Wednesday, December 27, 2023

New Beacon in Mali and other Operating Reports

 I’ve received many reports recently of good 6 and 2 meter activity around the US, ranging from tropo to Es to TEP and the occasional F2 (?).  Hoping this continues and improves as we move toward year end.  Remember to look for VK/ZL openings on 6 meters during the winter Es season, as well as enhanced propagation stateside.  Enjoy this sunspot cycle as it builds!

Word has reached here that Al Ward, W5ULA, has achieved the first WAS (worked all states) award on 902 Mhz.  Quite an achievement!  Congratulations to Al on this milestone.  I hope to have more details for you next time but did not want to miss the opportunity to feature Al’s success!


Our friend and frequent contributor Mario, K2ZD, reported that on August 31st at 1057Z he completed a 6M Q65A EME QSO with Lance 3B9GJ (W7GJ) for his 6M DXCC # 224. Lance reported a 10DB noise levels from LED lights on the island until his Sun Rise.  Congratulations Mario and thank you Lance for your continuing efforts to make remote places available via EME.


Speaking of remote places, our friend Howard, W4HLR, has been working for many months to arrange for a 6 meter beacon on Mali.  This is no easy task, but through networking and perseverance, he has succeeded.  Working with Jeff, TZ4AM, this beacon has been installed and will hopefully provide much needed propagation information for this rare entity (at least rare on 6 meters).  The following article, submitted by W4HLR, tells the story.


Mali is the home to Timbuktu, which, as you know, is the “end of the earth.” Since there is not much 6m activity in the region, it’s hard to know when the band is open, with openings lasting as long as several hours or as short as a few minutes. Howard Runions, W4HLR, saw this need from his vantage point in Tennessee (EM56 – also sort of the end of the earth) and kindly offered to make a beacon for Mali if we could find a place to put it. Hamadoun Yattara who is President of the local club (Club des RadioAmateurs et Affiliés du Mali - CRAM) offered to host the beacon at his QTH (location 12 deg 42’22” N and 8 deg 2’59” W, Locator IK52) and to keep it operating

24/7. The antenna is a dipole mounted 10m AGL in Kati, on a hill 15 kms from Bamako (Mali’s capital city) with a clear shot to Europe and North America. TZ6HY and Jeff, TZ4AM are both in the same locator: IK52. It is fed with 15m of RG213 coax.

Howard provided the beacon which is feeding a YYY 50-watt amplifier and had a

Ukrainian expert program it to send “TZ6HY/B TZ6HY/B IK52 . . . . “  He sent it to a Masi Shipping Company in Philadelphia who ship mixed containers to Mali. After a month or so, the container arrived in Mali where Jeff’s assistant TZ5TT picked it up, built the antenna and supports, tested it at TZ4AM’s QTH and then sent it up to Kati where he installed the bamboo poles and the dipole which can be raised and

lowered with ropes in a flagpole arrangement. Christian Roy, F4CXO, was the first to pick up the beacon and spots it on a daily basis when it shows up and again when it can no longer be copied. Its strongest signal has been 559 in Europe. The beacon has

been copied as far north as Germany by DK4NE. It is about 5 S-Units (29 dB weaker) than TZ4AM’s own signal which is 1 KW reinforced by a 10 element yagi (50LFA10 from WIMO/EAntenna). The beacon has been instrumental in helping more people to know when the band is open to Mali and then to contact TZ4AM when he gets on. By the same token, the beacon lets TZ4AM know when the band is open to Europe and hence when to get on. So far, the beacon has not been copied outside of Europe. Gary K9RX has offered to design a 2 element Yagi which will be made out of local bamboo with copper wire taped to it. This will add perhaps 1 S-Unit to its signal and hopefully will add enough additional strength to the signal to test propagation with North and South America and beyond. (TZ4AM has worked Fiji on several occasions and Australia on


This beacon is a great help to fill in a large void in the beacons available in this part of Africa. We here in Mali and those trying to work Mali owe a great debt to Howard W4HLR for his initiative in getting this beacon on the air and to Hamadoun TZ6HY for hosting it in a country where electricity costs three times what it costs in the States.


Those of us interested in 6 meters owe a debt of gratitude to all involved.  Please send signal reports to Jeff and Howard if you hear the beacon.  More on this story as progress is made. One final thing – this is apparently the first amateur beacon of any kind on Mali!

Top to bottom photos - the 6 Meter dipole on Mali; TZ4AM Jeff Dorsey from Miami and TZ6HY Hamadoun Yattara; the repeater hardware


 Wishing you all an extra S unit of signal strength, both ways!


73 d e N4DTF EM55



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