JOHN BOTARI'S SASKATCHEWAN NDB IMAGES

On this page you will find a collection of photographs of NDBs taken by John Botari around the Saskatoon area in Saskatchewan, Canada. These feature the NDBs 'ZXE' on 356.0 kHz, 'ZSS' on 397 kHz, and 'XE' on 257 kHz.

The ZXE pictures were taken by John on Saturday 11th of May 2013, and show this low-power beacon, which operates on 356 KHz, and serves the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (CYXE). It uses standard A2H modulation (audio frequency of 400 Hz), with the usual Canadian dash-after-ID (DAID) format. The co-ordinates for this one according to the NANDBH are: N52 09 41, W106 34 28. John tells us that the Barnes NDB used to be on a rural road, well outside the built-up area of Saskatoon, but this is now Canada's fastest-growing urban community, and as you can see, the city has encroached around it. It's now adjacent to a brand-new development of rather large houses, many of which are still under construction.

The pictures of the "Yellowhead" NDB site (calling ZSS on 397 KHz), were taken on Tuesday, 21 May 2013. ZSS is another low-power beacon in the Saskatoon area, with an antenna configuration very similar to that of the Barnes NDB (ZXE - 356 KHz), shown in the other group of pictures. It uses the standard Canadian transmission format: A2H modulation, with an audio frequency of ~400 Hz, dash-after-ID (DAID), on a cycle of about 10 seconds.

As mentioned above, ZSS is called the Yellowhead NDB -- named for the nearby Yellowhead Highway (one of the major Trans-Canada routes, running by just to the south). It's in a considerably more pastoral setting than the Barnes (ZXE) site. No urban encroachment here! Like the Barnes NDB, the Yellowhead beacon is located near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and serves Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (CYXE). Co-ordinates are 52 14' 30" North, 106 44' 27" W (check it out in Google Earth), which puts it to the NNW of the airport, several miles straight off the end of Rwy 15/33.

John also sent along the pictures of the XE "Saskatoon" NDB site (also taken on Tuesday, 21 May 2013) to complete the set of Saskatoon-area beacon images (the only other beacon in the vicinity - "Moonlake", formerly calling ZSK on 201 KHz, was taken out of service several years ago and its former compound, which was located in a residential neighbourhood in Saskatoon's south-east, is now occupied by a couple of houses).

The "Saskatoon" beacon identifies as "XE" on 257 KHz, and, like the others listed above, uses the standard Canadian transmission format. However, you'll note that XE has a much taller antenna mast than its siblings -- almost twice the height of those at ZXE and ZSS. It seems that this is the local "enroute" NDB -- something that is also implied by its two-letter ID. The XE beacon is located at 52 11 22 N 106 48 50 W, and as with the others, the site is easily recognizable in Google Earth. It's situated to the west of the international airport, several miles straight off the end of the main 8300-foot runway (09/27). The ZXE-356 ("Barnes") NDB, seen above, pairs with it, being an equivalent distance to the east of the airport.

John also points out that the pictures of the inside of the compound were made by sticking the camera lens through the chain-link fence - so, no one needs to write in and complain that he was trespassing, (he did point out that he got a few odd looks from the local residents, however...). I think that's something that many of us have have to endure with our unusual but very interesting hobby unfortunately! :-)


NOTE# All of the following pictures are copyright 'John Botari', and should not be re-produced with out first obtaining his permission - please ask us for his contact details if you should require them.




