East, West, and in between on 160m

Rick - N7WE

Can someone help me understand what is going on with 160m and the group?  Seems like up and down the east coast we can make contacts.  Jim - K5SP - just north of Dallas Texas isn't having much luck and neither is Barry - VA7GEM - in North Vacouver BC.  I've worked John - KE4JB in NY - 1055 miles from my QTH, but haven't seen Jim - 963 miles from me.  I can understand not seeing Barry - that is 2587 miles.

So what is it?  Differences in the number of people on the band in different areas?  Is prop different N/S and E/W on 160?  Just differences in antennas?  Radiation patterns?  Differences in Tx power?  Maybe time of day?  The band does open and close based on sunset and sunrise.  I'm stumped. 

The next time I rig the 6BTV for 160m I'm going to rotate the direction of the wire I use to top load it 90% and see if that makes a difference.  If I better understood how to use EZNEC maybe I could model the radiation pattern, but that is way beyond me.  I can do a simple dipole model, but when you get to trapped vertical with ground radials, with capacitive top loading, I'm completely over my head. 

All opinions and thought are welcome.
Rick - N7WE
070 - #1602

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