I think Dave, George and one or two others have hinted at the truly
interesting, concealed dimension of Richard's question... specifically, how
can you quantify improvement in a contest station?
Consider ... if there will *always* be stations calling you who you cannot
hear, because of the inherently non-reciprocal nature of propagation.
... if adding transmit power or gain acts mainly to increase this
asymmetry in the hear-and-be-heard equation.
... if many noise sources (the ones that set the floor for
detectable signals) are beyond our control.
Then how do you decide how your next station investment should be made?
... More directivity, in the hope of cutting down on off-axis noise?
... Better control of take-off angle, to improve the signal-to-noise
ratio from the stations you need for a bigger score?
... Better strong-signal capability, so that you don't lose QSOs with
the S0 stations because of QRM.
... Better overall on-the-nose gain, on the assumption that the
sources of most noise will not be on-the-nose.
... Other refinements, to improve the contribution that the operator
can make to the score.
I think that many of us would be interested in hearing how people approach
this intriguing problem. How about you? Drop me a note directly, and I'll
summarize for the group.
73, Pete Smith N4ZR
Sometimes a tower is just a tower
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