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Author Topic: Huge openings, no ops...  (Read 3183 times)

Posts: 193


« on: July 23, 2009, 08:03:30 PM »

We've had several big openings on the east coast from NC to Fla of late on 2m SSB, but seldom are there any ops. Do any of you watch for openings on 2 SSB these days? When I was active on 2 SSB in the mid-90's, there were many ops on, most any time. Now it seems to be slim pickings...must not be as popular as it once was.



Posts: 2415

« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 12:25:50 AM »

Yep, There have been some pretty good openings recently. Every year there is less and less activity on 2 meter SSB & CW (And 432 also)

I now mostly just listen on 146.52 FM simplex, As there is at least some activity there......

Hardly even worth putting up horizontal antennas anymore.

For a good map of real time conditions on two meters:

Posts: 527

« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 07:37:11 AM »

I used to spend many hours listening to both 6 and 2
SSB but after years of wasted time I now periodically
check some of the REAL TIME DX propagation sites to
see if there is any activity. If no one lists any
then I go do something else.

Posts: 59

« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2009, 10:17:03 AM »


I would have loved to do some 2m SSB but we have T-storms forecast also every night and I need to fix my 2m 5 element quad (plus I work days)

What time of the day (or night) are the openings?

Last time I worked 2m SSB was many years ago from PA to GA on a great opening

Keep listening and I'm sure someone will turn up.


Posts: 809

« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2009, 10:48:56 PM »

I am on 6 and 2 every day.
I to have seen the bands take a dive for lack of activity in the last 6 months where there use to be at least 2 doz ops on at various times.
I am getting ready to put my antennas up another 35 feet and put a bigger 2m amp on line as well as build a dedicted 6m amp.
Hope it does not turn out to be waisted effort.
Maybe it's related to the economy.
Last and best contact was from FN20 to outside Ronake, VA.
Most of my tropo contacts are in New England states at about 200 miles.
The last two contests showed a decline in activity as well.
Hang in there and still have fun when it comes.
Talk to others trying to get them to come to the band and share some of their time on a regular basis.
A lot of techs on the repeaters are prime if they hear there is another mode to use and prople are there.
Problem is equipment for many.
I use a DEMI TV with fine results on 2m.

Posts: 8911


« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 05:26:01 PM »

"Problem is equipment for many. "

I suspect part of the problem is lack of antenna height.

I suppose that's not strictly a problem for Sporadic E but with people struggling to put up an antenna, any antenna with whatever restrictions they're dealing with, I doubt there are very many putting up 10 element 2m yagis at 70 feet high.

And without high antennas, it's hard to have much fun on 2m in a lot of places.  I had great fun working in the contests from here in FM18 and probably still do but even that's worn off a little unless the band is going to be REALLY open because I just have 5 elements on 2 and 12 elements on 432 at 30 feet.

I can pass out the points to the locals and W3SO and K1WHS and K4QI and W2SZ and whoever, but often there's not going to be anything new or interesting on for me because my antenna's just too darn low, and I have antennas on top of the house, and this is an active region!

Lots of people would be stuck in the attic in a dead zone.  What's going to keep your attention there in between the one Es opening every two years?


It's too bad because I think it's possible that a whole lot MORE people have 2m SSB/CW gear these days.  I just use a FT-857D.  That happens to be one of the cheapest brand new HF rigs around these days, and so a lot of people own them.

But you can't work much DX on 2m with the stealth antenna 10 feet off the ground unless you live in a very lucky ducting area (used to live in Erie PA and could work a hundred miles + on low power 440 FM from indoor antennas in my bedroom ;-) )

I dabble in 2m here, but would be a much more active op if I had a 50 or 70 foot tower.



Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.

Posts: 116

« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2009, 06:49:01 PM »

I have heard a FEW openings on 2 meter SSB this year but NOT many.I work Monday thru Friday in the day time hours so I am headed to work during the BEST prop times.I TRY & sleep in on Saturdays & Sundays if at all possible but I will make an EARLY morning appearance should I wake up early or for a sked but I do NOT set the alarm clock otherwise.I do have a couple of NEW GRIDS this year on 2 meters which is RARE for me.If ANYONE wants too make a sked that needs or wants EM80 PLEASE feel free too send me an email & I will see what I can do so you get the grid confirmed.I do NOT have a BIG DOG station but can usually make it up the coast into North & South Carolina UNLESS the band is VERY POOR & BEYOND with BETTER conditions.

W4KVW at

Posts: 397

« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2009, 02:10:12 PM »

A lot of long time hams are just not around anymore and the new shack on the belt types have no clue and could care less. It takes a bit of work to get a decent 2M SSB station on the air and the SOTB hams are not into work.


Posts: 397

« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2009, 08:30:27 PM »

There was a very nice 2m Es opening today.  Even being on the fringe, I managed to work a dozen stations, including one new grid.  I am sure those better-positioned in the footprint did even better.

2m Es openings are often fleeting.  You have to catch 'em when they happen.  This was the third Es  opening I have worked this season.  That's about average, I guess.

So, the ops are there.  You just gotta catch 'em when the band opens.

