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Tools to Help Beacon Listeners

There are a number programs available to help beacon listeners figure out which beacon is transmitting on which frequency at any given time. Most of the programs listed below have been reviewed and found to be solid useful programs that work as advertised. If you haven't used one of these programs while you listen for the beacons, you don't know what you are missing! Not only are they are great for people who can't easily copy Morse code at twenty-two words per minute, but they help you figure out the callsign of very weak beacons that you hear and they mean that you no longer have to try to simultaneously look at both your clock and your printed beacon schedule. These programs are available for a number of computers and operating systems. The NCDXF and the Beacon Committee sincerely thank each of the authors!


Online Web Applications

Live Beacon Page Review this program
Cris, IZ0IEN, created a webapp, which shows the currently transmitting beacons on each band on a retro faceplate of an old Hallicrafter Receiver.


Android Applications

NCDXF Beacon Android Market Reviews
Wolphi LLC has published a well reviewed program for the Android phones and tablets that shows the currently transmitting beacon on each band on a world map. Time is synchronized from an NTP server if you are online. Available for free from the Android Market. Free, but shows small ads.
HF Beacon Android Market Reviews
HFBeacon is a simple application which informs the user which HF propagation beacon is transmitting at the present time. It shows the previous and next beacons for the chosen band. It is possible to adjust the clock offset for devices not exactly synchronized.


Apple iPhone & iPod Touch Applications

BeaconAid-HF Review this program
A professional quality program for the iPhone that shows the currently transmitting beacon on each band, reception charts from the active monitoring stations, and even the latest solar flux, A and K indices from NOAA.
HF Beacons Review this program
An attractive world map shows the currently transmitting beacons on each band. Automatic time synchronization ensures clock accuracy. A free Lite version shows only the 10 meter beacons. 99 cents for the full version from App Store


Windows Mobile Applications


Windows Mobile Applications

Beacons Review this program
Beacons shows which beacon is transmitting on which frequence at any given time. The transmitting radio beacon is displayed on a world map together with a short description. Additionally the distance and bearing from a selected location to the beacon is calculated and shown.

If the cell phone supports GPS the actual position can be automatically determinend and displayed as QTH locator. It is also possible to manually synchronize the mobile´s time to an external time source.


32 and 64 bit Windows (W95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/W7/W8)

FAROS Review this program
A sophisticated beacon monitoring program capable of monitoring all 18 beacons on all bands automatically with measurement of signal-to-noise, QSB, and propagation delay. DSP technology accurately distinguishes beacon signals from noise to avoid false reporting. Real time results are displayed and data is cumulated in graphic charts and logs suitable for analysis and web publishing.
Beacons for Windows 8 Review this program
Specially written for Windows 8 and Windows RT, this program shows which beacon is currently transmitting on the selected band. It displays information about the transmitting beacon, the direction and bearing from users position towards transmitting beacon and the frequency. The program also calculates the Maidenhead Locator for the user's geographical location. Free 7 day trial.
VOAProp Review this program
A graphical program based on VOACAP showing propagation predictions on a world map with real-time propagation forecasts from your location to the currently transmitting beacon.
ACE-HF Review by AB6WM
A professional program which displays animated propagation prediction maps and propagation charts and much more based on VOACAP analysis. An animated chart follows the beacon schedule with a propagation prediction for each.
Beacon-Prediction Wizard Review by AB6WM
An interface for the VOACAP propagation analysis program which predicts the expected beacon reception with graphic and tabular outputs.
WinCAP Wizard 3 Review this program
A complete user interface for the VOACAP propagation analysis program which also includes beacon reception forecasts with maps, graphics and tabular outputs.
Beacon-Time Wizard Review this program
A collection of tools to display beacon information, analog clocks, maps, solar terminator, propagation, NIST time and almanac information.
Active Beacon Wizard++ Review by N6EK
World map shows active beacons and solar terminator. Displays NIST time and NOAA (WWV) propagation information.
BeSpeak Review this program
Logs beacon signal strength manually or automatically using PC sound card. Rig control. Summary graphs and analysis. Voice announcement of current beacon. Version 5 now available.
DXLab Suite Review this program
DXLab’s Propview will schedule by band, location, or beacon. Commander will tune the transceiver to monitor the next beacon in the schedule. DXView will show the position of the current beacon on a world map.
DX Monitor Review by N6EK
Great Circle Map displays active beacon. Displays DX Cluster spotting activity, WWV information, adjusts computer clock, plots spots and logs on maps, filters and alert alarms.
Beacon Observer Review this program
An alpha test version of an automatic beacon monitoring program displaying graphic results for 24 hour period.
BeaconClock Review by N6EK
Scrolling tabular presentation of beacons with short and long path distances. Windows 32 only.
HF Beacon Tracker Review by AI4OF
Relief map shows currently transmitting beacon on each band with user selectable buttons. Sets PC clock via NIST time servers.
BeaconTrack Review this program
Displays the active beacons on a world map with easily readable tables of information about the beacons.
BeaconSee Review by N6EK
Automatically displays received signal graphically for multiple beacon transmissions. Saves images of displayed graphics. Rig control.
Radio Amateur Callbook CDrom Review this program
Callbook database of amateur radio operator names and addresses. Beacon tool highlights the currently transmitting beacon in a time/frequency grid.
DXWatch Review this program
Automatically monitors beacon transmissions using sound card and displays SNR and frequency offset graphically.
BEACLOCK-WIN Review this program
Displays an analog clock pointing to the active beacons on each band.
BeaconMap Review by G4iFB
Displays a Mercator map showing the active beacons and gray line information.
Beacon Logging with Spectrum Lab Review this program
Spectrum Lab software can be configured to automatically log beacon activity to a text file. DL4YHF shows you how.
Beacon Viewing with Cool Edit Review this program
AB2CJ, has created an informative web page about the beacons, and shows the use of Cool Edit as a monitoring tool.
Ham Time (5MB) Review this program
Ham Time is a Visual Basic program to track the beacons, adjust your computer clock, and look up QSL information, all from one handy little window.

