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Author Topic: Venturing into 2m SSB territory.  (Read 20211 times)
AK4YH
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« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2017, 10:33:56 AM »

Thank you Peter, I am one of your subscribers. 2m SSB indeed turns out to be a great local and beyond mode/band. Actually, I mention your channel (again) in my upcoming video tonight...

Gil.
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W1VT
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« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2017, 06:01:44 PM »

When I first moved to Connecticut I made 2M SSB contacts of several hundred miles via tropo ducting using just 10 watts to an HF dipole fed with open wire and a tuner.  It was a great antenna considering the fact that I was living in a cheap  2nd floor apartment. I also used that open wire fed dipole get my 6M VUCC with 3 watts.  Grin
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ONAIR
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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2017, 02:02:56 PM »

Had loads of fun on 2M SSB, using just a small portable ELK 2m/440 beam!!  www.ElkAntennas.com
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K3GM
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« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2017, 09:12:25 PM »

....Back in the 80s I ran a 21 foot long KLM long boom yagi with a Kenwood TR 9000 10 watt radio

I eventually added a 80 watt amplifier with a preamp.....
Ran the same exact setup.  I used a Lunar 80W amp with a Janel Labs preamp.  That KLM 3.2 wavelength Yagi was longer than my Philly rowhome was wide.  I mounted it 90 degrees to my HF tribander so I could park it with everything within my house width.  Great antenna.  The '9000 was somewhat a brick though.  My recollection was that you had to hold the PTT in on the mic in order to put the rig into transit for CW.  Great memories though.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 09:15:39 PM by K3GM » Logged
N5XO
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Posts: 145




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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2017, 02:55:13 AM »

Hello,

I just want to share my new venture into 2m SSB, and I am quite pleased Smiley I should have tried it a long time ago. Amazing how far you can go with just 10W.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuKBNZ_JXSk

Gil.

Welcome to the world of VHF/UHF SSB operating. I got hooked on this mood about 10 years ago now and am passionate about it......It is a very exciting mode and what you can accomplish can be amazing in the way of communications. Some good high gain antennas and 200 or 300 watts and it will open up an huge world of operating potential.

www.144200.net
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N5XO
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« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2017, 03:07:36 AM »

Hello,

I just want to share my new venture into 2m SSB, and I am quite pleased Smiley I should have tried it a long time ago. Amazing how far you can go with just 10W.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuKBNZ_JXSk

Gil.

I've been tryin to encourage activity on this band for years, but the repeater nay sayers detour operators from exploring with their fake news and discourage folks with high expense tales so they don't loose activity on their membership repeater groups. With very little you can get started. Doesn't matter if there's no e-skip. Its still a great band to utilize and enjoy.

73 and have fun. 


We actually have been very successful in promoting SSB operation on 6 meters through 23cm here in San Antonio and the area and our club www.144200.net the HAMster Group has grown to over 150 members. We promote it and have been invited to a dozen or more clubs in a 300 mile radius to give talks on weak signal operation and the advantages to it. Work with your local clubs,  not as a replacement for repeaters but as another mode and form of communication and you will be surprised how many will invite you to speak at meetings, etc.

The activity level has gone from just a couple of experimenters 10 years ago, to a few hundred SSB enthusiastic in the region....
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N5XO
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« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2017, 03:17:54 AM »

Antennas seem reasonable but equipment costs appear to be high. The reason often given is the limited market for quality VHF/UHF gear. Even transverters look to be close to $500. You have to compare that to HF where $500 can get you a decent transceiver. Because of a very high HF noise level I am forced to now take a serious look at VHF/UHF. My impression is that older gear has not come down since I looked a few years ago. Being stuck with now useless HF stuff I do not want to risk a bundle on something that will make longer than 50 mile contacts only a few times a year.
Dick  N3HKN


for almost 40 years I never ventured about 15 meters......I got on 2 meter FM to communicate from the car with local folks in mid 2006 and while I enjoyed the operating with friends...I found it boring....I got hooked on SSB and later started expanding to include 220, 432, and 1296 and recently just added 900MHz and it's in my view point the most fun I have had....I still get on HF for conversation and to chase DX now and then...but VHF/UHF is my passion.

