This is a very interesting thread. I would like to add that:
a) When I look at the elevation comparison site
http://ct1boh.planetaclix.pt/wrtc/pt5m_pw5c_terrain.JPG and I adjust the
vertical scale to be equivalent to the horizontal distance scale, I don't
see any real advantage. The scale of the graphic is somewhat misleading.
The overall height above sea level of 3,000 ft. vs. sea level is small
compared to the skip height in the hundreds of miles. Also, the height of
600 ft.after 11,000 ft. indicates to me a less than 3.5 degrees. COME ON!
Get real, a 3.5 degree would not account for the hours of propagation. This
is a red herring.
b) The choice of the CQ frequency can have an impact on whether it is clear
or whether it is sitting on top of QRM from broadcasters. I don't know
which frequency each was using, but if the run-rate of our good friends the
American team was low, then perhaps it was due to the frequency they were
trying to run on! They may have heard a clear frequency but the propagation
into North American may have had them smack on-top of Rx QRM, whereas the
Canadian team was obviously in the clear. If this was the case it may have
been due to operator skill or perhaps luck. Knowing John VE3EJ, I can
attest to the fact that he lives-eats-and-breathes the low bands and would
certainly choose the right frequency for being in the clear into North
c) If the blockage to US was worse for one team over the other, there is
also the advantage that perhaps the blockage to Europe may have been in
their favour. Perhaps those other beam headings may have proven to be a
I think it is important for all of us to recognize that each competitor is
very much an expert and that each one make choices based on what they are
faced with "at that time". The winner makes the right choices more often
than the runner up.
Let's not diminish the respect that a hard-fought win deserves by trying to
explain it away or claim an unfair advantage of one over the other. They
won using equivalent official stations assigned to them and made the best of
what they had. Congratulations!!!!!!
Regarding the use of a handicap formula, I would oppose that. It would be
like having Tiger Woods given a different golf handicap than Mike Weir
because he is taller, or having the Portuguese basketball team spotted a few
points during the Olympics because the average population height is shorter
than the US. The equalization should be decided by the judges in their
selection of qualifying sites in the first place. From what I can see the
selection of either of these sites is equivalent (within a reasonable
statistical significance). As a professional engineering, I do not think
they made a mistake in this instance.
Barry Middlebrook, P.Eng
Amateur Radio Station VE6TN
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