Monday, August 16, 2010

NCDXF Beacons: 17 Meters Shows Promise

I have heard Lower 48 hams extol the fun of the 18 MHz band, and I must confess being a bit intrigued.  Several weeks ago I heard a brief European opening in the middle of local night, and I worked a JA at the same time.  Twenty meters was essentially lifeless, and 15m was DOA.  During the solar upset earlier in the month, I was surprised to hear VK/ZL phone transmissions on 17 meters when little could be detected elsewhere.  I decided to download Faros by VE3NEA and spend a few days monitoring the high-band beacon network sponsored by the Northern California DX Foundation.  

The following 24-hour sample shows some surprising (to me) openings on 17 meters.  The vertical axis on each sub-graph represents frequency in MHz.  The horizontal axis shows time starting at 0000Z and major ticks every three hours.  The boxes represent time slots for each beacon, and colors range from dark blue to orange and red to indicate increasing signal strength.  paths are fairly weak.  (Some beacons, like 4U1UN, are off the air.)

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