Reverse Beacon Network News - #1
- The reverse beacon network has started to take off. As I write this, we
have 10 CW Skimmer reverse beacons active, and 16 have been on the network
in the last 24 hours. 20 and 40 meters are currently covered, and stations
are active on both US coasts and in the midwest midwest, as well as
northern and southern Europe. I have a promise that a station will be
activated in VK-land soon.
Reverse beacons come and go at will. The network is constantly
changing. You can find out which reverse beacons are active by going to
http://skimmer.dxwatch.com/skimmers.php. See the spots pour in at
Felipe, PY1NB has also activated a pretty sophisticated query capability on
the main site at http://skimmer.dxwatch.com/ With a little thought, you can
find out what is being heard by a given reverse beacon, by whom, on what
bands, etc. For example, you can see what European stations were heard
first on a given band on a given day in the US - F5RRS opened the 20M band
today, all up and down the East Coast.
A couple of notes for prospective participants:
-- A wide-band receiver is not absolutely required to try out the reverse
beacon idea. Download and install a trial copy of Skimmer 1.1 (you can do
this again even if you downloaded a trial copy of version 1.0) from
www.dxatlas.com. Download the "aggregator" from
http://skimmer.dxwatch.com/downloads/skimmer_aggregator.zip. Connect a
cable from the audio of your transceiver to the Line In jack on your sound
card (any old sound card will work for this).
Run Skimmer and set it up in 3-KHz radio mode. Fill in the operator
tab. Tune your radio to an area of activity on any band, and you should
see CW streams on the Skimmer waterfall. Start the aggregator, and your
spots will go to the network - that's all there is to it.
One caution - Skimmer works best if you use its frequency controls to
change your radio's frequency - you would need to set up Omni-Rig for your
radio, on the CAT tab in Skimmer's settings, and set up for computer
control of your radio if you haven't already. My experiments suggest that
if you tune your radio with that big knob in the middle you will have to
stop and wait a bit before Skimmer gets sorted out and starts decoding
-- Be sure you enter a 6-character grid square in the location field of the
Operator tab in Skimmer. If you don't know the last two, enter LL or MM
(the center of the 4-character grid square.
See you on the reverse beacon network?
73, Pete N4ZR