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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?

Norman Sullivan (NZ5L) on October 20, 2012
View comments about this article!

I know my post will be contoversial to many, but I bet some of you agree on my basic point - 2 Meters just ain't much fun anymore. I remember when it was getting started, in the early 70s. Almost all the gear was crystal controlled, and a manufacturer would include 1 or 2 "pairs" in an HT. They used to be made in the USA, by companies like Wilson and Standard. Even Hy-Gain got into the act. A Wilson Mark IV would set you back about $250 - a lot in 1975, and had only 2 Watts RF output, and 6 crystal controlled channels. Crystals were 8-10 bux a throw, not inconsiderable at the time. And yet, with a half dozen standard "pairs" you could travel coast to coast and talk to hams in every city and a lot of larger towns. No one used "Private Line" (tm) to screen out users. Ostensibly, the tones keep us free from interfering, but they also nearly eliminate the chance of a pleasant qso with traveling hams passing thru the area.

I have always thought that a primary impetus of instituting PL (tm) systems was to avoid being monopolized by "freeloaders" - those individuals who liked to talk but didn't like to share repeater upkeep costs or tower rent. I can see that, but now we have a proliferation of machines, so many that it takes a pretty thick guide book to tell what machines are where and open to who. Granted, the tones are published, but it doesn't do you that much good driving down the highway.

Only thirty or so years ago, hams actually used .52 for mobile communications, and nearby channels for ragchewing. Where are they now? I know that many (if not most) repeaters are designated "EmComm" and their primary purpose is to assist in bonafide emergencies. Commendable as this may be, I didn't become a ham in order to be a backup system in times of emergency (DON'T go there - I've done my share, and have the wallpaper to prove it).

I got my license and bought the gear and put up the antennas to have FUN - a commodity much less likely today, despite all the super hi-tech, compact, and reasonably priced gear presently available from VHF to lightwave. VHF FM today has all the thrill of business band radio.

I guess these days anybody who just wants a friendly chat has to buy a cellphone. As for me, I miss the old days, especially when driving the interstates.

Member Comments:
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When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB5ZSM on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Try coming to New Mexico sometime and try our 'MegaLink' system. We have around 35 mountaintop repeaters that are all linked together and covers the entire state. It is open to everybody who wants to enjoy it and you'll find the people on this system to be quite friendly. Yes we use it for 'ecomm' but for the rest of the time well, what ever you need it for.

73s,
Win
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AF4KK on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
You have some very valid points but I think you might be overgeneralizing just a bit. While some areas of the country may be seeing a decrease in activity, other parts show a thriving 2-meter FM community. Some clubs and individuals go out of their ways to be friendly and accomodating to newcomers, travelers and whoever might come across the repeaters.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K2LGO on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Norm...I'm sure you will get a lot of comments on this article, but I am 100% in agreement with you from my experience...I have my 2m gear in my car, but I used to put a radio in the xyl-s car when we traveled, but I no longer do that, as it was an exercise in fertility...
For the most part many of the same amateurs who will think nothing of calling CQ on 20m, will not answer a stranger on 2m....if he's lucky enough to get the PL correct on the repeater he's trying to use...Its somewhat beyond my understanding..
I'm sure there might be a repeater or two that might be the exception, but for the most part, 2m...RIP....
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD7OQC on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The PL on some of our local machines simply keeps interference down from other repeaters in neighboring states that are normally out of range, but a few times a year, will generate interference.

When I moved to this area, I was welcomed on the different 2 meter repeaters.

Having been here awhile, I notice a deliberate effort to speak with new, or traveling hams.

I'll confess that I don't check 146.52 that often. Interestingly enough though, I have had a couple of QSOs when I have.

I hope the fun comes back for you!

73, Mike
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K3SSB on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Good Morning Norman:

I travel for a living and when I'm on the road I take the 2 meter rig along. However, it would not be unusual not to hear, let alone talk to another Ham all day long.

Disappointing to be sure. Someone has invested a great deal of time and money installing that repeater... boy it sure would be nice to hear the system in use, instead of the courtesy tone being echoed back.

When one is rewarded with friendly QSO it does make the drive a little bit shorter and the mood a bit brighter.

tnx es 73

K3SSB


 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W0WJU on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Good morning Norm, I am a fairly new ham,only a little over 2 years at and old age. I just love 2m in this area. We have a couple of repeaters that are used most of the time for rag chewing.You can just about always get a QSO anytime of the day.We do have some that they would like them to be used for EmComm so I stay away from them. I try to make a practice of answering all calls.By do so I have had some nice chats, I do monitor 520 and have some nice chats with the travelers. I guess it all depends where you live.

73
Bill
WōWJU
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think 2M has evolved to the 'utility' band, especially n FM. There's traffic nets, weather nets, going to work nets, going home shows, and a slew of others. It's the big party line.

The problem is that it's just getting full. And that's compounded by 'coordinators' who went beyond the scope of their duties and starting assigning simplex frequencies as special pairs. Now, to be fair, their job was to coordinate 2M repeaters, not protect simplex, but that's another topic and rant for another time.

I've noticed though that 'travelers' are pretty much welcome most places in the country. Even LA, NYC, and Philly. Out of the area and throw out your call? Sure, and almost certainly someone will come back to you and you'd be welcome. For a time. Live there? You'd still be welcome, but you can easily overstay that welcome if you don't join and support at least one club. Play games and mess around? Well, in NYC they play serious. As one ham said to me "I'll go speak to them in my capacity as a Teamster" (HE WAS KIDDING! But he was a fairly burly Teamster...)

And while there are some 'rude and crude' areas in the country, they are usually not the norm, except for south of Dallas and Ft Worth. That area used to be (don't know about now) populated with groups that put up 'hidden' repeaters. Repeaters that were off the lists, and would visciously go after anyone on 'their' frequencies. Some of this attitude made it to 'big city'. I was on a Dallas repeater once calling for an emergency fire truck for an accident and was pounced on by one of these kind, demanding to know if it were a 'real' emergency and why I was on that repeater. But I got a response for a fire truck (a vintage Mustang had been rear-ended at a ramp to I-30 and the full gas tank had burst, flooding out gas everywhere) from another ham that came on. A few days later I got a phone call at work in Ft Worth. It was the president of the repeater club in Dallas. He explained he pulled all kind of strings to find out how to contact me and he apologized profusely for the behavior of that one individual on their repeater. Seems it wasn't the first time he pulled that stunt.

Anyway... I think 2M STILL is the 'fun band', but it's just not the 'fun band' it was. It's mutated based on circumstances, environment, and pressures. Chief of which is the crowding that is happening in the major metro areas first, then moving out. It's amazing that it stays as civil as it does some times.

Traveling? I always leave my rig on '52', and rarely fail to pick up a fellow traveler if I take the move to give my call first. Otherwise it does seem to be quiet. But there's a heck of a lot of people out there, even if they don't always answer. Especially on the interstates. I've run into a lot of truckers that are hams. Stopped at one rest stop with one I met on the radio and he showed me an HF station in his cab that would be the envy of some base operators!

It's not bad, it's not gone, but it is different.


 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KF4HR on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Good points Norman. 45+ years in the hobby myself and I've gotten to the point to where I rarely turn on my VHF/UHF gear. But I don't think technology (crystal vs PLL circuitry) has had much to do with the loss of the fun factor. More to the point, back in the old days people worked harder to get their license. This had a tendency to create more intelligent conversions on the air. Rather than hello/goodbye or traffic conversions someone could actually hear something interesting and maybe even learn something.

When did the fun lessen or stop? IMO around the same time the FCC decided to do away with the CW test requirement and to make every written question and answer available to the public for memorization.

But, for better or worse, our hobby continues to evolve. Perhaps in 30 years from now a recently licensed newcomer to our hobby might be heard saying, "Remember years ago when we used to drive ALL THE WAY to the candy store to buy a new 2 meter rig and antenna? Ah, the good ol' days.... Now we can just download an App to our iPhones."
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I can agree on some points. AAMOF, it's come to the point that I'm not even going to install any gear in my new vehicle, and the rig has come out of my vehicle now.

Yes, I've got some friends on the frequencies, but face to face and cell phone calls have replaced my need for 2 meter gear in my vehicle.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
BTW, I know that that reply isn't going to be popular--but it's the simple, honest truth.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N4KC on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Wow! There was one I didn't see coming. FM repeater use is down because the FCC dropped the CW requirement? Hmmm.

I think repeater use APPEARS to be down for three reasons:

1) I agree with you and others that the proliferation of access tones is a factor. If I make a trip to a neighboring state, I most likely have to program in repeater channels and tones if I have any intention of using their machines. I can't just dial 'em up on the VFO and chat. I'm certainly not going to try to determine a tone and program it in while zooming down I-20! Yes, I believe we have been too quick to invoke tone access to solve minimal interference issues.

2) For morning and afternoon commutes, the cell phone is a frequent companion for more and more people. I'm not sure who all these folks are talking to at 6:30 in the morning and what they have to discuss that is so important, but have you looked around you at a traffic light and noticed how many other commuters are having a chat? I'm sure that extends to hams, too.

3) There are so many more repeaters available to us than there were back in the days you reference. And there were practically no 70cm machines. It is harder now to find a couple of machines where everyone congregates. You have to scan or keep switching around, and a "Anybody listening?" call is less likely to stir up a QSO since people are monitoring so many different repeaters.

I do note that if an interesting conversation breaks out, people come out of the woodwork to join in. Maybe that is what we really need: interesting conversations. And less: "How are you?" "Fine. How are you?" "Fine." "I'm there. 73." "73."

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KT4EP on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
...just my thoughts and opinions...

I just drove I-40 from Memphis to California and back and scanned 50 different pre-programmed 2 meter repeater frequencies with .52 being the primary/priority on my Yaesu 2900. Had a great QSO with a ham in Oklahoma but after a couple of days I put the rig away because I could hear some conversations but couldn't figure out the PL tone to access the repeater while trying to drive at the same time. And look at the beautiful scenery in the great southwest part of the country....I digress.. (( I know the 2900 has a function that scans for signals and tones, but try driving and doing that; it's great if you can sit for a while, maybe overnight and let it look for repeaters)).

I made this trip last year to include Idaho and the northwest and had several 2 meter QSOs in Idaho and Nevada.

This trip I called out on .52 several times but got no replies. I'm not sure anyone actually listens - I'm confess I don't at home.

Here in the Memphis area, there are literally dozens of 2 meter and 440 repeaters that seldom are used, even in weather emergency situations. I've had the radio on scan all day and hear few conversations. There are a couple of repeaters that get some use, and if you make a call, someone will usually answer but basically for the most part the repeaters are morning and evening drive time and evening net time machines.

One day I heard two fellows from out of town, but visiting -- Illinois I think - talking and they commented how dead the repeaters were in the Memphis area.

There is an active simplex frequency in the area but I avoid it because the guys who use it are just one step beyond 10-4 good buddy talk, if you follow my drift. I like to ragchew with the best of them, but not sound like CB fans of years ago.

just my thoughts and opinions...
I'm mostly digital on HF anyhow
KT4EP
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W8VZM on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have tried to monitor 52 on my scanner as I live 2 mile from I 70. I can't monitor it because of all the rag chewing on it. I also have 52 on in the car but the same thing. The scan locks up on a rag chew. That's why its a calling freq, call and move off. I know a lot of us would monitor if we could and not get the "partyline" effect. In my 34 years as a ham 2m has gone from a joy to a necessary pain.

Ron W8VZM
Springfield, OH
W8VZM.com
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K0CBA on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
As most repeaters, commercial as well as amateur, try to locate on the highest of the high, mixing became a real serious and never ending problem....just look at the aluminum forest on most any tall building.

I think the wide spread use of CTCSS came about in defense rather than attempts to lock people out.

At one time it was suggested that all the open repeaters in an area use the same CTCSS so if a traveler were going thru (pick a city) he'd be able to hit 'em all just by knowing the 'code' for that area.

Naturally, this made soooo much sense that it was almost immeadiately beaten about the head and shoulders until it was flushed from the hearts and minds and now is just a dim memory of the non-instutionalized.

Another problem contributing to the near denmise of repeaters maybe that during their heyday it was nearly a status symbol to have/maintain/own a repeater.

You may have saved countless lives, worked every DX entity there is, brought many quality new licensees into the fold, single handedly put on a sucessfull hamfest; BUT.....do you have your own repeater??...No?; thanks for coming; next.

While I have on my 'preaching' clothes...how 'bout those folks that are so close that they are de-sensing their receivers but insist on going thru a repeater?

Oh well, every one have a great day.

Bob
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA1VF on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In the good olde days, late 80's, I did alot of
corporate travel and always had my trusty/rusty
Kenwood TH-215AT rig with me. Folks were alot
more friendly on 2 meters than they are now, and
I managed to work alot of 2 meter FM with that HT.

note: My portable/mobile 2 meter FM experience
comprises QSO's in 27 different states
and three different Canadian provinces.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by RFDOG on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Two meters is no longer fun, because hams are no longer fun. Ignorant appliance operators were an amusing minority in the 80's. Now they are in the majority. Banal, boring, and covering hundreds of square miles from a single repeater. Thanks Emcomm geeks.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"While I have on my 'preaching' clothes...how 'bout those folks that are so close that they are de-sensing their receivers but insist on going thru a repeater? "

I have to agree there!! At a nearby repeater (about 50 miles, but I live on a high area and could probably work the repeater with a laser communicator) there were two guys one day talking to each other. One was using an HT, and he was working through the repeater on low power. Sounds like a good responsible ham. But the guy he was talking to said the following things...

He could hear the HT on the input
He was using his Tokyo 160watt amp.

Ok, close enough that he could probably use a fraction of a watt, but this lid ALWAYS uses 160watt. ALWAYS. And I guess ALWAYS a lid!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB6QXM on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with RFDogs comments. During the transition time and the downhill slide of the licence requirements, the lower level licenced hams would use 2 meters as their band, as they only had privileges from 6 meters and up. Then the next slide of dropping the theory and CW. Now these HT appliance operator hams started filling the HF bands with their left over CB lingo.

Do I believe all new hams are like this. No! I just believe that by lowering the bar, you can trace what has happened to the hobby because of the licence requirements.

Old timers are guity of some of this cb type mentality. Just look at 80 meters.

As far as Emcomm on the repeaters....In my personal opinion EMComm was valid 20+ years ago, but not so much now due to the increased infrastructure. Just ask any professional on their opinion of amateur radio in the 21st century. We are more in the way, then an assistance for the most part and for most circumstances.

Let the professionals do their job.

My two cents....take it or ignore it.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ4RHB on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Where I live, the local repeaters seem dead 90% of the time due to folks' varying work schedules.

When I'm on the road I always monitor 52 and send out APRS position packets, so other Hams nearby with APRS know I'm out there.

I've been called several times via APRS voice alert. If you haven't tried it, or don't have an APRS capable transceiver in the car - I would highly recommend you get one and try it out.

Just the other weekend I was on the way to a hamfest when another ham saw me close by on APRS and gave me a call. We had a nice little mobile QSO and later met in person at the hamfest.

So yeah, people are still friendly and will answer a call. I think most folks are just listening and waiting for someone to throw out their call. APRS can help in situations like that... but, I agree - some areas of the country have more activity than others.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K3YD on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
As a long-time 2M FM user, unhappy with the current situation, I'd like to add a few thoughts:
1. The level of activity on FM decreased significantly with the proliferation of tone-access. Almost exclusively, only local stations (who have pre-programmed the access tone) populate a repeater. When was the last time you heard a transient station on your repeater? I live in a community of about 3/4 million, at the intersection of several Interstate Highways, and can't recall the last time I heard a traveling Ham on one of the local manchines.
2. Manufacturers have failed to recognize the need for easy, rapid tone change capability in the design of current radios. What do I mean? Tone displayed as prominantly as operating frequency, with a dedicated tuning knob for tone change. Most current radios make tone adjustment a "deep menu" function--2 to 4 levels deep--and setting tone usually requires a manual in hand. Try doing that while mobile-in-motion; on second thought, don't do it, unless you want to be the next Silent Key. For an idea of how easy this should be, take a ride in a private plane and watch how quickly and safely the pilot can change the transponder frequency.
3. Repeater directories could be more useful. While listing repeaters, too many have significant errors (i.e. wrong tone) and omissions (not including the most-used machine in an area). Knowing if a machine is "wide-area" or "local" would help, too.
4. Realistically, there are too many repeaters. When communities had one to four machines, there was frequently some activity, especially during drive time. These busy machines were a wonderful source of real-time traffic information, or a place to encounter a Ham-buddy and plan a coffee stop together. Now, in the 3/4 million person area where I live, there are well over 30 machines scattered from 6 Meters to 1.2 Ghz. Most remain quiet throughout the day. None have regular significant activity.

Between work and vacations, I drive about 15,000 miles a year to a variety of locations within about 750 miles of home. In my travels I rarely have, or even hear, a QSO--in spite of spending hours pre-programming my radio and putting 146.52 in my prority scanning frequency. Like others who have already commented, I'm questioning why I have VHF/UHF-FM radio in the car, and if I will ever buy another. (NOTE to manufacurers, re-read #2, above. Improved functionality would catch my attention quickly.)
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WA4D on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Norman...

Your comments noted and hardly controversial.

Culture and technology have largely passed amateur radio by. There are now more hams than ever before yet large swaths of the spectrum sit dark or lightly used.

Unlike others here, I never found VHF/UHF to be more than a utility. Yes tiny segments of the hobby use VHf for interesting technical pursuits but the "fun" factor you lament is limited.

It 's not coming back Norman. Nor is there any reason for it to.

The league and others have beat the drum to increase the numbers of hams at any cost. And now they have what they wanted.

Mike/ wa4d.net
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W8AAZ on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Tons of repeaters around here, even more than the old days, but you can usually turn on and twist the knob thru the presets and only hear a voice from the weather channel. During commute times and weekly nets you hear activity on some. Just lucky though, that we have the resources for a real emergency available, but it sure must be costly to keep a repeater open the rest of the time for scarce QSO's. Everyone seems to have several radios and they are dust collectors, I guess. When was the last time you heard an autopatch? Pre cheap cellphone that was a big activity builder. Making a call on a dead rptr does not usually generate any replies for me. I still got the gear but frankly, it is tempting to sell at ebay prices as opposed to watching a couple years of dust build up on it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KE7FD on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Here are a few thoughts. There's supposed to be more hams today than ever according to the FCC so one would expect activity to increase where the licenses have the numbers of operators to support it. I'm guessing we should see an increase in 2 meter activity as a direct correlation to that. Just guessing though and I don't have any hard numbers to support that notion. I have to agree there's less 2 meter activity. It's not gone, just less of it.

Anyone driving a new vehicle around these days, something where the airbags surround the occupants? I recently replaced my '04 Grand Cherokee with a '12 Dodge Journey and I found that newer cars (or SUV's at least) don't make it as easy to install a radio as in the past (more boxy interiors of the past). Today's cars and trucks have curves and soft dashes that don't make putting a mobile rig or even a remoted head on without compromising a safety feature. If there are fewer radios in the cars today, that too might speak to lower 2m traffic.

Our club members had the experience where our repeater was down for an extended period. Months later it was back on the air, however, the level of traffic of the past did not return. We simply got out of the habit of getting on the air, at least those of us who were still around. There were some hams who moved out of the area during this time causing the informal on-air get togethers to vanish. So here's another possibility: Folks get out of the habit of getting on the air, replacing that commute or air time with something else. That's not a bad thing if we're talking with our family more but bad if Howard Stern is our preferred commute partner (IMHO).

Perhaps folks are studying for their General or are actually on HF instead.

I suspect there might be a multitude of reasons out there for why there's less 2 meter (or 440) activity. Perhaps we're like the one ad on TV where a couple is breaking up with the woman saying to her beau, "You're boring." Are we boring each other off the air? Maybe we're not as well rounded as hams of the past; too much "Living Dead" and not enough reading books or community college classes.

Whatever the cause is, there's more of us as ever so we ought to be able to find something to talk about, you would think.

