Saturday, 2 August 2014

The 'Snowman' Pays A Summer Visit - VYØSNO That Is!

If it seems like I'm talking a lot these days about 6m, that's probably because it's my main operating interest during the summer sporadic-e (Es) season, which is already starting to wind down. In a couple of weeks it will all be over for another year, allowing me to focus on other radio activities.
But, should you plan to venture forth into the magicband's world, proceed with every caution....there are powerful forces at work there!

Before this week I had never heard the VYØSNO 25 watt 6m beacon. The 'snowman' is 2,250 miles away and located in the Canadian Arctic town of Iqaluit, Nunavut, the coldest city in about the ideal call!

Courtesy: Google Maps

The beacon has shown up briefly here, twice this week, with both events in the evening and lasting for only 10-15 minutes. Although there are no longer any active 6m hams in VYØ, it is still thrilling to hear these summertime signals from the Arctic....and in this case, directly in line with Europe and better than halfway there!

At one time the beacon had a different call, VE8BY, which I usually heard once or twice each summer. Since the change to a new transmitter and to a new call, for some reason it remained unheard for several seasons...until this week.

The old VE8BY beacon was unique in that its transmitter was frequency-shift-keyed (FSK mode). The dots and dashes were a few hertz higher than the actual carrier frequency. Hearing the melodious keying in combination with the typical Arctic flutter always made the arrival of VE8BY something very special as can be heard in this capture by Kevin, VE3EN....

Unfortunately, Larry (VYØHL), the owner and operator of VYØSNO/b, has moved from Iqaluit and will no longer be able to maintain or repair the beacon should it have a future break down. Hopefully it will continue to run reliably for many more years as E-season would just never be the same without a summer visit from the 'snowman'.

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