The KC0TKS 10 meter beacon is now broadcasting in QRSS30 mode from atop a 3000 foot mountain in California at approximately 28.2215 MHz at 25 milliwatts. The exact frequency last reported is displayed to the right under the picture. The original CW beacon went on the air May 9, 2007 in Sedalia, MO and has been in nearly continuous operation since. This is the first major change since its inception.
A small group of beacon operators is being assembled to participate in this project.
All beacons will operate within +- 6Hz of 28.2215 (the "watering hole" frequency) and will be very low power (<=100mW). If propagation were to cooperate, all beacons in this project could be copied simultaneously.
If you would like to participate, email .
What is QRSS?
QRSS is simply Morse code that is sent EXTREMELY slow. QRSS30 for instance, is sent with the dots being 30 seconds long. Dashes are normally about 3 times the length of a dot, so we are talking about 1 1/2 minutes. If I were to send my entire call in QRSS30, it would take more than 30 minutes so I am only sending TKS which takes only 12 minutes. In addition, I altered character and spacing lengths to shorten the transmitted string to be 9 1/2 minutes long. To satisfy FCC requirements, my call in 13 wpm CW is sent at the end of each transmission.
How do I listen to it?
This mode is normally not readable by ear. Transmissions by this mode are normally many hundreds of times weaker than your normal CW transmission and dits or dahs are sometimes several minutes long. Instead, we use a computer program to be able to see the Morse that is being sent.
For the typical beacon hunter, the only change to your routine would be to park your receiver on 28.2215 in-between your normal scans. The software will do the hunting for the QRSS beacons while you are away from the rig and store screen captures for you to look at later.
Eventually, several "grabbers" will be set up. A grabber is a receiving station that posts its QRSS screen captures to a website for all to browse in real time. If you would like to operate a grabber for this project, please email
The advantage of such a slow mode is copyability at very low signal-to-noise ratios. Signals that are hundreds of times too weak to be heard by ear can sometimes be easily copied with QRSS software.
Very close frequency calibration must be used on the transmitting and receiving ends. Computer programs must be carefully calibrated in order to receive signals. A tutorial on the calibration of ARGO, one of the most popular QRSS viewing programs, will soon be posted.
Requirements for receiving QRSS transmissions:
Receiver with PLL frequency control
Computer with sound card.
Audio interface for rig to computer (RIGblaster, Homebrew , etc)
If you already are set up to do other digital modes such as PSK or RTTY through your computer's sound card, you are good to go for QRSS, all you need is the software. If you are not already set up for digi modes, ask someone that has done it to help you or search the net for info on sound card interfacing.
How do I get started?
Download and install Argo or Spectran
Calibrate Argo/Spectran to WWV
Tune to my beacon's frequency (last reported frequency shown above)