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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | Expanded Spectrum Systems Freakin Beacon 2 Help

Reviews Summary for Expanded Spectrum Systems Freakin Beacon 2
Expanded Spectrum Systems Freakin Beacon 2 Reviews: 5 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $40
Description: Programmable beacon controller. PC programmable with included DB-9 connector; uses "Hyperterminal" to program, already included with most PC's. Can be used for beacon control, hidden xmtr control, etc. Can be synchronized with other beacons by connecting a GPS unit. Also has provisions for controlling xmtr power levels.
Product is in production.
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N8SUT Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2012 05:22 Send this review to a friend
Highly recommended.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After 5 months of use, I can say this is a great, easy way to put a beacon on the air. Assembly was a breeze if you have basic soldering skills. The manual is simple but complete and programming is fairly simple using hyperterminal and easy to understand commands. I currently have mine keying my state three times my callsign three times, and repeating. I believe it can be programmed for up to 128 characters but that number is from my memory, so you may wish to verify if this is important to you. I am currently reworking my beacon controller and transimtter to provide a high (15w) and low (5w) switched power level. The switching signal will be controlled from the Freakin Beacon 2. Flexible product in a small and neat package. I also have the original Freakin Beacon which I have connected to my backup transmitter system.
K5AHH Rating: 5/5 Dec 30, 2010 09:27 Send this review to a friend
Great!  Time owned: more than 12 months
--This is an easy to put together kit, and is easy to program as well. It took roughly an hour to put together and works great. I can't really add much more than that, but if you are looking to place a beacon on the air and want a quality, easy to put together beacon controller, this is the one. 73!
VE7DXG Rating: 5/5 Jun 5, 2010 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Great Product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Communication was great through the website and e-mail. The package arrived fast and it was put together in less than an hour even with my primitive tools. Came with great instructions. Programming was a breeze. I had it running for a couple of days now and just it just chirps away.
Hopefully by the end of summer 2010 it'll drive VA7ISL/B in CN88 on around 50.070.
W8LEW Rating: 5/5 Sep 9, 2007 10:26 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Product!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
It's hard to add to N4VBV's assessment, however...

This unit is compact and very simple to construct, use, and program. Getting on the air takes < 5 hours from start of construction, to finishing programming, to installing it on your rig, and throwing the "on" swich. Piece of cake!

Please note: I would like to mention one of the MAJOR reasons this product is so good and this is the fact that Rich, N4ESS, is extremely dedicated to his product and to customer service. His communications are excellent and advice, even on Holidays/weekends, is given promptly. When my unit failed to function despite correct construction and thorough testing by myself and another very experienced Ham, N9UV - Roger, Rich took the unit back and discovered a capacitor error. Once corrected, the unit was shipped at no cost to me and W8LEW/B @ 28263.75 MHz returned to the air. It has performed flawlessly since then!

This unit can be called "top notch" for the above reason only. Thank you, ESS!

- Louis -- W8LEW
N4VBV Rating: 5/5 Apr 10, 2006 08:27 Send this review to a friend
Class Act!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wanted to put a 10m beacon on the air, so looked at available controllers. After much research on beacon controllers, ordered the "Freakin' Beacon 2" kit from Rich at Expanded Spectrum Systems with PayPal. Rich responded very quick to questions concerning interface with HTX-100. Very quick notification of order received and shipping status. Flawless, quick, and easy PayPal transaction.

Ordered on Tuesday, kit arrived Saturday via USPS Priority Mail. Packing was excellent - USPS box with lots of bubble wrap inside. Static-Sensitive parts were packed in an appropriate envelope. All parts were present when compared to the packing list. Very neat and clean packaging.

Kit instructions were very clear, and parts were labeled where needed. Did I mention that the instructions were very clear and easy to follow? Instructions were cleanly printed from what appeared to be a laser printer, no smudging or trying to read a copy of a copy of a copy. Programming instructions were also easy to follow.

Kit went together in about 2 hours, but I work slow and check each step. Very nice circuit board, all holes plated through and clean layout. No rough edges, delaminating board, or hard to read legends on the board. Board is small, but ample space to solder without burning other parts. Parts went in easily. Instructions gave assembly hints that made the job easier.

Once kit was assembled, smoke test went fine. The PTT and Key LEDs operated as listed in the instructions. Unit programs with a DB-9 cable to the computer using "Hyperterminal" under Windows Accessories. Programming instructions are included, as well as a link to a ZIP file making programming easier. I used the normal procedure without the ZIP file, and it programmed fine.
Hyperterminal setup instructions are included (Comm 1, 9600 Baud, etc.). The unit uses capital letters for commands and small letters for the message. Lots of flexibility is available such as time delay, delayed startup (for hidden xmtr hunts), beacon speed, xmtr power out, hold present state, etc. Really easy, but recommend writing out your programming commands/message before typing, since you can't backspace or edit.

The manual does provide details on this procedure. Program stays in non-volitile memory until you change it, so no battery/power loss worries. A small jumper puts you into/out of programming mode, so you can't accidentally erase your programming (IF you set the jumper correctly!).

Very easy to attach to the HTX-100 - just a mono speaker patch cord. It keys the HTX-100 easily throught he "KEY" jack. No other connections required (except 9-15 volts for power). All jacks are provided for Key, PTT, DB-9, and Power. Connections are also provided for more advanced functions. I didn't use these (only used as a straight beacon keyer), so can't evaluate them. The blinking LED gives visual indication that the controller is working, and you can also add a speaker if desired; connections are provided. For the HTX-100 Rich recommended an unterminated speaker plug in the "SPKR" jack to stop the CW sidetone. After about 10 minutes of hearing CW sidetone, I agreed with him and did the same thing.

Overall, a First-Class operation; including questions, ordering, packaging, instructions, assembly, programming and operation. OUTSTANDING customer service! If you like to build, you'll have a ball.

Beacon is on the air at 28.2615 MHz, Grid EM93, give it a try. Sounds clean on the air, so the controller is working as advertised. If you are considering a beacon, I recommend contacting Bill, WJ5O ( for coordination and further info. Check out Expanded Spectrum Systems for more info on the Freakin' Beacon, great folks, and a real class act!

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