Radio Propagation Analysis Software
Analyses, studies, simulations, predictions
With this web site, BeamFinder got a new home in the internet. In 2002, the software was introducted by a special section of the Amateur Radio Propagation Studies web site (df5ai.net). However, an individual BeamFinder web appearance was planned from the beginning.
Both web sites, i.e. BeamFinder.net and df5ai.net, are companion sites: this site is providing the software and all information directly relating to bits and bytes, the other site is dealing with the application part, i.e. radio propagation phenomena and its interpretation.
I hope you will enjoy both web sites...
BeamFinder is a software tool designed to conduct analyses for radio amateurs interested in radio propagation studies. It provides a large 2500 x 1800 pixel screen map of the world which displays calculated results from sophisticated models, dx data and other sources of information. The program deals with quantities the radio amateur is already familiar with, i.e. grid squares, geographical coordinates, distances, antenna headings and frequencies. The BeamFinder software is distributed exclusively on this webpage.
In action: propagation studies powered by BeamFinder
The BeamFinder software was indeed helpful in the analysis of the May 20, 2003 dx opening between the Canary Islands and central Europe in 144 MHz, see the above graphics. However, there is a "problem" with BeamFinder: finishing an analysis, the software gives you an idea for alternative perspectives also worth to be examined in detail. This type of "problem" also occured in the May 20, 2003 analysis resulting in a second paper which deals with predictions on double hop sporadic E propagation on very high frequencies. BeamFinder says, for example, we may expect 144 MHz QSOs between the southern tip of Norway and the island of Crete and we may also expect similiar dx QSOs between northern Germany and the Caspian Sea. Surprisingly, this is no prediction at all because this type of very long distance propagation was indeed reported in recent years - it was actually reported more than once, in fact. Click the button to view the details: .
It is planned to replace BeamFinder's current version 2 by an OS X version. However, this future version will not represent a simple transfer of the existing application to a new operating system, i.e. we will have a new design, a new user interface and, hopefully, many new features as well. I am currently busy with feasibility studies because the new concept raises a couple of questions I cannot answer yet. Therefore, I do not dare to announce any date of delivery at this stage of development.
BeamFinder inside: The world-wide Maidenhead grid locator map
The 2540 x 1761 pixel grid locator map is certainly BeamFinder's most eye-catching feature. It scrolls to any place in the world displaying elevation data, national borders and, of course, grid locators. This screen map is a project within a project and it is not finished yet (see the right hand side of the above graphics displaying the Earth at night, to be used in future versions of BeamFinder). When launching the BeamFinder project, b/w grid maps were already available from the author's QTH_LOC software which was published for Atari ST computers in the 1980s. Now there was a requirement of adding geographical regions not yet considered by QTH_LOC, i.e. the good old Atari ST was temporarily moved from the attic into my shack to become part of the BeamFinder project. The colour shadings were finally implemented by using a Macintosh computer and I am grateful to the Living Earth Inc. and the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center for providing the corresponding satellite data. However, re-sizing and re-calculating the satellite data was a major effort to match BeamFinder's map projection. See Japan and the Korean Peninsula in the graphics on the left: the colour and elevation information originates from satellite data, the black lines outlining the sea coast however originate from the Atari ST. There was indeed a major discrepancy between this two databases - but I think, it looks okay now, doesn't it?