I have had much better luck at my Lafayette and Orinda QTH’s than I would have expected. This illustration – from the ARRL Antenna Book tells the story. Both QTH’s are right where the “Best” is shown. And both QTH’s had the down slope to the West and uphill to the East. Both were pretty good from 0 degrees going counter clockwise to 180 degrees – maybe back around to 130 degrees. Both had problems from 0 degrees to about 130 degrees going clockwise. Lafayette was better than Orinda because it was in a wider valley – in Orinda I am in a narrow valley, but it seems that the hills to the north, west and south are just far enough away to send and receive signals down to “low enough” take off angles.
Well, its very obvious that I will never experience the same low takeoff angle signals at my Orinda QTH that someone would at a flat field or better yet a salt marsh near a beach.
The two hills are East and West, and the North and South are where Moraga way goes through – and there is a down slope to Orinda – which is due North, and slightly up hill toward Moraga – which is Southward.
This diagram makes even more sense than it did way back when – when I generated it. You can really see that at 14 degrees takeoff angle – I am “shadowed” by the hills to some degree all around – but severely to the Northeast. HOWEVER, all of the antennas that I am building are nominally 20 degrees take off. This also now completely explains why my DX-ing buddies who live closer to the San Francisco Bay – or in the Central Valley flats do better than I do.
Also, my friend and neighbor Oliver, W6NV has a QTH way up on a hill – just below one of the tallest ridges in the East Bay – so he has a very low takeoff angle – and I was blown away when I made a QSO recently when we were plotting for me to work Bouvet from his station. In fact, out one window – he basically looked down on my QTH off in the distance.
It was the most graphic experience I had comparing one QTH vs. another. He and I agreed that for my last two ATNO’s it is time for me to stop beating my head against the wall, and instead, use his station.
Its nice to have a “DX Elmer” even after I have made Honor Roll. Its like having a big brother in that respect – and the social aspect of DXing is really nice. I had been going it alone all these years – I’ve shared my experience with others, but never asked anyone else for anything. So – it feels good to have ham radio and DXing friends in “high places” – heh heh.
I’m not going to Visalia – I just haven’t been into “ATNO DXing” now for about 3 years – VK0EK was the last big deal DXing for me – albeit 3Y0Z and 3Y0I could have rekindled some excitement. I did make DXCC on 160M which also qualified me for 9BDXCC, but even there I’ve sold all my low band RX antenna gear and replaced the 160M TX antenna with a 75M vertical for nets.
Well – maybe, just maybe – the French Team will announce Glorioso? I do think the 3Y0I guys will try again – and I do think they will finally make it – maybe this October – its just a gut feeling – they have a lot to prove and they seem crazy – motivated to make their mark. I do expect that they eventually get the fanfare they seek.
Here’s hoping there will be some exciting news from Visalia in a few days.