Radio: it's not just a hobby, it's a way of life

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR for storms, probably for much of the week if the forecast holds

Field Day 2016 MF/LF/VLF message/beacon demonstration opportunity

– Posted in: 630 Meter General Topics, 630 Meters

Field day 2016 is now complete.  You can read some of the reports by clicking HERE.

Stations participating in the Field Day 2016 demonstration opportunity follow (Updated June 26, 2016 2357z):

Callsign State kHz Mode ERP Amateur Call sign Comments
WG2XIQ TX 474.5 CW 5-7W KB5NJD  ~8 minute message repeated :00, :15, :30, :45
WG2XSV WA 475.5 CW 1W W0YSE/7
WM IL 185.301 QRSS + CW 6 mW N8OOU *see note below
VO1MRC NL Canada 477.7 CW 2W VO1NA
WH2XAR AZ 474.9 CW 500 mW NR5O Fri/Sat 0300-1200z
WD2XSH/26 WA 475.7 WSPR (+CW) TBD W7WKR Tx: hh02,hh12,hh22
VE7CNF BC Canada 477.5 CW 2W VE7CNF QSL via QRZ.com
VE3OT ON Canada 477.3 CW <1W VE3OT QRV 24/7 FD weekend

WH2XND     AZ           74.100     WSPR         .215W        NI7J           VLF ‘live’ Test

* WM will operate on a 30 minute cycle with a 25 minute QRSS message and 30 second CW message at 18 words per minute.  More details at http://wmbeacon.meekfarm.us/


What is this?

Weather permitting, the operators above have agreed to operate their station during ARRL Field Day 2016 as a demonstration opportunity for Field Day participants at sites across North America.  This outreach opportunity is intended to introduce individuals that might not otherwise realize the scope of activity occurring below the AM broadcast band.

How can I receive these stations?

The intent is to use amateur receivers and antennas that are already available at Field Day sites.  Most modern HF rigs will tune down to about 100 kHz.  Others are reported to work down to 30 kHz.  HF Dipoles, verticals, and loops are commonly used to receive these stations.  The fact that they are not matched is often a “feature”, improving signal-to-noise during an otherwise noisy summer.  Some sites might have provisions for low band receive-only antennas to accompany their low band operations.  Posted frequencies are carrier frequencies unless otherwise specified.

What type of transmissions will be made?

This varies from year to year and station to station.  Some stations will use simple beacons with their information and operating conditions.  The messages originating from my station is similar to the ARRL Field Day bulletin and tends to last 7-9 minutes at 18-20 WPM and runs every 15 minutes “on the 15”.  Other stations may run continuous.  Some stations may be operating digital modes which may need software in order to decode.  QRSS modes will benefit from software packages like ARGO.  If you don’t copy CW, there are plenty of software packages, like FLDigi, that will.

When is the best time to hear these stations?

If you happen to be within a hundred miles of one of these stations, you may be able to hear and decode them 24-hours a day using something as simple as a hand-held short wave receiver that also covers MF and LF.  Ground wave conditions during the daylight hours are very good, even during the summer.  Skywave conditions will vary with solar and geomagnetic conditions as well as season but conceivably stations could be heard hundreds or thousands of miles away even during the summer under optimum conditions.

OK, I’ve copied the message or beacon.  Now what?

You receive bonus points for originating NTS traffic during the Field Day period so why not send a message to the ARRL and let them know who you heard.  Also look up the station your heard on QRZ and request a QSL card.  You can also help by submitting a web report at http://w5jgv.com/enterlogs.htm.

Details on last year’s event and participants can be found here.

If you would like to hear a recording of the message that my station, WG2XIQ, transmitted in 2015, as recorded by the Tony, NT5TM, of the Dallas Amateur Radio club, click here.

This page will be updated with participants as information becomes available.