Radio Propagation Analysis Software

Analyses, studies, simulations, predictions

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The making of BeamFinder was an effort of many years and is based on the author's professional work in ionospheric research. The software enables the user to apply sophisticated scientific models to practical VHF dxing, e.g. sporadic E, Aurora, FAI, E- and F-layer multiple-hop propagation and other types of radio wave propagation.

Studying radio wave propagation combines elements from engineering, communication, geophysics and solar-terrestrial research in a fascinating discipline. Because radio waves ignore manmade boundaries, this discipline also stimulates the international cooperation between scientists, engineers, technicians and, of course, between radio amateurs. I hope BeamFinder will support amateur radio propagation studies

What is BeamFinder?

BeamFinder is a multi-purpose instrument supporting radio propagation studies with a variety of graphical and numerical functions, scientific models and methods. The program deals with quantities the radio amateur is already familiar with, i.e. grid squares, geographical coordinates, distances, antenna headings and frequencies.

What can I do with BeamFinder?

  • You may display your QSO data on a large Maidenhead grid map
  • You may plan and design experiments in long-distance communication
  • You may analyse openings and dx situations in realtime
  • You may identify potential dx targets and conditions
  • You may upload data from harddisk, e.g. from your logbook database

BeamFinder features



Propagation & geophysics

  • easy-to-use graphical user interface
  • English operation language
  • advanced mathematical and physical models
  • applicable in all geographical regions
  • BeamFinder Command Language (BFCL)
  • build-in parser and Command Editor
  • mouse operations on the world map
  • keyboard operations
  • file operations
  • remote control using Apple Events
  • customisation of the user interface
  • autoexe file to be loaded on start-up
  • program and model parameters restored when re-launching the program
  • supports Maidenhead grid locators
  • supports the grid locator system of Europe preceding the Maidenhead system
  • supports Apple Bubble Help
  • optimized runtime performance
  • fast execution code

  • large screen world map (2540 x 1761 pixels)
  • fast scroll functions to change map view
  • map navigation tools
  • clickable navigation map
  • "Home" and "Last target" centring tool
  • map zoom ranging from 1:0.3 to 1:4.0
  • two map orientations centring the screen map on the Greenwich meridian or, alternatively, on the 180 deg meridian
  • plots radio beams along the short path
  • plots radio beams along the long path
  • plots Maidenhead grid squares
  • creates beamer maps
  • versatile colour settings, e.g. for geographical targets, atmospheric layers etc.
  • "smart mouse cursor" displays actual grid locator
  • "rubberband" feature previews the path of radio waves
  • precise great-circle-distance, line-of-sight and elevation calculations
  • saving of map views to harddisk
  • two transparent drawing modes

  • multiple-hop propagation analysis (segmenting and extrapolating mode)
  • sporadic E analyser
  • MUF predictions and geographical targets in sporadic E propagation
  • calculates position of sporadic E scattering
  • calculates the dx radius in Aurora and FAI radio propagation
  • calculates Aurora and FAI scatter locations
  • calculates curves of backscattering
  • estimates potential dx targets
  • plots the zero-elevation radio horizon and range of vision
  • analyses the penetration path of radio waves into the atmosphere
  • distance and azimuth bar chart analyses
  • site information panel
  • Earth magnetic field data which supports all world and atmosphere locations
  • displaying the actual Aurora oval using the NOAA/POES data from the internet

Minimum system requirements

  • Apple Macintosh Power PC (PPC)
  • 132 MHz (recommended: 500 MHz or better )
  • 65 Megabyte free memory (RAM) at runtime
  • 15.5 Megabyte harddisk space
  • a minimum of 32 768 screen colours
  • high-res monitor
  • Mac OS 8.x or Mac OS 9.x

Click here for more details.

"BeamFinder does a lot and the quantity of its capabilities also have quality. The same can be said for its home on the Internet." Read the feature article in the ARRL News.


"BeamFinder's creator, Volker Grassmann, DF5AI, knows his stuff, as is evident in his software." Read the PDF article from QST, Dec. 2002.