A transmission consists of the callsign of the beacon sent at 22 words per minute followed by four one-second dashes. The callsign and the first dash are sent at watts. The remaining dashes are sent at 10 watts, 1 watt and milliwatts. At the end of each 10 second transmission, the beacon steps to the next higher band and the next beacon in the sequence begins transmitting.
Ham Radio Beacons : Beacons : ham radio beacon - The radiostring.com
Listening to the continuous tone or call-sign of a ham radio beacon can be one of the most useful if sometimes overlooked facilities in amateur radio when planning where to call CQ and check for signals. A beacon is a special ham radio station, which sends out a signal on a fixed frequency 24 hours a day. They are used to check propagation on the amateur radio bands so that operators can assess whether a frequency band is useable at that moment to the part of the world where the beacon is situated. If there are few ham signals on the frequency band you are checking, then does that means the band is closed?
These beacons help both amateur and commercial high-frequency radio users assess the current condition of the ionosphere. The entire system is designed, built and operated by volunteers at no cost except for the actual price of hardware components, shipping costs, and so on. The first beacon began transmissions from Northern California in and was so successful that the IARU proposed a world wide network of beacons operating 24 hours a day. Over the next few years the network was expanded slowly.
An amateur radio propagation beacon is a radio beacon , whose purpose is the investigation of the propagation of radio signals. Most radio propagation beacons use amateur radio frequencies. Microwave beacons are also used as signal sources to test and calibrate antennas and receivers. Most beacons operate in continuous wave A1A and transmit their identification call sign and location. Some of them send long dashes to facilitate signal strength measurement.