02 March 2013

V53ARC - multiband WSPR beacon in Namibia

In the last few days my station has been running continuously on WSPR frequency hopping between the 80m, 40m, 20m and 10m bands, and I got the chance to spot on 10 meters the V53ARC WSPR beacon in Namibia.


Apparently it is on the air since 2009 and this is the first time I spot it, and by looking the callsign up over the internet I found it's story.



The beacon is maintained by the Namibian Amateur Radio Centre and it is installed remotely on a farm, running on solar power and using a vertical multiband antenna. It transmits continuously with 1W of RF power, cycling trough the 80m/40m/30m/20m/17m/15m/10m/6m bands, meaning it will transmit a WSPR sequence of 2 minutes every 16 minutes on each band.



The transmitter is the work of Gernot Frauscher OE1IFM and it's a smart design, properly built for the purpose, with a CPU controlling the AD9851 DDS, a GPS reciever for precision timing and frequency reference and a 15W final stage with switched LPF. You can find more details about it - including schematics over at OE1IFM's website; he also describes the multiband vertical he used for the beacon, wich seems a good solution for the space limited individual.

Looking on the WSPRnet website I see it gets a fairly low amount of spots, about 10 each day; there aren't too many WSPR stations in Africa but I was expecting more reports from european stations. To get an idea, my station usually gets 10 spots on just one transmit cycle, even though i'm more of a "big gun" WSPR with 10W output.

On another note, two days ago the propagation opened up a bit the upper bands, so I had the chance to work some new entities on SSB, with just the 10W: JY5MM Jordan, MJ5IRC Jersey and C5YK Gambia.

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