Receiving NDBs with the Jackson Harbor LF Converter

... Elecraft K3, LP-PAN, and Quisk

Jackson Harbor LF Converter

I built a Jackson Harbor Press LF Converter, the same one Jack Smith built. I put the 10 Mhz crystal in, so it adds 10Mhz to the incoming low VLF signals. I'm using a 160M full-wave loop antenna with a balun right now, but I'll try some other ideas later, such as using my SteppIR coax as a vertical wtih the loop as a ground plane. It's in a case I got from Norcal QRP.

When I was a kid, my father N5LK maintained the McComb, MS airport NDB, which I think was on was 328 KHz. When we drove near it, you could hear its third harmonic on the AM band (except when it wasn't working). It looks like they only have the Localizer now (which he also maintained), but a nostalgic feeling for NDB's made me want to see if I could DX any. So after I found WWVB on 60 KHz and looked for the Navy 24KHz transmitter, I tuned up to about 300 Khz.



Here is a screenshot from quisk lp-pan with the LP-PAN viewing the IF out from my Elecraft K3. (I'll let you count the IF stages in that...)

This screenshot of the spectrum covers 325KHz to 425KHz. On it, you can see a number of carriers and MCW signals from aircraft navaid "non-directional beacons" (NDB).

Each NDB shows up three times: the lower-sideband MCW, the carrier, and the upper-sideband MCW. From left to right, here are their IDs:

CC355 KhzConcord, CA
PBT 338 KhzRed Bluff-Proberta, CA
AK341KHzOakland, CA
FCH355 KhzFresno-Chandler
LV372 KhzLivermore, CA
SF379 KHzSan Francisco, CA

I found a NDB Beacon Listing and a DGPS Listing which helped me figure out what and where the beacons are. No DX Yet, unless you count PBT, at 185 miles.

I checked the location of PBT according to the DX Info Centre site, and when I put it into Google Maps, the Satellite View shows the antenna and site! Plus, it's on Ohm Road. Not bad...

The San Francisco beacon looks like it's got a nice salt-water ground plane, right off the Hwy 92 bridge in Foster City. I wonder if SF's third harmonic is copyable nearby on 1137 KHz AM?


Best DX so far at 2300J (0600Z) is ZP, in Sandspit, BC, Canada. Nice clean signal; take a listen to ZP.