Glen - KE7FD
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by NZ5L on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, a LOT of valid points made, and different views expressed! Anyway, I'm glad it's not just me. I do kind of like the idea of amore prominent and easy to program tone display. At present, trying to program my rig while driving would be as dangerous as texting. Would hams pay $50 or so more for a mobile rig with that feature? I hope some manufacturer might want to find out, but not holding my breath. Not with used HTs going for $50.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WB6MMJ on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I`ve noticed that here in the Southern Calif. area 2 meters has gone the way of CB.
You have Mom and Dad and the kids on 2 meters now.
The early days of CB were, to me, just like what is going on now on 2 meters.
Mom is asking Dad to pick up some milk on the way home, ect. Tech talk is hard to find.
With the licensing changes, for the worst, just about anyone can get their license and get on the air.
As I have said for many years now, CB and Ham Radio will be one in time with NO thanks to the ARRL and the FCC.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KK8ZZ on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Just my thoughts... the advent of RT Systems software for nearly everything (just got one this afternoon for my nice used THD-72A) and the ability to upload the ARRL repeater atlas to the rig through it might overcome the "PL" issue... you can zap the freqs and tones right up there easily, and then follow the local (or your traveling) repeaters... I use this when I go to Florida in February too... easy to do, and I have the freqs and tones I need. I am not associated with RT Systems (they'd have NO idea who I am), just a satisfied user offering a solution for the FM Mode tones problem.

Cheers... Bob KK8ZZ
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think its amusing that CB mentality is mentioned when speaking of newcomers migrating immediately to HF bands instead of using the VHF bands. Quite a lot of long time hams have said out loud to those newcomers that VHF is not ham radio, and get their licenses upgraded so they can get on the HF bands. Just maybe the attitudes of some hams could be the cause of the scarcity of VHF users if you want to get right down to it.

Others say that hams today are ignorant--while not identifying themselves--which in itself is ignorance. If you're so afraid that someone will get on your case because of what you say, just maybe it isn't worth saying.

Maybe the attitude of some of the emcomm people could be the cause also. How many times have someone who is using a repeater been told to get off because of a net that is starting--later. How many times because of a supposed emergency that turns out to be nothing but an exercise in futility, since nothing happened to warrant the use of the repeater. It seems that the 'thanks' offered to emcommers by a couple of posters may be richly deserved.

In any event, the real lack of use may well be because of a combination of many of these things, not to mention 'push to talk' phone technology, texting, and the proliferation of those 'smart' phones that can do just about everything, including taking care of mostly all short distance communication today--which was what 2 meters was for years ago.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KF4HR on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Norman - I wanted to add one more thing. Reference your statement, "I have always thought that a primary impetus of instituting PL (tm) systems was to avoid being monopolized by "freeloaders"...

In a few cases that might be true, but actually the primary reason most repeaters use PL tones is to provide an extra layer of filtering (carrier frequency + PL tone) for the repeater itself. This helps the repeater from being activated by possible interference that may stray onto the repeater's input frequency.

I also wanted to mention. If you travel using a Garmin Nuvi GPS the ARRL store sells a downloadable program that can be loaded into this GPS which provides repeater data (frequency, offset, PL) noted within range as you travel down the road (constantly updates). Although as you mentioned, it can be dangerous to try and program PL tones as you drive. Always best to pre-program repeaters into your rig prior to departure.

As for finding interesting conversion on 2 meters, that issue has been well covered.
 
Too broad to generalize.  
by AI2IA on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Intended or not, this article is just an invitation for all the gloom and doom hams to come out and roll in the mud.

How can anyone accurately generalize about 2 meter usage?

Just about all hams have 2 meter capability and most use it for a variety of purposes including backup.

I worked in another state and used 2 meters for road status and information as well as chats to and from work.

One of my sons worked in Building Number 7, World Trade Center. On that awful day I was able to communicate with him, and for three days it was my only source of contact with my home in New York City. Not everyone had this stunning experience, but as for me, 2 meters will always be the "top" band.

What is 2 meters? It is what you continue to make of it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KW6LA on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Donít you remember when there was no cell phones and FM full quite was amazing. How about the 2 mtr auto patch capabilities. Wow those were the days and Fun ! !
No appliance operator had a phone in his/her car and Hams did and more. Now a days it is my CB radio for camping trip when cell phones stop working. Shame but it is
what it is .
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WR9H on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Good post, Norm.

Here's an experience I had in Denver,CO. I was in the local ham radio shop (remember those?) and inquired as to the repeater activity in the area (I was visiting from ILL). One of the local ham's manning the counter "explained" that repeaters were owned privately and that I would not be welcomed on any that he knew of in the area.

Welllll....

Oh yeah, I didn't buy anything from that store and NEVER will....

73
Herb/WR9H
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB4RIZ on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I don't know..some good points brought up here. Where I am most of the time it is a very rural area, with several wide area repeaters that cover a large area through a mountainous terrain. One local ham club has a weekly eyeball and meal..sometimes breakfast, sometimes lunch. We welcome visitors to the area, and most of us have .520 in our rigs. The repeaters are spaced out pretty well, and most can be hit from any reasonable HT or mobile. There are scores of friendly people who camp out together, and overall project a gentile attitude and welcome all. That is the Ham radio experience I signed up for.

But ya know..This topic really is a reflection of how we have begun to treat each other not just as hams, but as humans. The instant communication ability that we enjoyed as hams for years..now is commonplace to nearly anyone old enough to hold a smart phone. The wonder has dissolved...and with it the pleasure of speaking to another person. The emotions once heard in the spoken word are now expressed with "emoticons" and cartoon faces in cryptic text messages. Even as hams, we have Echolink that is tied to the smart phone. One no longer even needs a radio to communicate. And the elitist attitude of many amateurs is exhausting. No more do we offer help, or technical ideas, or encouragement..just endless grousing and whining that other hams aren't doing it thier way. And that's on HF as well as VHF etc. it just seems like we have lost our ability to enjoy something as simple as meeting another fellow.

For a lot of Hams .. 2 meter repeaters are jut the vehicles we use to ingnore each other.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KU4UV on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I guess a lot of it all depends on what part of the country you live in. I agree with a lot of your points. I didn't get into the hobby to chase phantom tornadoes. If that's your thing, well God love ya, it's just not my cup of tea. I do wish more hams would monitor 146.52 when traveling. If I am on the road and I see a ham license plate on a car, and a 2 meter whip on the trunk, I will usually give them a shout on .52 to see if they wish to chat.

I had a really nice contact with a guy on my way home from the Dayton Hamvention a few years ago like this. I took my 2 meter transceiver with me to Florida in 2010 when I drove down there to see the night launch of space shuttle Discovery. You know how many hams I contacted on 146.52 the whole trip from Kentucky to Florida? A grand total of zero, even after throwing my call out on .52 about every 20-30 miles or so. I always try to monitor .52 from my QTH here in Kentucky. I can walk outside and hit I-75 with a rock from my location. I am listening to 146.52, just give me a shout if you are ever traveling through central Kentucky on I-75. I'll be listening for you.

73,
Mike KU4UV
 
RE: Too broad to generalize.  
by AB0RE on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well said, AI2IA!

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KE4KE on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The key is to turn on .52 in your shack at home and just give your call occasionally. Try to answer any you hear. I've had a lot of nice .52 contacts while on the freeway, but most of that was several years ago. There is a group that monitors it all the time on the north side of Nashville. Give it a try. By the way, same goes for 52.525. and 223.5. I plan to buy a rig for 6 meters and then I'll have all of that covered.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N7ZM on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
To me 2 meter activity started to drop off when cell phone activity became very popular starting in the mid 90's. All hams carried an HT for emergency use as well as a phone patch to call home. Everyone now has a cell phone which is much easier to use, is more direct, and there is no waiting your turn. New technology was the culprut, the invention of a better widget.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W0DLR on October 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have a local two meter repeater, I keep thinking if the lightning hits it I'll bring the pieces home and never mess with one again. I have taken the 2 meter rig out of my vehicles, don't even know where my handi talkie is. My son is a ham, sold all his gear. Guess what, the cell phone is our preferred method of communication.

Outside of a couple guys on 2 meters, I hope I don't hear from the other 98% on vhf. An intelligent conversation is hard to find.

Just my .02 cents worth.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WB6MMJ on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
W0DLR:
I use to own 3 UHF repeaters in the Los Angeles area.
I started with a 2 meter repeater and gave that idea up real fast.
I sold the UHF repeaters when VHF and UHF were still hot.
I`m so glad that I sold them. I felt so free. I had them for around 12 years.
I went back to my home, HF.
I have a 2 meter radio but I don`t talk on it much. I listen once in a while and then I get sick of what I hear and turn it off.
I`ll stick with HF. It`s not perfect but it is still fun.

 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD7YVV on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well, two things come to mind for me.
Here in Grays Harbor County, the repeaters aren't
very active. The 3 hams I know here are active on HF.
One ham I don't know yet just put up a huge hf beam.
About 9 or 10 years ago, when I was first licensed,
there was one time I broke into the local weather net
on the evergreen intertie to report a traffic accident.
This was before I had a cellphone, and things worked
out for the best. Then a few years later, I was visiting
my home state of New Jersey, and I got on one of the
repeaters there and everyone made the '7' call feel
quite welcome. I too think anything above 10 meters
has had activity drop off. I have noticed though that
the Lake Washington Ham Club's D-Star machine gets a
fair amount of use. It's just my opinion, but 30 years
ago, 2 meters didn't have to compete with things like
Echolink, D-Star, IRLP or PSK31. Even with Echolink
though, I too have noticed the decline in usage of
anything above 10 meters. This doesn't include the
internet with Skype and other forms of instant
communcation. Then again, how many newer hams get
their license at the urging of a friend, or someone
involved in a club, or someone in the emcomm crowd
only to just let the license lapse, the radio collect
dust in a drawer only to be found years later and
sold on ebay? This begs the question, why stay on
2 meters at all to talk to the same locals all the
time, when you can get on HF and talk to the world?
Thirty years ago, ham radio didn't have to compete
with the X-Box, online gaming, or 24 hour television.
Why go to a movie theater anymore when you can watch
a movie on a device the size of Captain Kirk's communicator?
Even in our own community, gone are the days of the
large tube radios, cast aside in favor of more modern
technology. While the ARRL and FCC may say that
license numbers are up, it doesn't say how many are
used. Even HF use is down due to the instant
communcation provided by the internet.
Still though, for some newer hams, the magic and
wonder of radio take hold and they're active for life.
For others, it's interesting until the next interesting
thing comes along. Will 2 meter activity come back?
Sadly, I doubt it very very much. It's getting harder
and harder to find an area of the country not covered
by a cell tower these days. For me, the magic of
radio will always be. But then again, that's just me.
Just my 1/16 cent...(adjusted for the bad economy
and inflation)
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N3YZ on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
KW6LA hit on it well.

When phones were wired, we hams had mobile phone capability.

Nowadays, cell phones have made 2m mobile somewhat obsolete.

Our latest is global texting (aka BPSK). Soon everyone will have that too.

Life goes on.

73!

John
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by NW0LF on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am my club's repeater trustee. As such, I monitor the repeater from about 0700-2200. Outside of the nightly county traffic net and the Sunday ragchew net, there is little activity on the repeater. The county ARES group has a pl toned repeater because of the tower where the equipment is located. Interestingly, that repeater has more use than our non pl repeater. I do announce that I am listening throughout the day but still hear little traffic. If you are passing through Volusia County on I95 in Florida near Daytona Beach, give a holler on 147.150/750. If I am not out running a service call ( no rig in company van) I will be happy to have a QSO with you. Working from home it brightens up my day to talk to someone not work related. My dogs are just not great conversationalists.

Wolfie, NW0LF
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K9MHZ on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The "hams today are ignorant" statement might have an element of truth in it, but I don't think it's necessarily due to a malicious laziness. Things today are so much more advanced than when we started. Much of modern gear is about systems of components in different functional areas of gear, rather than individual resistors, capacitors, or inductors.

Personally, I find "CB like" rag chewing on 2 and 75 meters to be like finger nails on a chalk board, but I do think that it's a natural outflow of modern technology becoming so advanced, reliable, and affordable.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1DA on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There was a time when a 2 meter repeater was a mysterious device put together by folks in the 2 way business, from whatever was handy, and incorporating a lot of 2 way skill and knowledge. A good one produced great excitement, " I got into X with my handheld from here". Users had their eyes out for tower sites, surplus hardline "more recent" highband gear and actual "commercial duplexers" with which to improve the system. Many a group's first set of "cans" were homemade. A repeater like the split site remote receiver 04 - 64 in Boston could be worked south of Providence! Rumors of "special preamps" from the MIT Radiation Labs abounded. People discovered that a Griefkit HF SWR bridge was of no use tuning a Larsen 5/8 wave antenna and a Frequencey Counter was an amazing thing. Several electronics stores had counters in their storefront windows so "the guys" could drive up and net their crystals.

Then came the Japanese. The famous ICOM IC 22 survived "intermod alley" on 128 as well as the big boys and cost just a few hundred bucks. NO longer did you have to live with a beauty like a Regency or Genave, or an old motorcycle police radio. ICOM then produced the IC 2 AT handheld, NO CRYSTALS needed for less than 200 bucks. Everybody got into the act, and talked to everone.

Then, the key to it all, the repeater, became a "1 -800-ICOM - NOW" order it up commodity rather than a product of a lot of skill, scrounging, and hard work. Soon everybody wanted their own, so they "didn't have to" talk to someone or another. I remember a Boston area repeater with inputs and outputs chosen so that early "crystal less" radios with fixed +600 and - 600 offsets couldn't use it. Tied up TWO repeater pairs so the select "users" didn't have to talk to the great unwashed.
Some parts of the country are wide open and friendly, like the old days, many are not. In my neck of the woods those of us with good antennas and power for simplex use have to battle with non-coordinated back yard repeaters just to find a place to talk WITHOUT tying up the local system. "Don't you know there's a REPEATER on here" is a common whine. With the INPUT on a designated SIMPLEX channel??? Oh, it's PL, THAT makes it all go away? Guess not.
Just like High School, 2 meters in many places is now filled with little groups, each going out of their way NOT to acknowledge the others. Too bad, it was fun once.



 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K0JEG on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"Here's an experience I had in Denver,CO. I was in the local ham radio shop (remember those?) and inquired as to the repeater activity in the area (I was visiting from ILL). One of the local ham's manning the counter "explained" that repeaters were owned privately and that I would not be welcomed on any that he knew of in the area.
73
Herb/WR9H"

Herb, the only store I know of in Denver is managed by one of the directors of the Colorado Connection (http://www.colcon.org). The Connection is an open system that publishes all data online, usually has a full page ad in the repeater directory, and even tells you the P/L tone (123hz) on the voice ID. I find it hard to believe anyone in the store would tell you something like that. In fact, I found out more about the amateur community in Colorado from visiting the "candy store" than just about any other source when I first moved here a few years ago.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K0JEG on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The nature of 2 meters is that it is local, or if working on a linked system, regional. Some areas have a lot of repeater activity, some don't, and some swing from day to day. Some repeaters are very open and the users are welcoming, some not so much (which also has a lot to do with the attitude of the area... Northeast US being much less willing strike up a conversation with passers-through than out here in the west).

And let's not discount the impact of IRLP, Winlink and Echolink. Definitely raise the duty cycle on many repeaters these days, although the actual usefulness is somewhat questionable...
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well, one reason for that, Eric, is that here in the north-east, the population is becoming so heavy that there is someone withing earshot almost all the time. That isn't so out in the west, where you can go for miles without seeing as much as one other person, much less talking to one.

With that thought in mind, two meter use should be even heavier, but it isn't. We're so close that we can yell out to one another while in the west you still need the radios. I don't think it's the population at all. Just maybe we can blame the internet too--the great faceless internet that has us all sitting at home or work and discourages us from meeting others face to face. Add to that the attitude of the internet, more of a 'to h*ll with them' attitude than what is needed for face to face conversation, and I think you have a part of the answer--a BIG part.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WA4SCA on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"...as it was an exercise in fertility... "

Several comments come to mind, but none seem appropriate to a family site.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AB0RE on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
""...as it was an exercise in fertility... "

Several comments come to mind, but none seem appropriate to a family site."

hehe - for most of us ham radio is an exercise of infertility. The night time activities seem to taper off when we come home from the hamfest and show our wives what we purchased. :-)
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W8XPK on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Cannot argue with this. When I was a G8 east of London in 80-82, there was plenty of use on 2M, repeaters were simple, R0-R9 (channelized) and simplex was S20 (145.500 if I recall) and we would move to Sxx (25k spacing).

When I relicensed as a W this year, 2M is moderately dead in DC, I hear some activity on some repeaters but not many, and it becomes a science project to work out what/where/who and PL. I'm driving down to Charlotte NC next month and look forward to chewing on 2M, but to spend time in advance programming frequencies & PL's may prevent that!

I've even found some 2M here unfriendly, once I called out on a local repeater, guy came back, then made some BS about, sorry I thought it was some one else.!

My take so far, way too many repeaters and no real band plan or channelization. Suspect it got mired in a political mess, "It's my toy and I'll do what I want!".

I'm happy to contribute to a repeater group, but which one? Seen no real friendliness here yet!

Just my 2c!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W4KVW on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Here in Macclenny,Fla.it's RARE to hear ANYONE on 2 meters.We have BOTH a 2 meter & 440 repeater & about 99.9% of the activity is on the 440 machine.I remember when it was the other way around but only a few of us had a 440 radio back then & now I think EVERYBODY has at least one 440 radio.Either band is fine with me but I stay where the activity is.I only have 30 watts of power on 440 mhz with a Maha dual band docking booster into a Discone antenna at 22 ft. but I have 140 watts on 2 meters with an ICOM 746 PRO & a 13 element yagi at 53 ft. as well so the output on 2 meters has a BIG advantage.When the band is open I will sometimes work distant repeaters & simplex stations on 2 meters all the way to South Florida & up into Alabama,North Georgia,North & South Carolina & even further but those days are pretty RARE!I think it's human nature to go where there is activity if you want to have someone to talk with.Work them on whatever band you can & have FUN with the HOBBY!

Clayton
W4KVW
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD4SM on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It stopped being the fun mode when it started sounding like the crap on 80 meters and above 14.230 on 20 meters.

Shane
KD4SM
 
Why I Stopped Monitoring 146.52 and 446.0 MHz  
by KK5JY on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I used to leave the 2m and 70cm FM call frequencies in my scan set in my mobile radios. I finally had to take them out for two reasons.

1. Hams would call up for a simplex ragchew, and then just park on the frequency for hours. Instead of moving away to a nearby channel to carry on, they just use the call channel to gab. Ditto for 2m SSB.

2. CTCSS also protects the receiver from interference from non-ham noise. However, there is no standard CTCSS frequency for call channels. So every time I drive by a security system or computer, I get to listen to the screech and buzz of RFI.

Both of these items prevent me from leaving call channels in my scan group. If people adhered to call channel etiquette, I could scan these channels, and be ready to respond to CQs. If we had a standard CTCSS frequency for call channels, I could even protect my RX from RFI while scanning. Every other LMR service does this, even for simplex communications, and every ham radio manufactured in the last 25 years has the ability to do CTCSS encode.

So this is why I gave up on FM call channel monitoring. Too much ragchewing on the call channels, and failing to use the available technology to protect against RFI.
 
Why I Stopped Monitoring 146.52 and 446.0 MHz  
by KK5JY on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I used to leave the 2m and 70cm FM call frequencies in my scan set in my mobile radios. I finally had to take them out for two reasons.

1. Hams would call up for a simplex ragchew, and then just park on the frequency for hours. Instead of moving away to a nearby channel to carry on, they just use the call channel to gab. Ditto for 2m SSB.

2. CTCSS also protects the receiver from interference from non-ham noise. However, there is no standard CTCSS frequency for call channels. So every time I drive by a security system or computer, I get to listen to the screech and buzz of RFI.

Both of these items prevent me from leaving call channels in my scan group. If people adhered to call channel etiquette, I could scan these channels, and be ready to respond to CQs. If we had a standard CTCSS frequency for call channels, I could even protect my RX from RFI while scanning. Every other LMR service does this, even for simplex communications, and every ham radio manufactured in the last 25 years has the ability to do CTCSS encode.

