Keaau, Hawaii
Hawaii County


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                                                     CQ Zone 31

                                                     ITU Zone 61

  KH6LC  Reverse Beacon Network



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.: KH6LC Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) Receiver

“CW Skimmer” is the name of clever software from Alex VE3NEA that automatically decodes CW signals from a broadband sampled data stream from, in the simplest instance, a sound card attached to your radio's audio output. Radios are available that will digitize much more bandwidth than is available from a sound card, and a special version of the Skimmer software (Skimmer Server) is capable of extracting thousands of CW streams simultaneously from the data provided by these broadband software defined radios. The Skimmer software can be instructed to extract the frequency, signal strength, and call sign of stations calling CQ anywhere in the analyzed bandwidth, and to forward the information to the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN). The result of dozens of skimmers operating worldwide is available from the RBN through its web site , and in standard packet spot format through telnet connection to any of several providers, for example,, port 23.

The RBN is a very useful tool, enabling the CW operator to determine who is on the air, what frequency they are on, and how strong they are at a number of locations. It also can be used to make a direct comparison of your own signal strength with the signal strength of other stations as seen at remote locations, and to measure antenna patterns.

Until July 30th 2011, there was no provider of spots to the RBN in the central Pacific. Now, Lloyd KH6LC, assisted by Curt AH6RE, Rob NH6V, Fred KH7Y and Wes WZ7I, has assembled the equipment to provide spots from Hawai'i. The skimmer receiver is located far enough away from active HF stations that the skimmer receiver there won't be overloaded by extremely strong local signals.

The equipment is pretty simple.  A Hy-Gain AV-18Hy-Tower Jr. vertical antenna feeds a Clifton Laboratories low-noise preamplifier which in turn feeds an SRL Quicksilver QS1R wideband programmable sampling receiver. The receiver cooperates with the Skimmer Server software, and the combination is capable of simultaneously analyzing up to 192 kHz from each of seven user selectable bands up through 6 meters in its standard configuration. Additional software routes the results to the RBN by means of an Internet connection.



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