28 Mar 2012

More optical tests looking for elusive GB3CAM

This evening, thinking it would be a good opportunity to look for the GB3CAM optical beacon (yet again) I took the trip to nearby Nine Mile Hill (32km from the beacon) with the kit recently used to detect G4HJW's Phatlight beacon over the horizon at 8.6km. My RX is now pretty sensitive. However, I failed yet again to detect anything of GB3CAM. Actually it was a little hazier than my first tests (when I had sensitivity issues) but I was disappointed not to detect a thing. All I managed was a chat with the farmer in whose field gate I'd set up my optical kit and PC: he seemed happy with my explanation.

I've asked the beacon keeper if the beacon was actually on-air - it could have been off I guess. 

My other question of Bernie G4HJW, the beacon keeper, is what the ERP of the GB3CAM beacon is compared with his phlatlight beacon at home that I'm consistently able to copy at 20-30dB S/N in 0.17 - 0.67Hz bandwidths non line-of-sight, whereas I've so far been unsuccessful receiving the Wyton optical beacon line-of-sight. At 32km haze will matter more and it may just be that on the occasions I've tried I've either had insensitive kit or poor optical conditions. I did try very carefully scanning the horizon this evening after sundown for a good 15 minutes without detecting a thing and I had a very good idea where to aim.

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