Peter, N4LI

Posts: 31

« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2009, 07:02:34 AM »

Yesterday we had a big Es opening here on the East coast on 2m. It was open for 3 hours. Worked 15 and 6 new grids. Missed many others. Best was 1300 miles into DN94.

Posts: 1209


« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2009, 04:10:09 PM »

I can't answer for 2M SSB as I am not set up into that YET (working on doing it soon), but as to 6M, I daily watch the VHFDX.NET maps and routinely observe the eastern half of the US explode around mid morning West Coast time with QSOs from ME to TX and FLA to Great Lakes. Sometimes there are so many QSO track lines in red that it looks like someone just poured red paint across the eastern half of the US map. If you aren't working 6M station in that fracus, you're either working into a dummy load or you've got the rig tuned to 40M.

West Coast 6M ops have had our share of good openings lately but at least as far as I can see, the eastern US is a 6M hotbed right now. I'm in Southern CA and routinely work stations in WA, WY, MT, CO, UT, AZ, as far west as TX/LA/OK and on good openings I jump right into the NE and along the eastern seaboard down into FL. I have good luck a couple of times lately and picked up some Caribbean and Central/South American DX QSOs on 6M too.

If you've got 6M on your all-in-one whizbang rig and are not using it, you're definitely missing out on some great fun. Sure it isn't 20M during a sunspot peak but when the Es propogation opens up (and it has been pretty regular the last few weeks), loads of fun can be had with low power and small antennas. If you don't have a 6M antenna and don't like to build or experiment, I highly recommend you check out the manufacturers of 6M rings and 'squalo' type loops. A 6M loop or small 3 element yagi can easily be erected on a light mast. 6M antennas do not have to be a 60 to 100 feet like 20M yagis but rather a wavelength to 2 wavelengths (20-40') will work great. When 6M opens, 10W and loop 15-20 foot up will work lots of grids. I just received my VUCC award for 121 grids confirmed using 100W and a 5 element yagi at 40 foot. Most of those QSO's were with smaller stations than I had. I just replaced my trusted 5 element yagi for a 7 element widespaced model and I've got a whole new footprint of grids to work.

A couple of years ago I was back east on vacation in Arkansas during the springtime, using my FT-100D (100W on 6M) into a KU4AB loop on a 16 foot PVC pipe mast. In the course of a week I worked around 275 QSO's for 50+ grids, 28 states (area covered by FL to PA to NM to ND) and 3 countries (US, Canada and Mexico) so I know it can be done.

So I challenge you to get on 6M and work some grids. You'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Listen for me from DM15 in the Mojave Desert!

Gene W5DQ

Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp

Posts: 90

« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2009, 05:52:42 PM »

7/29, we had a massive opening on 2M for the first time I can remember from eastern Long Island (FN30-JV) to the following:
EN41, EM35, EN32, and several others.. I also made 25 contacts in 15 minutes on 6M.. Some really crazy and wild conditions....Hope to work you all soon... David

Posts: 3746

« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2009, 06:23:36 PM »


check out the Moxon for 6M,
I built one with #12 thhn wire,
worked great so I built another using
1/2" aluminum tubing.

50 ohm direct fed with low loss coax
and you are on the air working the E's

here is another from an article in QST

73 james

Posts: 555

« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 12:43:18 PM »

Well with luck by this time next year I will be on 2m SSB. I have done a lot of 6m mobile work but 2m SSB will be new from a home shack. With some luck I should have 4 ele on 6, 8 ele on 2 and 8 ele on 432 soon. I have 220 FM but not SSB. For once I will be in a house operating and from a relative high spot and not in a hole looking into the side of a mountain or hill. (Man the air is different up here! HI HI!)

I learned about the fun of 2m SSB by taking part in contest my local club participated in when I was just starting out. My advice is this, if you have a few good VHF Weak Signal ops in your club see if they will host members of the club at their place during Sept. or Jan. VHF Contest weekend. With the openings June is also a good one (but with so many events in June that might be a touch difficult to get a good turnout.) By showing them there is life and fun you could get a few new recruits to at least put up dipoles. Then perhaps you can start an informal 2m SSB net and chat there instead of on a repeater or on 10m. Who knows where it goes from there!

Posts: 809

« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2009, 11:19:40 PM »

Dan, hope to hear you on 6 and 2m.
I should be able to work you from Easton on either band.
My usual 'tropo' distance is about the same on both bands out as much as 300 miles.
Regular working to within 50 miles of the Canadian border on 2m so far and all over most of the New England states  and NY.
My son is in Hamburg and will be on 2m as well as 6m.
The Pac Rats have a net on 144.150 mon. eves.
East coast vhf soc. has theirs on sun. morns 144.250 so tune and see if you can hear some of them.
Good antennas, low loss feedline is the ticket.
A little power helps.
I run 175 watts solid state with speech processing and it does a job getting out and be heard.
Not all of us will hear everything other areas hear because ES is quite selective on these bands.
My 6m DX best is to central america, Canada, NW Territory, some islands in the atlantic, so far.
In contests I have made contacts tropo as far west as Pitbg. and into West Va.
You may find these bands vacant most of the time but make calls often in prime time 5 to 11 pm and on week ends, and last day of long holidays finds some ops listening more often as well as more in the fall and winter.
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