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Author Topic: Why not more activity on 2 M , 6 and 432 SSB??  (Read 14107 times)
MAZZ1232002
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Posts: 205




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« on: December 31, 2009, 08:27:55 AM »

We have radios that are not real expensive and cover all the way to 450 mhz with all modes. All a guy needs is a square loop, stacked square loops etc for 6 meters on up. Even a small beam and a TV rotor will do wonders. In other words it's not very difficult or even expensive to work the VHF UHF bands on SSB so why the absence of activity? You would think that with communication distances of up to 200 to 300 miles possible  on 2 meter ssb there would be tons of activity given what I stated above but this is not the case. Back in the old days you need a seperate radio but not today.
  Anyone have ideas as to why there is such a lack of interest in vhf uhf SSB given the radios and simple antennas we have available? I had a 7 element 2 meter horizontal yagi up here back in 2003. It was up a whooping 24 feet and pointing north into a hillside. I could hear a beacon on 144.30 mhz in Rapid City, So. Dak. The distance was 195 air miles. I am in Kimball, Ne.Think of the potential here. The beacon is long gone now.

Pete
WB4CGA
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W3DKV
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 02:51:44 PM »

Wow, I could go on for hours about this.  Not only is there little activity on 2 mtr SSB, but on 2 meters in general, especially 146.52 FM.  And 2-meter CW is all but completely dead.  I have been licensed for 56 years and as hard as this is for me to believe, I have never seen 2-meters more quiet!  In the 1950s, 2-meter AM was a hot bed of activity.

There has been much speculation about the above.  One popular guess is that computers and the internet in particular have captured the interest of those who used to do more operating.  Another reason could be the fact that the increasing sunspot numbers have attracted more hams to the lower bands.  Another reason is the popularity of repeaters over simplex FM and SSB operation.  But now it is my understanding that activity has dropped dramatically even on the repeaters

Decades ago I went on a one-man crusade to try to scare up more CW activity at the lower end of 2, but nothing ever came of it.

I commonly go 2-meter mountain topping at a really high spot (for this area) and even then I sometimes have difficulty scaring up a QSO, especially on SSB.

Well, I don't know if I found the answer to the problem or not, but I thought I would at least make a comment to show you that you are certainly not alone in your observations.

- Pete
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KC0FTC
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 03:04:41 AM »

None of my radios will do SSB on 2 meters, never had one.  Don't even know what 2 meter radio will do that. Here, the repeater is very active and so is 146.520.  My guess is that if people want to talk farther than the repeater, they go to HF.  But I think SSB on 2 meters would be neat to do.  200-300 miles on 2 meters would be cool.  My HF radio is only HF, not a fantsy all mode radio. Just a simple 75 watt 2 meter mobile and VX-7R for HT.  If I knew there was 2 meter SSB activity, I'd think about getting a 2 meter with SSB.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 05:56:55 AM »

You don't consistantly do 200-300 miles on 2M SSB with a square loop on the roof of the typical residential house. That's part of the problem - not everybody has stacked yagis on a 75 foot tower.

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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2010, 08:54:40 AM »

>RE: Why not more activity on 2 M , 6 and 432 SSB??       Reply
by KC0FTC on March 16, 2010    Mail this to a friend!
None of my radios will do SSB on 2 meters, never had one. Don't even know what 2 meter radio will do that. Here, the repeater is very active and so is 146.520. My guess is that if people want to talk farther than the repeater, they go to HF. But I think SSB on 2 meters would be neat to do. 200-300 miles on 2 meters would be cool. My HF radio is only HF, not a fantsy all mode radio. Just a simple 75 watt 2 meter mobile and VX-7R for HT. If I knew there was 2 meter SSB activity, I'd think about getting a 2 meter with SSB.<

::Lots of rigs work 2m SSB, including little mobile rigs like the FT-857D and IC-706MK2G...and "bigger" ones like the IC-746PRO and TS-2000.

There is good activity on 2m SSB and 200-300 miles is a pretty typical working radius for an average home station with a beam up high enough to really work.  2m SSB operation is all horizontally polarized, so an "FM" antenna (vertical) will produce very poor performance; you really want a horizontally polarized rotary beam.

