[CQ-Contest] Contest QTH, hilltop or seaside?

donovanf at starpower.net donovanf at starpower.net
Thu Jan 1 17:25:49 EST 2015

Hi Mike, 

Ocean front locations are very difficult to deal with, especially at higher 
latitudes where the difference between high and low tides can be extreme. 

Much better are large salt marsh sites such as W1KM's contest QTH, 
K3ZM's contest QTH, and W2GD's 160 meter contest QTH where 
changing tides aren't a major concern, the distance of the antenna from 
water's edge isn't constantly changing, and much of the Fresnel zone is 
over highly conductive salt marsh soil in most directions. 

At least two factors affect the loss of a vertical antennas on or near salt 
- near field loss within about 1/2 wavelength of the antenna base, and 
- low angle of radiation determined by the Fresnel Zone in front of the 
antenna in the direction(s) of interest. 

If the base of the vertical isn't very close (less than 1/2 wavelength) from 
the edge of the salt water, the losses of a vertical over sandy or rocky 
beach soils can be worse than over more conductive soils further from the 
beach. Its very difficult to permanently install a vertical within 1/2 wavelength 
of water's edge except perhaps on 160 meters. A more practical solution is 
to install the vertical on higher conductivity soil close to the beach, with 
an extensive radial system to minimize near field losses. 

However, even if you place the vertical over an extensive radial system 
back from water's edge, you still need to be close enough to gain the very 
low angle radiation advantage of salt water in the Fresnel Zone. 
Unfortunately this forces the vertical to be within just a few hundred feet of 
water's edge before the benefits of a beachfront location rapidly diminish. 

My recommendation is that you find a hilltop location unless you can find 
a large salt marsh QTH similar to W1KM, K3ZM and W2GD. 


From: Mike & Coreen Smith VE9AA <ve9aa at nbnet.nb.ca> 
To: cq-contest at contesting.com 
Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2015 8:53 AM 
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Contest QTH, hilltop or seaside? 

If you had to choose between a 600' hilltop or an oceanfront QTH in VE9, VE1 
which would it be?-----6m thru 160m. 

Sure, 600' doesn't sound like a lot, but most of the land around these parts 
is from 30'-300' ASL. Lets say the ground is very poor and rocky & 

Now to the oceanfront QTH. These are harder to find. I mean the *ultimate* 
reasonably priced ones are w/o a thick wallet 

but perhaps something in southern VE1 or VE9 which is a bit of a point of 
land giving 180-220* of water with fair but maybe not perfect views 

to EU/AF and the USA & SA.JA would be blocked as would all northern paths. 
At least 3-10* horizon and all over land in any case. 

What about less of an "over the water shot" where you could only choose one 
primary direction. Would you still do it? Choose EU over all else? 

NA perhaps?....size is likely 2-5acres..what about QRM to neighbours? 

Antennas would be very simple (no 100' towers in either case) 

Perhaps 40'masts with K1WA/K8UR (4) sloping dipole arrays on all bands 
10-160. No stacks, maybe not even any short towers. Maybe just HF9V 

So, strictly for contesting which would it be? Oceanfront or 
"hilltop"..remember-simple antennas only. 

I await the comments. 

Mike VE9AA 

Mike, Coreen & Corey 

Keswick Ridge, NB 

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