Sunday, 21 August 2016

Map for Grid Square Chasers

Six metre enthusiasts, VHF/UHFers, Moonbouncers, Scatterers and the like often use maidenhead grid locators to track their contacts. In their simplest form, Maidenhead grids divided the Earth into 1x2 degree chunks. When working over shorter distances with microwaves, a more fine-grained grid is used. Maidenhead is hierarchical, with most using the 4 character form. For instance, I live in FN03, but the club meets in FN04, which is a couple of hundred metres to the North of me. Each pair of characters represents a grid "square" (they're not square. In fact they're not even rectangular, although they would be if the Earth were flat).

Recently I happened upon an excellent on-line map with a Maidenhead grid overlay on a Hungarian Web Site. Even better, by clicking the appropriate button on the top right, there's a DXCluster link that shows communications paths on the map. The map lets you zoom in from the 2 to the 4 to the 6 character locators.

On VHF and UHF, the ARRL VUCC award recognizes 100 confirmed contacts with different grid squares. The ARRL also has the Fred Fish award recognizing contacts with every grid square which contains a piece of the continental US. FN03 is one of those, and according to the rules a contact with me would count for that award even though I'm on the Canadian side.


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