Gain due to mountaintop QTH?


From: Wayne Burdick (
Date: Wed May 25 1994 - 06:06:28 EDT

Say, gang, here's a question that's bothered me off and on for years.

We all know how much fun it is to operate outdoors, but is there any good
data available on just how much of an advantage, in dB, one typically gets
by being X feet above surrounding terrain? My experience suggests a 1 or 2
S-unit (6 to 12 dB) advantage from a 6000-foot peak compared to a typical
100-foot elevation suburban QTH, all other things being equal. But
wouldn't it be nice to have some more useful rules of thumb?

Particularly on Field Day, it would be helpful to know just how much oomph
per foot of altitude you're likely to get. This is especially important if
you're lugging a car battery and a case of your favorite brew.

I know that the situation is complicated by several factors: elevation,
ground conductivity, atmospheric density, whether there's a slope behind
you, etc. But is there a John Muir of mountain-top propogation out there
who can quantify things for us? In talking to Vic Black (NorCal) I found
out that he knew much more than I did about it, but even he didn't seem
real sure.

Wayne, N6KR

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