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Florida is a flat state with a lot of people, so there are plenty of local TV and FM signals that just go on and on... not great for a DXer like me. Fortunately, the terrain does get interesting around the Lake Wales Ridge. When I moved to Orlando a few years ago I identified Gilbert Park in Mount Dora as a spot that has potential for Gulf Tropo. The land rises rapidly east of the park, in the direction of Orlando's transmitters, attenuating the signals. To the west is Lake Dora.
The park is just 40 minutes from where I live, and I've been there several times for DX. For the first two years WYKE-CD was my only success there (the only DX caught over a full-power local), but on March 18 and 29 I finally saw Mt. Dora's potential in action. Gulf tropo delivered Tallahassee, Dothan, and Mobile on the 18th. However all the catches were on empty-ish channels that night (except a relog of WYKE-CD), so I began to doubt if the locals were attenuated enough.
I was back 11 days later and my spot in Mount Dora finally proved itself. On March 29th, not only did I bag multiple stations in New Orleans, but I caught DX over my locals on channels 14, 27, 28, 30, and 32 . Since WRDQ has a particularly stubborn signal - even making it down to the park - I had no hope for channel 27. New Orleans stations WWL and WUPL (tied) broke Orlando's tropo record by 2km and rank 11th overall among my TV tropo catches.
I'll be going to Gilbert Park more as the tropo season unfolds. I'd like to make a trip in the morning, hanging out for a while like I've done for Fort Island Beach (a two hour drive). If I can get farther than New Orleans, the Orlando logbook can beat Crystal River's record of 846km , or even Patchogue's record of 869km.
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