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Thread: Dealing with obstacles. Like Mountains.

  1. #1

    Default Dealing with obstacles. Like Mountains.

    Hi everyone,

    I've been around radios for a few years but am far, far from anything but a novice. I've been poking around this propagation page looking for answers to a question that I've been racking my brains to solve but can't answer...

    My home is approximately 20 miles from where I work. I work in a valley so terrain is flat - really flat. And my home is in another valley - also really flat.

    No large super high buildings in either...except for a mountain range. Smack dab in between the two valleys.

    Since I would like radios to be an emergency communications can I transmit around, over, or through the mountain range to my home?

    Here is what I have at my disposal:

    1 50w VHF base station with 1/2 wavelength omnidirectional antenna
    1 5w VHF/UHF handheld with 1/4 wavelength omnidirectional antenna

    I am not opposed to getting HF if necessary, changing to directional antenna, larger amplifier, etc...

    Maybe I should just get sat phones.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Midlands UK


    What you need is a repeater on top of the hill that separates your locations.

    Depending on where you live this could be illegal without the correct licences, there are many other examples on youtube.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Elgin, Illinois


    It sure would be interesting to know where You are located, i.e. the United States, United Kingdom, Europe or Canada or some where else. A repeater could solve your problems if it were installed on that Mountain Range on the top. If a repeater is not available then I would recommend using 40 m SSB on the HF Bands as Mountains on HF have little to no effect on RF Signals. But lets focus on your location especially if it's in the U.S. by supplying the closes town or city and state.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2016


    As Wingfoot says, give some consideration to a repeater and is kind of ham vhf/uhf 101.

    Alternatively, given that you mentioned "... not opposed to getting HF if necessary ...", think about a NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave) antenna for HF. This is not as exotic as it might sound. In crude terms it is a HF antenna such as 80m that is low to the ground which is a typical issue for most hams. By having a 160m, 80m, ... antenna only 5 to 20 feet off the ground local communication can improve dramatically.

    I used to think the PITA with living on HF antenna challenged properties was that the antennas sucked. Apologies for the less than scientific term. But, a few years ago I moved to within an hour of ham Mecca (aka Newington, CT). As a result and by pure accident, I live near a few regular writers for QST. One, Joel Hallas, recently gave a very enlightening talk at my most local ham club about NIVS. In short, a low to the ground HF antenna gives a high launch angle which might be a very inexpensive method to talk over the hill. This is Joel's presentation and this is another site that describes it well.

    Last, I can't believe that there is not a vhf/uhf repeater that could work for you. However, being from The Middle of No Where, IL I do believe that there might not be a repeater nearby. Not only that, but in many places I can throw my cell phone further than I can talk on it.

  5. #5
    K7KBN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Bremerton WA USA


    If there are humans living in both of those valleys, chances are that you aren't the only licensed ham. Chances are also that there's a repeater there already that would serve you nicely. You didn't mention anything about it, and perhaps it's actually a non-problem. Lots of folks on this forum can find repeaters given just a location, and they might be of help. IF they knew just where you are.
    Pat K7KBN
    Semper ubi sub ubi.

  6. #6
    GTGallop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Cave Creek, Arizona 85331


    Did you manage to get your license since you posted almost a year ago on Tue 1st Dec 2015 at 09:44?

    If you throw out your call sign, or give us a rough area to work with (a little more specific than "Utah") we can probably figure something out.
    N5MKH - The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper. Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself. Up is down and down is us and man is no longer an alpha predator.

  7. #7


    Most times when you get a question like this, the answer is just to tell them that it can't be done.

    Most times questions like this involves people called Preppers, which are not interested in being hams, but are just looking for an alternative form of two way communications to take the place of their cell phones - when the cell phone isn't working.

    Had they been licensed amateurs, they would already know to use a repeater.

    Having been a member of several Prepper Forums and usually being asked to leave, when my advice did not jive with what they were looking for. I just gave up on those people.

    I have seen instances where they illegally installed a antenna, tied two Beofeng radios together in an ammo box and put their antenna illegally on a commercial two way radio tower.
    Figuring that if it was not discovered, they could leave it there indefinitely as a portable repeater, and if it was discovered all they were out was some coax an antenna, and two cheap portable handheld radios.

    Most of the times, complaints comes back from the legal tenants on the tower, complaining that something is getting into their two way radio equipment. Causing interference.
    Sometimes the 5th harmonic of the frequency is what causes the interference,, not the 2m / 70 cm / FRS / GMRS signal they believe they produce when they use their radios.

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