A Beacon on 40 metres? It is so 'last century' !

From the recent conversation on the email reflector:-

From: Leon Uys [mailto:leonuys@gmail.com]
Sent: 04 February 2017 08:49
To: 'van Rensburg Nico'; Peter Hers; Geoff Levey; 'SARL Admin'
Subject: The "Beacon" pages on the SARL web page

Good morning everyone! I have no idea who to bounce this question to, so I’m going to do a “Popcorn” move – you know, the one where you toss it in the air and hope somebody catches it. Here goes:

The web page at http://www.sarl.org.za/public/BeaconProject/Beacon1.asp is dead and it doesn’t really give a good impression because beaconing in South Africa is beginning to gain traction and I don’t want to lose that momentum.

Can I thus offer in the short term to update the page or as a minimum give a static page that points elsewhere until we get our duckies in a row?

Leon Uys ZR6LU
Senior Project Manager, PMP®, Prince2® Practitioner, IBM Certified PM


That page is indeed dead. It was left over from a project run some years back in conjunction with the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, now called The South African National Space Agency Space Science facility, Hermanus. This was a major project to place standard 40 m beacons all over South Africa hosted by radio amateurs.   It was a great idea, but suffered from some personality and management problems and quietly faded away.

The page was left because of links from outside web sites over which we have no control. I have now removed the internal link.

If there is new activity and you would like to have a place on the website to post information then give me an idea of what form this would take and we can work from there.

Peter Hers
Webmaster: SARL


Thank you Peter. Understood.

Can you please put me in contact with the SANSA people so we can coordinate the fragmented information?

Maybe I’m not the right person because I have no idea how SARL works, but I’m happy to try and coordinate the beacon activity for the moment. How do you suggest we do that?

Leon Uys ZR6LU


Hi Leon,
I found some old info on the beacon project at http://www.southgatearc.org/news/september2007/joint_beacon_project.htm.

See two attachments about the project.

As mentioned there, the technical design was done by John Williscroft ZS6EF.   His daughter Lee-Anne McKinnell ZS2LAW was the Director of the HMO. She is now ZS1LAW, and I’m not sure if she is still at SANSA.   Her info on the SARL database may be rather old, and she is no longer a member.

The design was a rather cheap device and suffered from some technical problems.   I monitored it seriously for a couple of months, but when I presented my results showing excessive time drift between the stations they got upset and stopped talking to us.

John did some other work for the SARL, but something happened, and John removed himself from the scene. Have no idea what that was about.

The main SANSA web site seems to be mostly dysfunctional, but the sub-web at https://spaceweather.sansa.org.za/ seems to be working OK.

I wonder if perhaps the best place for discussion on your new project is the SARL forum?   If you then want to provide more stable information on the SARL Web we can discuss this further. As you know the web site is rather old and facilities to update pages are rather limited.  I can easily give you a dedicated page, plus access to post information which you can do yourself.

Peter, you are a scholar and a gentleman! Thank you so much for collecting and forwarding the information.

I will have to digest all of the information before making a decision, if you don’t mind? Obviously “a page” sounds very attractive, but I don’t want to create yet another still-born project.

If I may ask a question, it would be to understand if we should be aligned with, or at a minimum be aware of, the HMO? Do they feature on our radar screen, and in what capacity?

Meanwhile I’ve started putting a few teasers in the forums, and I’ll continue to do so until we can make a better decision.

Thank you again Peter,

Leon Uys ZR6LU

I have no idea if we still have a relationship with HMO – now part of SANSA.

Remember that they know more about propagation than all ZS hams put together, so it would make sense.

But I think the entire previous relationship depended on the specific people involved.


Ok, So the beacons will be 40 milliWatts and transmitting on a single frequency, within a prescribed time slot.

The presentation describes a WSPR beacon [approximately] - So how about it?
Raspberry Pi users who are radio amateurs can do this project in their sleep! The software is available already.
So the challenge is out there - Please respond to zs6wr.club@gmail.com

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