GB3WES - the Westmorland 5MHz beacon

GB3WES, the Westmorland beacon, made its debut on 5290kHz at precisely 16:31Z on 30-October-2004. It is one of a chain of (currently) three propagation research beacons, the other being GB3RAL, Oxfordshire and GB3ORK, Orkney (but see update below) .

Due to an unfortunate fire at the G3WGV QTH, GB3WES was QRT from 10:02Z on 28-Dec-04 to 14:46Z on 15-Jan-05.

Various changes were made to the transmission format towards the end of March 2012. After a couple of iterations, a 30 second transmission was adopted on 28-March-2012, as described below.

Click for a bigger picture!   Click for a picture in which you can actually see the antenna!

The beacon hardware


The inverted V antenna (it is there, honest!)

GB3WES technical information (updated 30-Mar-2012)

  • Operates from the QTH of G3WGV, IO84QN
  • Ground elevation: 205m above sea level
  • Antenna height: 9m above ground level at apex
  • Antenna: Full size dipole in inverted V configuration, orientated approximately North/South
  • Power: 10W at full carrier
  • Transmit periods: 1, 16, 31 and 46 minutes past the hour for a period of 30 seconds. GB3RAL transmits one minute earlier and GB3ORK transmits one minute later, so the three beacons fire up one after the other, in south to north sequence GB3RAL, GB3WES, GB3ORK. (but see update below)

Format of the GB3WES transmission (as of 28-Mar-2012)

T+0 seconds - transmission starts
Callsign sent at approximately 16WPM, followed by a period of full power carrier

T+7 to T+15 seconds - Nine transmission intervals with a 6dB reduction in power for each step, giving 48dB overall power reduction at the final interval.  For each step a 100ms break in transmission is followed by 900ms of carrier at the appropriate level. 

T+16 to T+24 seconds - Repeat of the power step sequence described above.

T+25 to T+29 seconds - 5 seconds of continuous transmission at full power – this is the interval used by G3PLX’s beacon monitoring software.

T+30 seconds - transmission ends. 30 seconds of silence before GB3ORK commences transmission.

Update (as of 13-Jul-2016)

'WES seems to be the last man standing! GB3RAL ceased transmitting several years ago and now I discover that GB3ORK has been off for some time as well. I have indicated that I will keep GB3WES going as long as it is required but as a single beacon its value and therefore future operation must be in question.

Other information

If you need to know more about GB3WES please contact me via johnl [at]

Copyright © 2004-2016, John R Linford, G3WGV, N3GV
Updated 13-Jul-2016