Communications Ranges

Have you ever wondered how the communications distances covered by amateur radio operators in Australia (VK) compare with the distances in the United States of America and Europe / West Asia / North Africa?  This page looks at three communications paths - across Australia, across the USA, and across Europe.

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Comparison of Communications Distances in Australia and the USA

US/VK communications ranges map
The map above is an azimuthal equidistant projection, or "Great Circle Map", showing the part of the North American continent occupied by the USA overlaid on the Australian continent; and is centred on two locations: Gundaroo, NSW, Australia; and Columbia, South Carolina, USA.  (See a higher resolution version here.)  The map shows azimuth angles, or compass bearings, and great circle distances from each of the locations.  Columbia, SC, was chosen as one location because it provided a similar set of communications ranges across the USA as the ranges across Australia from Gundaroo, NSW.  For an example comparison; consider the communications path between Gundaroo, NSW, and Wyndham, WA (15° 28' 57''S 128° 07' 22''E): the approximate range and bearing is 3 000km and 310 degrees (East of True North) respectively.  This range and bearing is equivalent to that for the communication path between Columbia, SC, and Helena, MT (46° 35′ 45″N 112° 01′ 38″W).

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Comparison of Communications Distances in Australia and the Northwest Afro-Eurasia

EU/VK communications ranges map
"Northwest Afro-Eurasia" is a geographical term for the region consisting of the northern part of Africa, the Middle East, Europe (including Great Britain and Ireland), and the western part of Asia.  The map above is an azimuthal equidistant projection, or "Great Circle Map", showing the Northwest Afro-Eurasian region overlaid on the Australian continent; and is centred on two locations: Gundaroo, NSW, Australia; and Ankara, Turkey(See a higher resolution version here.)  The map shows azimuth angles, or compass bearings, and great circle distances from each of the locations.  Ankara, Turkey, was chosen as one location because it provided a similar set of communications ranges across the region as the ranges across Australia from Gundaroo, NSW.  For an example comparison; consider the communications path between Gundaroo, NSW, and Wyndham, WA (15° 28' 57''S 128° 07' 22''E): the approximate range and bearing is 3 000 km and 310 degrees (East of True North) respectively.  This range and bearing is equivalent to that for the communication path between Ankara, Turkey, and Birmingham, England, UK (52° 28′ 59″N 001° 53′ 37″W).

Note that the
communications path between Gundaroo, NSW, and Wyndham, WA, is the same as that used for the comparison of communications distances in Australia and the USA.  The communication path between Ankara, Turkey, and Birmingham, England, UK, is therefore comparable in distance and bearing to that between Columbia, SC, and Helena, MT; viz. approximately 3 000 km and 310 degrees (East of True North).

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This page was created by Mike Dower VK2IG: 16 Jul 2011.  Material may be copied for personal or non-profit use only.