Radio Coverage

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Found under:-

'Tools/Radio Coverage'

(A 'click' on any Fuchsia underlined name will take you to that page).


    There are a number of types of direct Radio Coverage plots, plus a 'Route Radio Coverage'  feature, and two ways to 'Find Best Sites'  for communication. This is where locations capable of providing Radio Coverage to a number of selected Units,  or to all the Waypoints generated by the 'Object Editor' on a Route, can be plotted.

(Use Up or the Back button to return to this page).


    In the following plots, the fixed unit(s) and mobile unit - whose parameters are to be used as the receiver -  have to be selected. You also have to decide on the Units of measurement and range of signal levels to be displayed, plus the maximum Range to be plotted. It should be noted that the display generated for a Fixed Unit 'Gain' antenna is as if that antenna was pointed towards a particular azimuth, and with a defined antenna Elevation tilt - it can be set as a link direction or defined in degrees, i.e. its radiation pattern and direction does apply to the plot. The antenna pattern can be shown on the plot by checking 'Draw' which creates a small drawing of the antenna pattern overlaid at its location aligned with its azimuth. Clicking on the View pattern button opens the Pattern Viewer which gives a display of the Azimuth and Elevation parameters of the antenna. The mobile unit however is treated as if it has an 'Omni' antenna, even if in fact a 'gain' antenna is specified in its System. The effect of this is to simulate a gain antenna at the mobile Unit which always points towards the Fixed Unit for every location.

    It should also be recognised that a 'mobile' unit has to be specified for the Field Strength plots, where its antenna height is taken into consideration as the unit is moved.



            With these descriptions, a 'mobile' unit is one which is being moved during the plots -  a Unit called 'Mobile', with a capital 'M',  is a named and specified Unit as part of the Base Network Membership.


Click here to see Signal Plot type descriptions.

Click here to see how to change the Signal Plot legend location.

Click here to see how to change the Colour Pallet for plots.

Click here to see how to change the Colour Legend steps and omissions.

Click here for notes on Single Colour plots with customised scaling.

Click here for notes on gain antenna patterns.

Click here for a full description of the Antenna Pattern Viewer.

Click here to see how to produce a Blank white screen for Coverage plots.

Click here to see the Unit description pane.

Click here to measure the distance from a Unit to a map location.


Mouse click shortcuts:


'Left click' on Unit Icon Displays the Unit Description pane (Closed with Left click on it)
Ctrl-'Left click' on Unit icon Select left site of Radio Link
Ctrl-'Right click' on Unit icon Select right site of Radio Link (and display)
SHIFT-'click' on Unit icon Select a unit for Combined Radio Coverage
  followed by SHIFT-'click' at point Generates a measurement line from the Unit
SHIFT-'click' on a text box Open the metric conversion tool (if applicable)
Double 'Left click' on Unit icon Opens Unit Properties pane
'Right click' on Unit icon Option to move Unit to Cursor position
'Left click' on map Places cursor at that location
  followed by a drag Generates a measurement line, bearing and marquee box
Double 'Left click' on Map Opens Map Properties to re-centre the Map
Ctrl-'L/R button' on picture Allows an over screen size picture to be panned



To see the Unit description pane go here.



An additional feature has been added which allows distance and bearing data to be displayed from a Unit location:-


    Where a Single Unit has been selected using 'SHIFT-click' on its icon, a 'SHIFT-click'  anywhere on the picture produces a volatile 'yellow/black' Azimuth line between the Unit and that location.


 The Azimuth and range to the point from the Unit being reported on the main window Status area as an additional measurement tool. This feature can be seen here


Click on the underlined Fuchsia title to go to the page:


Please note that on all the coverage panes a small icon can be displayed as a reminder of the status of Land cover.

shown as:               when enabled,         and  when disabled.

(The icon display is controlled by the checkbox 'Icon' on the 'Options/Elevation' pane Land cover tab).


Single Polar

 or 'F3'


   where the performance of a single Unit coverage to a defined mobile Unit is performed in a radial sweep manner. Azimuth covered, and radial range of the plot can be specified.


