A Useful Online Tool for Line Of Sight (LOS) Communications

One of the responsibilities of the RTO in a planning cycle is knowing what tools will cover the distances needed during the patrol. You very well may LOVE license free FRS handhelds, only to get two klicks into the bush to realize they don’t work like you thought they would. These problems are some of the issues we cover in class- and flexibility rules the day. One of the planning tools that makes life easy now is an RF Line of Sight (LOS) tool. Using this will give you an idea of your radius on your terrain, and you can see roughly what you’ll need as far as antenna height and direction. It’s a particularly useful tool for those incorporating sloping vees or yagis into a signals package.

directional wire

And if you wanna take your small unit capability to the next level, get a jump start on your signals skills, or simply have a fun weekend doing something different than run n’ gun, email me at [email protected].


11 thoughts on “A Useful Online Tool for Line Of Sight (LOS) Communications

  1. Los calculators are not infallable, especially at UHF. (470-890 Mhz)
    I’ve set up yagi’s on top of woodland canopy with a really good Los and had spurious inteference at both ends from that foliage .
    We’ve also noticed signal degrigation from foliage lower, close abeam, and weather effects over distance, along a clear Los before now, again using Yagi arrays.

    I suppose that’s why we now never stretch our expectations about range.

  2. Deplorable B Woodman

    The problem with using FRS HTs outside of a couple of neighborhood blocks, is that the antennas are not meant to be removed or modified. Other types of HTs can have the antennas removed and replaced, and (hopefully, with experimentation) have their range extended.
    Other than that, good writeup.

    1. Yes I’ve known this for well over almost two decades. I was using that example for a very specific reason. Someone said a while back “they like using them (FRS handhelds) because its easy.”

      I’m illustrating yet again why “easy” is most often the wrong answer, which should be fairly obvious by the way I wrote that.

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