My home station is not in a good location elevation wise.....with many hills, etc to my north....but I am able to communicate 150 to 250 miles daily with no problem and our club members are separated by 50 to 250 miles...and we not only carry on conversations daily, but have a large weekly net. I added SSB with a K5VH Omni antenna to my truck....160 watts, single Omni and I've worked 75 to 140 miles with out conditions on a regular bases....with my best contact over 700 miles with good tropo a few times. We out talk strong regional repeaters in the area....and we do it daily direct antenna to antenna...

If you like a challenge, can deal with periods of down time...it's well worth it.

My station changed dramatically over the years......from a simple HF multi-radio station...to the beast it is today....

Reminder...you have a lot of modes on 2 meters Weak signal....from SSB Phone, to CW, and a host of digital modes....With new digital modes meteor scatter, EME are all in reach of small modest stations.....I am not a fan of digital....preferring to make contacts Phone or CW.....But for many the digital modes are a big deal.....

THINK OF VHF/UHF/SHF WEAK SIGNAL OPERATING as going fishing.....a lot of down time, relaxing...but some big rewards.

Greg
N5XO
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N5XO
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« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2017, 03:20:03 AM »

The other day, I was busy on a project and just casually listening to the repeaters and Ed and Terry were talking, Ed mentioned an e-mail I had sent out about some contacts I had made that week on 2 meter SSB and Terry made the statement that I really pushed that mode and tried to get everyone to go that way.
Terry was and is 100% correct, I am fanatical about VHF/UHF/SHF Weak Signal Operating. It is the entire purpose of the HAMster Group, and why our club exist to promote and encourage weak Signal activity
Why?
Weak signal VHF/UHF work can be one of the most addictive, rewarding and frustrating aspects of amateur radio. It is addictive because the thrill of making a contact right at the noise level, by reflecting your signal off the ionized trail of a meteor, catching a sporadic E opening or by bouncing your signal off the moon just can't be beat. The reward can range just from the satisfaction of working a new station/grid/state/country, from earning one of the many rewards, or from seeing that new piece of equipment you spent countless hours designing, scrounging and building finally on the air and making contacts. And frustrating too after spending hour after hour listening to noise wondering if the other stations aren't all just parked in front of the TV watching football.
Think of Weak Signal Operating along the lines of hunting and fishing. You need patience, quality equipment and skill to be successful. Very little is as exciting as working another country, or state on 2 meters, 70cm or 1296. The day I made my first long haul contact on 1296.100MHz with 10 watts to Florida and followed it up with two more contacts in Florida that morning and then Georgia got me so excited, I woke up Ruth {needless to say she did not share my enthusiasm, specially at 5:am}.
I have been a HAM for 49 years now, during this time radio became part of my life professionally as a Navy Radio Man, serving for COMPHIBRON 5 on board the U.SS Tripoli, later on the Bellwood. Never once did I venture above 15 meters until 2006. For many years 100% of my activity was on 40, 20 and 15 meters {17/12 did not even exist for many years}, in 2006 I purchased a new TS-2000 Shack in the Box type of radio, I started playing on 2 meters and simply put I considered it a pretty lame band for some time. To me 2 meters was not good for anything beyond local conversation on repeaters, which other than staying in touch with local friends I found boring. The radio supported 6 meters, and couple of guys in KCOMM were talking about the fun on 6, I thought what the heck, put up a 5 element cushcraft and for 4 or 5 months I heard NOTHING. I thought what the hell, this has to be the worst band around. I made plans to take down the antenna and replace it with a 2 element 40 meter yagi, when just for the heck of it one day I turned on the radio to 6 meters and to my shock and surprise hundreds of voices were pouring from the speaker.
Over the next two hours, I made 100 or more contacts, learned about grids, and experienced from others the passion and thrill of 6 when the band is open, over the next coupe of months I was able to experience 13 or 14 more band openings and I became hooked. I started reading, learning all that I could about 6 meters, got hooked up with some folks up in Austin and Houston that were 6 meter fanatics and met Bill W3XO who has written more and forgotten more about 6 meters then most of us will ever learn. Over the next few years, I had developed my station to be a power player on 6 meters and was becoming a well known contact around the country and through out the South American countries.
