The RWK maintains a 10 Meter CW Beacon that is part of the worldwide Reverse Beacon Network. Through our beacon and others operating worldwide, you can determine real-time propagation on 10M. The beacon was provisioned by Jeff N5TIT and donated to RWK.
The purpose of the beacon is to provide a known consistent signal that is on the air constantly – day and night, winter and summer – for detection by hams and known Reverse Beacon Stations (RBS).
The beacon transmits 24 hours/day on an IARU-Coordinated frequency of 28209.0 kHz. Transmission is 15 WPM CW “VVV DE K5RWK/B EM12PX K5RWK/B EM12PX K5RWK/B EM12PX E E E E E E” on a one minute repeat cycle.
The local beacon isn’t really intended to be a help to local RWK hams by hearing the beacon itself, but more of a contribution to the overall Reverse Beacon Network. If a far off beacon network station can hear our 10M beacon transmitting at 10W, then propagation should be available to those locations.
You can view the current list of worldwide beacon stations in IARU Region 2 here: https://www.iaru-r2.org/en/on-the-air/beacon-network/
Reverse Beacon Network
The RBN is essentially fueled by a global network of volunteer receiving and decoding stations that feed information into the RBN spotting system. This system is running 24/7 and recording spots constantly.
The K5RWK/B beacon shows as #37 in the world-wide ranking of beacons (as of Sept 2023) with almost 4,000 spots per year.
This image shows the current data:
You can look at the statistics over time and observe the trend for when 10 Meters is open, or just filter it for today.
10M Beacon Hardware
The RWK beacon is AA7DJ Custom-designed compact 10 Watt 10M beacon that utilizes a 4x5x2 inch (100x125x50 mm) aluminum box with a single printed circuit board inside with a frequency synthesizer and controller and a two-stage power amplifier. The synthesizer has a PLL chip, VCO, crystal reference, and microcontroller which produces a frequency code for PLL and generates a CW message and keying sequence for the amplifier board. Additionally the microcontroller generates a control signal for opening a possible external amplifier for each word transmitting in the message. This helps to keep resting both internal and external power amplifiers while pauses are in transmission. Frequency stability is about 10-50 PPM determined by the used crystal.
More information about Vlad AA7DJ’s Beacon Transmitters (he has beacons for several bands) can be found on his QRZ page.
The antenna is a Cushcraft AR10 10-Meter Ringo Vertical Antenna. This antenna is a 1/2 wave vertical antenna with a low angle of radiation for good long-haul DX. This antenna is located on a 100-foot building in Richardson TX (EM12px) with a full 360-degree view of the horizon.