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

Jim Brown k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com
Fri Jan 2 16:46:56 EST 2015

On Thu,1/1/2015 7:46 PM, ScottW3TX at verizon.net wrote:
> Is there an argument to be made for favoring plain vanilla flat land in all directions, instead of a hill or mountaintop, so that the TOA's can be optimized for all bands by antenna height/stacking for all important directions?

If you have the real estate and the dollars to support those stacks, 
sure. BUT -- having operated stations at the top of high ridges, they 
are the clear winner for moderate budgets. I ran QRP on FD from a 5,000 
ft peak using a tribander on a short tower trailer, could hold a run 
frequency on all of the higher bands, and do very well on 80 and 40 with 
low dipoles.

I've also run from K6XX's excellent antenna farm at the top of a 2,700 
ft ridge, with monobanders for each band at HFTA optimized heights, and 
with towers for those monobanders at locations optimized for EU, SA, 
VK/ZL, and JA. Bob is only three miles from me, but I'm 200 ft down that 
ridge on the Pacific side. Bob has only one tower taller than about 40 
ft; it's more than 100 ft, and holds his 40M beam. The higher bands 
often open 30-60 minutes earlier for him than they do for me, and they 
last longer on the trailing end. He's also got a lot of land for RX 

Bottom line -- EXCEPT for 160M, where high conductivity ground makes 
salt water and salt marsh locations ideal for the verticals we must user 
there, I'll take the location on a peak any time.

Another thing to watch out for that's probably more important -- RF 
noise. try to get as far away from civilization as possible, and think 
at least a decade ahead in your survey. N6RO and W3LPL were both in the 
boonies when they built their super stations; W3LPL has housing 
developments across the road, and they're increasingly surrounding N6RO. 
K6XX is at least a mile from noise sources, but he's had severe issues 
with noise from homes and businesses in the valley below him. I've got 8 
acres, with the closest homes 500-1,000 ft away, but I've got more noise 
every year.

73, Jim K9YC

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