In 2009, I decided to work my first contest ever in my entire life and jumped into the June ARRL VHF/UHF contest, I worked strictly 6 meters and won 2nd place for single operator South Region which I thought was very cool. During this contest I worked N0IRS in Kansas city and he suggested we try 2 meters, I thought he was freakin nuts, 2 meters from San Antonio to Kansas city? No way in hell, but he was pretty positive. So off to SSB 144.200 we went, and with my stacked 13 element yogi’s {vertical, so handicapped} I worked J.D in Kansas, over 790 miles and then followed that up with almost another dozen contacts on 2 meters to that area.
WITH THOSE CONTACTS AND J.D’S ENTHUSIASM AND PROMOTION OF WEAK SIGNAL, BOOM I WAS HOOKED AND A VHF/UHF/SHF FANATIC WAS BORN THAT DAY!
Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s to weak signal on VHF/UHF.
The negative to it, is if you are a 2 meter or even 70cm FM operator and are used to the clear voice and audio quality, then it will take some time to get used to operating VHF/UHF on SSB, and signals tend to be lower on the scale. For example, I can work a friend of mine on 2 meter FM simplex and he is full scale and nice audio, we switch to SSB and he is 4 to 5 S units and not as wonderful sounding audio. So there is a getting used to it scale.
One thing most HF guys will tell you, it takes a little time to develop your SSB ear. But once you get used to it, you will find you can hear and copy much much weaker signals then you could even hope to work on FM.
Positives to weak signal, you are going to work much greater distances then even a repeater can cover. My two main repeaters have excellent coverage areas, but many conversations we have on 2 meter SSB mobil and fixed station would be impossible on the repeaters.
For Example: Dale KA5YEU down in Alice, is out of repeater range, J.D could get into the repeater but not talk to Dale. Tom K5VH in Dripping Springs can some times hit the repeater and some times not, Tom in Austin is out of repeater range, Rafael XE2OR is out of repeater range unless there are excellent conditions, Jerry KB2WDM can hit the repeater. So under normal circumstances all of us could not carry on a conversation day to day
Yet on a regular bases we get on SSB and carry on a conversation with each other in a large round table. A few weeks back, we were demonstrating to some folks the advantage to SSB, I was operating mobil with a single omni loop on my truck and 50 watts, J.D was operating mobil with 300 watts and a single loop, Dale in Alice, Tom in Dripping Springs, Jerry in Schertz, Tom in San Antonio, Dave in Pipe Creek, Larry in Dripping Springs were able to carry on a conversation with me all the way to Falfurious Texas, a distance of 205 miles for Tom in Dripping Springs as the crow flies.
Another example: Sunday night on our 2 meter Weak Signal Net, we have regular check in from Kerrville, Alice, Austin, Dripping Spring, Canyon Lake, and through out the region, this week we had the fun of working J.D W1DVZ mobil as he drove to Atlanta Georgia. We all worked him all the way into Houston, and Ed W5EDS was able to work him just outside of Houston. This was Ed’s first 2 meter SSB long haul contact and working a mobil added to the challenge.
What makes this example even more valuable is the fact we had NO CONDITIONS Sunday evening, this was just working normal bands. So Ed was 193 miles straight line contact with out band conditions with a single yagi and 50 watts to a mobil. This demonstrates highly the thrill of 2 meter SSB operating.
You can not do this except under rare circumstances on FM, nor can you do it with a repeater.
True Emergency communication ability, plus the challenge and thrill of communicating antenna to antenna on bands 80% of the ham population will tell you is useless with out a repeater.
I invite anyone to try out Weak Signal Operating and learn more about it.
I am very passionate about it, and like all hobbies and passions you want friends and folks with similar interest to join you and try to instill that same passion for it. So unless you tell me to shut up and go away, I will always be preaching the thrill and challenges and fun of VHF/UHF weak signal activity.
To wrap this up…….If you do not already have our up coming lunch and learn on your calendar, I really would like to invite you to join us June 17th 2017 at the American Red Cross for our Free LUNCH and LEARN event. This event has grown quickly to the point that FLEX RADIO is even supporting us with some training classes this year.
So join us….See attached flier.
Just an example of what you can do……From my personal logs:
6 Meters over 7000 contacts, 50 states, 5 countries.
2 Meters over 4400 contacts, 28 states and 2 countries
1.25 Meters over 700 contacts, 4 states
70cm over 1,000 contacts, 5 states and 1 country
23cm over 140 contacts, 4 states
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AK4YH
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« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2017, 11:19:45 AM »