Click on the images to see the full sized larger versions:

ZXE on 356.0 kHzZXE on 356.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

A general view of the site from across the main access road, with the housing development in the background. (229.0kb)
ZXE on 356.0 kHzZXE on 356.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The antenna mast *does* have a sort of "capacity hat" by virtue of the fact that the topmost guys are electrically connected to the mast -- their insulators are partway down the guy, while insulators on the others are right at the tower. (267.0kb)
ZXE on 356.0 kHzZXE on 356.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The base of the antenna, with the automatic antenna-tuning unit. One of the spark-gap balls is also visible. (You can also see that there's still some snow hanging on in the bushes and by the fence, despite the fact that spring is well under way!)(343.0kb)
ZXE on 356.0 kHzZXE on 356.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The transmitter building, with the usual Nav Canada warning placards, and the identifying and emergency contact information. (203.0kb)


Click on the images to see the full sized larger versions:

ZSS on 397.0 kHzZSS on 397.0 kHz at 'Yellowhead', Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The general arrangement of the site, taken from the access road. (227.0kb)
ZSS on 397.0 kHzZSS on 397.0 kHz at 'Yellowhead', Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The transmitter building, with the admirably clear Nav Canada identification info, as well as the usual warning signage. (220.0kb)
ZSS on 397.0 kHzZSS on 397.0 kHz at 'Yellowhead', Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The antenna mast. This is very similar to the Barnes - ZXE antenna, using the uppermost bay of guys for top-loading. The height is estimated at about 80 feet -- this, by counting the bolt-together mast sections (each of which appears to be about 10 feet long). (168.0kb)
ZSS on 397.0 kHzZSS on 397.0 kHz at 'Yellowhead', Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The antenna base -- also very similar to the Barnes site. (237.0kb)
ZSS on 397.0 kHzZSS on 397.0 kHz at 'Yellowhead', Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

Originally we asked if anyone knew what the the pair of antennas on the other mast might be, and Alex, VE3GOP, who knows about these things, thinks they will be a 'PARROT' antenna system, which is a system that is used for airport secondary radar calibration, and is programmed to respond to radar interrogation pulses. Thanks a lot for that Alex, much appreciated. (163.0kb)
ZSS on 397.0 kHzZSS on 397.0 kHz at 'Yellowhead', Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

No odd looks from these local residents! They were grazing placidly just on the other side of the road where picture #1 was taken. (426.0kb)


Click on the images to see the full sized larger versions:

XE on 257.0 kHzXE on 257.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

As one approaches the site from the south, the antenna mast can be seen looming above of a clump of trees on a stretch of flat prairie. (235.0kb)
XE on 257.0 kHzXE on 257.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The general arrangement of the site, taken from the east side of the access road. (191.0kb)
XE on 257.0 kHzXE on 257.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The transmitter building, once again with the usual Nav Canada identification and warning signage. (212.0kb)
XE on 257.0 kHzXE on 257.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The antenna mast. As seen at ZXE and ZSS, this is top-loaded by the uppermost bay of guys, forming a downward-sloping capacity hat. A bit of research has revealed that this sometimes is referred to as a "Marconi umbrella" -- apparently not a new idea! A count of the bolt-together mast sections puts the height of XE's antenna at around 150 feet. (129.0kb)
XE on 257.0 kHzXE on 257.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

A close-up of the top of the mast. The "saddle" allows the top guy-wires to be paired, increasing the capacitive loading -- each pair converges, and joins at an insulator about 40 feet above the ground, as can be seen in the second and fourth photos. Note that XE's antenna is tall enough that obstruction lighting is required. (114.0kb)
XE on 257.0 kHzXE on 257.0 kHz at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada:

The base of the mast, showing the Austin Ring transformer used to couple AC power to the obstruction lighting system. Also seen here are the antenna tuning unit and the lightning spark gap. (349.0kb)


We're very grateful to John for sharing his photos with us, and if you have shots of your own that you would also like to see on display here in the NDB List Photo Gallery, we would love to hear from you too!



NDB List Picture Gallery



** NOTE **
Information given in this page may be freely re-produced by any 'NON-COMMERCIAL' sources (hobbyists, DX Clubs etc.) provided that due credit is given to the 'NDB List' website as the source, and files are not altered in any way without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

Copyright © NDB List 1998-2017.
Last updated 1st of January 2017
Back to the NDB List homepage


Thank you for visiting the NDB List Photo Gallery