Would you like to make a coverage map for your QTH? Roger Coudé, VE2DBE has created a free tool allowing you to create maps based on your different locations and equipment, free of charge. I have created coverage maps for my own QTH and our repeater site, and it seems quite accurate, although simulations can never get 100% exact.
Go to http://www.ve2dbe.com/rmonline.html, choose “Create new account” on the left hand side, and follow the instructions. Fill in your selected username and password on the front page and click “Submit” to log in to the service. Once you are logged in you land on the “My settings” page. Click “Return to main menu” to start using the service.
Set up your sites
In the red section of the main menu, choose “New site”. Navigate around the map, zoom in and out, and place the blue pointer on your antennas location. Click the “Submit” button when you are done. Give your new location a name to identify it later. You can create several sites, like home, your favorite summit or your repeater site. The “Elevation” field is filled out automatically, retrieving your locations height above sea level from the map.
Create a coverage map
Return to main menu and select “New coverage” in the green section. In the first group, choose the site you created in the “Centre site” menu. Fill in your antenna height (above ground) and choose antenna type.
In the second group you can adjust height and gain of the receiving (DX) antenna. I left these as is.
In the third group, fill in your frequency and power, and your known losses if applicable. You can leave the losses as they are if you don’t know your exact values.
Click the “Submit” button and wait for your map to be generated. This takes about a minute.
Your finished map
After about a minute the map is complete and shows up on your screen. Great! You can zoom and navigate in the map. If you are satisfied, click “Add to my coverages” to be able to review the map at a later time. Click “Modify map” to return to the previous settings screen. Unless you add the map to My coverages it gets discarded.
In more detail, please?
If you want a more detailed model, you can choose a higher resolution in the “Rendering” menu. You can also cover a larger radius from your antenna by raising the “Maximum range” option. Higher resolution and larger radius takes longer to render (up to approximately ten minutes), but gives a more detailed result which is also more pleasing to look at.
Printing a coverage report
You can print an automatically generated report containing information about your site and maps with two zoom levels. In the main menu, choose “My coverages”, choose the site you want to print, and click “Printable coverage report”. Wait until the report is complete. The print dialog should pop up automatically.
Setting up links and antenna types
With the software, you can also import your own antenna designs. You can even set up your repeater links to produce one map showing the entire area they cover. I will not go into further detail on this as I have not explored these utilities myself.
This software is truly a great piece of work. VE2DBE has done a terrific job with this. If you like the software, please consider donating to Roger to help him keep up the good work. I have done so myself.
Thank you, Roger, for sharing this with us!