New Beacon On the Air


In January, Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, of Forest, Virginia, filed an application with the FCC for an experimental license to operate a propagation beacon on 70.005 MHz. It was approves, and on Monday May 3, a 70 MHz beacon -- WE9XFT -- went live at 1200 UTC. The beacon is located in Bedford, Virginia, atop Apple Orchard Mountain (4200 feet above sea level), a peak along the Blueridge Parkway in Maidenhead grid square FM07fm. The beacon operates 24 hours a day on a non-amateur experimental license, as there is no 70 MHz amateur band in the United States; the experimental license expires September 1.

Justin told the ARRL that he is not looking at bringing the 4 meter band to the US; many European countries grant amateurs privileges on 4 meters. "This beacon is purely for radio science for use as an E-skip detection device," he explained.

WE9XFT is running 3kW ERP on 70.005 MHz, beaming toward Europe. Justin also operates a 144 MHz remote-controlled transmitter -- WA1ZMS -- at the same site. Using a 500 W transmitter running 7 kW ERP, it is GPS locked with two 5-element stacked Yagis beaming at 60 degrees. Both signals can be heard in the US and Europe.