Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reverse Beacon Network: Amazing!

I've often peeked at http://www.reversebeacon.net/, the Reverse Beacon network that uses a network of observers equipped with CWSkimmer to list the heard stations that are calling CQ on CW. If you can find an observer near you, it gives a pretty interesting view of propagation.

During the IntDX competition this past weekend, I thought I might have been picked up, but as a QRP station, I didn't do any CQ'ing during this contest; consequently, I didn't get added to the mix.

So this morning I tested the network: I made a single CQ on a pretty dead 15m, by hand. Sure enough, I was picked up by the K4TD skimmer!

This is nifty in two ways. First, I think the RBN shows how CW continues to have strengths as a mode. It is digital enough that current computing technology can parse it (and, of course, create it); but it is a digital mode that was created for human production and decoding, so we don't have to have a computer in the middle to play with it. Second, and more practically, this is a beacon network that encourages you to make QSOs. You're only going to be picked up if you call CQ!

1 comment:

  1. There is another benefit to the RBN: every single station that calls CQ is picked up somewhere. On the classic DX cluster, some people might only spot their friends (or themselves).
    I too am surprised by the thoroughness of the system: a single CQ is immediately picked up by a dozen skimmers! The signal strength indication is a nice bonus, especially if you want to make comparisons.
    Thanks for the QSO on 80 this past weekend.
    73 de Franki ON5ZO = OQ5M