So this is why I gave up on FM call channel monitoring. Too much ragchewing on the call channels, and failing to use the available technology to protect against RFI.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by TTOMAS59 on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
We are mostly spoiled today by our abundance of toys, pleasures, and distractions. It's the principle of diminishing returns, also. Our first dx contacts were so magical and memorable but after you've made a few hundred or thousand it becomes routine. Same thing with video, carnal pleasures, or any thing else you can think of. Each individual should have an inner life they can retreat to where they can find sustanence. As a child I remember sitting under the porch and contemplating life while I thought about the future. While I wanted things I didn't have I was very happy then. An innerlife helps to moderate all our appitites so our worldly activities become more meaningful and worldly pleasure isn't the only source of our happiness.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well Norm, I disagree with you on the key subject matter, I find 2 meters to be extreme fun and VHF/UHF period. Both FM and SSB.

I agree with you that Repeater groups, and local 2 meter hams tend to over all appear kind of cliquish and at times down right anti-social.

If you're local area is not providing "fun for you" then CREATE YOUR FUN....My philosophy is that 'REAL HAMS DON'T NEED NO STINKIN REPEATERS". When I returned to ham radio in 2006, all I knew was HF, but I wanted something my wife and I could use for base to mobile communication so we picked up some 2 meter rigs. And like most hams I got on the local repeaters and found some down right unfriendly and others very helpful.

A handful of us got started with a morning conversation on a local repeater every morning from about 5:am to 8:30 or 9:am as we went to work, etc. It was friendly chatter and our conversation always left room for more folks to join in.

After this repeater went down....we moved to Simplex and over the next 6 to 8 months our morning round robin kept growing and growing until we ended up forming the UNCLUB CALLED THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS {check us out at www.wx5us.us}.

Friendly and open conversation inspired others to join in and we now have close to 100 individuals that count themselves part of the group all operating simplex and some as far away as 200 miles.

Tropo openings, brought us into contact with others out side of our local region and people building bigger and better stations to communicate further.....we turned our local region into a meca of fun and amateur radio activity.

SO THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN, LOOK TO SEE HOW MUCH OF A ROLL YOU ARE PLAYING IN THAT NOT HAVING FUN SITUATION.

Change it....it's really easy to do and becomes very infectous.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think more people should give SIMPLEX A TRY....Get in on 146.520 and monitor....

Put your call out..specially early mornings..not only will you start finding folks, but so often around portions of the country band openings are there and you just may end up with a great conversation with someone 100, 200, 500 miles or more away.

Repeaters were designed for mobile to mobile use when you traveled out of range..... your home station should have no problem talking simplex to most mobiles and to each other.....

In a recent battle with the Texas VHF society...over taking simplex freq.....I started hunting for and contacting other groups besides ours that operated simplex around Texas...I was amazed how many area's have a lot of FM 2 meter simplex groups.

large number of SSB groups as well.

Do not limit yourself to FM....

 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
If you think 2 meters, 1.25 meters, 70 cm, or even 23 cm are just utility bands and not useful for much more you are not paying attention.

Yes...I love good rag chews on the HF bands, chasing DX as much as the next guy.

But about 6 years ago I got hooked on chasing grids and band openings on 6 meters....this spread to 2 and now all the way up to 23 cm.

SSB on all of those bands are fascinating and not only have I worked 40 states on 2 meters {FM and SSB combined}, but now working towards the same goal on 220, 440, and 1296.

Yes there are some states that are going to require that I go digital and EME, but contacts of up to 1000 miles or more are not that uncommon or that difficult to do with a modest station.

LIFE IS JUST AS EXCITING ON VHF/UHF AS IT IS ON HF, you just have to learn more patience and timing. Plus more accurate beams, etc.

We have a handicapped ham in our area that has a limited station with 60 watts, Omni antenna and yet he has still worked 3 states {including Florida} and wide area's of Texas on 2 meters with this station.

He is having a blast....

It's not a utility band....it's what you make of it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0EQ on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
W8VZM wrote:
" I have tried to monitor 52 on my scanner as I live 2 mile from I 70. I can't monitor it because of all the rag chewing on it..."

That's hilarious. You can't monitor it because people are using it.

The simple answer for you is, then, it's being monitored. Tune to some other freq that's not in use if you don't want to hear anyone communicating.


Craig 'Lumpy' Lemke

www.n0eq.com
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KF4A on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well said..
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB2HSH on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I can see both sides of the argument. When I bought my first 2m HT in 1991 after upgrading from Novice to Tech, 2m was great here in Buffalo. All of the younger hams in the area (and I mean ALL) used to congregate on 2m...whether it was simplex or via the 146.73 Grand Island NY repeater. We had tons of fun, and used to meet up for coffee, etc. There were even times we used to stay up until the wee late hours working FM DX when the tropo seasons came. Heck, we even had a 2m AM net in Buffalo that met on 144.40 every Sunday night! THAT was really cool!!!

Fast-forward to today, and it's NTS nets that pass meaningless traffic (that could just as easily and faster delivered via email), emcomm nets preparing for the Second Coming, and the various other nets that have 25+ check-ins, all complete with the caller's callsign, followed by "No Comment". It's truly pathetic. If it wasn't for APRS on 144.39, 2m would be a shadow of what it once was.

What caused it? SMS Texting? The Internet/Smart Phones in everyone's pockets?

Maybe all of the above.

John
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by NY7Q on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
After a 12 year layoff from uhf/vhf, I recently bought a new dual band and tried again.
Alas, a week ago I got so frustrated with the way 2 meters is, that I just threw the rig in the dumpster.
Never again.
cw today, tomorrow and forever
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB2HSH on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
NY7Q:

Well said.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by LU2DFM on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It's absudrd that a multi-hundred radio has no provision for a downloadable repeater directory and a GPS input so it could bring front up the repeaters as you move around.


Come on, the web bing-bang was '94, please let the manufacturers know; perhaps they could put a network capable radio in the market before XXII century.

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WG0F on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
One net operator, KB8RAD, is putting forth a great effort to keep 2 meters well and alive. 5 days a week,
Monday through Friday, 7 EST til around noon EST, starting in Lancing, Michigan on RF and ending world wide on Echo Link on the "DoDropIn" server - runs the "breakfast club". This is a fun, cup of coffee while waking up, on the way to work, etc. type net. With sometimes over 100 checkins, this is a very active, upbeat, friendly, 2 meter net. Please join us some morning. Thanks and 73's. WG0F
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by STRAIGHTKEY on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"Well said."

Not really. He could have given the new rig to some ham who could get some enjoyment out of it. By throwing the rig in the dumpster, he's part of the problem. And you can run CW on 2 meters.

All in all his post is really just thinly veiled CW snobbery.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Quote: (After a 12 year layoff from uhf/vhf, I recently bought a new dual band and tried again.
Alas, a week ago I got so frustrated with the way 2 meters is, that I just threw the rig in the dumpster.
Never again. cw today, tomorrow and forever) end quote



That is the stupidiest statement ive seen in a long time.

You either have more money than brains or you are just ranting with out thinking.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD1XH on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There definitely is a difference here in CT. When I was licensed in 1992 I got that brick from RS HTX202 and the local repeater was pretty busy. Now that repeater is part of a linked system and most of the time much quieter than back when it was a stand-alone machine. There are times of the day when it is active though, I am a second shifter though and miss most of the action, unless I stay up until late enough in the morning. I do chat with one guy every day while I am going to work and he is going home. I would do HF mobile but my commute is only 20 minutes at the most.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD8IFJ on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
cell phones are radios too they just use a different freq and now the cell phone tower is ther repeater for a one on one , people will get bored with those too , i remember just before cell phones came out every one had to have a pager lol remember those things lol . im surprised they still make them lol. things change or evolve and sometimes it takes the right seqence of events to bring em back ,sometimes its becuz of followers ,one person goes and the followers go to ,but i would say it was when cell phones and computers hit the shelves . and now with 80 mph on the highway ya gota white nuckle the steering wheel lol ,,
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KC5CQD on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Agreed! I suppose that I've just been quite unlucky with the repeaters I've used, or attempted to use. I've lived in the deep south, New England, east and west coasts and about all I've ever encountered on 2m/70cm machines has run the spectrum from cold to downright rude. These machines seem to be erected by local "cliques" who then turn around and list them as "open" and yet want nothing to do with anyone that isn't in the clique! I've even on a few occasions been chastised on the air and told that "this repeater is for paying members!". Well....ok....so after ten minutes of use I'm supposed to chase down the club and write them a check, huh? Why on earth would I want to pay to be a member of a group that is obviously populated by a fair number of assholes? 2 meters once held a lot of promise as a great band for local communications but then suddenly became dominated by local "good old boys clubs" and closed itself off from what they considered interlopers. I walked away from everything above 30Mhz many years ago. Left it to the sodomites, as they say. It has now become the "chicken band" of ham radio. It's where the children go to play with their new HTs and their new cracker-jack prize, give-away "Tech" licenses.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KC5CQD on October 21, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"As I have said for many years now, CB and Ham Radio will be one in time with NO thanks to the ARRL and the FCC."

I've been sounding this same horn for years, as well. In time....maybe in a year or maybe in 20 years...there will be no more licensing. There will be a form to fill out and a fee to pay and callsigns will be issued. Period. 11 meters will become just another option on your rig and the 11 meter ops will be able to fill out their form, pay their fee and operate the other bands. It's coming. We're relics, boys and girls. Outdated and no longer considered relevant. No one of any importance is fighting to save amateur radio as it exists. We've become more of a nuisance to the government than an asset. Freeing themselves from regulating and policing our bands would be a great boon to them.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"That is the stupidiest statement ive seen in a long time. "

Come on, you know it's rhetorical BS. And that's all he probably is. As someone else said, he's part of the problem...
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA5ROW on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I sold my all mode 2m/70cm Kenwood TS-790A rig over 3 years ago haven't missed it a bit, except for the SSB part. But I did buy a new Yaesu FT2900 last month, it is still in the box. Some time this fall I will connect it up in the house for weather net use.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by VE6TL on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Around here, the only things you hear on 2m are the nets, where people check in regularly to give a whether report: whether they are still alive. The rest of the time, 2m is packed with QSOs between SKs.
:)
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N7KFD on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
2 meters can be fun in the right environment. I have an FT-1900 in my company vehicle and while in town I hear the same people on the same repeaters day after day. (I don't talk to close friends on the phone every single day).

But while traveling I can usually find someone to answer a simplex call and it's just like HF just not as long. The QSO's don't last that long at 70 MPH but I still get to meet new people and I've made friends with a few fellas and talk to them every time I'm in town. I have a Kenwood TM-281 in the house and it's very rare that I take it 146.520, I listen for someone passing through. Those short conversations can make a trip a little shorter and can be really fun.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by NJ3U on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It's not the pl's that have killed the fun. IMHO a little work to program, keep it scanning and make/answer calls in route.

I have my KWood 710 in APRS mode on the A band and the B Band scanning local machines along the 125 mile route between my QTH and summer place. Many friendly contacts along the way from Jersey to Harrisburg area.

Try affixing a HAM Radio magnetic bumper sticker that says Your Call or that you listen to 146.520 to increase the chances of contacts.

Nothing comes for free -
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W5DQ on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have no problems making contacts while mobile .... but not on 2M. I can make all the contacts I want on 40M through 6M while mobile. In fact, while I have a 2M on the rig in the car (FT-100D), I hardly ever turn to anything higher than 6M. I find 2M FM to a boring as income tax preparation and basically don't use it. The single time I really needed to use it in the past, no one (and I mean NO ONE) would answer a emergency call on a 2M repeater with a WIDE footprint. Since it wasn't life or death, I didn't feel it warranted a emergency call on HF with the coverage it afforded. Because I was in a cellphone dark spot and 2M was a joke, I just sat and waited until a CHP came by to call me a tow. In fact, the CHP officer was amazed that I could not raise anyone on 2M ... as was I. Since that day, I basically don't depend it and ignore 2M.

Beside I get more than enough contacts working CW and RTTY contests and ragchews on HF.

Gene W5DQ
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KY6R on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In the late 1970's I remember WR2AHV in Sussex County, NJ being one of the friendliest and most fun repeaters.

Repeaters were new and it seemed that there was always a friendly conversation / round table going on.

In 1979 we moved to the SF Bay Area, and while there are many very good repeaters here - they seem very quiet - except for the EMCOMM's net nights.

I'm 99% into HF DX-ing, and every now and then remember those good old WR2AHV days.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WA2DTW on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think that the decrease in use of 2 meter FM repeaters occurred as mobile telephones were proliferating.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by DJ0RD on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The same is true in Germany. I used to have many simplex QSOs driving to or from work with local Hams. Now except for some repeater activity, 2 meters has nothing going on. You can monitor local club frequencies all day and never hear a peep.

Vy 73 de Bob DJ0RD/WU5T
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N6PAT on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Why must some people blame EVERYTHING wrong with ham radio on the elimination of the code requirement? I honestly believe that these same people would rather see ham radio die on the vine than have it survive without CW.

I'm sure that many of these very same people use equipment and modes that the previous generation thought would ruin ham radio. And did it? No.

It's funny how you refer to the 1980's as "the good old days". I doubt a ham from the 1950's would agree with that statement. Why must you assume that ham radio was only good during your period of operation? Remember, there wouldn't BE ham radio if not for the activities of individuals decades before you showed up on the scene.

Stop fearing the future. The survival of ham radio always depends on the NEXT generation and not the PREVIOUS generation.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA4KOE on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There are easily a dozen plus 2m repeaters in the SE Georgia area where I live (Savannah Metro area and environs).

I can drive for days on end to and from work and not hear a soul, with my Yaesu scanning all the while.

I think this is a symptom of our ham culture changing. I would NOT blame it on the "CB" mentality that some are so quick to attribute to the lack of activity.

Real quiet around here......

Philip
KA4KOE
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KK9H on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am the trustee for my local club located in the northern suburbs of Chicago. We have repeaters on 2M, 220 and 440 as well as D-Star on 440 and 1.2 GHz. Our 440 FM machine is quite active, the club members regularly have discussions on many subjects and I think that's one reason this repeater has been successful in attracting others in the area to use it. This system also has Echolink which I feel is another reason for its popularity. Our 2M repeater gets a bit less activity, but it is our club's flagship machine and is the alternate that folks use when the 440 machine is busy. It is also our local Skywarn repeater. 220 is pretty quiet, no surprise, but several of us use it quite successfully for DX spotting. The D-Star system gets a fair amount of use too, but only on the 440 band. The reason we also have 1.2 GHz is due to an Icom offer a few years ago that initially got us on D-Star. As for 146.52, there is actually a fair amount of activity on that in the area. I include .52 in my scan list both at home and in the car. I've had some excellent simplex QSOs locally over the years. When travelling, I have been experimenting with Voice Alert on APRS and have .52 displayed in my status line. I have experienced mixed results with that so far, but it did work pretty well on my trip to and from Dayton this year.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD8MJR on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
IT'S SIMPLE..... CELL PHONES.
There is absolutely no other reason why 2M has died.
Thatís also why Paging systems have died and every other form of interpersonal communication system has died.

HF is a broad based form of communication but 2M and 70cm have always been used by small groups of people who typically know each other (interpersonal). Unfortunately thatís the same purpose that spurred Cell Phone development and now 25+ years later there is no way 2M can compete with it's off spring.

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K3DQB on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am also a HAM with over 40 years of experience. My first two meter rig was a General Electric Progress Line (all tubes) and I actually installed it in my OPEL 1900 vehicle. Quite a challenge but I really loved that radio. There were many repeaters in NNJ that were open and friendly and where intelligent conversations were the norm. Even though my primary focus was HF DX'ing, I still spent alot of time on 2 meters. It was an exciting day when I bought my first HT which was a Motorola HT-200.

After moving to South Central PA about 14 years ago, I experienced culture shock with respect to two meters. There was little activity and as controversial as this may sound, the locals were not very welcoming to transplants. Over the past 14 years, I have neen a member of three local repeater clubs, only to finally give up on all of them. I feel that as a HAM with lots of experience and an Electronics Engineering Technology Instructor, I had a lot to contribute but the stalwarts of the clubs thought otherwise. Today, I am not a member of any local clubs which I feel puts a big void in my ham radio experience. Part of Ham radio is being able to socialize with fellow hams and I have resigned myself to the fact that this just ain't gonna happen.

I am also an avid hiker, especially in the mountains of Virginia and always take along my HT. I enjoy making QSO's from the peaks and will continue to pursue this as my main operating mode on two meters.

For those of you who have excellent experiences with two meters and your local radio clubs, consider yourself fortunate. I have been debating whether to un-install my two meter rig from my vehicle over the past month or so and I think I am going to.

Best 73 and will see you on HF. CW Forever!!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N2EY on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The #1 reason is cell phones.

In the bad old days, a person driving alone was isolated. Nobody to talk to. VHF/UHF FM made it easy to go mobile and have company for the ride.

Then everybody got cell phones. One of the big justifications for them, from the very beginning, was "emergencies".

Sure, you can turn the phone off, or ignore it. But what if it's your spouse or kids, and the need help? What if it's the boss, needing you to do something on the way in? Etc.

Now a person driving alone is not isolated at all. Isolation has become a luxury.

Of course this isn't true for everyone everywhere. But it's true enough to explain the decline in activity.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB2DHG on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Gotta agree with you my friend... I hardly use 2 meters anymore...
Call me old school It was much batter back in thoes days...
Nice post...
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA3ZHX on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Funny, I was there a day or two earlier and the three gentlemen at the store could not have been nicer. I purchased a local ham clubs repeater list ($3.00) and when my radios arrive I plan to give it a go....Having moved alot around this great country, there are always cliques and clubs which are insular...the vast majority are not...I find welcoming environments on every band I work....
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AF2Q on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I remember when it was hard to find a repeater that was not in use.
I got lost and the repeater in Flemington,NJ,those guys gave up their drive time chat while two others talked me back from their maps
I sure miss the late night chat with the night owls but many are now SK and new ham spend just to much time on yahoo list trying to debug a rig hooked up to a computer.
Remember the antenna raising parties?
How about the club meeting with coffee and all sorts of treats.
We kept truckers company and on several occasions some hams driving through stopped for coffee and went back to their car and chatted with us all night long.
We even had one lady call and tell some ham that she gave up watching Johnny Carson because we were more fun to listen to.
Sometimes the am with the biggest back yard was picked for our own little club field day and we got on the repeater and invited others to come down for a burger and bring the wife and kids.
Time flies Guys/Gals.
Repeaters in my area are OK for drive time but if I keep someone company and their friends jump in then I just get forgotten about and if people today want that sort of life then leave me out.
The hobby is what you make it and not much effort is being put toward keeping repeaters active in my area.


BOB AF2Q Wilderness Elite Survival Training Search & Rescue Severe Weather-Swift Water Pet Rescue www.angelfire.com/nj4/rescue/
You can tell who is a true Survivalist.
He carries much less because he knows much more.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AF2Q on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I remember when it was hard to find a repeater that was not in use.
I got lost and the repeater in Flemington,NJ,those guys gave up their drive time chat while two others talked me back from their maps
I sure miss the late night chat with the night owls but many are now SK and new ham spend just to much time on yahoo list trying to debug a rig hooked up to a computer.
Remember the antenna raising parties?
How about the club meeting with coffee and all sorts of treats.
We kept truckers company and on several occasions some hams driving through stopped for coffee and went back to their car and chatted with us all night long.
We even had one lady call and tell some ham that she gave up watching Johnny Carson because we were more fun to listen to.
Sometimes the am with the biggest back yard was picked for our own little club field day and we got on the repeater and invited others to come down for a burger and bring the wife and kids.
Time flies Guys/Gals.
Repeaters in my area are OK for drive time but if I keep someone company and their friends jump in then I just get forgotten about and if people today want that sort of life then leave me out.
The hobby is what you make it and not much effort is being put toward keeping repeaters active in my area.


BOB AF2Q Wilderness Elite Survival Training Search & Rescue Severe Weather-Swift Water Pet Rescue www.angelfire.com/nj4/rescue/
You can tell who is a true Survivalist.
He carries much less because he knows much more.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AC5WO on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Two-Meter FM became less fun when CTCSS became ubiquitous and repeater performance went down. I used to be able to reliably use an HT to talk to other hams on wide area repeaters. Those repeaters were typically maintained by someone in the land mobile radio business and a high performance 2M repeater advertized the technical skill of its owner or trustee. Today my HT is basically useless because repeaters seem to lack the receiver sensitivity they used to have. It's also possible that interference levels may have increased and CTCSS is being used to mask the problem. Either way, the repeater trustees seem to lack RF skills, being simply the guy who programs the repeater controller. I still use a 2M/70cm mobile, but only during the time I'm in the car.

