K5RWK’s 10M Propagation Beacon

By Chip Coker KD4C

The RWK maintains a 10 Meter CW Beacon that is part of the worldwide IARU Beacon Network. Through our beacon and others operating worldwide, you can determine real-time propagation on 10M. It is installed on the roof at the Methodist Hospital at Campbell and Collins along with some other RWK equipment.

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 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 beacon transmits into 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.

The beacon was a gift to RWK from Jeffrey Smith N5TIT, who originally purchased the beacon in 2021 and approached RWK for a location to install it. Jeffrey subsequently has moved to Colorado and he donated the beacon to RWK with the understanding that we will take care of it and keep it on the air.

How Do I Use The Beacon?

You can always listen to the beacon in the North Texas area to check your radio or antenna, but the best use of the beacon is not for you to hear it – It’s to see who else in the world can hear it. Cause if they can hear a 10w CW beacon, then it’s likely that they can hear your station at whatever 10M frequency you are on. The beacon is a great source of real-time propagation information. There are stations worldwide that “sniff” the CW signals of ours and many other CW beacons, and then report the results to the Reverse Beacon Network. You can look at the RBN anytime of the day (or night) to see just where the beacon has been received.

Recent image from the Reverse Beacon Network to see who is hearing our K5RWK/B 10M Propagation Beacon.

You can click on the following link to see the latest info: https://www.reversebeacon.net/main.php?zoom=36.34,-86.61,2.40&rows=25&spotters=1&max_age=2,hours&spotted_call=K5RWK/B&hide=distance_km

At the peak of Cycle 25, 10 Meters is open daily worldwide, and this tool will help you make the most of it!