How well our signals will emanate from this new location can be estimated by using software called HFTA (High Frequency Terrain Analysis – from any recent ARRL Antenna Book ) to produce a map of the terrain. It looks promising because we slope down toward the northeast, which is direction of Europe. This screen snap is what the terrain looks like as we look to the northeast, or 45 degrees, using a dipole on a 60 foot tower. Slopes down for 2 miles. Nice.
Next is a plot of Colorado to Europe using a dipole at 60 feet elevation. Looks good but could be better. About 5 dBi gain at the take off angle where most of the Europeans stations come in. The dipole peaks at 15 degrees, a good all around takeoff angle and very usable but not optimum for Europe. Four or five degree take off angle is perfect but not likely attainable at this installation.
The pale green shed is now a vibrant barn red with tan trim. Painting something is a good way to make it one’s own. No longer drab, now it has sparkle.
It’s ready for the move-in. First item is solar panels and batteries so there is power to have the Internet installed. Radio equipment comes after the Internet is up and running. Finally antennas, which always seem to be work in progress forever. Ever changing for that extra db.
This beautiful 40 acre piece of farm land became available this fall, complete with enough space for any antenna, no covenants, nor hoa’s, and perfectly flat and unobstructed. Lucky me, the property is now mine. Having one’s own land upon which to put a remote base has a much nicer feel than having to borrow from friends. As gracious as my friends have been it’ll be relaxing to use my own land instead. This is what the acreage looks like when still a blank sheet of paper. The mountains are just barely visible in the distance.
A Tuff Shed “barn” is scheduled for delivery tomorrow and then the equipment can begin to be moved in. Off grid solar power has served us well in Elizabeth and those panels will be moved up here. A Direct Link internet tower is 7 miles north for Internet access and we should be able to reach that easily. This acreage is located near Strasburg, Colorado about 25 miles east of Denver in the heart of farm and ranch country. Access is quick by I-70 and the county roads are paved all the way except for the last mile. Testing for RF noise showed no S-meter movement off the S-zero level on 20 meters. The plan is to slowly move the other two remote bases here. The Tuff Shed will house the remote base equipment and also serve as an operating location on occasion. It will be big enough to accommodate a camp cot and a sleeping bag. If a used tower and beam comes on the market that could also be in future plans. For now the antennas will be verticals. Lots and lots of verticals. With lots and lots of radials.
The cost of this land is looked upon not as an expense but as an investment that I can get some ham radio use out of. Investing in land is almost never a bad thing. Lucky for us, Colorado is one of the sought after places these days and some say almost any real estate here is a good investment. We’re fastening our seat belt for the next exciting ride. Here we go.
November 21, 2016 – Tuff Shed arrives. It doesn’t look so much like a barn as a shed. From a distance I thought it looks like a yurt until my wife corrected me. She says yurts are round. I guess I’ll have to find a better name than “Little Yurt On The Prairie”.
At the closing I asked what the address will be since there was no address on the paper work. The answer was, “Oh, the County will give you an address when you apply for a driveway permit.” Reality sets in. Permits? We don’t need no stinkin’ permits. Do we? Oh, maybe we do. I’ll put that on my Christmas list. (February update: still no permits and still no address )