back on the air as of 4 December 2019. Please post reception reports via your favorite retail DX cluster.

As of 4 June 2020, the original transmitter is back in service. It seems to be running at slightly reduced power but that should not impact receivability when the band is open. Already reports have been received from EM31 and EM60.

(Previous post:)

The NF8M/B beacon at 50.0763 MHz is shut down effective 22 November 2019.

The beacon has been using a temporary transmitter (first a Kenwood TS-690, then a Yaesu FT-817 after lightning damaged the 690). I’m working on a replacement for the transmitter and don’t wish to tie up the 817 for a long period of time; thus, the shutdown.

I hope to have another transmitter in place in the near future and apologize for the service interruption.


Six meter beacon on the air after an extended outage

Update: To take advantage of the 6 meter propagation we’re having, the beacon is temporarily back on the air at 2200z on 3 June using a substitute transmitter set for an output of 8 watts. I also replaced the quarter wave groundplane antenna with a Cushcraft Ringo which hasn’t noticeably changed the effective-radiated power.

The NF8M beacon at 50.0763 MHz is off the air as of 2000z on 24 January 2019 for an unknown period of time. The output seems to be quite dirty and is full of chirpy spurious emissions up and down the band and into non-amateur spectrum below 50 MHz. Also, the antenna sustained some damage in the last week or so, which is probably not the cause of the issue.

The beacon transmitter will be re-examined and repaired if possible; however, there’s a chance that the beacon could be shut down for an extended time period. Further updates will be posted here.

Beverage antenna project

A few years ago I built a shielded loop for receiving on 160 meters, but after attending W3LPL’s Contest University session on effective top band antennas, I thought about installing a better receive antenna. The loop does a decent job, with the 15 dB preamp I built to go along with it, but Frank pointed out that a Beverage antenna generally has better gain, directivity, and front/back ratio than a loop. There happens to be some forested land behind and down the block from our house, so I decided to try putting up a Beverage and see how it works. Continue reading “Beverage antenna project”

N1MM+ on Linux

The N1MM+ contest logging program is among the most popular, if not the most popular, loggers in use by contesters up and down the spectrum. It supports a wide variety of contests and works well with features supporting the largest multi/multi and the smallest “little pistol” alike. It’s constantly under development by a team of volunteer programmers, is frequently updated and is well supported. Best of all, it’s free for the download.

Unfortunately for those of us who choose either the open-source computing life (or are Macintosh users), N1MM+ is only available for the Microsoft Windows operating platform. We have ways, though, Continue reading “N1MM+ on Linux”

Practice, practice

I’ll skip the usual joke about asking for directions to Carnegie Hall, but the advice to practice is just as valid, whether it’s music or ham radio.

With the publication of the 2017 ARRL November Sweepstakes results, I checked the score database and my log checking report to see how badly I was nicked this year. I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading “Practice, practice”