Information about the community in which we live: Winfield,
of the world
A custom beam heading map showing my station's best and
worst signal directions
A few thoughts about low-angle signals, and the disadvantage
of living under a mountain
My QTH's visual horizon
take a look at my QTH, compared to two previous locations:
obviously home-brewed composite chart shows the terrain elevations
at all compass points around three sites I have used since my return
to contesting in June 2002.
data was generated by Radio Mobile software using a viewing height
of 100 kilometers -- meaning it takes into consideration all topography
within a 50 kilometer radius.
what the squiggly lines are really saying:
blue line (labelled LODGE) is my
Winfield, BC, QTH prior to April 2004. It shows the signal-blocking
mountain due east of the house -- it blocked signals below 12
or 13 degrees for about half of the eastern horizon. I was never
able to get any antenna higher than 30 feet there, which only
made matters worse as all I was able to hear were high-angle close-in
signals. Not a great situation for a contest station.
(FARM) is the contest location I set up at my parents' ranch in
the hills west of Summerland, BC. Used this site for about 6 major
contests from summer 2002 to Feb. 2004. As you can see, it also
had bigger mountain problems than my home QTH. Why did I use this
site? Mostly because it had a LOT of 90-foot pine trees and at
least I was able to get my wire antennas high in the air. Earned
my best scores from there, despite its proximity to high mountains
in key directions.
red line (OK CTR) is my new QTH,
about 2 kilometers due west from the old QTH. The mountain is
still there, but it's a lot lower on the horizon. Signals above
6 degrees are unobstructed from the east. Note the dip at 20-30
degree beam headings -- a nearly perfect shot into Europe. I am
writing this on March 13, two weeks before we move to the new
house. It's on 1 acre of land with tall pines at one end. I intend
to build a much more competitive contest station there. As they
say, please stay tuned.
analysis (see my great circle bearing
map) used a 25-km height (12.5-km radius) and shows slightly
better results for the new QTH and even worse results for the old
Essential free program to find out where your station's best directions
are for working DX (and contesting). Tell the software your latitude
and longitude, and it will go on the Internet, download the topographic
data and display a color map of your area. The "Visual Horizon"
tool will graph the highest elevation in a circle around your QTH.
Circle Bearing Map Software
I used GCMwin to create the great circle bearing
maps for my QTH analysis. Great software, and it's free, too.