In my opinion, CTCSS is being overused. A good compromise would be to use CTCSS from early evening to late morning when tropospheric bending increases probability of interference. From late morning to early evening when there is less tropo, I bet many repeaters could go back to noise squelch without CTCSS. That would make it much easier for travelers to join the conversation during the day.

I try to program groups of likely active repeater pair/CTCSS frequencies before a road trip. I use online repeater directories to identify club owned repeaters and then check if the club has a website that has been recently updated. I've had fairly good luck finding activity on repeaters owned by an active club. Life would be easier if my mobile rig simply identified the tone on the repeater output and set the mobile transmit tone to match.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0EVH on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It is all about being social. I used to think it was about this and that change in society or technology. But, ham radio is a social hobby. When we behave and treat each other with regard and respect it works. When we are interesting to talk to, then it works. Now you can get your ticket and lock yourself in a room and be a techno-geek if you like, but hey the hobby is full of interesting and smart people. In fact think back on all you have learned in ham radio. How much came from other hams or their articles/websites etc? See what I mean?

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1AZG on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I travel cross country by motor home and try and program pairs along my route but who knows what the "active" repeater is? I think that is the biggest problem. When I am fixed I monitor for active repeaters. Wish I knew how to figure out the active repeaters?
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AD6CW on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I was pretty much off the air from 2002-2010, and when I checked the local repeater scene after nearly a 10-year absence, I was surprised to hear that some of the busiest repeaters were nearly quiet.

As an experiment, I programmed all of the local 2m/220/70cm repeater frequencies into my scanner and listened over a couple of weeks time. Most were very quiet. Even the local club's 2m repeater was dead, and it was one of the more active machines.

One improvement that has been made, is that one of the local repeaters got "cleaned up" somewhere in that time span. It was a shame to have these jokers on there, as it had the best coverage of the widest area from 8,000'

I'm mainly an HF guy, but have always been interested in activity on 6m and up.

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W1WOW on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Hello Norm,

I think it really sums down to the advent of the cell phone. The cell phone has taken away the 2 meter bands amazement. It really has for me. FM sounds like my cell phone. It's also limited by the range of the repeater - heck - my cell phone will talk around the world and sounds just as good as the ham across town on the local repeater.

Some would say that they are a Ham because they like to talk to people. While I like to "Talk to People" mainly the excitement is how I'm talking with people not the fact that I'm have a conversation with a stranger. I could go to a chat room on American Online for that... but would I... no, why? ...that's boring... Now have a conversation with a stranger from some other state on HF - that's fun - even if the conversation is mundane. Why is if fun? Because my little box is able to put me in contact with another human with his little box dialed to the same frequency. WOW! Now that's cool!

The lure to Amateur Radio is the "amazement" of communication via air waves. I don't get that excitement feeling on 2 meters knowing I'm still tied to a repeater. Playing QRP HF on some local hilltop talking to another Ham in Russia with 5 watts, now that's excitement.

2 meters was the 70s and 80s cell phone. Hams were able to do something that non-hams couldn't, and that made is exciting and techie. Heck - even the phone-patch was cool for a brief while before the "Cell Phone." The cell phone has desensitized 2 meters - at least FM. Of course there is a lot more a ham can do with 2 meters besides traveling with it.

So - that's my take. It's great for road trips when you have family/friend hams all on 146.520 heading down the expressway. Works way better that the FRS radios...but that's it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KC2WI on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Some may use tones to keep people out but all repeaters I know that have tones solely to emiminate interference. Tones are published.

The 3 clubs I belong to don't have tones. We are just fortunate that we don't have interference problems and I am fortunate that I can still use my vintage IC-2AT and TR-2400.

You can get a list of repeaters for Northern NY including tone frequencies at nnyara.net.

One problem in some areas as has been mentioned is too many repeaters. Maybe back in the 80's when there was a lot of activity these were required but now since there is less activity and many people are using cell phones instead of autopatches you don't need 10 repeaters.

Crystal control back in the old days was probably a good thing to some extent because radios only had so many channels and there were common frequencies. Apparently 146.94 simplex was an old standard. If you bought a 2M FM radio maybe that was the only stock frequency so everyone had it.

Bigger problem than tones is that less people are monitoring any of the repeaters. Frequently I call on a trip and never get a response.

I try to listen to my local repeater whenever possible and especially answer if I hear an unfamiliar call sign.

I can only think of a few times in last 20 years that I have called "CQ" on 146.52 and gotten a response. Probably never while travelling. I can't remember any time in recent history that I have heard anyone call on .52.

Conversely, I have seen other instances when 146.52 was announced as the frequency that was going to be used for some public service comm. The concept of a calling frequency is that you meet there and then move off for any long qso. Definitely don't use it for a net.

Another thought about simplex is that back on the old days before lots of repeaters, if you wanted to make 2M contacts you had to have a decent antenna fixed or mobile. Now too many people just have an HT with rubber duck, no outdoor antenna, or maybe just 1/4 wave mag mount on the vehicle. No one is going to here you and/or you are not going to hear them very far with a rubber duck.

A couple of years ago a club in the area put on a 2M FM only "sprint." Idea was virtually everyone has some 2M mobile or whatever so it was the most inclusive on-air event possible. If you have a big base antenna fine, if not take you vehicle or HT with the best antenna you have to a high spot and see what happens. It was a really fun event.

I am EC/RO for my county and have no problem with repeaters being used for emcomm. Our repeater is actually on the county tower so we ought to support emcomm. My problem is typically I can't get anyone to actually commit to any exercise or public service. Of course it is a rural area with only a few hams. 10% participation of club members is about the norm everywhere and for my club that would be < 1 person...

However I do have a problem with repeaters being relied upon for emcomm, and even worse, with Echolink/IRLP being used. You should assume in a real disaster that infrastructure, including repeaters, will not be available.

Actually for mobile ops, I think CB back in the mid to late 70's was as much fun as anything. I didn't have an amateur radio license at the time so maybe 2M or whatever was better, but I do remember having a lot of great QSOs on CB before it turned in to a vast wastland of roger beeps and other sound effects, reverb, distortion, bad language, etc.

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KK2DOG on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There's a whole group of us in the Watertown, New York area that hang-out on 146.520, and have been for years.


Mike KK2DOG
www.hamwave.com
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WB6DGN on October 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
" My dogs are just not great conversationalists.
Wolfie, NW0LF"

A dog won't talk to a Wolfie? Wrong dialect, maybe?
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K0IC on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have been around 2 meters since the early 1970s. What has happened around here is there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians to use the machines. I think technology is a major factor, too. It is dangerous to be fiddling with the 2 meter rig when one is driving. If I ever get a rig in the car again it is going to have 2 meters plus HF capabilities so I can find someone if/when I have emergency communications. Unless the 2 meter machine has autopatch it is not too useful when one can not find users. I might end up putting on a two meter machine for personal use as I hope to eventually to relocate to high ground on the family farm.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W0LEV on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I can't resist this one ! ! !

I share your frustration! I, too, became interested in 2-meters and FM around the same time period. I designed and built my first "real" synthesized 2-meter FM radio about 1972 or 1973 out of frustration with the cost of crystal control. Yes, it was truly from scratch - just out of school. Yes, ham radio was enjoyable back then. As you note, things have changed:

1) Lack of basic electronic theory which we were REQUIRED to have to gain a license in the "good 'ol days". I cut my teeth on vacuum tube gear and still love it. Yes, I had to draw and interpret schematics on my General exam (what newbie knows the function of a grid leak resistor, ooops, gate leak resistor....). I had to, heaven forbid, do some algebra to gain my General license. The Extra came later, taken cold, which required knowledge of the Smith Chart and how to use it. I had to THINK and UNDERSTAND communications theory. Understanding of Ohm's Law was about essential for ANY amateur license, INCLUDING the Novice - I had an Ohm's law question on my Novice exam back in 1959'. All this has been discarded by the wayside with the advent multi-guess exams administered by volunteer "examiners" and publication of "question pools". Does ANYone read and UNDERSTAND the first 10 or so chapters of the ARRL Handbook anymore? I'll write no more on this subject. My frustration with this aspect should be obvious.

2) Tendency away from technical to just communicating. Much of this is precipitated by the stress on "emergency communications". Emergency communications precipitated by ARES (and the disguise of Homeland "Security"). Amateur radio has become a group of communicators who have absolutely no more understanding of what is behind the front panel of their radios than they do their cell phones. Technical aspects of the hobby are gone, for the most part. Six-year graduates in EE no longer know or can use simple DC (that's Direct Current for the newbies) Ohm's law (yes, I have experience from interviews of prospective employees to prove that statement - shame on the schools!!). Of recent local experience, the High Park Fire here in Northern Colorado (we lost everything in that fire, including house, contents, garage, and contents). The ONLY traffic handled by the ARES group here in Larimer County was helping someone get a cat out of a tree during the fire. Come on, guys and gals!!! Sure, there was lots of activity for three or so weeks, but for what? The divergence of the curl became infinite...... Sorry, this is not the ham radio for which I obtained my first license in 1960.

I have replaced only one of the multitude of radios I lost in the fire ("collected" over 40 some years): the Kenwood TS-2000X because it does everything I'm interested in (still) and it offers the most bang for the buck and it was my most-used (amateur transceiver) radio before the fire. I will likely not go any further than that as I'm technical and originally got into the hobby for the esoteric propagation modes and home brewing from HF through L-Band. My original interest in electromagnetics was (and still is) radio astronomy. I can no longer relate to most amateur radio ops. I certainly will continue as I had before the fire developing the radio astronomy interests.

Yes, you might consider me an old rank fart as I've been licensed for going on 53 years. The ham radio I was once sincerely interested in has morphed into a lazy hobby to which I can no longer relate. When I cease feeding the gray matter between the ears, I'm ready for my pine box.

I hate to write this, but Amateur Radio is a big disappointment in my retirement. I had expected more technical challenges and capabilities from fellow hams. It's gone. Yes, I do help when and where I can behind the scenes and am not selfish with the test gear and/or Elmering where it is acceptable, but I do not relate to wanna-remain-dumb pseudo-engineering snake oil promoting ......well........ I just had to vent.

HOWEVER, it is (old style) ham radio that was responsible for my career in EMC/RFI (Electromagnetic Compatability and Radio Frequency Interference). I could not have done it without ham radio and the almost irresistable temptation it offered to experiment, fail, learn why it failed, go read some more, try again, and ultimately to succeed and understand. It is the old-style ham radio that gave me the drive to obtain my degree in physics and an understanding of Maxwell's famous four. I owe that huge debt to the hobby of Amateur Radio (yes, with upper case properly written). However, you're right: it ain't the same.

Somewhat Irrespectively Submitted:

Dave - W0LEV
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K4EZD on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
One way to make it fun again would be to open up two meter FM to all CB operators. That would certainly bring some entertainment value to the band. ;-)

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by VE3TMT on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I agree 100%.

I used to be quite active on 2m, even considered it fun when I first got my license. With the advent of Echolink and such, I lost interest. If I wanted to talk to someone 1000 miles away I would use HF. 2m was for local chat, or so I thought.

Then APRS, D-Star and all the other technological triumphs of VHF radio came along and I lost interest. At one point I even picked up a TS-2000 to try my luck on the satellites. It was fun for a while. Then a bought a TR751A and worked some 2m SSB. Really enjoyed that and regret selling the radio. Oh wait I am getting off topic.

I wish 2m would go back to the way it was, popular. I monitor the local repeater on the shack scanner (don't own any VHF gear anymore) and you'll be lucky to hear one QSO during a few hours in the shack.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0AH on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
cell phones killed it years ago-
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'me sorry, but if I hear more whining about "In my day I had to ...blah blah blah..." I'm sorry, but that's BS!!

It's different, but some people just don't understand it.
Take motorcars for example. Back the teens motorcar enthusiast had to understand how that engine works. But does that make the drivers license received today any less valid? I'm sure it does, to the people who drove cars that the throttle was on the steering wheel, and NONE of those multiple (3 or 4) pedals on the floor worked the gas! What? You didn't learn that? Then you are not a real driver!!

Ok, you learned a Smith chart, but you're STILL just an appliance operator by some standards somewhere. What the heck are people doing operating 2M with a PLL rig if they don't UNDERSTAND what a dual-modulus prescaller is and how it can be used. Geesh!

Yep, you took your exam at the FCC (ok, so did I, one of them anyway) and you had to walk there uphill, both ways, in the snow, barefoot, right?

It's really interesting to read 3001 by Clark. In it, the revived astronaut (Poole) was dismayed that the people operting the ship didn't understand the internal workings of it the way he did when he was training at the Cape. Never mind that these people were operating a machine that made it from Earth to Jupiter, the long way on the far side of the sun, in 10 days...

Whine, whine, whine...
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W8AAZ on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I would actually be suprised if it became like CB like some guy said it seemed in S. Cal, as you can do alot more with a cellphone and family radios and an actual CB can be had cheap like the other two. And no licenses for those other services. More likely to be forgotten than be overrun. Except for the occasional radio pirates that may be up to no good and want what they think is an anonymous comm setup.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WB6RXG on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
An old friend of mine, one that you could call my elmer, WB6RHC put it this way, "Activity breeds activity." I wholeheartedly agree with him. Since I and others became active on 2 meters again during drive time we now have several repeaters in the area that have become pretty active.

If you want more 2 meter activity in your area then get on the air and make some noise. It's amazing who comes out of the woodwork when a conversation on the air gets their attention. Everybody is monitoring, nobody is talking so get talking.

73,
Stuart
WB6RXG
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0PSH on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you N1DVJ! Well said!!!
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N8RAT on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Seems to me when the converted CB ops refused to check their 11-meter lingo and bad habits at the door. That was enough for me to migrate to 220 & 440. Haven't been on 2 meters (with the exception of weak signal work) for years. Some of the better ops I've encountered came from the citizen's band years ago but quickly adapted to proper etiquette. Now, they just don't care. Especially when some 2-meter repeater owners seem to encourage that sort of behavior.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KF4HR on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you W0LEV! Well said.

Yep, I remember part of my written test study material being the ARRL handbook, along with numerous other study publications (I'm a mid-60's licensee). Getting a license back then was truly a learning experience, not just a process of Q&A memorization and the real hard part... studying your radio operation manual.

And back in the good ol' days the FCC had a rule in place whihc FORCED new hams to continue their learning process in order to stay on the air, the 1 year non-renewable Novice license. Whether a ham ended up with a Tech, General, Advanced, or Extra ticket, they earned the right to be there and were proud of the work it took to get there. How about now?

And for those of you that say us old timers are just whining about the good ol' days... perhaps you've never had a new General licensee ask you what VSWR is. Or ask you what the heck Ohm's Law has to do with ham radio. If you think is whining, you have you head in the sand.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"And for those of you that say us old timers are just whining about the good ol' days... perhaps you've never had a new General licensee ask you what VSWR is. Or ask you what the heck Ohm's Law has to do with ham radio. If you think is whining, you have you head in the sand."

Oh PAHLEESE!!!!!! Give me a break!

There are good and bad people of every ilk in every class. I've heard an extra, from 20+ years, act amazed when he finally realized the difference between alkaline batteries and nicad internal resistance issues. I've heard one of the 'golden extras', a real 'wheel', actually tell another ham to cut the 'lock' line on a PLL to open it up. You want examples of assinine and stupid technical behavior and recomendations from 'old time' hams who should know better? I can give you MANY more than from new hams, but only because the 'old' hams think they have to pass on the BS knowledge. In actual retrospect, they are no worse or no better than the newbies, just more comfortable with 'what they know'.

So PLEASE stop with the BS!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0YXB on October 23, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I tell you what, things have gone downhill since we gave up on the spark gap. Things were so much better in the spark gap days. Then along comes AM, then SSB, then RTTY, and finally digital modes. Can't imagine why anyone likes this hobby anymore.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by SSBER on October 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Some of the older more seasoned ops are just plain rude to the newbies. I got corn-holed once for using an unacceptable microphone. Many of my friends share similar stories about the fun band. As far as I'm concerned, the Feds can reassign these fun frequencies to another service.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K3LUE on October 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've never really warmed up to repeaters. For me, the fun is still point-to-point without the "middle man." A real thrill that has stood the test of time. Loved those late night/very early morning sessions when you've worked some great DX, walking out into the quiet summer night and looking up at the beam knowing somewhere over there was the guy you just talked to. Now for me, that's fun!
Ron
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KF4HR on October 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
So PLEASE stop with the BS!

Yep, some are actually comfortable with what they know. Imagine that. Drop the drama.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N9LCD on October 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
About four years ago when I got "jumped on" by one of the local repeater "cops".

Seems he didn't like us discussing our gear on the repeater. Mine is a PRC-127A; the "newbe" was converted Motorola commercial rig.

Told us to get off the air and get some decent gear!

N9LCD
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W9BIK on October 24, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Guys, WE ARE HAM RADIO. It is what we make it to be. Even if you don't use 2M, it is as much a part of ham radio as any other ham band and ALL of us somewhat responsible for any rise or decline in its use. Ham radio has not changed all that much in the 47 years I've been licensed. Sure, the equipment is newer technology and there are more operating modes and a few more bands available, but that's only part of what makes ham radio what it is. We, the hams, are the glue that holds this great hobby together. WE need to step up to the plate and be the type of hams you would want to communicate with. You know, the kind of ham that you wanted to talk to when you first started in this hobby. Cherish the frequencies we have, use them all as much as possible, respect and be supportive of other hams whether they are new to the hobby or not. Experiment, build, operate, talk, learn, explore, contact the world as well as your ham neighbors. Support EmComm. Do things to enhance and advance the hobby, and above all remember that WE ARE HAM RADIO and it is (and will be) what we make it to be. If any aspect of the hobby is on the decline WE have nothing or no one to blame but ourselves. Change it!
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA1BIN on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"You want examples of assinine and stupid technical behavior and recomendations from 'old time' hams who should know better? I can give you MANY more than from new hams, but only because the 'old' hams think they have to pass on the BS knowledge. In actual retrospect, they are no worse or no better than the newbies, just more comfortable with 'what they know'.

So PLEASE stop with the BS!"


Yes, there is certainly a range of knowledge levels amoung all people and all professions and experiences, but to dismiss "old people" with their "old knowledge" just might backfire.

Amateur radio licenses used to pretty much require a "working" knowledge of the subject material being dealt with - not just memorizing a question pool.

Yes, there always were some Hams who knew LESS than other Hams, but helping them correct their misunderstandings without making them a "private point of ridicule" to others (like the examples you generously have just given)"

College degrees used to require a "working" knowledge of the subject matter that you carried with you in life - not just being taught how to "google the information".

Yes, back in the old days, there were some people that actually wanted to learn and enjoyed learning!
They didn't want to take the easy way out, they wanted to Earn through their knowledge and accomplishments.

A lot of these old people FORGOT more than others WILL EVER KNOW! .... And they can withstand any attempted ridicule from people like yourself.

This is MY BS.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Yep! There is another reason that 2M is dead or dying--the repeater 'cops'.

Just as bad are trustees and control operators who keep too tight a grip on their machines for most operators--and yet let other 'favored' operators get away with breaking rules and regulations that are spelled out in Part 97!
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K4YRK on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Here in East Tennessee there is still fairly heavy use of 2m FM repeaters and some simplex. But I agree with you that it is not like the early 70's when I first got on 2m FM with a Drake 2m FM.

I suggest you might want to try 2m SSB and even 432 SSB where the fun is still there and it is like 2m FM was in the early days.

We have an informal 432 SSB net each morning on 432.095 with stations in 3 states involved.

73
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
To KA1BIN

You are correct, and I agree with you. Mostly.

But ham radio, except maybe in it's very early days, and by that I mean early 1900's, was never a domain of 'just explorers' that really learned. Maybe even then there were the leaders and the followers, true explorers and experimenters, with lots of followers that followed by example.