Combined Cartesian

  or 'F4'



   This mode plots the coverage of one or more fixed Units to a defined mobile Unit, producing the radio coverage plots for an area in X-Y rather than radial mode. This produces a constant defined (pixel) resolution over the area. There are a number of different aspects to the operation of this feature which are shown separately below:-

    Note that after a plot has been performed, the actual signal level at the cross wire cursor can optionally be reported in the data area at the bottom of the pane as shown Here.



Cartesian pane description    Visit this page to see a description of all the controls available on the Combined Cartesian plot setup pane.
Single Unit Coverage  

   where only one fixed Unit is selected, and the signal levels experienced by a defined mobile unit are calculated.


Multiple Unit Coverage  

   where the overall Best signal level at every point from a selected number of  fixed units to a defined mobile unit is plotted.


Style Coverage  

  Plots using this feature display signal levels in colour bands determined by the Network Style pane settings.


Best Unit  

   for coverage plots, where the Unit providing the best signal level is displayed from amongst the selected source Units.

  Now the Signal to Interference margin can be specified for the Best Unit plots!



   An Interference plot over an area is produced between a wanted and interfering station, where the minimum signal level and interference margin can be selected and plotted as required.



   The first Fresnel Zone clearance required for a link is selected, and a plot of areas where the criteria is achieved are plotted.


Detailed Area Coverage Please Note that it is also possible to perform a defined area  plot using any of the above Combined Cartesian plot modes.




Generating a Blank white screen for Coverage plots :

    With all these plots it is better to perform them over a greyscale or black/white picture to avoid colour degradation. An even better way is to produce a 'Blank' white picture containing the elevation matrix data for the area for the plot canvas.


    This white picture can be produced very quickly by first opening the map picture of the area of interest, and then selecting 'File/New picture', or click on the 'New Picture'  Icon    on the toolbar. The picture properties pane below will open where 'White' Draw mode can be selected as shown, followed by 'Draw' to produce a white canvas. This picture should then be saved using a new name such as 'Blank' to avoid overwriting the original map picture.



    Any plots produced over a white picture can be 'Merge/multiplied' over any other picture to indicate the coverage over say a road map of the area whilst retaining the plot for future use.

    The action of a 'White picture Draw' has to be selected every time it is required as the picture properties pane reverts back to its original settings after use.

     Your original Map picture can then be reopened after producing a White picture from it.


    Note that the losses incurred by the Land foliage coverage can also be incorporated into these plots

 - to see how, visit: Land Cover





   During plots, the computer CPU load can be reduced by pressing the 'S' key to slow down processing, or paused using the Space Bar - these actions are reported on the lower data area of the main window.





Plot Signal Strength Legend location :


    The signal strength legend is visible and placed in the Top Left corner of a plot by default. If you wish to change its location - or not have it displayed - open the Single Polar Radio coverage pane.




This pane is where the details of the plot to be drawn can be seen.


    When Rainbow colours are selected in the Plot area, a left click on the Colour button adjacent to the 'Fill area' produces another pane where the displayed colours may be changed and signal level ranges examined. At the lower right of this pane is the area controlling the legend position, with a check box to disable it.



Default File - Colors.dat



Similarly for Combined Cartesian coverage, where the pane below is displayed:



    A click on the Colour button in the 'Signal range to draw' area, when Rainbow colours are selected, then produces the same Rainbow colours pane as above, with the legend location being selectable.




            Checking the 'Completed.wav' box on the above pane causes the computer to generate a 'Plot complete' sound when the plot generation is finished. This is a very useful feature where multi-unit high resolution plots are being performed as they can take a considerable time to complete.

It is also useful to be able to use the 'S' and Space bar features Here to control CPU usage during the task.



Changing the Colour pallet for plots:

    When the Rainbow Colours pane is open, a click on the 'Load' button will open a browse pane showing the RM folder and a different Colour pallet can be selected - named 'Colour*.dat' where '*' represents 1 to 5 for the extra five pallets available as shown below.




Colors1.dat                                             Colors2.dat



Colors3.dat                                            Colors4.dat





    A click on a number by a colour, opens a colour pane which allows the colour to be changed as required. The new colour selection can then be saved for future use by using the 'Save' button.