But it's easy to do, and the bigger and higher your antenna is, the more stations you'll hear and work.
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KQ6Q
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2010, 11:25:05 AM »

Be sure to get on and work the VHF contests - you'll discover what you can actually do. A beam is best if you want some distance  -with 3 el on 6m and 14 circular polarized on 2m, I make plenty of contacts when the band is open. Casual contacts don't happen very readily, but some groups do have nets on the bands, to encourage some distant contacts between contests. read the VHF columns in QST and CQ to get an idea of who's doing what, when, and with what....

Fred, KQ6Q
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2010, 07:11:31 PM »

What Fred just posted is very correct.

If I operate from home at 850' a.s.l. with a 12 element yagi at 65' on 2m, I can hear some stuff pretty often; however, if I drive up to Saddle Peak at 2830' a.s.l. (and only 20 mins away) and operate mobile with a small horizontal beam, I can hear and work much more than I can from home.

Then, if I want to really have an "experience," I can try getting through all the ruts and ditches to get to the summit of Mt. Pinos at 8831' a.s.l. (and only an hour away or so) and commonly hear stations in CA, NV, AZ, OR, WA and ID, out to about 600 miles or more.  The activity is always there, it's just I cannot hear it from home because I'm not elevated enough.

VHF work is very predicated on antenna, height above ground, elevation above sea level, and clarity to a very distant horizon.

If you can "see" a 200 mile horizon from your antenna, you're in very good shape.  Most of us cannot.
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K0IVK
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2010, 02:42:04 PM »

Hello,
I won't try to speculate on why the lack of activity. I will, however, pass on some things I have recently learned to make use of my newly acquired, older, 2 Meter all mode. I already had a 10 element Cushcraft yagi, but in order to increase my range on 2 Meter SSB/CW I rotated the antenna for horizontal polarization. The biggest help I have discovered is the S.W.O.T club.  http://www.swotrc.net/ In order to determine conditions and your range on 2M there is a list of 2M beacons. I have also found the S.W.O.T. nets helpful. There are probably nets in your area. The NCS of these nets will most likely have very good equipment, such as multi-antenna arrays and will be running high power. You may find it amazing how far you can reach with very modest equipment. My first net I tried was around 175 miles away and I can routinely check in with my 25W all mode Kenwood TR-9130 and 10 element yagi at only about 35 feet. Another thing I have found helpful is the ON4KST chat page. http://www.on4kst.com/chat/start.php You will have to complete the free registration for the  144 & 432 MHz IARU Region 2 chat This is a good place to find others in range of your equipment. I've found the chat room especially useful on Wednesday evenings in conjunction with the Wisconsin S.W.O.T net. Even if I can't hear the WI NCS I can find stations that ARE in my range and meet them on other frequencies for a QSO.
I hear most of my local SSB activity on 144.200, but I have also heard activity on 144.175-144.225. Most S.W.O.T nets are on 144.250 or 144.240.
As far as CW goes, I have been able to negotiate for a few CW QSOs by posting on some local club websites and by just asking those I work if they use 2M CW. most the QSOs on CW have been at either 144.100 or 144.070 ( I belong to SKCC and .070 is our 2M CW frequency)
Hope this information helps you have more 2M SSB/CW QSOs
73 Joe k0ivk
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WB0YWW
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 12:21:58 PM »

 Joe has alot of good info, I use on4kst web site alot , also KC9BQA has a good web site. NLRS Norther Lights Radio Society has nets on Sunday from EN33 at 9:00 PM they have a web site also.  There on 144260 also Monday Night is N0PB in EM39 at 8:00PM on 144250  . WB9LYH in en54 has a net on WED at 7:00pm soon to change to 8:00 pm  on 144240.There are a number of Hams on 2SSB from Lincoln Neb and Omaha Neb. some you only hear when the band opens up or during contests. Watch the Propagation Logger and Propagation Maps DX Sherlock , they are all helpfull aids. Get something up horizontal I have worked all over with a pair of Loops on the back of a pickup. Its good time to be on Conditions will get better soon and Good luck from Iowa.  WB0YWW Bob EN22UK . &73s
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2010, 01:19:37 PM »

