Topband: how to set up a Skype receiving beacon

Tod - MN tod at
Wed Mar 8 13:18:21 EST 2006

I am not sure that I agree with Tom (yet) on this one. 

>  What would happen if 160 ops  everywhere created what really amounts 
> to a single frequency DXTuner connection? We might as well toss DXCC 
> and everything  else the rest of the way down the sewer. Already we 
> can move from coast to coast and keep scores, and we already have chat
rooms and DX clusters that allow people who can't hear but transmit well to
work DX they would never work through radio alone.

Once the rule was changed to permit counting countries worked from outside
of a 75 mile circle (or whatever it used to be) the T-Rex was out of the
cage [Jurassic Park reference].  My experience with Skype is that there is
enough time delay that it will be very hard to use such "reverse beacons" to
contest communicate -- perhaps DX calling, I don't know.

There already is so much planet surface position bias and planet surface
area bias ( space for RX antennas) in the RX options for 160 that DXCC is of
no real concern to many 160 operators -- it is not even a 'gleam in their
eye'.  A major part of the effort in getting DXCC on any band pre-LOTW was
"getting the cards".  I have no idea if that has changed or not. 

I suggest we see what happens when there are a few of these reverse beacons
in place and in use before we decide they are probably a good or bad thing
to have around. Clearly the cost ($) of putting one in operation is quite
low. So if the consensus decision if that we should probably cease doing
such things no one will be out a bunch of money. I have not tried Eric's
reverse beacon yet but I do intend to do so simply to get an A/B test of
what the differences are between RX locations as well as to hear A/B
differences in antennas.

> A second lesser concern would be QRM. With multiple people  attempting 
> to access a receiver with multiple transmitters, we will have random 
> transmissions on the "beacon" frequency.  Certainly any DX receiver should
be placed outside traditionally active areas of the bands.

There may be a point of concern here. However, if one were to limit the
number of simultaneous users (one or maybe two), then the QRM would be
reduced. If the number of simultaneous users were not limited, then I would
agree with Tom that the reverse beacon should moved to less often used band
segments. That does create a problem for people who have in mind A/B tests
of their transmitting antennas. The antennas probably have a somewhat
limited range of optimum frequencies. Maybe 'good judgment' and 'peer
review' are sufficient control for this concern.

> This might be an unpopular statement, but I think multiple beacon
receivers are an exceptionally bad thing long term.

I have no idea if it is (or is going to be) an unpopular statement, but in
my mind it is a premature judgment; although a reasonable statement as a
warning of a potential future problem.

> What we really need are coordinated medium power transmitting  beacons 
> shoved off to one edge of the band, occupying only one spot. People can't
use them to cheat the system and they  would encourage random QRM.

I think this is a good suggestion. Properly placed reverse beacons could be
helpful without being harmful. I think perhaps a small range of frequencies
rather than a single frequency might be a better choice. Certainly limiting
the special "suggested" frequency segment to 5 kHz  would permit several
reverse beacons to be used at the same time while still isolating their
impact from the rest of the band activity.

Someone may have an idea of a good choice for such a special us segment  --
even the things that should be considered when selecting the 'special use'
band segment frequencies would be a good topic. Airing thoughts before
committing can sometimes avoid 'unintended consequences'. [ W1AW frequency
move choice, etc.].

I am sharing some 'early' thoughts here and I suspect there may be others
who 'early' thoughts of their own. It would probably be of use to share some
of those thoughts on this reflector  just in case the really significant
points have yet to be identified or discussed.


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