Thanks for the saves. I loaded them up and everything is working as intended. What I did:
1) I loaded your latest save that was near the portal in the facility in Achmedius.
2) I left to space.
3) I checked that you had beacons – you do.
4) I entered FTL space using the FTL icon.
5) I flew to the nearest star system that had orbiting stations – Aanaw.
6) When I was close to Aanaw, the purple Beacons icon was displayed in the lower left of the screen. I clicked the icon.
7) The beacon window opened and I clicked the place beacon button.
8) A beacon was placed.
9) I opened up the log screen [L] and opened the trade net.
10) I then sorted the list on the left by star systems with beacons ( the last sorting icon in the upper left - the icon that looks like a space station)
11) All available trade items were displayed including contraband items available in the selected systems. In this case, there are only two systems – Achmedius and Aanaw. More systems with beacons would provide even more trade opportunities.
In general, there shouldn't be any game-breaking bugs at this time. Occasionally I do get a very rare edge case that needs to be resolved – but not often. In this case, trade data is not displayed in the trade-net until you leave Achmedius and place a beacon in a system with orbital stations. That is working as intended.
There is a lot of good info in the in-game guide (press "H" and then select guide at the top of the window) and on the Stellar Tactics wiki.
ok i found the button. it was a matter of human error. im an idiot