Let's go rover in the contest this weekend!

How to pick a Rover site, when you don't know where you're going. N9UUR/N9VSV

In this presentation, you may click on any map or picture for a larger image.

We had to go up to Eau Claire for the Wisconsin Association of Repeaters meeting on the weekend of the VHF/UHF contest, and thought it would be fun to go ROVER in the contest after the meeting.

Problem was, we live in Milwaukee, and I don't know anything about the area around Eau Claire.

So... I launched my map program, Delorme Street Atlas.

Street Atlas does a great job finding rural roads, but I want high ground!

Badger Contesters Home Page

Time for a better map

After some web snooping, I found Delorme had another product. Delorme Topo

Maps, with topographic (height) data!

Badger Contesters Home Page

Finding a good spot

So I "looked" around the map, and found a nice high spot on a ridge, in EN35 just north of the intersection of EN34/EN35/EN44/EN45. Actually, I found some potential spots in each of the four grid squares just around the corner.

The program will also give you a "3D" view.
This is looking west toward MN.

Badger Contesters Home Page

But what is between me and you?

The program will also let you draw a line, and then plot (toward the bottom) a graph of the terrain height between the two points. From this, you can see if there are any "mountain tops" in the way of your signal.

The Plot has EN35 on the left, and MN on the right.

Badger Contesters Home Page

And what will be there when we get there?

The problem still is... you still don't know what the area really looks like at that spot.
The Delorme map program has a Satellite imagery section, but it's a $ add on for download (I hope to try that some other time).
So, I tried Google Earth.

By the time you zoom in far enough... just a green blur.

So we take our chances, and go rover!
And what do we find "on the ground"?

Badger Contesters Home Page

Let's just go! EN35 Site

Here is our EN35 Spot. On 280th Street, north of Boyceville. We got lucky!

Looking south
Looking North

Looking West

The 3D Plot again.

Ended up to be a pretty nice place to pull off the road.

What... you have a problem with HO Loops on an E500 Mercedes Benz?
We get to the next grid square very quickly this way (grin).

Badger Contesters Home Page

EN34 Site

Here is our EN34 Spot. On 100th Ave, north of I94, just west of Knapp WI.

Looking east
Looking West

Looking North

Badger Contesters Home Page

EN45 Site

Here is our EN45 Spot. On County F, north of 170, between Wheeler and Boyceville.

Looking north
Looking south

Another good place to park! An old gravel pit.

And, no. We did not make a lot of Q's.
We really didn't spent that much time contesting,
but we did learn a few things, and had a lot of fun!
Give Delorme Topo a try.

Badger Contesters Home Page