Is going all-mode mobile VHF/UHF worth the cost?

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Robert Taylor:
I have a dual band FM mobile in my car now and find that I am not getting much use of it on the local repeaters...I'm getting tired of listening to rag chewing from the same five people and the scarcity of new contacts when I and others announce ourselves as monitoring.  I'm thinking that maybe going with an all-mode mobile might be more interesting on 2m and 440.  

I am thinking the disadvantage of all-mode mobile is my antenna is vertical and base operations would be horizontal.  I also wonder if there is much activity on VHF and UHF sideband these days.  I know part of it depends on where you live.

What are your thoughts?

Bob Lewis:
I suppose it depends on the activity in your local area. I have 6M SSB in the mobile and seldom hear any activity or get an answer to a CQ unless the band is open. I generally find HF much more interesting.

Joe DeJesus:
To take advantage of sideband you would need a
horizontally polarized antenna on 2M, or at least a
LOOP on your car.

I personally do not think its worth the effort to do
all this for your car... But if you want to be a
ROVER then go for it!

BUT, if you would use the all-mode in the shack with
a 2M yagi, you will have fun..

Having a all-mode radio opens allot of doors, you can
try Meteor scatter using WSJT on 2 meter sideband, or
try Simplex DXing and so on..

Also, most all-mode radios also have 6 meters... Add
a 6 meter beam and watch for band openings..

I hope this was of help...

73 Joe - KI4CYB

Mike Hansen:
There's a little 2-meter and 70cm SSB where I live, and I previously had a Kenwood TS-2000 mounted in the trunk of my car with the optional RC-2000 display up front. I thoroughly enjoyed using this radio while mobile because of what it offered over my regular dualband FM mobile. However, in my case I quickly grew tired of the greater complexity of this all mode, all-band radio (well, most bands anyway). It was more difficult to enter frequencies and change or toggle common features. I personally found my old dual band mobile to be better and went back to that radio instead. I now use the TS-2000 as a base station and I appreciate the TM-D700A much more now that I've used both mobile.

I did love being able to operate SSB in various bands but it wasn't enough to really justify having such a powerful radio in the car when an FM-only dualbander would do. I found the majority of the time I was operating FM anyway, but that's me.

If you operate HF mobile this would be an entirely different issue though. I did some mobile HF operating but extremely little. In the end I found I really didn't use the radio to it's full capability, and thus, I went back to traditional mobile FM. But again, that's only me.

Steve Katz:
There's a lot of SSB activity on 2m, and quite a bit on 70cm -- including in your area up there.

However, you won't hear it if you use a vertical antenna.  You *really* need to go horizontal, preferably with directional, rotary beam antennas and low-loss feedlines, and get those antennas up above the trees if you have dense foliage nearby.

Difference: Night and Day.

I'm in populated L.A., where there's likely more activity than up your way, but if I tune around on 2m SSB almost any evening, and also on weekend mornings, there's a lot of stations to hear and work -- and MOST of them are not closeby.  They're all over CA, southern NV and AZ, in about a 350 mile radius.  I hear them when I point the beam at them.  If I disconnect the beam and switch to my vertical antenna, 99% of everything heard goes away.

This is the leading cause of guys getting on VHF-UHF SSB for a while, hearing nothing, giving up, and selling their gear: They didn't use real antennas.

Even when working mobile, for SSB work, horizontal is a must.  The mobiles who are really having fun are the ones using stacked halos or loops on fairly tall masts attached to their vehicles (somehow!).  One fairly local guy, N6RMJ, runs a couple of hundred watts and stacked loops on the VHF bands and routinely chit-chats with stations >100 miles away as he's driving around and commuting.  I can work Pat from his driveway at his home (60 miles from me) to his workplace and back again without even noticing any fading on his signal, on 2m SSB.  I do have to keep turning my beam, to stay aimed at him!

To give VHF-UHF SSB a fair chance, use a beam, a rotor, good cable, and get the beam as high as you can above ground.  Otherwise, there's always satellites!



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