W0ILO 10M Beacon Back On The Air

RRRA’s W0ILO 10M beacon is operational again thanks to the efforts of W0HNV, WB0BIN, and AI0Q at the Sabin beacon site on May 27th, 2017.

The rig and beacon controller were tested into a dummy load, and the feedline and antenna were checked with an analyzer. All of the equipment was found to be in good working order and the beacon was placed in service. It has been operating since the 27th.

On June 2nd AI0Q received several reports of reception: one from North Carolina and one from Alabama. Both stations received the W0ILO 10M Beacon via sporadic E propagation.

About the W0ILO 10M Beacon

  • Operating frequency: 28286.5 KHz
  • Beacon location: Sabin, Minnesota, approximately 8 miles SE of Fargo, North Dakota
  • Transmitter: Kenwood TS-50
  • Controller: Arduino
  • Antenna: Antron 99, vertically polarized at 140'

The beacon sends a 3 block morse code message:

(location) (output power/antenna) (grid square)

The message is repeated at alternating speeds: first at 15 words per minute and then at 20 words per minute. Some automated monitoring stations report message speeds of 13 and 17 words per minute. This discrepancy may be due to Arduino processing overhead.

The beacon message was designed to be resistant to changing band conditions and to be easy to receive by using:

  • Short message length
  • Call-sign repetition

Transmitting the beacon message at two speeds is intended to help listeners. The faster speed may allow complete message reception when propagation conditions do not allow for sufficiently long lived transmission paths. And the slower speed may help listeners who need slower morse code speeds to decode the beacon message when propagation is good and steady.