|Title||Beacon Programme to study inland Tropo in South Africa|
|Publication Type||Conference Proceedings|
|Year of Conference||2021|
|Authors||van de Groenendaal, H, Jacobs, B|
|Conference Name||HamSCI Workshop 2021|
|Conference Location||Scranton, PA (Virtual)|
On the West Coast of South Africa contacts via Tropospheric ducting with St Helena Island occur regularly and are generally well predicted on the Hepburn charts. While some sporadic tropospheric conditions inland have resulted in long distance two metre contacts they mostly occurred by accident, someone just happens to be on the air. A few years ago, the South African Radio League (SARL) embarked on a beacon programme with the aim to study Tropospheric and other propagation modes on VHF. It was planned to link the beacon programme with a reverse beacon monitoring system. It turned out that CW beacons are not particularly useful as the reverse beacon monitoring system requires a fairly strong signal to identify the beacon signal. This defeated the objective of the study. The SARL has now opted for a next generation beacon system of which the first one will go on the air during March 2021. AMSAT SA is partnering with the SARL and has launched a crowd funding initiative to generate more funding to accelerate the process and erect more beacons and expedite a reverse beacon network. The paper will introduce the objectives of the programme, the challenges of being at the southern point of Africa, details of the next generation beacon system and the development of a reverse beacon monitoring system.