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Australian medium wave beacon heard nationwide

Date : 21 / 03 / 2014
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

The VK3FI CW beacon on 473 kHz at Mildura in northwest Victoria has had more than 50 reception reports from all over Australia since early this year and will continue its transmissions. The most distant reports have been from West Australia VK6. Is it also heard in New Zealand? The ZL stations have begun listening for it and expect conditions to improve during the southern hemisphere winter.

Some overseas inquiries have been received asking when it will be on different weak modes, but the intention is to continue the experiment with the home-brew beacon on CW, for a little while yet. While reports are most welcome, including those who have reception at different times or days, many more are needed.

The band 472-479 kHz is now a secondary allocation in many countries. The beacon encourages use of the new band. A couple of VKs have advised that they are now gearing up for reception. In Queensland, John Goldfinch VK4FNQ east of Charters Towers was the first from that state to report, followed by Rick Freemantle VK4RF, north of Brisbane, and Dougal Johnston VK4EKA near Toowoomba who recorded reception during lightning activity.

Among those in South Australia is Ian Maxted VK5ZIM at Adelaide. In West Australia Phil Hartwell VK6GX was first to provide a reception report. He was followed by Peter Zwarecz VK6APZ on a 350 metre long wire at fence height, and then came Derek Zeck VK6DZ.

Noel VK3FI is amazed that his beacon has been heard from VK6 at an average distance of 2400 kms, and as we experience the winter season with longer nights and less lightning activity, reception conditions should improve. He now has hopes that spurred on by reception reports throughout Australia, the beacon will be detected across the ditch in New Zealand. Crossing the Tasman Sea would be quite an achievement and is now an aim of Noel VK3FI.

The CW beacon on 473 kHz is on most nights 1100 to 2200 UTC. Reception reports please on email to vk3fi@wia.org.au


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