20m Beacons

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by KM4BLG, Jan 4, 2017.

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  1. KM4BLG

    KM4BLG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi all,

    I sometimes have a hard time understanding "legalese" so maybe someone could help me clear this up. Is it legal to have a beacon on 20m in the US? I have seen people do it, but I wonder if they are allowed to. I was wanting to put up a WSPR beacon.


    Zach - KM4BLG
  2. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think Part 97 says only 6 and 10m use is allowed using CW. Don't know about WSPR.
  3. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Part 97.203.

    More important is that putting a beacon on crowded 20 meter band is just going to piss people off. And there's no useful point to it technically or operationally with other technologies that are already available.
  4. KG7FIU

    KG7FIU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Perhaps if you operated "occasionally" and didn't cause undue interference.
    Also, being careful to shut down during contests, and at other times when the band was busy. Maybe then people wouldn't complain.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  5. WB9FUB

    WB9FUB Ham Member QRZ Page

    What would be the reason to have a "beacon"? Someone near me runs a beacon on 14.318 with a pulsating tone. The time is random and operates for an hour or so. This is usually mid day but earlier this week it was at 8:30 PM.
  6. KG4RUL

    KG4RUL Ham Member QRZ Page

    It usually is a need like that exhibited by hams with vanity repeaters. SOMEONE! ANYONE! Listen to me!
  7. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    There is no "gray area" in FCC Part 97. It's all right there. Any automated beacon below 28.200 is not legal. Period.


    Part 97.203:

    Part 97 : Sec. 97.203 Beacon station
    (a) Any amateur station licensed to a holder of a Technician, General, Advanced or Amateur Extra Class operator license may be a beacon. A holder of a Technician, General, Advanced or Amateur Extra Class operator license may be the control operator of a beacon, subject to the privileges of the class of operator license held.

    (b) A beacon must not concurrently transmit on more than 1 channel in the same amateur service frequency band, from the same station location.

    (c) The transmitter power of a beacon must not exceed 100 W.

    (d) A beacon may be automatically controlled while it is transmitting on the 28.20–28.30 MHz, 50.06–50.08 MHz, 144.275–144.300 MHz, 222.05–222.06 MHz or 432.300–432.400 MHz segments, or on the 33 cm and shorter wavelength bands.

    (e) Before establishing an automatically controlled beacon in the National Radio Quiet Zone or before changing the transmitting frequency, transmitter power, antenna height or directivity, the station licensee must give written notification thereof to the Interference Office, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box 2, Green Bank, WV 24944.

    (1) The notification must include the geographical coordinates of the antenna, antenna ground elevation above mean sea level (AMSL), antenna center of radiation above ground level (AGL), antenna directivity, proposed frequency, type of emission, and transmitter power.

    (2) If an objection to the proposed operation is received by the FCC from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, Pocahontas County, WV, for itself or on behalf of the Naval Research Laboratory at Sugar Grove, Pendleton County, WV, within 20 days from the date of notification, the FCC will consider all aspects of the problem and take whatever action is deemed appropriate.

    (f) A beacon must cease transmissions upon notification by a District Director that the station is operating improperly or causing undue interference to other operations. The beacon may not resume transmitting without prior approval of the District Director.

    (g) A beacon may transmit one-way communications.

    [54 FR 25857, June 20, 1989, as amended at 55 FR 9323, Mar. 13, 1990; 56 FR 19610, Apr. 29, 1991; 56 FR 32517, July 17, 1991; 62 FR 55536, Oct. 27, 1997; 63 FR 41204, Aug. 3, 1998; 63 FR 68980, Dec. 14, 1998; 69 FR 24997, May 5, 2004; 71 FR 66462, Nov. 15, 2006; 75 FR 78171, Dec. 15, 2010]
    N7ANN likes this.
  8. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would agree of course with the above beacon restrictions there is another interesting aspect of Part 97....

    Sec. 97.221 Automatically controlled digital station
    (a) This rule section does not apply to an auxiliary station, a beacon station, a repeater station, an earth station, a space station, or a space telecommand station.

    (b) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on the 6 m or shorter wavelength bands, and on the 28.120–28.189 MHz, 24.925–24.930 MHz, 21.090–21.100 MHz, 18.105–18.110 MHz, 14.0950–14.0995 MHz, 14.1005–14.112 MHz, 10.140–10.150 MHz, 7.100–7.105 MHz, or 3.585–3.600 MHz segments.

    (c) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on any other frequency authorized for such emission types provided that:

    (1) The station is responding to interrogation by a station under local or remote control; and

    (2) No transmission from the automatically controlled station occupies a bandwidth of more than 500 Hz.

    [60 FR 26001, May 16, 1995, as amended at 72 FR 3082, Jan. 24, 2007]
  9. AC8XA

    AC8XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a quite facile native English speaker & I also find the legalese confusing at best. So when is a beacon station not a beacon station? When it is a digital 47 CFR § 97.221 - Automatically controlled digital station evidently. Cornell Law https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/97.221 So if I have control of it, and can turn it on or off / locally or remotely, it looks legal, best as I can tell. The key word being unattended I guess. Don't go to sleep & leave it running. WikiPedia blanket Legality statement "In the US, unattended beacons on frequencies lower than the 10-meter band are not legal." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio_propagation_beacon#Legality
    WSPR Frequency list https://vk6ysf.com/wspr_frequ.htm WSPR and QRSS frequency list https://g6nhu.co.uk/frequencies.html
    K1JT WSPR page physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wspr.html https://www.google.com/search?q=wspr+transmitter WSJT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WSJT_(amateur_radio_software)
    Thinking about 1. WsprryPi https://github.com/JamesP6000/WsprryPi 2. Band Pass Filter kit https://www.qrp-labs.com/bpfkit.html 3. Medium power RF amplifier https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?&_nkw=medium+power+RF+amplifier 4. Low Pass Filter kit https://www.qrp-labs.com/lpfkit
  10. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    this is the ACDS (winklnk email robot).
    the arrl is pushing for them to have their own PRIVATE frequencies

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