Macintosh

MacLogger DX Review this program
Comprehensive logging program which also synchronizes your receiver with the NCDXF/IARU beacons and displays propagation status on a colorful world map.

Palm Pilot

Pocket Beacon Review by N6EK
Displays the previous, current, and next beacon with short path distance and beam heading.

Windows Mobile and Pocket PC

NCDXF Beacons Write a Review
Displays currently transmitting NCDXF beacons on the world map. Syncs time on your device with internet time server on startup to ensure correct beacon is displayed.
CTR-Remote [broken link] Write a Review
Control and listen to your radio with a Pocket PC. The program includes a Beacon Scan mode so you can monitor the beacons from your arm chair.

Linux/Unix

VOAProp Review this program
A graphical program based on VOACAP showing propagation predictions on a world map with real-time propagation forecasts from your location to the currently transmitting beacon.
IBP Review this program
Displays the current transmitting beacons with distance and beam heading. Shows map with day and night and beacon paths.
Bash Script Review this program
A simple bash shell script that displays the beacon callsign based on the PC clock. The script is attractive due to its total simplicity and that it can be run as a quick beacon check from the command line or integrated into a larger project.

Psion PDA

BeCalc, BeMap, BeSpeak Review by N6EK
Displays the transmitting beacon with distance and beam heading. BeMap also plots the current beacon on a map. BeSpeak announces the current beacon.

Windows 3.1

BeaconWizard Review by N6EK
Displays previous, current and next beacon with distance and beam headings, sunrise and sunset. W95 compatible.

DOS (or DOS Window)

BEACLOCK Review by N6EK
Analog beacon clock display of all the beacons.
BEACON Review by N6EK
Displays all the beacons simultaneously with short and long path distance and headings. Current beacon is highlighted.
BJBEACON Review by N6EK
Displays currently transmitting beacons. Computer clock adjustment.
KQ6RH
BW Review by N6EK
Simple display of current beacon on selected band.
BEACONS.EXE Review this program
Tiny DOS program highlights the active beacon on each band.
NCDXF-BN.EXE Review this program
Shows the currently transmitting 10 meter beacon.

OS/2

BeaconTime Review by N6EK
Displays all beacons with distance and beam headings, sunrise and sunset.

Paper

PDF Printable Beacon Schedule Review this program
Print this beacon schedule on paper and easily refer to it without turning on your computer. The comments are in Czech, but the table is readable by anyone.

Hardware

MFJ-890 DX Beacon Monitor Review by VE3SUN
A stand-alone beacon monitor which synchronizes the time from the WWVB atomic clock and displays the current beacon on a world map.
Hardware BeaClock [pdf file in German] Review this project
Hardware beacon clock with analog display constructed from a clock movement and a Microchip PIC. See Photo.
PK-Clock Review this project
Beacon clock with digital LCD display constructed with a Microchip PIC. Automatic time synchronization in Europe using the Frankfurt DCF time signals or in North America using the WWVB signal.
PIC Based Beacon Clock Review this project
A two part article in Practical Wireless (May 2007) describes how to build an LED Beacon Clock using a PIC microprocessor. Part II (PW July 2007)expands the clock to add an LCD Display and CAT control of a receiver.

Microsoft Excel

Beacon Schedule Review this program
Complete beacon transmission schedule in an Excel document suitable for printing. If you don't have Excel, you can use the free viewer.

Clock Setting Programs

For the above programs to work well, your computer clock must be set to the correct time. There are a number of free programs that will help you keep your clock accurate. Some are reviewed below.

Windows XP, Vista and W7 have built in NTP clients which can keep your clock set accurately.