HF Beacons and the Reverse Beacon Network, 2020

Here is  a table of the twenty fixed-frequency stations most often posted by the RBN in 2020:

Position Station Frequency (kHz) Number of Posts
1 CS3B
14100 113,851
2 YV5B
14100 98,980
5 AA1K 1821 81,490
6 OH2B
14100 63,044
7 W6WX
14100 62,000
8 OP5K
7017 55,551
9 HB4FV/B 10134
10 UA3KW 14006
11 SP3CW 3565 45,430
12 4X6TU 18110
13 DK5JPL 3541
14 EW7LO 7008
15 OP5K 7018
16 CS3B 18110
17 4X6TU 14100 38,866
18 DK4AN 3569
19 SQ6JAN 3565 37,424
20 DJ6UX

  1. Frequencies are rounded to the nearest kHz;
  2. I am unsure how the U.S. stations in the list can be legal, since the FCC's regulations appear to limit [unattended] HF beacons to a portion of 10m;
  3. It is my memory that the original HF beacons were all located on 28 MHz, so that listeners could be made aware of an opening. It is noticeable that not a single one of the stations on the list above is on 10m: the vast majority are on bands that can reasonably be expected to support some kind of non-local propagation at almost all times (which is probably the very reason that they are posted by the RBN so often -- but one does wonder what the putative purpose of such a beacon is);
  4. The two entries for OP5K probably reflect errors in the reporting of frequency by the RBN stations; the actual frequency was probably at or close to 7017.5 kHz
Below are figures showing, for each of the stations in the table above, the signal strength as reported by the ten RBN stations that most frequently posted each individual beacon station.

In the following figures:
  1. The ordinate for each of the strip charts ranges between 0 dB and the value shown as FSD (i.e., full scale deflection) near the bottom right-hand corner; in this case, the maximum value of each strip is therefore 80 dB.
  2. The value plotted in this manner is the value denoted SNR by the RBN.  Remember that the RBN has an odd definition of SNR.
  3. The abscissa is divided into a number of bins of equal duration. On each plot there are 100 such bins; because the duration covered by each plot is one year, each bin therefore covers about 3½ days.
  4. At the bottom of each strip chart is a coloured bar. Each bin in these bars is coloured so as to represent the total number of times that the RBN station spotted the beacon in the period covered by the bin.The colour legend for each figure is to the right of the figure.
  5. For the period covered by each 3½-day bin, the lower quartile of SNR readings is coloured grey, the upper quartile is coloured white, and the middle two quartiles are coloured blue.
  6. The vertical order of the various RBN stations is determined solely by the chronological order in which each station first spotted the beacon.

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