Fishnet beacon

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A typical driftnet radio buoy Radio Buoys

Fishnet beacons, also known as Drift Nets, Fishing Buoy Transmitters, Radiobuoys, Radio Buoys, Radio-Buoys, and Fishnet Buoys are low power transmitters which periodically send CW identifiers followed by a carrier. The average repetition rate is about 4 minutes. They are battery powered and use fairly small and inefficient antenna, however they can be heard for hundreds or even thousands of miles. Fishnet beacons are can be found between 1.6 and 4 MHz, and are most often found in and above the 160-meter amateur radio band (1800-2000 kHz or 1.8-2 MHz) They are typically used by fishermen to locate nets, hence the name.

There are reports of similar beacons operating in the 26-30 MHz fixed mobile service range (including inside the 11 meter CB band and 10-meter amateur band). They follow a very similar format, transmitting a varying-number of characters ID with low power. Similar ocean-based telemetry systems use frequencies in the 26 MHz to 30 MHz range, including Marine Instruments Radio Buoys (authorized for 26145 kHz, 26150 kHz, 26155 kHz, 26160 kHz, 26165 kHz, 26170 kHz and 26175 kHz) and Datawell Waverider telemetry buoys (authorized for 29710 kHz, 29730 kHz, 29750 kHz, 29770 kHz and 29790 kHz per FCC waivers). Outside of the United States similar systems use various frequencies in the 1.6 to 4 MHz band and the 25.5 MHz to 35.5 MHz band. These transmitters often use offset frequencies (in other words, they ignore the 5 kHz or 10 kHz steps usually used in the 11 meter CB band and nearby frequencies).

Many fishnet buoys have been monitored in the 26.5 MHz to 27.5 MHz range, with the lower part being more popular. An excellent list of 26 MHz (26.5 MHz - - 27.5 MHz) driftnet radio beacons and recordings of their CW Morse Code IDs can be found here - credit to N2SLN.

Typical transmit power is in the 3 to 10 watt range.

List of fishnet beacons

1715 CB8
1720 92S115
1722 93W113
1730 CF3
1730 IC514
1750 PR30
1752 IC518
1753 RZ6
1753 4LJS
1753 4PDU
1761 KW109
1764 4LJP
1772 4PEC
1776 4OWO
1782 VP2
1787 97W107
1792 SG5
1795 CF9
1802 PK1
1812 VH7
1813 EY9
1839 4BOB
1856 DA2
1856 4MSZ
1881 4BNZ
1883 5AJW
1884 CK1
1894 4OUS
1894 4LKO
1894 4LID
1912 DS89
1918 IO82
1942 IC526
1942 PS3
1948 4QJA
1953 QU7
1962 4IGW
1962 RZ6
1970 4PFK
1972 AB8
1977 4CMV
1982 HU5E
1988 JE1
1989 AY7
1993 4OMZ
1998 4DQX
2003 4JSP
2019 4HVX
2020 BM3
2041 4CEF

See also

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