Amateur Radio Reverse Beacon Network

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Feb 23, 2010.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amateur Radio Reverse Beacon Network

    Instead of beacons actively transmitting signals, the Reverse Beacon Network is a network of stations listening to the bands and reporting what stations they hear, when and how well.

    It enables you to see band openings in near-real time on an animated map. You can call a quick CQ, and see which reverse beacons hear you, and how strong you are.

    There is also a database of past "spots". You can instantly find out what stations, from a given country or zone, have been heard, at what times and on what frequencies. You can see when you've been spotted, who spotted you, and how loud you were.

    The Reverse Beacon Network depends on volunteer stations. Currently, there are a few dozen, some active almost 24/7, others coming up only occasionally.

    Find out more at

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  2. G4ILO

    G4ILO Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is nothing new about this, unless it's the domain name. This is the one that reports spots made using the $75 CW Skimmer software and some add-in script, used by a handful of users.

    There is another reverse beacon network that is much more widely used and contains many more spots because it is supported by many free programs including HRD, Fldigi and JT65-HF. It mostly contains automated spots from PSK browsers of PSK31 signals, but it does accept spots of signals in any mode. You can find it at
  3. K7NRA

    K7NRA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dont they call these DX Clusters??:cool:
  4. AB1JM

    AB1JM Ham Member QRZ Page

    II have to agree with G4ILO. The pskreporter is much better and much more widely used.

  5. AJ4MJ

    AJ4MJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's also WSPR. G4ILO has a great tutorial on it! :)
  6. N3VQH

    N3VQH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems almost like an ad....

    Can't tell from the site if I need this 75$ software? If not I'm ok with it... if so then this is just an ad...

    Love the PSKreporter and HRD

  7. N4ZR

    N4ZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    There seem to be some misunderstandings afoot, so let us try to briefly put them to rest.

    First, the RBN is not an advertisement. There are far more people using CW Skimmer than are connected to the RBN. Individuals are using it to chase DX. Others are using it as an alternative to DX clusters, for DXing or for contesting. What we have done is to make it easy for people who are already using Skimmer to report their spots to a central point for display and archiving. The resulting database is huge and rapidly growing.

    There is one critical difference between the RBN and PSKReporter/WSPRNET, which is enabled by the unique combination of CW Skimmer and software-defined receivers. Skimmers report all the CW activity on a band, or up to seven bands at once, independent of frequency. During the ARRL DX Contest, in 48 hours the RBN archived over 300,000 spots on 160-10 meters, despite serious problems with the server throughput which suggest that as many as 2/3 of spots didn't get through.

    Multi-band Skimmers were operating from Europe, North and South America, Australia and Japan. If you were on during the contest, the chances are very good that you were spotted. You can go to the RBN and ask.

    We are very conscious of the fact that the RBN is having growing pains, and that it could be a much better resource for the amateur community with an expanded team working on configuration and code optimization, a more flexible query engine, and similar problems.
    With this in mind, we have set up a blog at and intend to use that platform to invite others' contributions. Please check it out.

    73, Pete N4ZR and Felipe, PY1NB
  8. AJ4MJ

    AJ4MJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the additional information.

    It's also worth noting that WSPR only hears transmissions that were meant for WSPRnet spotting. PSKreporter and CWSkimmer "overhear" ordinary QSOs and produce more data points that way.

    To those who don't like the $75 price tag I offer two suggestions - 1) don't use it or 2) go write your own freeware version. It's nice that a lot of ham software is free, but Icom and Kenwood don't give away radios for free. Why is there such a sense of entitlement around software?

    73 de AJ4MJ

    PS - I have no connection to Skimmer or RBN. I'm just a guy who writes software (non ham radio) to feed his family.
  9. W4DNR

    W4DNR Ham Member QRZ Page

    PSK Reporter and Six Meters

    Wish more people would use PSK Reporter on Six Meters.

    Don WA4NPL
  10. G4ASR

    G4ASR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry but I have to disagree. The network you mention is aimed at PSK users (and possibly WSPR people).

    The Reverse Beacon Network is more often used by out and out CW DXers.

    I see myself often on RBN on 1.8MHz/3.5MHz - never on the networks you mention.

    In my opinion they are two separate - and valuable- resources.

    73 David G4ASR:)
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