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Author Topic: Where'd everybody go???  (Read 1282 times)

Posts: 123


« on: February 26, 2008, 08:25:07 PM »

Being an HF CW type operator I thought I might look into 2 meters again for an up-coming bicycle trip across the country.  Years ago, when living in the SF bay area (Vallejo-Benicia) I had a Yaesu handi and I remember it was a bunch of fun.  Seemed like almost any time, day or night, I could scan the 2M band and find a couple of guys yackin' on one of the many repeaters around.  I even started bringing it along for my morning commute. Driving from Vallejo to Richmond every weekday morning it was a great time passer, chatting away with other mobiles.  But as time went on I got bored with the chatting, yacking thing and my operating evolved into my current CW only mode, and that's where I have lived for a majority of my ham life.  So skip ahead to the current time; I've retired and moved with my gf down to the central coast. One of my passions is bicycle touring and I thought a little handi-squawky would be fun on our cross-country trip. Maybe it would even help finding a place to pitch our tent for a night or help with our route etc.  I started reading the e-ham reviews and eventually ended up buying a VX-170.  What a great little rig!  I also ordered a repeater directory and began programing in a half dozen or so of the local central coast repeaters. Well, I've been letting the thing scan on and off now for several weeks and I think I've had ONE repeater QSO.  There's just no activity!  What happened to the two meter band?  I did have another QSO with a guy on 146.52 MHz simplex and when I asked about the lack of activity he said it's the cell phone phenomenon... Have cell phones really had that bad of an impact on 2 meters?? If this is any indication of how things are going to work from Bar Harbor, Maine to Anacortes, Washington I think the space in my handle bar bag would be better used for Power Bars and State road maps!

Time flies like arrows...
Fruit flies like bananas!

Posts: 2415

« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2008, 10:56:55 PM »

The problem with lack of activity is due to a number of factors, Including cellphones, The internet taking away interest from ham radio in general, But one of the main things is that back in the 1970's there were very few repeaters in each area. We would have 50 people operating on a single repeater, For lots of activity, And everyone having fun.
Nowadays we have LOTS more repeaters, So have 50 repeaters with one person monitoring each......  And not many people having fun.

I am afraid you have really limited yourself by getting a VHF only hand held. In most areas of the country, UHF repeaters now have lots more activity, Especially the ones that support Echolink.

If you like Yaesu, Swap off your single band radio for a dual band, (Which will also work very well to monitor (Just like any "scanner") police, Fire, Ambulance, Marine, etc etc) Plus operate the ham UHF band.
The Yaesu FT-60 seems to be a nice choice, Yaesu VX 7 is a radio that has more features, And for a little micro shirt pocket radio, The Yaesu VX 3 is really a nice little low cost radio.
FT 60 now selling for 170 some bucks at a few dealers.


Posts: 8911


« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2008, 06:38:34 AM »

Cellphones, maybe... but are you sure you didn't just answer your own question already?  

"But as time went on I got bored with the chatting, yacking thing and my operating evolved into my current CW only mode, and that's where I have lived for a majority of my ham life"



Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.

Posts: 21758

« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2008, 08:26:30 AM »

If you just scan and listen, you won't hear much on 2m FM in most of the country; however there are thousands of operational repeaters with somebody listening to most of them.

The way to find out is to key one up, identify, and ask, "Can anyone give me a signal report?"  If somebody's listening, they'll answer you.

I'm sure there are many reasons for the huge drop in activity levels over the years, but my personal feeling is that "there's nothing new, there."  FM repeaters were like a new toy in the late sixties, and rose to incredible popularity by about 1980.  It's been all downhill from there.  Once it got to the point where *anyone* could put up a repeater, and in many places "anyone" did, the whole concept became not very interesting for experimenters and homebrewers who paved the way in the sixties putting up the early machines.

Another thing: HF rigs became so small and inexpensive that many mobileers who spent a lot of time on VHF-FM are now spending their mobile operating time on HF.  30 years ago you couldn't buy a 9-band 100W SSB transceiver that weighed five pounds, cost $800, and could be installed in an hour.  Today you can.


Posts: 3584

« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2008, 10:34:46 AM »

   2 meter activity has quieted down in many areas.  If you are traveling on the road and have the desire to chit chat, you can still find lots of truckers and many commuters chatting away on 11 meters.  They can sometimes be a good source of information on finding good eateries, the lowest priced gas stations, and traffic updates.

Posts: 229

« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2008, 02:54:31 AM »

Here in the Chicago area, a lot of activity is on 146.550
and 144.200 SSB.
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