By the 50's I think the hobby was whittled down to three distinct groups. Those that were the true explorers. Those that cut the edge to push the envelope. New modes. New techniques. New procedures.

Then there was a second group. These people didn't push the edge but did use it. They could take what the first group did and capitalize on it.

The third group was the 'users'. Today sometimes they are referred to as the 'appliance operators'. But are they any less valid than the other two groups?

The third group was and always will be the biggest group, even though the mix changes over the years. And the mix can depend on other things as well. People in the first group for, say antennas, aren't necessarily in the first group for data modulation modes. The real trick is recognizing what group people are in, and what group they perceive themselves to be in. And what group they present themselves as being in.

Sure, old timers have a lot they can pass on. And not just from an anecdotal standpoint. Tips and tricks that can be invaluable. But unfortunately some of the almost invaluable nuggets of info are intermixed with BS because they just plain don't know. That doesn't invalidate the gems they can and do pass along, but it does tarnish what others think of them when they pass the real bloopers along with the same authority from their own misguided belief about their own place in the scheme of things.

While I would like to say you would never hear of a 'real ham', one from the first two groups do that, it does happen. I've heard them stop, or at most put so many caveats on what they are passing along that you know it's not something they are comfortable with. They know what areas they are confident and what areas they aren't.

But the blowhards, even if they are in the first two groups, seem to never be able to know what their limits are, and try to pass everything on as if it's golden knowledge. The trick is to recognize it as such. And unfortunately most newbies don't have the knowledge base or exposure to recognize it as such.

Just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6ETL on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am very disappointed. Can call CQ all day not a dog answers. Until one of the buddies calls then there is a reply. Hundreds off folks just listing to the repeater only to talk to their own friends.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KG4CLD on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In my opinion, maybe these things could have contributed to the decline:
SMARTPHONES
TABLET
MINI LAPTOPS
HDTV with DVR's
Wii SYSTEMS
X-BOX
and possibly SATELLITE TV.

Speaking for myself, I use 2-meter less because I have recently rekindled my interest in operating on HF.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W1RKW on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
2m is a plug and play band. It's boring. Try to gin up a contact on the calling frequency or simplex. Hear the crickets?
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB2BSL on October 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"It's absudrd that a multi-hundred radio has no provision for a downloadable repeater directory and a GPS input so it could bring front up the repeaters as you move around.
Come on, the web bing-bang was '94, please let the manufacturers know; perhaps they could put a network capable radio in the market before XXII century."


Some D-Star radios have GPS/Repeater Directory capability built in.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on October 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"Some D-Star radios have GPS/Repeater Directory capability built in."

That's one of the problems. Ham radio requires a minimum of effort. All too many of the newcomers and others on 2 mtrs want their satisfaction--and they want it yesterday, and they're unwilling to put in that minimum effort. It's easier to grab and use something that "does it for you."

D-Star radios may offer it--indeed, the D-Star rigs can't do without it--but only for D-Star radio units and repeaters.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N3HKN on October 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Contests, contests, etc... The hobby has turned into a GAME of how many points you can get. The result is predictable - the more money you spend the more points you gain in the game. 2 meters does not fit into this game. Take away contests and the hobby goes back to building gear since the manufactures with $10,000 rigs will move on. Why marvel at contacting a station in Uganda when I can do the same thing from my cellphone for less than you paid for all that shortwave stuff. The same for 2m, as towers proliferate more of the landscape cellphones have now moved into "the only phone I have category". Cell systems can be quickly "retuned" to allocate bandwidth to specific phones. For $30 per month I can call almost anybody why do I need 2 meters?

Sitting at home with generators, a stack of batteries and solar panels awaiting the next disaster is a waste except in the few areas of the country where such problems are all too routine.
Dick N3HKN
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0EQ on October 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My opinion is that in days past, ham radio was an attraction in it's self. That is to say, the fascination with "communicating with someone around the world" or even in the next town/state whatever, was fascinating. Perhaps even more fascinating was the idea that we did it on stuff we built ourselves. We put two dollars worth of wire in a tree and talked to Japan.

Today, everyone over the age of two and their dog has a cellphone that can communitate in voice/txt/images/video with no license, no learning curve, less expensive.

I meet hams all the time who have just passed their general and wonder if the 140 dollar wire dipole at the ham store website is a good antenna.

Most every new ham I meet buys an HT and an orange vest and joins the "emcomm" dog and pony show. They're not particularly interested in, and certainly not very good at, just plain communicating. Ham radio is not "IT" for them, it's a ticket to something else, that is the orange vest, donut eating thing.

The geezer hams don't help much by suggesting "Make it harder to get a license". We should, instead, try and fascinate the up and coming ham demographic with the idea of fiddling with electronics and radios, not looking official at a bike race or during a tornado.


Craig 'Lumpy' Lemke

www.n0eq.com
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K8TIY on October 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Got to chime in here. I'd say 2 meters is alive and well here in Southeastern Michigan. Matter of fact one of my coworkers got his first ticket a short time ago and he's already been on the ARROW repeater for the net with a loaner HT. I'm going to try to nudge him in the direction of getting a rig that can do SSB/CW. I have another friend who's taking his test tomorrow, and if he pulls it off he's already set up with a 2 meter all mode. Round here 144 is the workhorse. Heck, I hear all those Detroiters ragchewing before and after the SE MI traffic net every time I listen.

But, the comment on .52 (my, what an odd caliber) is a good thing to keep in mind. I have it in a memory but do not monitor it as much as I should. 73
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KC2WI on October 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
2M can be really easy if all you do is get a HT and talk on some local repeaters. However if you want to do CW/SSB or even long-distance FM simplex it takes more effort and probably at least a little more knowledge than appliance-operating the HT or mobile.

It is too bad that Novice was dropped as the entry-level license. The concept of a very simple license with limited priviliges was a good one. Replacing Novice with Technician was not a good move.

I do think Novice would have had to be changed to survive and make sense, and I don't disagree with dropping Morse code.

There is no reason to require CW. It is only one of many modes and no more or less valid than SSB, AM, PSK-31, MT-63, etc. It makes no sense to require proof of skill in operating one old mode and not require proof of skill/knowledge of the latest technology.

How many of the hams who blast no code licenses can tell you how to operate PSK-31?

For that matter, how many old-time "real" hams don't know how to operate a computer? More than a few. If Amateur Radio is supposed to be about having some level of technical knowledge, it ought to be knowledge about current technology.

So I don't buy the argument that elimination of the code requirement has ruined amateur radio.

On the other hand, I do think the elimination of real testing in favor of a list of published Q&A that can be memorized by most people if they work at it a little has done lots of damage.

Yes it takes some effort to memorize Q&A, just like it took effort to memorize Morse code, but simple _effort_ is not enough of a qualification, just like an A for effort in school doesn't guarentee you have the knowledge required in the real world.

Anyone who wants to be an amateur radio operator should understand at least the technical basics of what they doing. They should _want_ to understand. That is the nature of the hobby. If they are not willing to do that, then they should stick with their CBs, FRS radios, or cell phones.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WA6ITF on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"They used to be made in the USA, by companies like Wilson and Standard"

I hate to tell you this, but neither Wilson or Standard was manufactured in the United States. Standard has been a Japan-based OEM supplier of two-way radio, satellite, and other communications gear since the 1960's. Wilson HT's were manufactured in Japan by two OEM suppliers: Some models were made by Ten Products while other (later) units came from Kokosai. The latter for many years was the producer of just about every pocket or belt pager sold world-wide -- including Motorola and PageNet. The only HT's ever made in the USA were by Motorola, RCA, GE, Repco and several other names few have heard of. All were designed for commercial two-way operations but many a Motorols HT-200 and HT-220 found its way into the hands of radio amateurs including yours truly. And while on the same topic, neither the Drake TR-22 luggie-talkie nor the Drake Marker Luxiary were made in the USA. Both were made by Trio Japan but marketed under the Drake name. The Clegg synthisized FM-28 along with their 2 meter and 220 crystal 12 channel radios were OEM rebranded Uniden products. The only early FM ham gear made in the USA was the Regency HR-XX series (6m and 2m); the Clegg FM27 series, the 3-channel Galaxy (Globe), the Sonar FM-2012 and the Genave crystal controlled radios and a few here today - gone tomorrow brands. I still have a working Clegg FM-27B in the closet that lived through 3 different automobiles before I retired it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KV4BL on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
K3YD, excellent ideas and suggestions in your post!!!! You are absolutely correct about the annoyance of having to go several levels deep into a menu to program a PL tone, especially on a temporary basis. I really like your idea of a dedicated knob and screen space for PL tones! That is in serious, "wish I'd thought of that one", territory!

Likewise, a dedicated tone-scan button could be a real help vs going several levels into the menu. Speaking of tone-scan, I wish the manufacturers would do tone scan like the Radio Shack Trunk-Tracker scanners I have seen do it. They don't have to scan (sometimes for eternity) to catch a tone (PL or DPL). Somehow, and I don't know how they do it, the RS Trunking scanners in conventional mode will just display the tone on the screen as soon as it has enough of a tone sample to figure it out. It is instantaneous! This would really save time in trying to locate a tone, provided the repeater's owner was thoughtful enough to encode a tone on the output to begin with.

While I am on here, let me try and put to rest the ignorant superstition that people PL repeaters to keep others from using it or to make it a "closed" repeater. Maybe that was the case in the early days before tone boards were a standard feature in most radios and tone scan was unheard of. Seriously, if someone wanted to "privatize" their repeater by using a tone, they would be seriously disappointed in short order due to the number of tone scan featured radios out there. PL has become a necessity on all but a very few old, established machines that somehow are able to still make carrier squelch work. SERA was on the right path a few years ago when they sought to require ALL machines coordinated by them on 2m or 440 be PL'd. In this day and time it would have only been good sense. Their proposal would have grandfathered existing repeaters and only applied to new coordinations. This was entirely fair and equitable. Unfortunately, the howl and cry from would-be repeater owners short circuited the idea.

One thing which would greatly help travelers utilize repeaters is if resources like the ARRL Repeater Directory were more accurate and up-to-date. Far too many listings in that directory are grossly out of date. Ego or paper repeaters that never existed, repeaters long off the air, repeaters with different PL's, call signs, tones, or other features than listed are numerous in the directory. One way to rectify this would be if they changed the rule about only accepting repeater info from the trustee or owner, who frequently forgets to update with them or is too busy to be bothered doing so. Why not instead accept info from one or more hams whose identity can be verified and who would gladly update the information for the directory. Perhaps hams could seek verification of their ID and intent in a way similar to the OO program to keep pranksters from trashing the validity of the data. Knowing ahead of time that the machines listed in your directory ARE on the air and do or don't use a given PL would make programming much easier for travelers.

73,
Ray KV4BL
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K9CTB on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I relate quite a lot to what Norman says. To me, the 2 meter FM landscape has changed over the years, but I really think -- when I do stop to think -- that it is me who has changed. I'm not a big "wallpaper" guy, but I do have my FCC (First Contact Club) certificate which was presented me by Ron, W8RJL. I remember fondly the Virginia Beach amateur radio club, and the great people who talked me through the morning commutes, the evening commutes and trips to the computer store (this was 1980, and if you weren't running Apple DOS, you were running CP/M or TRSDOS). We had those late-night QSOs to see which microphone worked best with our rigs on a simplex frequency. We helped with the Harborfest. Bicycle events. Charity run/walks. That was the stuff, man!

Motorola HT220s were everywhere. I actually had one with a synthesizer added that could be programmed with the DIP switches in the back. I wish I had that rig now!

But then, I moved away. US Navy began demanding more. I had less time. And then ... marriage. I'm not saying I "grew up" and stopped enjoying the 2 meter fun ... I'm just saying I ... changed. Sometimes I listen to the repeater-of-choice around here in Indianapolis, and I wish I hadn't changed. THOSE guys haven't changed yet ... they're still talking about the same things we talked about 30-odd years ago. I just don't belong now, at least not the same way I belonged then. 2 meter FM is still a fun mode I think. But it's only fun if you actually *use* it!

73,
K9CTB
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N4UED on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In the late 80'S in NC , It seemed every ham was placing repeaters on the air .
The 146.880 in Raleigh , NC was the home for everyone . At 1850ft 88 was great in the flat area of eastern NC . The nightly net would take well over an hour . Last night their were only 5 hams that checked into the net . Their are to many 2m and 440 repeaters . Hams have know idea where anyone is anymore . When you travil through cities with repeaters , you can ID until you are out of breath . It is just you moving from repeater to repeater .
Hams on repeaters have become clickish and klanish . I bought a D-STAR ht and a DVAP three weeks ago . Now I can find someone anytime day or night . I work cw on HF and find that if you want sommeone to talk with move over to cw .
Chuck Pridgen , N4UED
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K2WH on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I didn't have time to read all the responses to your rant, and I don't know is any of the responses my response, but did you ever try a different 2 meter modes such as SSB?

I rarely use FM on 2 and enjoy ragchewing on 2 SSB immensely. I think your view of 2 meters is myopic and you need to change glasses.

BTW, I have been operating 2 meters for 40 years and have used FM and repeaters from time to time but never made it a primary mode.

You want the fun back in 2? Try SSB on the low end.

K2WH
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by NZ5L on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
K2WH
Yes. I bought an 857D and a 2 element horizontal quad antenna just to try my hand at SSB. Except for contest periods, not much happening.
However, since I posted the article one week ago, I have had the pleasure of being the object of a real DX pile-up, by way of a nearby super hi-tech linked repeater system. The DX were were getting in via the 10 M link, but nobody was responding, so I stepped in and worked a string from all over Europe. I guess nobody monitoring has its occasional "up" side. At any rate, incidents like this provide a little leavening to the typical dreary state of 2 M FM.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K4YZ on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!

It's not difficult to figure out...There's only "X" number of active Amateurs and yet we just can't seem to fill up the number of repeater channels fast enough. When you spread those few number of Amateurs over an ever increasing number of machines, it doesn't take long to figure out why we can't hardly find anyone on ANY repeater anymore.

73

Steve, K4YZ
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K2WH on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
K2WH
Yes. I bought an 857D and a 2 element horizontal quad antenna just to try my hand at SSB. Except for contest periods, not much happening. However, since I posted the article one week ago, I have had the pleasure of being the object of a real DX pile-up, by way of a nearby super hi-tech linked repeater system. The DX were were getting in via the 10 M link, but nobody was responding, so I stepped in and worked a string from all over Europe. I guess nobody monitoring has its occasional "up" side. At any rate, incidents like this provide a little leavening to the typical dreary state of 2 M FM.

Sorry, you didn't work Europe, you worked a local repeater.

Actually, I despise 10m repeaters that are linked into VHF and UHF FM repeaters. There is a repeater system here in NNJ that is linked to no fewer than 10 different repeaters on 6m, multiple 2m, multiple 440 machines and even 900 mhz.

When the DX that is currently coming in on 10, non-english speaking foreign stations coming in, tie up the entire system and the system operators, do not turn off the 10m linking system making the entire system useless.

Because of that, I had to erase about 10 repeaters residing in my radio memories since scanning was useless. Now with them erased, my rig actually scans and no more of that ridiculouos 10m stuff coming in.

K2WH
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by NZ5L on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Heck. I KNOW THAT!!
I just didn't want our cross-pond friends to think that (and this was my original point) NOBODY'S LISTENING!
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1KSN on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I've come into this pretty late. However, I would like to add one more comment which I don't think has been mentioned before.

In at least two or three cases I've seen repeater use driven down to nearly nothing by a "repeater vampire." This is an individual who (1) always monitors the repeater, (2) answers nearly every call by another ham, and (3) has absolutely nothing of interest to say or (even worse) is a certified weirdo. Eventually, hams in the area is reluctant (or afraid) to put out a call on that machine because they don't want to deal with that person. At some point the vampire may move on, but the damage has been done.

Perhaps this is more likely to happen in an area where people tend to be (maybe too) polite. I'm lucky to live in such a place (NE Wisconsin).

Cheers,
Andy N1KSN
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1KSN on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I've come into this pretty late. However, I would like to add one more comment which I don't think has been mentioned before.

In at least two or three cases I've seen repeater use driven down to nearly nothing by a "repeater vampire." This is an individual who (1) always monitors the repeater, (2) answers nearly every call by another ham, and (3) has absolutely nothing of interest to say or (even worse) is a certified weirdo. Eventually, hams in the area is reluctant (or afraid) to put out a call on that machine because they don't want to deal with that person. At some point the vampire may move on, but the damage has been done.

Perhaps this is more likely to happen in an area where people tend to be (maybe too) polite. I'm lucky to live in such a place (NE Wisconsin).

Cheers,
Andy N1KSN
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1KSN on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry for the double post. I'll blame Mozilla.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by MAGNUM257 on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
by WA4SCA on October 21, 2012

"...as it was an exercise in fertility... "

Several comments come to mind, but none seem appropriate to a family site.

-------------------------------------

LMAO!!!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by MAGNUM257 on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
by NY7Q on October 21, 2012
"After a 12 year layoff from uhf/vhf, I recently bought a new dual band and tried again.
Alas, a week ago I got so frustrated with the way 2 meters is, that I just threw the rig in the dumpster.
Never again.
cw today, tomorrow and forever"
------------------------------------------

Yea, you threw a perfectly good radio in a dumpster. There isn't a HAM radio operator ON THE PLANET that would do that.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by MAGNUM257 on October 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
by SSBER on October 24, 2012

"Some of the older more seasoned ops are just plain rude to the newbies. I got corn-holed once for using an unacceptable microphone. Many of my friends share similar stories about the fun band. As far as I'm concerned, the Feds can reassign these fun frequencies to another service."

-----------------------------------------

I had a similar experience, being chastised for not using the correct terminology (instead of offering some help and guidance). After a while I decided that 2m was not for me, so I now use that handheld as a receiver at the race track and for FRS/GMRS/MURS use, and while fishing I use in on the VHF marine channels. It beats "throwing it in a dumpster" as was claimed by someone (yea, right).
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on October 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!


Qu ote>>>>
Posted By W1RKW

2m is a plug and play band. It's boring. Try to gin up a contact on the calling frequency or simplex. Hear the crickets?
<<<<< End of Quote


2 meters is like any other band, it is exactly what you make it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on October 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!


Quote>>>>>
Posted By K3LUE

I've never really warmed up to repeaters. For me, the fun is still point-to-point without the "middle man." A real thrill that has stood the test of time. Loved those late night/very early morning sessions when you've worked some great DX, walking out into the quiet summer night and looking up at the beam knowing somewhere over there was the guy you just talked to. Now for me, that's fun!
Ron
<<<<< end of quote


2 meters like 160, 80, 60, 40, 20, 18, 15, 12, 10, 6 and so on is excatly what you make it. I like HF, and Iíve worked over 200 countries.....I enjoy breaking a big DX pile up as much as the next guy.

But I am passionate about 6, 2, 1.25, 70cm and 23 cm and once I get equipment setup Iím thinking 900mhz.

Iíve worked 40 states on 5 countries and 50 states on 6, 2 countries and 40 states on 2 meters, 2 states on 220 {just getting started}, 1 country and 4 states on 70 cm, and just setting up my 23cm station.

My question for all of you complaining about how boring 2 meters is, or how it is useless just what are you doing to change that.

Itís like the people who complain the hobby is dying......Other than bitching and moaning about itís death...what are you doing to change things. How are you helping to promote the hobby.

The hobby is not dying, it is EVOLVING. From about 1920 to this very day, hams have been bitching about the new comers to the hobby and the changes.

life evolves......nothing remains the same.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on October 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!


I keep hearing how in the old days we had to build our own gear, and you needed to understand ohms law, PI networks, etc....That is true....to really benefit from the hobby back then you had to know that stuff , but in the late 60ís early 70ís that began to change and we started seeing high quality commercial radioís come onto the market.

Today knowning OHMS law has very little if any benfit to enjoying the hobby, knowing computers technology, programing skills, antenna design, etc benefits the ham much more.

Is the ham today that knows how to interface his radio with his computer, setup a full blown packet station, or PSK station any stupider than the ham 30 years ago that knew how to wire up a tube circuite and build a small transmitter? That is knowledge that while is cool and can offer some rewards is truly useless today.

The hobby changes, technology changes. Those that keep up with it will reap the rewards of the hobby.

