Non-Directional Beacons (NDB's) I have personally visited.
NDB's are a very old method of locating airports. They send out a radio signal consisting of a carrier and a morse-code identifier. These signals can be received by aircraft and the direction to the NDB displayed on a "radio-compass" in the cockpit. While outmoded, these stations can be used in an emergency if other navigational devices fail. Some intrepid radio enthusiasts have logged over a thousand NDB's from around the world from their home locations. My personal reception count stands at 391 NDB's received (as of 11/2009) here at La Center, WA from as far away as Vanuatu in the South Pacific (SON-412) at 9780 kilometers (6077 miles).
Some beacons I have had the pleasure (or determination) to visit personally. I took a trip to San Diego in April, 2006 and made it a point to visit as many beacons as I could. Here are some photos of my successful visitations. As time has gone on I have added to the menagerie. Scroll down and enjoy the tour!
AEC is not found on any Aeronautical Charts (!) Not on all the time either. AN was decommissioned in 2008. Located on Navy property in San Diego.
Phil - KO6BB's favorite noisemaker. FCH is one potent flamethrower and now I see why! Serious power and a serious antenna. GWF was a bugger to find. The transmitter is in a weatherproof cabinet behind the wall and the "T" antenna is barely visible. I enhanced it so it can be seen in the photo.
Another flamethrower. At 460km it's a daytimer for me.
MY is in San Diego serving Montgomery Field. NO in Reno has the most "squashed" tee-antenna I have seen. Antenna enhanced for visibility.
Ah, yes . . . "Peanut-Butter Toast". One of my band condition checkers. It is interesting that the antenna does not have a capacity hat.
RD-367 is behind the back yard of a private residence. Interesting corona spikes on the capacity hat of the antenna.
SJY is located in San Jacinto, near Riverside, CA. I took an Alaskan cruise in May, 2009. CMJ was the only NDB I photographed.
While on a trip to eastern Oregon in June, 2009 I was able to visit two NDB's
Another trip to central Oregon in August, 2009 netted two more...
The next two photos are of "Laker", LBH-332 in Gresham, Oregon. The only vantage point from which I could take the photos was on the side of Interstate 84. The NDB is wedged in a grove of trees between the freeway and a Boeing factory. I would not suggest stopping like this anywhere in the Portland, Oregon area. Portland drivers have to be the most inattentive drivers on the planet. And yes, I have experienced drivers in London, Paris and Rome (where the Romans consider the sidewalk a legitimate right-turn lane). Portland beats them all! Photos follow:
LSO-256, another local but not a real pest.
Located north of Kelso, WA, LSO is one of the closest NDB's to my location.
LWG resides just north of Corvallis, Oregon. The thingy in the middle of the mast may be a loading coil.
"K" on 317 KHz (left below)
The following photo is of a marine beacon that is possibly the only single letter beacon left in the US, "K" on 317 KHz. Located on Ediz Hook near Port Angeles, WA, it was reported decommissioned in June, 2009 but it was running as of 5 May 2010 when I passed it on the Port Angeles-Victoria ferry "MV Coho".
"AW" on 382 KHz (right below)
An NDB at the south approach of the Arlington, Washington airport. I photographed it while on an outing with a friend to the annual Arlington Fly-in Airshow.