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Reverse Beacon Network Client

The Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) is a network of so-called skimmers. These are broad-band receivers, that listen to the CW portions of HAM radio bands. These skimmers report every CQ call (also beacons etc.) back to a central server. These reports contain the call of the transmitter, signal-to-noise ratio and speed (WPM) of the transmitter.

To this end, this network not only allows to find out how far your own CQ calls reach, but also which operators can be heard in your neighborhood (i.e., by the skimmers close to you). Hence, it provides a kind of automated DX cluster.

Being a newbie in CW, I always look for QSO partners that operate at modest speeds (e.g., < 20WPM). Although the RBN website allows to filter spots by various means, it does not allow for filtering by speed. Moreover, the website only allows for filtering based on the country of the skimmer, but not on the actual location of the skimmer. For example, I live in the northern part of Germany, if I would restrict myself to skimmer in the proximity of 500km, I would exclude some skimmers in the southern part of Germany but include some skimmers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Poland etc. which are closer to my actual location than skimmers in southern Germany. Due to these shortcomings, I decided to write a small system-tray application that provides some more detailed filtering.

Interfacing the RBN is quiet simple. There is a open telnet port providing a DX cluster-like interface to the RBN. This port just dumps out every spot. From the website a list of all skimmers including their locations can be obtained. This information is all, a RBN client may need.


The RBN client provides the following features:

Screen-shot of the RBN client in action.
The RBN client in action. The colors indicat the type of the spots (e.i., beacon spots are gray) as well as whether that spot/slot/DXCC has been worked before.


You can get the latest releases for Windows and MacOS X at GitHub.

For Ubuntu Linux, I provide some binary packages at my PPA. You may add my PPA to your list of software sources with

      sudo apt-add-repository ppa:hmatuschek/ppa
      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install rbnc

You may build it yourself from the sources. The only dependencies needed are CMake (build system) and Qt5.

Best & 73,