And itís not just the new hams that lack knowledge or sound stupid. We have a local ham in the area that brags all the time how smart he is and spends 90% of every conversation he has bitching about so called newbies.

This is the same guy that mounted a omni-directional antenna upside down on his tower, that thinks the little balls on the ends of antennas are for eye protection, and that runs 7/8 hard line down his tower and 50 ft to his house and then converts to radio shack RG 59 for the next 70 to 100 ft to his shack....and canít understand why his station is deaf and can not be heard...

So age, and duration in the hobby has nothing to do with your intellegence level......and those that try to imply it does are just the reason that this hobby has issues.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KM6CQ on October 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have noticed some hams make mention on 2 meters that they work HF and very rarely are on 2 meters. Sometimes it may be a little bragging, some spite and mostly the truth that they enjoy HF.
For the most part no one feels like the radio police are after them on HF.
But the radio cops do show up on 2 meters. Is this why some feel intimidated, turned off or frustrated on 2 meters?
Others do not appreciate or like some QSO's they are hearing and just wish those stations would clear. Some drop negative hints about those QSO's on the air that irritate them. I think their motive is to try and change the behavior of the "offending" stations, and maybe just vent a little. It seems on HF it is a simple matter to spin the VFO and move on if you do not like the content. It is not the same on a channelized rig with a dozen pairs (if that) in your area. You change frequency only to find inactivity. Not very satisfying.
I do not think there is a definitive answer here, just a lot of contributing factors. These are just occurrences I have observed over the years.
In our area hams are very social. Not so much in club meetings, that happens once a month. But there is a breakfast twice a week. frequent BBQs and other events all the time. This makes everyone who attends feel included. It makes for a strong camaraderie and good rapport on the air.
2 meters is a great mobile and local frequency. Maybe if more good ops frequent it, we could make it much more enjoyable for all hams.
It only takes a few passionate positive ops in your area to spark intrest. Be one!

73, Dan KM6CQ

 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"Yea, you threw a perfectly good radio in a dumpster. There isn't a HAM radio operator ON THE PLANET that would do that. "

He's just trying to impress the crowd that claims they tried to downgrade their license when they were upset with the FCC.

Don't plan your dumpster diving quite yet. Nothing but BS.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N7OE on October 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
With the explosion of text messaging, social media, and cell phone use, it should surprise nobody that the ham radio "bubble" has burst, particularly on VHF and UHF, which are where most of the growth was happening between 10 and 20 years ago. It can be viewed as sad, I suppose, but it's where we are today. Ham radio is largely a fun anachronism--a sport for people with a particular interest in communicating *by radio*. Those who simply want to use cool gadgets to be heard have better ways of accomplishing that than with an HT.

2m FM in the Seattle area, an impenetrable jungle of back-to-back QSOs 20 years ago, is now so quiet as to be called "dead" by comparison. On the other hand, most of the QSOs that do happen are actually interesting--dealing with radio, technology, etc., instead of being primordial ramblings about weather, commutes, etc. Quality over quantity, IMHO.

73,
Aaron, N7OE
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD5OM on October 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Speaking of "Radio Cops" or I call them the "Repeater Police", I will purposely get on and say something like "10-4 Gud Buddy" in my QSO then sit back and listen to all the lurkers key up to let me know that that sort of talk is not allowed on Ham Radio. (I've never been a CBer). As far as the original poster's comments, I sort of figured 2 meters is going through some sort of evolution. I remember back in 1976 when I finally upgraded to General Class I could not wait to get on 2 meters so to join in with our local club QSOs. I work from home these days and I monitor the local repeater and 52 and there is hardly any activity during the day. Many of our new Hams are professional first responders and the VHF airwaves seem to take on the same tone as the local fire department frequencies. It seems the EnComm guys do take it a little too far. I have been preached to by some over the top EnComm Hams in regards to the use of Ham Radio and it is ONLY to provide emergency communications as per Part 97.1(a). I also mention that in 97.1(e) we are to "...enhance International Goodwill". In other words, DX. Well, I enjoy all aspects of Amateur Radio. I drove up to Ardmore OK this past weekend for Hamarama and joined in several Qs going on by other Hams on the road to Ardmore. That was nice. Almost like having (dare I say it?) a convoy! Never-the-less, I'll always keep a 2 meter rig in the car and one on my desk for no other reason than to assist traveling Hams looking for local information, spot some severe weather and a daily Q with some of the locals. QRZ de Jerry KD5OM.... oh oh oh... the Repeater Police have also corrected me that Q signals are not allowed on 2 meters ;) hi hi.... "Q R Zett KD5OM --beep--ker-chunk"
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KC5CQD on October 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Well, KD5OM.....it has been my observation that amateur radio seems to have a very high population of people that have never accomplished much more in life than getting a ham ticket. Once they get that little piece of paper from the FCC in their hands, their false self-worth sky rockets through the roof and they then sit in their own stink in front of a radio around the clock in order to let the world know that they're no longer a loser. A giant government entity (the FCC) has validated them. They can now look down their noses at their former CB buddies. They have grandiose dreams of becoming a local hero with their dual-band HT, external mic clipped on their shoulder, orange vest and flashing light hat. Haha!!!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N7OE on October 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
[KC5CQD] "...it has been my observation that amateur radio seems to have a very high population of people that have never accomplished much more in life than getting a ham ticket."

Fortunately, radio for the sake of feeling better than somebody else loses its luster pretty quickly. I ran into quite a few people of this sort shortly after getting my license. Within a year or two, their calls were no longer heard on the local repeaters. Ten years later, their licenses were expired.

So, yeah, probably quite a few of these, but I suspect they're more of a constant "noise floor" than a pandemic.

73,
Aaron, N7OE
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WB4M on October 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I used to regularly drive the 3-hr trip to Asheville, NC from my home and I always monitored 146.52. In 3 years, I was able to contact only 1 other mobile ham. He was going the other way on I-40 so the QSO did not last long. I also managed to talk to one ham on his home 2 meter rig. His was scanning and it stopped on my CQ. He told me he rarely heard any hams on I-40 on 146.52. As another ham already mentioned, I could not access any repeaters due to them being tone encoded. For the past few years, my 2-meter rig has resided on the closet shelf. I just lost interest after a while.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W4WXT on October 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
K1CJS FOR PRESIDENT! Well spoken. I've had MANYYY of those experiences you rant about. I'm one of those brand new hams as they call them. I did study, study, and study some more to get my tech and am teaching myself the art of CW because if it was good enough for the "old timers' there's no reason why I shouldn't/can't. I like CW.... It is challenging at first but with practice, I'm getting better at it with my practice keyer. Gen. class is next and then maybe Extra. If folks who have been in amateur radio "forever' as they state, use a little kindness for the "not as smart as the rest" and help educate us "newbies" as I get called is in order. I have met with an awesome Elmer, KD4WX and is most gracious and kindest man I think I've ever met. In his experience to help me along the way with his knowledge, and temperance has made this enjoyable AND I have the will to learn more and more as time passes thanks to the kindness of one man. And before someone negates my post...... It's done with a PADDLE not a keyboard....just sayin... God bless each and every one~Bobby KS9LBW.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by VE1YY on October 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I am in agreement with K3SSB, in particular.

An August 2012 trip to/from my Manitoba QTH and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario resulted in ONE repeater contact and that one was a signal check with a local repeater.

Most of the relevant repeaters are open, I have tones for the others, and many are linked. Yet, all were silent except for ID upon triggering. Calling for a contact resulted in ZIP. Calling on .520 produced dead air.

This is supposed to be a social hobby as well as a technical and service one.

Let's talk!

73,

Bill
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W4CX on October 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"he's part of the problem"

BSAlert! You call him arrogant when you tell him what he should do with his own personal property? You're projecting, OM.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on October 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
To W4CX: "You call him arrogant when you tell him what he should do with his own personal property?"

Not at all. I'm flat out suggesting he was lying and his statement of throwing a working rig in the trashcan was BS. I thought that was pretty plain.

Ya follow?

He is free to do what he wants with his own equipment. I'm saying I don't think he did what he said he did.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by JSANCH08 on October 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Norman,

Excellent perspective which I partially, not completely share. However, this perspective is on of the many reasons I continue to maintain access to a good CB radio. Yes, there is some questionable traffic on that band, but, there are some good, even great conversations to be had as well.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6QLB on November 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I just became a ham last year and this is my first comment on a post. Rather than commenting on the two meter issue with my limited experience, I take issue with two comments in responses. I first held a ham license in the 1960s as WN6AWW. The code reqirement was the main thing that kept this teenage ham from continuing in ham radio. Everything else at that age seemed more interesting than practice. I lost that license after one year and I am now north of 60. I missed ham radio and welcome this new opportunity. Code is still an issue with me, not from lack of motivaton, but the difficulty of mastering code due to hearing loss. I would have missed an opportunity I value if the code requirement was still in place.

Another comment about Ecomm missed the point in my opinion. I provide radio support to an animal disaster group and hope to work with Red Cross and other agencies. Assuming that emergency communications should be left to the "professionals" assumes that they are able to provide communication support to disaster emergency response, and also provide a selfless contribution at shelters where notification of loved ones is the primary concern. Or how about support for animal evacuation during a disaster? Ham radio is much more suited to these tasks. As for infrastructure, during the current emergency on the east coast, cell phones became useless while amateur radio got through.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KC5CQD on November 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
N7OE....I understand your point. I too run into a lot of "hams" that are fun-loving, keep the hobby in perspective and that are always open to making new friends and having a good time on the air. On 11 meters. Says a whole lot, doesn't it?
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W5GNB on November 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?


A VERY LONG time ago !!!!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N8FNR on November 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
We were in Copper Harbor MI last summer and I had the repeater there programmed into my rig so I gave a call on the local 440 machine. BTW this city is as far north as you can drive in Michigan without driving into Lake Superior. This is the only repeater within about 30 miles. Did not hear anything and gave another call and waited again. When I tried to call a third time the repeater had been turned off. So here we were in a very remote area and for some reason the repeater owner turns it off? Did I offend him by trying to use it? Why would someone install an open repeater here if they did not want others on it?

Zack
N8FNR
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KC8QMU on November 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Did you actually hear the machine being commanded off through the controller? How do you know that it isnt issues with the machine? Or your signal being marginal? I'm not saying you are wrong, and I know there are some folks that would do things like that, but in my experience they are the minority....

I cant speak for everyone elses' locales, but around here most machines are open and are on PL purely for interference purposes....... not to single anyone out.....

most modern FM rigs will actually search the PL for you....... if more folks would actually read their manuals and make an effort to learn how to use their FM rigs, they would know this.........
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WA6ITF on November 2, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I submit to all of you that 2 meter FM (or FM on any VHF or UHF ham band) was never meant to be "fun" in the sense that other ham radio communications is. I was one of the nations early repeater putter-upers back in 1968, and while all ofn the original WA2ZWP repeater in Brooklyn NY. While we enjoyed one another' friendship, from day-one the type of communications taking place was whats best termed as "utility" rather than true HF or non-FM communications. I also submit that it has always been that way.

The fact that there are fewer hams on any repeater (other than Private systems which by their very nature retain their user base due to commonality of interest) is simply explained by the fact that there are far to many repeaters than there are people interested in using them. If the number of repeater went from what it is today to the number that existed in 1979 or 1980, every repeater would likely be in use 24/7. However when you have as many systems as there are today -- many of which serving no purpose other than to hold spectrum for its owner -- what can you expect?

20 years ago, here in Los Angeles, the majority of the then 100 or so repeaters were busy most of the day and some on a 24/7 basis. Today there are closer to 300 repeaters in the area, and the user bases has fractured and gone to other machines with maybe a hand full of friends. So, what can you expect?

As I wrote in my Worldradio column some 3+ years ago, after working swing and nights for almost 28 years, the 10 months I spent doing 9 to 5 during the digital TV switchover was a real eye opener as to how far to many repeaters serving the same geographic area and same user base had fractured the larger communities on long established systems -- except one. Ill let you figure out the latter (if you know 2 meter FM in Los Angeles).

It was almost impossible to find a QSO on any of the 23 "open" 2 meter systems along my 34 mile rush hour drive to LA's west side, but easy to get one on the private UHF system inhabited by those of us who work in broadcasting and teleproduction. It absolutely astounded me and caused me to investigate to learn why.

The answer was soon obvious: Far to many 2 meter repeaters and not enough people who want to use them vs. small special interest groups on UHF with total commonality of interest who do not want their conversations interrupted by some wandering ham looking for a radio check. And I think thats the reason so many private systems are going to "secret" digital CTCSS -- if anything can really be a "secret" in this day and age.

Anyhow, I spelled it all out back in 2009 in Worldradio and since then the situation has only gotten worse as more and more people want to fulfill their ego by "putting up a repeater" even if it will never really have any users or reason to exist. -- de WA6ITF

 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on November 2, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Posted By W5GNB

When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?


A VERY LONG time ago !!!!

============================================

Dam,

Why are there so many cry babies. It's no fun, it's boring, people are mean to me.

Come on guys, if you are not having fun on 2 meters, there is only one person on earths fault that is. YOU YOURSELF.

Just like every other band, 2 meters is what you make of it, DXing and grid chasing...just like 6 meters, it's exciting and filled with oppurtunity, local conversations...do not like the local groups....hell form one....get a morning group going, do something

Sitting around and crying and moaning about the GOOD OL DAYS is a waste of time.

This thread is stupid....it serves no purpose other than wasting band width.....

If you do not like 2 meters...get off...if you want to talk to others, get in there and do such.

just like 20 meters and every other band on earth there are ass wholes, but the ass wholes do not make up the band or the general population.

Hell we have our ass wholes.....we just ignore them and have fun, as such we are one of the fastest growing groups around.....both FM and SSB.

Look around on the web, get on the simplex freq, you will be shocked how many groups out there are working simplex.....

Off my soap box.....BUT IF YOU DO NOT LIKE WHAT YOU HEAR, THEN FIX IT...GET ON THE RADIO AND START THE GROUPS, START THE ACTIVITY AND ENJOY THE BAND.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB7XU on November 2, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think the demise of 2m FM fun (and usefulness) can be blamed on only one factor. True, cell phones/smart phones and networking computer social networking and email have enormous appeal to nonhams and hams alike. No argument there.

In the 1980s, I lived in Phoenix, Arizona. There was a great lady, Gert, W7KOY (SK), who was a veritable "lighthouse in the desert" that local and traveling hams could rely on. She kept her 2m rig on 24 hours a day. If you have car trouble or were lost in the surrounding deserts, it could be a true life-or-death matter. Gert was the go-to operator the wide-area ARA repeater 146.94. Anyone could call out for help on 34/94 and Gert would call fire, highway patrol, or cops if it were needed. She was an expert emergency traffic handler. If someone was lost a call out to Gert would get them accurate directions - promptly too. She monitored and responded 24 hours a day if at all possible.

Those kind of helpful hams are still out there I suppose but the need for them has drastically declined because we can check weather, traffic, call the cops and check road closures via cell phones or computers; before, we used to rely on accessible ham operators to provide that information. But the need is still there if you happen to be in a cell phone "dead zone."

But we hams ourselves also have done things that take the fun out of 2m/70cm operations. I lament the lack of opportunity for drive-time radio contacts. In my area, there are seemingly nonstop nets that monopolize the wide-area repeaters.

There are prayer nets, friends nets, club nets on these repeaters that run from 0400 hours local to 0900 hours. All those activities are fine but do they all have to occur during drive-time?

In my area the hams that lurk on the repeaters are overwhelmingly very welcoming and helpful. Read that again, please because I have some unpopular observations which follow:

If you're on the way to work, it's actually impossible to have an informal, short drive-time QSO on one of the wide-area repeaters with someone local without ruffling the ancient feathers of the local yardbirds who will expect YOU to give up YOUR conversation in order for THEM to start the net on THEIR club's repeater so they can relate yet another daily installment about their gall bladder problems, yard weeds, good-ole days stories, their expensive toys, and other inane "traffic."

And God help you if all you have is a handi-talkie (which may not give you studio-quality audio out of the repeater), without getting an unslolicited snide comment about HTs. Stuff it! How do you think that crap makes the HT ops feel who perhaps may be only affluent enough to buy that used HT? Perhaps not welcome on the repeater?

Moreover, these nets seem to feel obligated to solicit the "Twitternet" users, Echolink, IRLP, and CQ100, all of which require about 10 seconds of silence so the internet can do its link connects and resets in order to operate correctly. Yawn, waste of time. Using those modes is like taking your rod and reel down to the fish hatchery. What's the challenge? But these modes, while fine on a limited coverage repeater, really shouldn't be tying up a wide-area repeater.

All the above activities are no doubt entertaining to those involved and I really don't want them to stop their fun. And I realize that operating FM simplex and the other modes possible on 2m/70cm can be fun and useful as well.

However, could not these "nets" be rescheduled a just a bit to allow just three hours or so to local drive-time QSOs and the occasional pre- or post- work mobile emergencies? The control ops generally solicit emergency traffic but often times you have to wait through an interminable roll call to break in.

The retired crowd especially has literally all day to talk about their boils and knee operations. The drive-time, go-to-work crowd has only a very limited time to engage in their short QSOs.

C'mon boys and girls, start playing nice again like we all know we can. Let's bring more of the fun - and utility - back into 2m/70cm FM.

Anyway, that's my view. 73 all!

 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by MAGNUM257 on November 2, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
[[from the k0nr website]]

------------------------------------------------------

Getting Started on 2-Meter SSB
Try the "Other Mode" on 2 Meters

Bob Witte, KōNR
4 May 2003

In the past few years, a new breed of amateur radio transceiver has hit the marketplace --- radios that cover from HF through VHF/UHF frequencies. These radios include the ICOM IC-706, the ICOM IC-746, the Yaesu FT-100 and the Yaesu FT-847. This is not an exhaustive list since there are new radios being introduced every year with additional capability.

These radios include "all-mode capability" which means that they can operate FM, CW and SSB on the VHF bands. Clearly, FM is the most commonly used mode on VHF and UHF but having SSB opens up a whole new range of operating fun.

Why SSB?
FM is the most popular mode primarily due to the wide availability of FM repeaters. These repeaters extend the operating range on VHF and enable low power handheld transceivers to communicate over 100 miles. FM is also used on simplex to make contacts directly without repeaters. The main disadvantage of FM is relatively poor performance when signals are weak, which is where SSB really shines. A weak FM signal can disappear completely into the noise while a comparable SSB signal is still quite readable. How big of a difference does this really make? Perhaps 10 dB or more, which corresponds to one or two S-units. Put a different way, using SSB instead of FM can be equivalent to having a beam antenna with 10 dB of gain, just by changing modulation types. So this is a big deal and radio amateurs interested in serious VHF work have naturally chosen SSB as the preferred voice mode. (You will also hear them using Morse code or CW transmissions, which is even more efficient that SSB.)

Just as an example of what is possible on SSB, during one VHF contest I was operating portable on Garden of the Gods Road in Colorado Springs. I had just dismantled my 2M yagi antenna and was listening to 2M SSB on a short mobile whip antenna. Suddenly, I heard WA7KYM in Cheyenne, Wyoming calling CQ from about 160 miles away. I figured that with my puny little antenna and only 10 watts of power, there was no way he was going to hear me. But, what they heck, it was a contest and it would be more points so I gave him a call. To my surprise, WA7KYM heard me and we made the contact without much signal strength to spare. Now, to be accurate, this contact has more to do with WA7KYM's "big gun" station (linear amplifier, low noise preamp and large antenna array) than it had to do with my 10 watts and a small whip. The key point here is that this contact would not have happened using FM and was only possible because of SSB.

When and Where to Operate
The SSB portion of the band runs from 144.100 MHz to 144.275 MHz and Upper Sideband (USB) is used. The 2M SSB calling frequency is 144.200 MHz, so that is the first place to look for activity or to call CQ. One of the realities of 2M SSB operation is that many times, no one is on the air. There is just not that much activity out there, compared to 2M FM. Some amateurs get discouraged, turn off the radio and and miss the thrill of working distant stations during a band opening. To get started on 2M SSB, the trick is to get on the air at times when you know there will be activity--- during VHF nets and VHF contests.

