23 Jan 2013

Checking my 137.766kHz ERP by measuring field strength

Well, today has been a bit of a disappointment: my QRP QRSS3 beacon has been running for over a day on 137.766kHz and, apart from my own highly successful reception tests out to around 8km (as far as I went in the best direction) not a single station has reported seeing it  ....yet.

Tomorrow, I am going to do one more experiment using the QRSS beacon: knowing the field strength of DCF39 on 138.830kHz, a commercial station in Germany, is around 1mV/m here in the south of the UK in daytime, I want to measure the S/N of this station about 5km from home using the mag-mounted E-field probe. Then, at the very same spot, I will measure the S/N of my beacon with the same bandwidth settings and RX kit.

Based on these two measurements, I should be able to work out the ERP of my beacon to an order of magnitude and probably to within +/-3dB. The field strength of my own signal can be worked out just by comparing the S/N with that of DCF39.  Knowing the field strength and the distance from the home QTH, I can work out the ERP needed to produce this.

Any guesses what ERP I am using? I'll tell you the answer tomorrow!

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