I've found out of those bands, 6 probably has the most semi-regular 'activity', especially during band openings. During a VHF contest you will find that all of these bands will have some activity on it. If you're into the more experimental stuff... there is quite a bit of digital activity in the forms of JT-65b (EME, etc) or modes for meteor scatter (fsk-441, etc). You can look up N0UK's 'Ping Jockey' which is a site where people pre-arrange contacts. I like catching band openings and some of the alternate modes myself. Also, you have the SSB and FM satellites which always create a bit of activity during a pass.
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W5DQ
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2010, 05:13:43 PM »

Not being active on 2M or 70cm SSB right now, I can't answer for those bands. However, I can assure you that there is an overabundance of activity on 6M lately. Of course most of it is Es (sporadic E) propagation but it is active and getting more active every day as we go into the summer Es season in North America. Yesterday 6M was open coast to coast and many stations in the East/SE US were getting into the Carribean and Central America. I am in Southern California and with a modest station (TS2000X, 100W and 7 elements @ 40 ft) I was working into eastern NC and VA easily. I picked up station from Nevada to the east coast for over 4 hours yesterday evening.

I'm not sure what you're using for an antenna but even a loop antenna in the clear up 12 to 15 feet should garner many 6M QSOs during a big opening as we're seeing now.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
N6ORB
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Posts: 244




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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 08:44:46 AM »

Yes, six meters has been very active the past couple of days. All of the activity got the summer Es season off to a great start.

From here in the Bay area, I worked Maryland, the Cayman Islands and areas of the midwest that I don't often hear. I'm using 100 watts into a Moxon antenna only 13 feet off the ground in an antenna restricted HOA, so it doesn't take a big system to have fun on six. Between now and mid-August is the time to be on six.

Dave
N6ORB
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N3OX
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2010, 09:16:11 AM »

However, I can assure you that there is an overabundance of activity on 6M lately. Of course most of it is Es (sporadic E) propagation but it is active and getting more active every day as we go into the summer Es season in North America.

You probably only need to hear 20 -30 operators for 6m to sound packed to the gills.  One every 3kHz from 50.125 to 50.200 is 25 ongoing QSOs.

If you are counting signals from, say, 10% of the land area of the US, you could probably still have on the order of 100 miles between stations with them evenly distributed all over. 

With that kind of density, if everyone has a big tower, you can hear a few people with the bands not open.  Since Es and long haul tropo ducting on 2m and 70cm are rare and since "big tower" isn't even close to a requirement for 6m Sporadic E (Exhibit A:  N6ORB's comment), I would say it would be easy to make 6m sound like 20m and still have ZERO stations to talk to on 2m and 70cm.









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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
W5DQ
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2010, 03:36:27 PM »

However, I can assure you that there is an overabundance of activity on 6M lately. Of course most of it is Es (sporadic E) propagation but it is active and getting more active every day as we go into the summer Es season in North America.

....... I would say it would be easy to make 6m sound like 20m and still have ZERO stations to talk to on 2m and 70cm.

This is very true. Unless station start calling, no one may know anyone else is there. I have plans to acquire a decent sized 2M long boom yagi and get it up this summer. I had hoped to have it up by now but as the old saying goes "the best laid plans of mice and men". Look for me on 6M now and hopefully on 2M before summers end.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
K2PHD
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 05:28:26 AM »

The problem is that we as a population are moving away from verbal communication and personal interaction. The Internet has made it easier to express feelings via email and with cell phones if we really need to reach out and touch someone we can easily and briefly.

Ham radio is for us die hards who believe that communications is fun. I enjoy speaking with someone on two meters in the next town or on 40 meters a thousand miles away. I am interested to hear what they have to say, what they find interesting, what they are doing with their life. Today many are so self centered they don't care about anyone but themselves so communicating is unnecessary. Just give them a video game and they are content.

I know I sound cynical but that is because I am. I believe that any resurgence on two meters will occur from the boomer generation. I have hope that as they move into retirement that ham radio will become a hobby embraced by those in their golden years.


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