eHam Forums => Elmers => Topic started by: KC8SSG on September 10, 2002, 11:12:47 PM

Title: My altitude?
Post by: KC8SSG on September 10, 2002, 11:12:47 PM
Is there a way to find out you altitude(above sea level)? I would like to know my altitude but dont have any access to a gps.

Title: My altitude?
Post by: K1BRF on September 10, 2002, 11:29:21 PM
Five suggestions to get you started

1. Go to a camping store and browse though the tropo maps for your area. Or send away for one by going online at the USGS map site. Or ask someone who is a very active hiker/camper because they are usually buried in maps with the detail you are looking for.

2. Go to the building department of your town and ask the engineer to consult his maps and he should know. Or the Park Commission or a local conservation group. Any organization with a detailed local map.

3. Even if you do not want to shell out a few hundred bucks to buy one, see if you can borrow a newer model GPS or try one out at a nearby local store; they will give you a rough idea if you have good sat coverage.

4. Call up a local surveyor and if he is friendly, he might be able to  tell you.

5. Ask a local ham with a tower; he might even have the maps.

These are suggestions I know others have used successfully by folks I know.  Me? I ended up buying a tropo local map AND buying a GPS!

Good Luck

Title: My altitude?
Post by: K6RAS on September 10, 2002, 11:45:56 PM
This is, after all, Ham radio.  Why not build an altimeter as a project.  Everything you'll need, except perhaps the parts, are included on:  

Incidentally, your geographical coordinates are:

Latitude: 40.073761 N,     40° 4' 25" N
Longitude: 82.43311 W,     82° 25' 59" W

Title: My altitude?
Post by: AD5LT on September 11, 2002, 12:00:46 AM
I like that altimeter project think I'll try it for the fun of it. If you need to know your elevation real quick you can go to punch in your lat and long.and it will give it to you. Ball park figure your
about 829 feet above

Title: My altitude?
Post by: WA5EE on September 11, 2002, 12:01:23 AM
If there's a commercial tower of any kind in your neighborhood ,( broadcast,cellphone,etc.) it'll have a sign ,usually by the entrance gate , showing some federally required info , including site elevation and tower height above ground . Federally-operated waterways (reservoirs , lakes and such ) usually give their levels in reference to sea level , so if you're near one of those , call the manager's office or check the local weathercast for that info .


Title: My altitude?
Post by: AC5E on September 11, 2002, 07:38:06 AM
Hi: The exact altitude is usually not what you would call critical. You can make a reasonable estimate quite easily. Call the nearest FBO (airport that small aircraft operate from) and ask.

Private pilots must know the alititude in order to calculate the maximum load their craft will lift so the FBO altitude is usually posted in plain sight. If the ground is level - use that number.

If you are on top of a hill that's about the same height as the tallest trees around it, add 100 feet. Etc, etc.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E

Title: My altitude?
Post by: KV7X on September 11, 2002, 08:48:52 AM
Go to  

Enter your latitude and longitude, zoom in and read the elevation of the nearest contour line. Should get you pretty close.

Title: My altitude?
Post by: WB2WIK on September 11, 2002, 02:57:26 PM
I just looked you up out of curiosity, based on the LAT/LONG for your location (40, 4, 31N and 82, 23, 13W) and your elevation is 829 feet above sea level.


Title: My altitude?
Post by: KE4MOB on September 12, 2002, 09:18:40 AM
All this reminds me of an old story (which went something like this):

Once a physics professor gave a bonus question on an exam: "Suppose you have a ruler, an altimeter, a watch, and a ladder.  You are standing in front of a multistory building.  What's the most creative way to find the building's height?"

Some students suggesting doing the obvious (using the altimeter).  Some used the sun and the buildings shadow.  Some suggested throwing the altimeter off the building and seeing how long it took to hit the ground, and from that determining the height.

The best answer was to ask the super if he'll tell you how high the building is if you'll give him the altimeter.

Steve, KE4MOB

Title: My altitude?
Post by: WB2WIK on September 12, 2002, 11:35:20 AM
We had a similar question in physics class.

My answer was, "I'd throw you (the teacher) off the building and see how long it takes you to hit the street."

I don't recall getting a good grade on that.

Title: My altitude?
Post by: WA9SVD on September 22, 2002, 09:20:03 PM
There were several possible suggestions here, as to finding your altitude.
    But there is something else to consider when you rely upon the "Web based" mapping services.

    I tried to check my current location, via a GPS II receiver.  Then I compared the coordinates at "Map Quest."  The MapQuest had my address off by approximately one block!
    When I contacted Garmin, they responded "... would recommend using the coordinates from the GPS.  The GPS will give the accuracy that it is reporting and it WILL BE MORE ACCURATE than a map that has been digitized into an electronic format."

    This has shown to yield slight discrepancies as to Grid Square or Lon/Lat on various databases.  It may be a minor point, but still something of which to be aware.  (Since contests only require data to four significant characters, it doesn't REALLY matter if I'm in DM03ws as determined by MapQuest's info. or DM03wt as reported by GPS.  But it DOES show there is a ceretain amount of error.  I report that I'm in DM03, and report DM03wt on QSL's.
    Does it matter?  Maybe not, but just something to be aware of.