Here in Colorado, the local Rocky Mountain VHF Plus net is on Monday night at 8:00 PM local time on 144.220 MHz (USB). This net is centered in the Denver area but VHF enthusiasts check in from all around Colorado. It is very common to have stations check in from the bordering states of Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico or even Oklahoma. More information on the net and other VHF activities can be found at http://www.rmvhf.org

There is also a 2M SSB net associated with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) which meets at 7:00 PM local time on 144.220 MHz (USB). For more information, see http://www.qsl.net/aresco/nets.htm

VHF Contests
Think of VHF contests as "VHF activity weekend" since they are a great opportunity to just get on the air and work most of the local 2M SSB enthusiasts. The main contests are the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, the ARRL September VHF QSO Party and the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest in July. For more information, take a look at the article How to Work a VHF Contest at http://www.k0nr.com

Equipment
The required equipment for getting started on 2M SSB is pretty basic - a transceiver capable of 2M SSB and a 2M antenna. If you own one of the rigs mentioned above then you are probably ready to go. The 2M antenna you already have is probably vertically polarized since that is what we use for 2M FM, both mobile and base stations. All of the 1/4-wave and 5/8-wave antennas that are commonly used for 2M mobile work are vertically polarized. Most omni-directional base station antennas such as those made by Cushcraft, Diamond, Comet, etc. are vertical, too. These antennas will work for SSB but most of the really active 2M SSB stations use horizontally-polarized antennas. Vertically-polarized stations can work horizontally-polarized stations but there will be a substantial signal loss (about 20dB?). If vertical is all you have, then give it a try. If you can get a horizontal antenna, then your results will be much better.

The most common horizontally-polarized antenna on 2M is a Yagi mounted so that its elements are parallel to the ground. There are a variety of horizontally-polarized, omni-directional mobile antennas, such as the HO antenna made by M2 (see http://www.m2inc.com).

Get on the Air
This information is intended to get your started on your way to operating 2M on the SSB portion of the band. You will learn more as you get into it and you will find that most of the people hanging out down on sideband are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They are always happy to see new call signs on 2M sideband.

Some resources available on the web are:

Rocky Mountain VHF Plus web page: http://www.rmvhf.org

VHF Operating articles by KōNR(similar to this one) at: http://www.k0nr.com/

North East Weak Signal Group web site at: http://www.newsvhf.com/





 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N4REC on November 3, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
An exercise in "fertility"? Hehe! Couldn't help but chuckle as I'm a gynecologist by trade! But seriously, I sure do miss the '80's in Atlanta, when a push of the scan button would reward one with a 2m QSO, at ANY time of day or night!
 
Thanks for saving me $400.  
by W4CX on November 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
With frequent business travel to Washington state, I have lately regretted selling my HT a few years ago. I decided to replace it and have been spending time reading eHam reviews to make an educated choice for a new purchase. Lo and behold I stumbled on this discussion which reminded me of all the very reasons I decided to "dump" repeater operation in the first place. Project cancelled! Thank you!
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KK4MHI on November 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I just got my Tech license a few weeks ago after hearing all the repeater traffic on my Grecom scanner. Snagged a Kenwood F6A tri-band HT and called in on the repeater closest to me and low and behold, I got a reply and was welcomed in to the repeater.

The other day I was in Clinton, NC and called up on one of the 1.25/220mhz repeaters on the F6A HT and got a reply from "Ron in Monkey Junction" which is south of Wilmington on the way to Carolina Beach. Crystal clear like he was sitting right next to me. Then the PCRN repeater group owner (Danny, K4ITL) called me up from where he was in Raleigh (all the repeaters in the PCRN are RF-linked to each other) to welcome me in and let me know my donation had been received and a welcome packet was in the mail to me. Folks from Raleigh all the way to the coast in NC were able to hear me. One QSO even came in from Lumberton, south of Fayetteville.

I don't think 2m is dead at all, at least not in the North Carolina Triangle area going all the way to the Outer Banks. I haven't experienced any of the "issues" you folks have been having. If I have a question about Amateur Radio in general I just hop on the local repeater here and within a few minutes an Elmer is responding with some good info.

Maybe it's just a "southern" thing down here, but I haven't run into any repeater cops or alpha-hotels yet in almost 3 months of listening and 2 weeks of transmissions.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0PSH on November 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Welcome! I'm originally from Fayetteville and now live in the midwest. The guyz back in Fayetteville always gave me a hard time about my zero call but your right it's a southern thing. Great bunch of guy's there. Sure do miss em. Usually make a trip to Clinton and Fayetteville, and Fort Bragg about once a year hope to catch you down the log. Welcome and 73.
de Alan
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by NY4DX on November 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Most hams now refuse to use the 2 meter "Mega Systems" because they ARE linked to sooooooo many repeaters and the Internet!!!! This is a case where MORE is LESS!

Most hams used the 2M/440 FM systems for LOCAL communications e.g. traffic, drive time weather...these systems now offer international DX and multi-state coverage...If I want to talk DX, I get on HF...It is very irritating to be discussing local traffic conditions or general chit chat when a DX station breaks in via the Internet and wants a signal report! A signal report on IRLP!!!????

If you want to talk DX UPGRADE your license!

The more repeaters you connect together the less number of hams will use them! SO keep connecting them...soon we will be able to get in a car and chat from Maine to Alaska on 2 meters...unfortunately no one will want too...All those lurkers waiting to pounce on your morning chat on traffic...Great for truckers...you have set up a great business band system for them without having them pay for it!

Soon the FCC will re-allocate these bands for lack of use...or allocate them to the business band without the nationwide repeater party line network.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by WA4BRL on November 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I got started in 2M FM in the early 1970's when most of our rigs were still modified commercial equipment. Everybody monitored the local repeater all the time -- at home and in the car. As the more convenient ham-only radios proliferated things got even better. Nearly all the local hams were up on 2M repeater. It became the giant ham party-line. If you were having trouble with a project, a quick question on the machine elicited many offers of help. Same for antenna raisings -- a quick call and several strong bodies showed up in your driveway. The regular chatter was about electronics, antennas, one's current projects, and radio club stuff. It was THE way to keep up with your fellow hams in the area.

This remained pretty much the same until the 1990's. By then some of us were getting into computers and linking up via Bulletin Board Services (BBS). Some were even getting cell phones. But this had little effect on the repeaters compared to today's internet and ubiquitous cell phone use. The big change was the large influx of new technician licensees. This was great at first -- new blood and more activity on the machines. But the "feel" was different. The usual technical chatter declined and inane "chit-chat" became more the norm. Many of us oldtimers didn't monitor the machine as much. Once most of the old crowd was gone, many of us stopped monitoring at all. As this trend progressed, it became more difficult to get help with projects and questions. All the other techies and tinkerers were no longer there. The repeaters had been ceded to the newer guys who, by and large, had less interest in "radio" than just "communicating". After a while the pointless chit-chat on the air did not seem to hold even their interest.

This cultural shift turned 2M repeaters into the empty wasteland we see so much of today. Nobody wanted to monitor a machine 24/7 an hear all the mindless chatter. After a while we stopped turning on our VHF radios at all. When we bought new cars, we didn't bother installing 2m radios. We abandoned the once great ham party-line for the internet and cell phones.

All the new technician licensees today who are sold the idea that two-meters is the end-all be-all of ham radio existence. They are turned loose on our repeaters to find little or no activity. Even worse, there are few, if any, mentors to help them move up through the ranks. Those who ARE interested in the technical side of Amateur Radio find no Elmers and become stuck in a cultural and technical dead end. Too many sell their new HT's and quit the hobby having never really known it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W4CX on November 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
WOW! Thank you WA4BRL. That's the most accurate concise and brutally truthful explanation I have heard anyone promote here. IMHO, you are (pardon the HF pun) "Spot On" with your description. I'm really glad there are those who enjoy repeater-life these days, but that ain't me. I'm spending all my VHF/UHF energy on the birds and WSJT. 73



 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB7AIL on November 5, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I know that the repeaters in the Pacific NW have decreased in popularity. There are repeaters which were busy, busy, busy most all of the time that are pretty much silent.

Personally, I think a lot of the conversation has passed to cellphone. Cellphone covers pretty well and it seems almost every one has one. I'm getting the idea that hams are even using them to contact other hams rather than use FM repeaters or simplex.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on November 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
'BRL, you're not as 'spot on' as W4CX says you are. The reason for that is that just as all 'new' ham mode comes along, there are always the experimenters and the tinkerers that move to it and try to improve it. Then as the mode is more widely used, it becomes more refined--and sooner than later there isn't much more that can be done to improve on it. It becomes an everyday thing--just like two meters did.

I offer as proof of that thought the introduction and proliferation of D-Star rigs and modes. D-Star brought back interest in two meters--for those people who wanted to explore D-Star and its uses. All of a sudden there were repeaters that were moving to D-Star operation--and as D-Star became more and more widely used, interest in that, on the technical 'experimenter' side of things, dropped off too.

Your thinly veiled attempt to blame the influx of newcomers to ham radio for the woes of two meter operation is just another excuse for showing old timers snobbery at its worst.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on November 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
BTW, 'BRL, you weren't all wrong--your last paragraph IS spot on. 73.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W4CX on November 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
K1CJS said:
"Your thinly veiled attempt to blame the influx of newcomers to ham radio for the woes of two meter operation is just another excuse for showing old timers snobbery at its worst." Really? Where on earth did this comment come from? It's unnecessary, sir.

Three simple facts: 1) Hams have many more communication options available to them today, 2) If you want, you can choose to be an appliance operator by just whipping out your Visa card, waiting for the UPS truck, and pressing the PTT button, and 3) it's easier than ever to get an FCC license these days.

No fault, no blame. Just the facts.

But in an effort to get you to buy their newst rice-box, KenYaeCom "improves" 2m with new must-have features, like D-Star. But at the end of the day, 2M repeaters still take on a 'broadcast' nature. And not everyone wants to hear about your latest carbuncle, even with digital D-Star clarity.

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W5UNX on November 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Stop bloviating on the internet and start calling CQ. The hobby is only as fun as you make it.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KI6FH on November 6, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
We just finished a 5000 mile trip East to Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and home. Two-Meter's and 440 were non existent several repeaters were not on the air and very few conversations. I gave my call signe on several repeaters and had no one come back to me. In our area of Arizona Cottonwood, Sedona Prescott if you sigh on to the 147.220 VVARA repeater most of the time someone will say hi and welcome you to our area. I think we need to put down the smart phones and pick up the mic. Rod KI6FH
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on November 9, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
After I said: "Your thinly veiled attempt to blame the influx of newcomers to ham radio for the woes of two meter operation is just another excuse for showing old timers snobbery at its worst."

W4CX responded: "Really? Where on earth did this comment come from? It's unnecessary, sir."

It resulted from this post by WA4BRL:
"...The big change was the large influx of new technician licensees. This was great at first -- new blood and more activity on the machines. But the "feel" was different. The usual technical chatter declined and inane "chit-chat" became more the norm. Many of us oldtimers didn't monitor the machine as much. Once most of the old crowd was gone, many of us stopped monitoring at all. As this trend progressed, it became more difficult to get help with projects and questions. All the other techies and tinkerers were no longer there. The repeaters had been ceded to the newer guys who, by and large, had less interest in "radio" than just "communicating"...."

This seems to be the standard "oldtimers" lament. Sorry if I ruffled feathers, but the type attitude shown by this post does nothing to solve problems, it just serves to drive wedges between all too many ham radio operators. 73.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N1DVJ on November 9, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
To K1CJS

I don't think that WA4BRL was as malicious as some, but yes, I agree, the comment did have that negative slant towards newcomers. That same slant that sometimes IS VERY malicious. But the comment also has some truth to it.

It's standard, I think, when the old timers see themselves being outclassed technically by newcomers and don't want to admit it. I'm not putting down the old timers, they may have great skills and technical expertise. But it's in an area that is quite different than what the newbies are in. It's narrow and focused, whereas most newbies are broad-spectrum in their interest and abilities, and even if they are focused on an individual aspect of ham radio, it's probably not one of the 'old school approved' areas.

And with this broadening of ham radio interests, the 'chat' on 2M has turned into just that, chat. More of a social nature than dedicated to single or limited areas.

But the chat does turn to technical areas at times. But even among the newbies, when it goes into technical areas they're not interested in, they just tune out. But the old timers as a group don't seem to notice that as they see way too many areas they just aren't interested in.

I'm not saying it's good or bad, so far, just that it is what it is. But when people get reactionary and just tune out altogether... THAT's when it appears the way it does.

Then there's the REAL problems when the old timers just don't want to let go, and blame everyone and everything because it "ain't their ham radio" anymore, the way they remembered. And when they do so publicly, it rapidly goes downhill from there.

And some oldtimers do hang around and try to chat. But it seems when they don't get the topics they want, they just plain hang. Like a dead rat smelling up the basement. You know the kind I mean... In some cases it's not even that they do anything malicious, just they they are there, that get their buddies, and they feel that if they are there they can stay there. Sometimes they can be friendly to people that break in, but then the newbies are quickly discouraged when the topics (as I've heard in the last month) peeing in a bottle on the street because they didn't want to find a restroom, a womans breast when they were a teenager, or other inane and questionable topics. And I've heard more 'slips' of profanity from a few of these oldtimers than I've heard from most groups of newbies. Not outright cursing, but slips of the tounge that just a few years ago wouldn't have been allowed on TV.

Are the newbies blameless? Not hardly. There's a few locals... Heck, one even insists on using his 'handle' (but with his call). What's my problem? His 'handle', if you check him out on the web, is spelled with three capital 'K's. He explains that as he refers to himself as a 'gold old southern boy', followed by a comment to 'figure it out'.

A-holes on both sides.


 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on November 9, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Something else to remember too--when 2 meters was a new band and equipment and modes were, well, 'experimental' if you would, there would naturally be a lot more technical chat on the band. As it matured and the problems were ironed out, there was naturally less and less technical chat on the band. In other words, the purpose and use of the band changed.

The same general thing is evident with cell phones. The purpose of the thing changed.

At first, 'mobile' phones were made and installed for business use. The costs involved precluded most people from having them. As time went on, mobile--and then portable--phones became more commonplace and the prices came down, but the use was still business--and some emergency uses. Today, every Tom, Dick and Harry has a cell phone, the costs are low, and they're used for everything--including gab sessions that have no business, emergency or other practical use.

Now, as far as the oldtimers versus the newcomers--and the term 'versus' really underlines the problem--maybe we would all do much better if we remember that we're all hams no matter when we got our license. No matter why we took up the hobby. No matter that we're all basically different.

There are experimenters, there are communicators, there are the ones who are both. There are casual operators, there are contesters, there are the ones who build stations simply to put together a comprehensive 'gee whiz' station. There is room for all of them in the bands.

In short, there are all kinds of people who are called 'hams.' We would be better off--WAY better off--if we could just concentrate on THAT fact, instead of continually picking and sniping at each other over our differences--differences that are really picayune and non-existent if you stop and examine them closely enough.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on November 9, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
BTW, KS9LBW, Thank you--but I decline the nomination! 73!
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KB4FP on November 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It stopped being fun when the majority of users ceased to think of it as a constructive, creative endeavor where hams relax around each other and buckle down in a crisis.
An example of pure ham radio enjoyment and emotion: about thirty years ago, on my way from the coast to Chapel Hill, I was on the Raleigh repeater. My family (7 of us) were listening as I broke the rules and talked for almost an hour with a gentleman who was living in Butner and who just happened to be the last radio operator in the caves on Correigedor when the Japanese entered the caves. He told the story of his last message and to this day I get emotional. So did a lot of hams in the Raleigh area who were listening as they checked into the repeater with their emotions. It was one of the highlights of my ham life.
Contrast that with this: my son, W2xyr has been a ham for only a short time with very little air time due to the business of his job as an emergency room physician in a hospital just behind Long Beach Island which was hard hit. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, he was working out potential (and real) communication problems. With his inexperience, he broke protocol by calling CQ on the repeater. When he got no answer he continued to call CQ on the repeater when someone answered, they berated him asking him what he was doing calling CQ on a repeater. When he answered, they demanded to know who he was and continued to be unpleasant. At this point, so was my son.
An overwrought sense of procedure and protocol with a few people judging others hurts us all and lessens the enjoyment, the exchange of scientific and otherwise interesting information. Would that we could enjoy 2 meters again. I don't think my son will, however.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K6RMR on November 10, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Here in So. Cal. Two meters sounds more like CB today
than Ham Radio.I go back to 2 meter AM and the very beginning of 2 meter FM here in So Cal about 1960.To get on FM you had to Buy a Surplus Motorola or GE radio,Convert ,tune it up and Order the Crystals to get on the Air. Very Exciting in those days.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AE7VT on November 11, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think two-meters is still a fun band on FM. Really, it is what you make of it. Agreed, there are some clowns who prefer to disrupt things and practice their 'jamming' technique but, they seem to be be fewer and fewer.

I prefer to use simplex for comms within my local area but, we also have a few linked repeaters that expand that area about 20 times so, those become some of the primary meeting places. Many conversations have taken up much of an evening and several people have participated to the extent they want to but, the bottom line is we have all gotten to know each other a little better and sometimes even learn something.

There has been a recent effort to revive the use of 146.52 simplex for travelers and for conversations while going down the road. I think using that frequency much more would be a great thing for travelers. When I have to take a road trip somewhere, it is not without my 2m gear even if it is just a 5w HT because I am not always within range of a cell system but, can usually find a 2m repeater somewhere on the band.

Mentioning the 'old days' in So. California, I was there too - bought a $50 Motorola "T" power that was capable of two (TWO!!!) channels and later had the PL decks added so, I had 40w of power on two repeater channels in my 1971 Toyota Corolla and didn't dare use it without the motor running as it could kill a battery in about 30 minutes. :) Back in those days, the Crestline and Catalina Island repeaters were quite popular as they gave some pretty wide coverage....

73, Paul Cavnar - AE7VT
(WA6TYO back in the 70's)
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KG4OLW on November 14, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In my area vhf/uhf used to be packed 24x7. I can tell you exactly when activity dropped off. The day the code requirement went away. Remember that in 2005, 48% of all hams held a technician or novice license. Most of those hams trudged to learn the code, either because they felt it was obsolete or because they did not want to. vhf/uhf became a giant trap where half of all hams were stuck. The day code went away the repeaters dried up in a few months.

If you want to know where all the traffic went, it went to hf. I can only speak for new hams, as I was licensed in 2000. I am a computer engineer, and I can tell you vhf/uhf handy talkies are not nearly as entertaining as my iPhone, however if you love the electronics hobby and did not want to deal with cw, you were stuck on vhf uhf. For months after the code requirement went away people were talking about their new hf equipment. Before the requirement went away they were whining about the code requirement.

I remember one conversation with a gentleman who worked for motorola as an rf engineer, bad a ba in EE, who was asking why he was unqualified to get on hf when he was designing gsm cell phones in his day job, he was quite incensed that cw was still a requirement.