Thanks Greg, very interesting. You should write an Eham article on it.

I can only agree with not relying on repeaters... 2m USB and CW is used in France for emergency communications, but few "regular" hams use it. DMR seems to be the big thing right now. I did find a handful of locals who monitor 144300. Sometimes I get England, a couple hundred kilometers away, with 10W. Using an omnidirectional loop has allowed me to find the locals, but my 6el. Yagi-Uda does the heavy lifting. I operate portable only. Between 2m SSB/CW and NVIS on 80m there aren't many times I can't make regional contacts. I think I will eventually get the MFJ-9402, since my IC-251 is a bit heavy to lug around. It certainly is much easier to set-up a small 2m antenna compared to a 135ft wire. I'm not ditching 80m, it works too well, but 2m SSB/CW is my new pet band/mode.

Gil.
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N0YXB
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« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2017, 07:55:27 AM »

Thanks Greg, very interesting. You should write an Eham article on it.


+1
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N5XO
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« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2017, 03:16:43 PM »

Thanks Greg, very interesting. You should write an Eham article on it.


+1

I would need someone on a staff full time correcting my grammar Smiley
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W4KYR
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« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2017, 03:48:14 AM »

Thanks Greg, very interesting. You should write an Eham article on it.


+ 1 too
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The internet and cellphone networks are great until they go down, what then? Find out here. 
https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,111948.0.html

Using Windows 98 For Packet...
K0UA
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« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2017, 09:43:40 AM »

yep!

Most people mistakenly think that the 2 meter band is a line of sight band

Likely because their only experience has been with FM

Airmass bending/ducting is not unique to SSB. When I lived in Texas in mid 70's, I remember working Florida across gulf on 2m FM in a mobile with 15 watts and a 1/4 wave on roof many times.  I can remember watching UHF analog TV from deep in Kentucky and into Tennessee coming in to area north of Dayton Ohio where i live during big frontal shifts in weather patterns in spring and summer. The problem is though without this there are a lot of dead days on band. You can push reliably a bit beyond line of site with good antennas and some height but 300 to 500 or more miles is not gonna happen without some help from weather patterns.

Don't forget meteor pings.  With the new digital mode of MSK144, meteor scatter contacts are an everyday thing now.
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AK4YH
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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2017, 12:47:46 PM »

What digital modes are used on 2m? I'd like to try but with something that allows chatting, not just exchanging call signs...

Gil.
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N6YFM
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Posts: 517




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« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2017, 10:36:35 AM »

Does anyone know of a place we can find a list of rigs that can be used
for SSB  (all mode)   VHF/UHF etc?  While I know about the Kenwood TS-2000
and the Yaesu FT-991a, what others are good options for this?
Also, when you all mention 1296 Mhz in this thread, I assume you are talking
about using transverters for an all mode lower frequency rig?   Or did someone
make an actual all mode transceiver that included 1296?

Cheers,

Neal
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