HF Beacon Tracking

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NCDXF/IARU Beacon Tracking Program

There are a bunch of nice, graphical HF beacon tracking programs around, but, as a modern primitive, I'm usually logged into 'nix machines running telnet sessions or Emacs shell buffers, and an X server is not to be found. So, when checking HF propogation, all I really wanted was a command-line program to display the currently transmiting NCDXF/IARU Beacon on the console. When I couldn't find one, I wrote one. (If you use Windows, a command-line version for the Win32 console is now available below.)

Here is what running it looks like:

	wardw@hawkline:~$ ./beacons 10
	NCDXF/IARU HF Beacon Tracker by KG6HAF - 1.0 - 22Feb03
	10 Meter Beacons - Tune to 28.200 MHZ
	Control-C to quit...

	Slot    Now Transmitting         Next Up
	-----   -----------------------  -------
	02:30 : --> Kenya 5Z4B           (Israel 4X6TU)
	02:40 : --> Israel 4X6TU         (Finland OH2B)
	02:50 : --> Finland OH2B         (Madeira CS3B)
	00:00 : --> Madeira CS3B         (Argentina LU4AA)
	00:10 : --> Argentina LU4AA      (Peru OA4B)
	00:20 : --> Peru OA4B            (Venezuela YV5B)
	00:30 : --> Venezuela YV5B       (United Nations 4U1UN)
	00:40 : --> United Nations 4U1UN (Canada VE8AT)
	00:50 : --> Canada VE8AT         (United States W6WX)
	01:00 : --> United States W6WX   (Hawaii KH6WO)
	01:10 : --> Hawaii KH6WO         (New Zealand ZL6B)

...and so on. (Every ten seconds on the tenth second, a new line is displayed until you hit Control-C.) The usage looks like this:

    NCDXF/IARU HF Beacon Tracker by KG6HAF - 1.0 - 22Feb03

      beacons band_number
      band_number is one of 20, 17, 15, 12 or 10 (meters)
    For example:
      beacons 20

Good News! Greg, N7YAP, took the time to modify the source and make a Win32 console program. So now you can run the program under Windows when using, 4DOS, or an Epsilon or Emacs process buffer.

A ZIP archive containing the modified source for Windows and a ready-to-go Windows executable file is available here (21K) [ FTP ]

I wrote and compiled this on a Debian Linux box that uses NTP (chronyd) to keep an accurate clock. (NTP works fine too, of course) The compile command was:

	gcc -o beacons beacons.c

I have since compiled this on FreeBSD 5.2 as well without any trouble. This program should compile anywhere standard C and a POSIX interface is available. The program does use the POSIX sleep() function from unistd.h -- that might be a wrinkle in some environments. The call can be removed at the expense of more processor cycles being used.

The 'nix source is here . Save this link to disk and compile away. (If you are on a Windows box using IE you may see some dire warnings about the file. It is only C source code. Save it to disk and open it with an editor that understands the Unix EOL convention -- like Visual Snootio or Wordpad, or a GOOD editor like Epsilon -- Notepad won't cut it.)

This program is freeware. Enjoy. Lemme know if you find bugs or typos.