The sad part is the ARRL bungled this whole thing up. They should have dropped the code requirement 10 years before they did, and encouraged novice style qrs contests and conversations on hf. I hated cw, took years to pass my test, hung out on 2m repeaters whining about it for a while. Then I got on hf and realized that my compromised hf antenna from my compromised apartment was radiating like 1 watt on a good day. To make matters worse my day job meant that my only band open at night was 40m, which was ful of broadcast noise. Imagine my surprise when I had to dust off that cw and start using it. I actually have learned to love cw, but I think if the ARRL and the fcc tiered licensing had just let people on HF they would have solved their own problem, as cw usage is more popular than ever because it works. And all those new young working hams when faced with broadcast noise and antenna restrictions would have eventually figured out that the cw they were never planning to use was their best hope for qso's
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA7RRA on November 14, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I love that Idea that would be neet
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA7RRA on November 14, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I love that Idea that would be neet
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6WNS on November 14, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I got my ham license specifically BECAUSE of 2 meters. At first I just wanted my tech license, but I figured I would study for my General also and take both tests at the same session, which worked out perfectly. In southern California, there are tons of repeaters that are active day and night, some of them so busy that you can't get a word in edgewise. Nets are abundant. For the most part, the hams on these repeaters are very friendly and welcome everyone, newbie or veteran. It's a lot of fun to listen and chat on my mobile radio. Hams are a tight knit bunch here. I drive to Flagstaff and back quite often, and there are always active repeaters the whole way. Very little activity is simplex. I was into CB back in the 80s, but cell phones mostly killed it off except for truckers. 2 meters is today what CB was 25 years ago, in terms of the number of folks out there chatting and having a good time. The great thing about 2 meters is that you have to be civil and G-rated on the air because you have to identify yourself and maintain a license, which for the most part keeps the usual CB trash talk off the air. There is a bit of CB lingo creeping into 2 meter, which tells me that there are a lot of folks that have graduated from CB to 2 meter. My humble opinion is that 2 meter is loads of fun and has picked up where CB left off. I still run a CB in the car for road trips.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AB7KT on November 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
IF 2 meters FM stopped being a fun mode, I am sure each person has his or her own reasons for thinking that.
I recently moved. Two meters here is a lot of fun and there is a fair amount of activity. Where I lived before, I seldom got on 2 meters and I didn't think it was much fun. I can give you some of the reasons why I think this was:

First of all, I always looked at two meters FM as a way to keep in touch with the local guys. Find out what was going on locally. If you were new to the area, this is where you met the local hams, found out about the local clubs and local ham activities. Where I used to live, almost all the local repeaters were linked, had IRLP, or Echolink. So I wasn't listening or talking to the local guys anymore. I would turn on the rig and hear someone from the UK, or Wyoming or something. This was fun for a couple months, then I quit turning the rig on. If I want to talk to someone in the UK, I want to do that on HF.

PL: PL is a nessessary evil, but I agree that it has caused me to stop getting on repeaters when traveling. As was mentioned, even if the repeater announces the PL tone on the IDer, I am not going to program my radio while I am rocketing down a freeway.

Too many repeaters: this has been mentioned previously. The more repeaters you have, the more spread out the people are going to be. So now, instead of having all the local guys on one repeater, making the repeater fairly active, you have a dozen repeaters that are dead most of the time. So, on any given repeater, you have a harder time finding someone to work because there are less people on any one repeater. I don't want to take away anyone's right to put up a repeater. I understand that there is a certain amount of satisfaction in putting up a good-working repeater. But do we really need 50, 2 meter repeaters in one city ?

Simplex has always been a good thing for me. Where I used to live, there was a pretty fair amount of simplex activity, where I live now there is a fair amount of simplex activity, and when I have traveled across the country I have had a fair amount of activity on simplex. Now this is not to say that every time I get on simplex, someone answers me, but I have driven clear across the country and have gone for hours at a stretch with someone to talk to. When one guy starts getting weak, someone else would call me. I frequently leave a rig on 2 meters simplex when I am in the shack and hear people on there at least several times a day. Which is more than I hear on some repeaters.

Ken
AB8KT
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AB7KT on November 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
It seems like one of the most popular answers in this thread is: cell phones.

I personally don't see what cell phones have to do with 2 meter activity. I guess it is just me. I have never called most of the people I talk to on 2 meters on the phone. Most of the people I talk to on the phone arn't hams. I get on ham radio for many reasons, none of which has anything to do with telephones.

What about when you were at home on 2 meters ? Did having a telephone at home keep you from getting on two meters ?

There is something about these replies that I am not getting.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0AZZ on November 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
4-5 years ago it was fun then a few people decided our club repeater should be used mainly for Ecomm and Skywarn. Skywarn no problem I ran radar for several years before that. But then ARES became a hours of another color I was member for 4 years then all of a sudden everyone had to take all these classes to be an ARES member.

In less than month all of the active members had resigned and a new EC was appointed great, good for them. In 2 months they had 3 1 day classes for Tech licenses and got 26 new members for ARES the makeup 17 hospital employees paid to take the tests, 5 fireman also paid and the rest just wanted to save the world.

From then on it was drills for the hospitals, city/county and ARES and the last 2 yrs Homeland Security and the State. I forgot about parades and bicycle races several a year.

Most of us moved to 6m FM and 2m SSB/Digital for fun on VHF. It's really a shame.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W1RFI on November 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
> While I have on my 'preaching' clothes...how 'bout
> those folks that are so close that they are de-
> sensing their receivers but insist on going thru a
> repeater?

Maybe for the same reason I am responding to you on this forum instead of by private email. Sometimes, folks want to have a conversation in a group setting.

Ed, W1RFI
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6WNS on November 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think the point of including cell phones in so many posts is because so many people use them as a primary way of communicating with friends and family, and in some cases it has replaced CB and 2 meters. I do hear a few married couples on 2 meters keeping in contact with each other, but the majority of communication I hear on 2 meter is nets or a bunch of people who always meet up on the air on the way to and from work. All of them say the same thing. It's fun and it makes the commute go faster. They wouldn't all call each other, because there is really no fun in that. The idea is a big roundtable of people who like to talk, not a one-on-one phone conversation. There is no way that on my next trip to Arizona this weekend that I would just randomly find someone in the phone book and call them. I will, however, scan all the repeaters I know of, as well as simplex calling frequencies, in hopes of meeting someone new or someone I already know. Simplex QSOs are hard to come by on I-40 in the middle of nowhere. Ironically, my first RF contact as a licensed amateur was on 146.52. CTCSS is a necessary evil I suppose, but it would be more fun without them, and it is very difficult to program tones into newer menu-driven radios like mine on the fly. Until all repeaters broadcast their tone or re-broadcast incoming tones, I will have to rely on a list of repeaters and tones so I can program them in advance. I have yet to find a complete list, as there are always repeaters I hear that are not listed in any source. I would say that is the biggest problem with repeaters, that there are so many that it's impossible to keep track of all of them.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AB7KT on November 19, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I wouldn't be surprised if you do find some simplex activity on I-40 going though Arizona. I know I have. Granted, "out in the middle of no-where", maybe not. But if you are within 30 miles or so of a town, it wouldn't surprise me. It is a crap shoot, and this is just one more thing that makes ham radio fun and totally different to cell phones. You roll the dice and see what comes up.

You make my point about the cell phone thing:
Ham Radio to me and a lot of people is NOT all about the comunication. It is about playing with radios and technology (doesn't have to be cutting edge technology to be fun).

Like many (most/all) hams, I frequently have people ask me: "When you talk to these people on ham radio, what do you talk about ?" Or, "When you talk to these people in other countries, do they speak English on ham radio and what do you talk about ?"
I try to explain to them that it isn't like a phone call: like the old saying: It isn't about the destination, it is about the journey. What you talk about isn't as important as the fact that you are doing it. You are playing with radios, you are playing with antennas, you are playing with amplifiers, you might be using CW or digital modes, you are playing with audio............... What you are saying is a small piece to the puzzle. If you arn't into radio, you wouldn't get it.

On the other hand, TO ME, a cell phone is just an appliance; a tool. I don't get any kick out of using it anymore than I enjoy playing with a landline telephone. I seldom talk on the phone. Unlike many (most) people, I only call someone if I have a specific, reason to bother them. I almost never call someone just because I have nothing else to do and just want to pass the time.

Ham radio is a hobby. The word hobby implies certain things. Talking on the phone isn't a hobby. It might be a pass-time for a lot of people. A lot of people might spend a lot of time talking on the phone; but it isn't a hobby. I can't see the logic in comparing the two. Using that logic you might as well throw in TV watching. I don't see that as a hobby either, but it certainly takes away from time people spend on ham radio.

But, like I said the first time, maybe it's just me.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K5OX on November 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe I'm part of the problem. When 2 meters first became popular i tried the band with one of the early radios and even before the local repeater was finished for the NO. VA area.

Everyone was on simplex and I would meet other hams after a mobile QSO as we spontaneously arranged an eyeball on a parking lot or on the side of the road. I had great fun. Some mornings we would get some "tropo" and the excitement of five watt, 400 mile QSOs was exiting and unexpected!

Then repeaters came with rules, with me occasionally and accidentally timing it out. Arguments would come and go, and that led to private repeaters. At some point I gave up trying to enjoy the band and sold my rig. Of course I still bought another and another, but I find the small size and wide band RX its primary appeal.

But in the last 15 years out of my 51 as a ham. I need to put a little more effort into having fun. If I put up at least a J Pole up 15 or 20 feet I might actually hear someone in town on simplex. I don't drive much any more on my docs advice. But I've operated base most of my life anyway.

So I agree that it it's not like it used to be but part of that is not putting enough effort to see if there's more fun than I realize. But I'm sure not what I used to be either :) So maybe we have to keep things in perspective.

Frank, K5OX

 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6WNS on November 20, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I can't help drawing comparisons to what I found CB to be like back in the mid-1980s when every morning and every afternoon there was a "cast of characters" keeping each other company on our commutes. That whole scene died off, now the daytime CB frequencies are nothing but skip talkers. 2-meter now has the cast of characters, and the two biggest differences I see are that instead of talking to someone 5 miles away, I'm talking to someone 50-100 miles away through a repeater, and the airwaves are much more civilized. There are a couple of repeaters I stay away from because they are inhabited by bottom feeders, but generally speaking, if you're like me and you kind of miss the old days of CB and want to get back into just talking to people for the sake of talking to people, 2 meter is the way to go.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K3TD on November 22, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Two meters is still fun, but most of the activity is segmented as WA6ITF outlined and no longer conventional FM. Regular repeater conversations have given way to D-Star, MOTOTRBO and other specialized modes. I don't think that's a bad thing - in the 1970s the 2 meter AM guys wondered where everyone went (to FM!).

If yiou are looking for FM fun now you might try 927 MHz. It reminds me of 2 meters of the '70s and '80s - lots of interesting conversations, friendly hams looking to help newcomers, and FUN! Equipment is very inexpensive - mainly Motorola and Kenwood LMR equipment that requires little or no conversion to the ham band. Lots of linked repeater systems out there too.

Good luck and 73!
Tad, K3TD
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K3XT on November 25, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Norm has a point, 2m FM has changed. In various locations I can say with 90% certainty that 2m FM is a moron magnet. The other 10% take too long to come across. Went to HF. That said I think 75m has less QRMíers than 20-30 years ago. Maybe a legacy of Riley Hollingsworth.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by VE3TRU on November 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
2 meter died, along with the ham radio operators.
I remember way back when it was almost impossible to get your license. In fact the community didn't even want new members, it was like an old boys club.There were still a lot of old timers with licenses running the show.Then came the in fighting, code, no code. That became like a stain that almost ruined the whole thing.Along comes the internet and voila. I can video call my buddy in china for free, sort of made the whole ham thing obsolete.
I do think things are slowly moving in the right direction.You need to attract new blood, so 2 meter gets used again.In my area there's no point of buying one when there is no one on the air and I'm near a repeater.I got into it not for the communications thing but because I like to build things.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W8RFK on November 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Exactly! I travel thoughout the Southern & Western Michigan area and one doesn't hear any activity on the repeaters during the daytime or even during rush hours! I will put my rig on scan and only hear an occassional QSO during the week! And heaven forbid if a stranger comes into town calling for directions! I sure hope they have a good GPS. I miss the days of the crowded repeaters.(and Fun)
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA0AAM on November 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Many years ago, I used to run 2 meters and 70 cm. I ran the Sats, EME, tropo, and the works. Had 2m in the vehicles.

No more. With the advent of phones, computers, Xb0x's, and other things, the VHF and UHF has gone to the waste side.

I got off of it, because of the influx of no-coders. I got tired of hearing "Break". I got tired of hearing 10-4. I got tired of hearing "CB" talk, and nothing else to do with good Amateur communication. I know that is terrible to say, but it was the truth in this area.

In came the cell phones. Cell phones were a blessing as well as a curse. Same with computers and other electronic gadgets. With everyone having a cell phone, the mobile operation became obsolete. We used to have over 100 members in the VHF group, and used phone patches hourly. Not any more. Phone patch is so rarely used, they are not even worth fixing up anymore. We let them lay broke.

Add all the game boxes and computers to the current situation, and we see a even larger percentage of retired operators.

But, we still have HF. . .<smile>

Great article. . .
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6WNS on November 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've read and read and read these comments and there appears to be a couple of common threads to them. First, unfriendly veteran hams who are hostile or unwelcoming to new hams. This entire hobby survives on its ability to bring in new people. Hostility to the new members is probably not the best way to encourage participation and growth. Second, all this code crap. You know code? Good for you. Go tap out a QSO with someone who shares your interest. But don't talk feces about those of us who don't. (See the "Hostility to new members" reference above.) I studied my butt off to get my general license just like lots of other people.
I live in a condominium, with exactly no place for an HF antenna that will get me out further than across the street. Furthermore, I cannot afford an HF setup of any kind right now. But I can afford an FT1900R and a mag mount. And that little rig can get me from Fullerton, CA to Flagstaff, AZ and back with continuous repeater coverage and no lack of contacts. And every morning and every night when I commute, there are a bunch of us with the same basic setup who do just fine.
I'll tell you what. I enjoy amateur radio. It's as fun as we make it. But ham radio is its own worst enemy because of its own people, not cell phones, code (or lack of) requirements, video games, email, social media, or any of the dozens of reasons listed in all these posts.
I'm not a big fan of 25-person nets where everyone says "It's 55 degrees, 40 percent humidity, I had eggs for breakfast, and I'm having a boil lanced tomorrow", so I stay away from nets. But if that's your thing, go for it. There's something for everyone.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KK4MHI on November 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Hear ye, hear ye! Good post!
I've now got a Kenwood TD-710A, AVmap G6, and soon will have an Icom 880H in my vehicle and already have a Yaesu 817nd, Kenwood TH-F6A HT, Icom ID-31A, and a Baofeng UV-5RC for giggles.

I'm happy with the 817nd for QRP PSK31 work with an iPad. It works quite well with a little 30ft fiberglass portable mast and dipole setup. Sometimes I just use a small Superantenna. I'm having fun and that's what it's all about. Do I "know code"? Nope. I was wiling to learn it but I'm turned off by two things:

1. The old codgers who think morse code is the only way to operate "properly".

2. CW contesters in my region who feel they must use 1000+ watts to send out morse code and splatter all over the place, usually stomping all over the PSK31 signals I'm trying to do a QSO with. (N4RO, I'm looking DIRECTLY at you! Turn it down a notch!) CW doesn't require much bandwidth - or wattage - to operate with but some of these "contesters" make entire sections of the bands unusable at times.

2 meters in my AOR is not dead at all, neither is 70cm. Nightly nets are held with 10+ participants in each and fun is had.
That's the point: fun. If your area is dead on 2 meters then just what are YOU doing to help improve the situation? Whining here isn't helping. Monitor it and give out your call every so often. You might just be surprised.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0PSH on November 26, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I understand = "the old codgers". I'm old and yes I passed the code, just barely, ok after several tries in order to upgrade to tech plus, but I don't use it. I still know a few cuss words though, hi hi. I like playing with my radio's, ok mostly 2meter's. But you know what I don't care if you do use the code or not just keep the hobby fun. I try to do the code from time to time cause it's knowing something not everyone else knows, you know like a second language, heck wish I knew German better than what I do. Alright I'm rambling (darn old man) so I'll close with, let's enjoy "our" nitch in the hobby and again let's keep it fun!
73
de Alan
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA0AAM on November 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
fantastic post!
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N0ZLD on November 27, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not on 2m because I'm on eHam. Afterwards, I'll watch paint dry and maybe take a nap.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by N5XO on November 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Wow I have not seen so many cry babies in my life. 2 meters is no more dead than 80 meters. It's use may be different than in the repeater hey day of the 70's and 80's....

Those that are not having fun on 2 meters....the best bet to the reason is that you are two busy bitching about newbies rather then mentoring and you are two busy finding things to gripe about.

Get in there and make it fun....use it...

Be surprised how many people friendly conversation will attract.
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by AE4YW on November 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
The problem with ham radio and the resultant no-coders is simply the corporations. They wanted to sell radios. That is all it is. They did not care about the hobby, or learning or experimenting, they only wanted to move product! They did away with the qualifications and understanding of the old Generals.

Then to mix it up even more, they started the vanity call crap. You now have no idea if your talking to a real general or extra or if he is a 30 day wonder. (till you ask him a question)

I have gone back to homemade radios and homebrew antennas and work QRP CW. While being stepped on a little, this separates the appliance operators from the more serious hams.

If anyone says "what's a QRP" I'll swear I'll hunt you down :)

I have been listening to one of our busiest repeaters for 2 days and heard 2 QSOs. Sad.

So what is my definition of a ham? An experimenter that knows his business. A ham can build his own antenna, his own radio, then get on the air make contact with another like himself. A no-coder is someone that has to buy everything in his shack, cannot repair it, and is totally dependent on the corporation that created him.

73 Mitch AE4YW

 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA0AAM on November 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
What is QRP? [big smile]


If you want to hunt me down, I live on 7.040.
Look forward to throwing dits and dahs back and forth to each other.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6WNS on November 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
An odd thing to me about two meters is people who use terms like "QSO", "QRL", "hi-hi", "QTH", and other CW terms for voice operations as though they were given to us by God Himself around the same time He used Morse Code to transmit the Ten Commandments to Moses. And if I hear one more ham talk about their "SWR's", I may vomit. I think I would much rather hear some newbie ex-CBer say "What's your 20" than hear even one more CW elitist say "I'm at my work QTH".
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KO4LZ on December 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Recently I've been making a lot more contacts on .52 during road trips (compared to 20 years ago), both with stationary and mobile stations. I tend to call about every 15 minutes and monitor the rest of the time. Not sure why that is, but it's a great way to break up the monotony of a long drive.

Unfortunately some hams will monitor repeaters all day long but only answer hams they already know. 2m simplex is a lot more like DX work -- you're often meeting someone for the very first time.

73,

Paul
 
When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KA9OFN on December 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Since 2 meters is a local band, whether or not it is "fun" depends on your local area. Make sense?

Around here 2 meters is alive and well. PL tones are used on almost all repeaters because of interference issues. Tones are are not "secret" so it's a hard sell to say they are used to exclude outsiders. To restrict use of repeaters is probably not even legal. A ham can use any frequency in his or her license class. There is no FCC provision, anywhere, that gives one the right to claim a ham frequency for their exclusive use. When you put up a repeater, you have to take all comers. That's the price of using public airwaves.

I personally am not a huge "repeater guy" but when I do stop by the local machines I am treated well.

So I guess 2 meters is great in some areas, and not so great in others.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KJ6WNS on December 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
There seems to be much more repeater activity here in southern California than there is simplex, but I have started monitoring 146.52 more, and I actually made contact with a guy over 50 miles away in the mountains who has devoted a lot of time to building a 2 meter quad beam with round elements. He was using less than a watt, while it took me 10 watts with my 1/4 wave to reach him. Repeaters are fun and reliable, but there is some satisfaction in making an unaided simplex contact. I wish more people did it.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by W6DAF on December 1, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Three things i've not read yet:

Real men don't eat quiche, if you are bored you are boring and lastly it is what you make of it!

Very deep, I know.

If you aren't on 2m calling CQ when you come to my town how on earth can I enjoy a 2m QSO with you? If you aren't on 2m when I drive through your town...

Here's some other not so deep thoughts:
Did you build that computer you are reading this on? Do you know how SMTP works? If not are you worthy of the privilege to exchange emails? Maybe you shouldn't be allowed to even use a computer because back in the good ol' days we had to build them. People should only be able to send emails if they can do so using Telnet. Do you run an apache server, do you write your HTML in vi? If not go watch TV because the world wide web should only be for smart people.
Sound familiar.
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by K1CJS on December 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
What's a QR... what? I can't quite hear you, your signal is a little weak.... :-)
 
RE: When Did Two-Meter FM Stop Being the 'Fun Mode'?  
by KD8NGE on December 4, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I can not change the world but I can change me.
I originally hung my 2 meter antenna inside my yard shed, a nice stealthy application, and I could hit my local repeater... and that was about it.
After reading this article I got out the ladder and slingshot, I hung the window line J-pole in the oak tree, and now am running the local repeaters requesting a signal check.
I also reprogrammed the 2-meter in the Jeep so it contains the national simplex channel.
When it comes to human nature, the laws of physics do not apply; only in the world of dynamic engineering does the "equal and opposite reaction" occur ... my reaction to the stimulus of the OP was to hoist the antenna, weatherproof the connection and start calling!
I'm looking forward to the nightly Burning River Traffic Net tonight!
 
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