    The following 'Color0.dat' has had all colours in the range saved as White, with levels below the range set as Blue. This is particularly useful where a single colour area is required showing that a criterion has been met on the plot. Use of this colour pallet is most useful for the 'Find Best Sites' plot where, for instance, a white area for more than 20% coverage may be plotted, with areas of <20% shown as blue.





Selecting the colour Legend steps and omissions :

    A new feature on the Rainbow colours pane is demonstrated below. On the Colors.dat pane shown on the left, the highlighted '12' box can be seen which has a drop down list arrow beside it. The default setting for the number of steps used by the program for the Rainbow plots and also shown on the Legend is 12 steps. By accessing the drop down list this can be varied from 12 to 3 steps as required. The modified version on the right illustrates the result with 11 steps selected which produces integer bands of signal levels.

    By modifying the 'Signal range to plot' and also the number of steps within that range to be displayed allows the plots and Legend to be customised for your own requirements.



Colors.dat                                        Colors.dat-modified


    One further point is that if any colour setting for a legend band is selected as true full 'White' colour it won't appear in the legend or show on plots. I have used this term as with my installer you will find that I have modified any White colours in the colour pallets to be the first grey which is 'almost white' from the colour selection as can be seen below.


Full White selection


'Almost White' selection

    This modification allowed all the plots to be performed with the 'almost white' colour used and shown on the plots and legend.


Single colour Plots :

            In both the Single Polar and Combined Cartesian Radio Coverage panes shown above, Rainbow Colours have been selected for the plot. By un-checking the Rainbow box, a single colour plot can be performed as shown on the Single Polar coverage page. In this case a selectable single colour is used, (in Solid or Transparent form), to show areas meeting the selected signal range criteria.

    If 'Contour' is selected in the Polar Plot, this coloured line will be placed at the lower signal boundary of the plot.

    With both Polar and Cartesian plots, a succession of signal range plots can be performed and 'kept in picture'  with your own signal range specifications. The only thing that is required for completion is a 'custom' legend. This could be generated in an external photo program - copied - then pasted and saved in the plot produced by extracting it from the RM folder, modifying, and then returning it to the folder.



Gain Antenna Patterns :


   Where a gain antenna, such as the Yagi, is selected in Network Properties for my Base unit System:




    Moving to the Membership pane, and selecting a 'Fixed' antenna, with 10˚ Azimuth and -10˚ antenna Elevation tilt in that direction:





Followed by a click on the 'View Pattern' button, opens the Pattern Viewer pane:



    This shows the Azimuth pattern for the antenna in Yellow, with the Maximum gain available for the antenna before tilting in Black.


Selecting the Vertical check box, then shows the Elevation pattern for the antenna:




For further information go to the

Antenna Pattern Viewer page.




Unit description pane :

    As an additional feature, a click on the + button by the Unit Name on the Unit Properties pane, opens the following entry pane where a description of the Unit can be saved.







    The significance of this description pane is that, by performing a 'left click' on the Unit, the description will be displayed on the main screen as shown below. A left click on the description message closes it.







Unit to location measurement :


    Where a Single Unit has been selected using 'SHIFT- click' on its icon, (which is then shown in a Bold font), a 'SHIFT- click'  anywhere on the picture produces a volatile 'yellow/black' Azimuth line between the Unit and that location.




the Azimuth and Range from the selected Unit to the location

are reported in the Status area as seen above.




This page is available in .pdf format here



Quick Start Base Network Settings Once you get Going Radio Link Radio Coverage

Route Radio Coverage Split Route Coverage Best Sites - Network

Best Sites - Waypoints Changing Location Merging Pictures

Antenna Alignment Object Editor How to...

Importing Pictures Export/Import Units Large Maps

Antenna Plots Antenna Viewer Land Cover

Visual Coverage Network Style Network Files

Folder Layout How to...

Toolbar Icons

RM on line

RM Downloads

RM Contents

RM Handbooks





Please keep checking back for updates/additions.



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Copyright G3TVU

26th October 2017