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Author Topic: I am about ready to throw my 2 meter station in the garbage!  (Read 12392 times)
WB2WIK
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Posts: 20603




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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2012, 10:17:44 AM »

I live in a densely populated area with more hams per square mile than almost anywhere in the U.S., and even here 2m SSB is only "active" when:

-There's a VHF contest (like this coming weekend)
-There are unusual tropo conditions, like a big duct
-There's a major meteor shower or meteor storm (and then a LOT of the activity is digital, not SSB voice)
-Or for "daily" operations, from around the afternoon rush hour (4-8 PM) into the night (maybe 10 PM or so); other times of day, almost nothing.  Sometimes Sat or Sun morning between 7 AM and 10 AM there's activity.

I've found the only way to hear "lots of activity," especially if it's not a contest or some other phenomenon, is to go portable to a mountaintop with a good beam.  From Frazier Peak (el. 8013' asl, overlooking Los Angeles and a lot of the State) the band sounds active on SSB quite a  lot, but that's because I'm hearing everyone within about 450 miles from up there.  From home, not so.

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K3GM
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Posts: 1804




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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2012, 11:17:07 AM »

You could also employ the WSJT digital toolset and pull digital signals out of seemingly dead air.

2m weak signal operations are 99% listening, with occasional calling.  But it's also more than just operating. It's also about building antennas, and general experimentation.

If you find yourself getting bored with the band, for Technicians like yourself there's also 6 meters.  This band shares similar band characteristics and activity, but has more DX openings than 2 meters.  You also have 10m privileges.  The idea is to keep your interest up, and not get bored with the same band, day after day.  Work for your General, and you'll open up the entire world.
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W8JX
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« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2012, 11:45:11 AM »

If you find yourself getting bored with the band, for Technicians like yourself there's also 6 meters.  This band shares similar band characteristics and activity, but has more DX openings than 2 meters. 

6m shares more with HF at times than with 2m. While E layer reflection on 6 is not rare at all in summer months it is basically unheard of on 2m. And F2 reflection that gives you the real long haul around globe is quite possible on 6m during peak years and will never happen on 2m.  We are coming into sunspot maximum next few years so 6m should be mostly pretty good thru 2014 or so and world wide DX possible. During lows you can still get occasional daytime E skip to 1000 miles or so.
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KC9VFO
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2012, 01:32:31 PM »

Thanks for all the suggestions,read them all and they are appreciated. I am not finished experimenting with 2 meters yet but I think if I add another band it will be 6 meters. After that I might get the general and start using 20m and 40 meters. I am taking it slow, I have more time than money being a family man with kids heavily in sports etc.  I also use a beacon about a 140 miles SE from me to tell me what the current propagation might be doing. And I use this site which is always interesting http://aprs.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/.  And I also sometimes check in and always listen to the Wednesday night KC9BQA SSB net.http://kc9bqa.com/.  I also am encouraging some local CBers to give up their wayward ways and become amateur radio operators, one of my life long friends is studying now and already has a 2 meter dual band and antenna up on the roof of his home. I also am considering doing some roving , we have a State Park about 25 miles from here with 1200 ft elevations with nice look out points. My home is at 820ft which is a little higher than the immediate surrounding areas. I am in the process soon to raise the stacked 4 elements another 10 ft in the air. There, probably more than you all wanted to know. Smiley
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W8JX
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« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2012, 02:03:08 PM »

I am in the process soon to raise the stacked 4 elements another 10 ft in the air.

I do not think I would bother. Biggest bang for buck would be a better stack. Two stacked 11 element beams at current height would do much better than current antennas up 10 feet more. Longer stacked beams concentrate the lobe at a very low angle and boost your ERP. Higher angle radiation is simply lost signal.
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KC7YRA
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Posts: 256




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« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2012, 07:13:16 PM »

I threw mine away several years ago.  I had a BIG 11el beam at 120ft HAAT with a horizon of over 60 miles in most directions.  I would listen during contests, weekends, aurora, whatever.

The ONLY activity I ever heard was a net out of Denver Colorado.  I was able to check in from a few hundred miles away, through some huge mountains.

Other than that, STONE SILENT.

I threw the beam off the tower and never looked back.  No wonder some of our grid squares are so rare. Have to be very dedicated to keep in the game. 

Brad
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KM3F
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Posts: 506




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« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2012, 07:50:09 PM »

I have been around on 6, 2 and 432 for awhile and unless there are stations who have a special interst in vhf/uhf, they will be few and far between.
It's a band that requires the better antenna heights and power to get out to those who are there.
Being light in population, they are also only there during limited times.
Also I perceive that ham radio has taken a  dive on all the bands over the last year.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2012, 05:16:58 AM »

To put a lighter spin on this, if you're serious (and I know that you probably aren't) I offer the use of my garbage can!   Grin  73!
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KB9BPF
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2012, 12:05:20 PM »

It's unfortunate that Dick Hart K0MQS of Delta, Iowa is not around any more. He was a great 2M SSB op: a really terrific guy who was interesting and fun to ragchew with.

In the 90's, Dick and Smitty W0DQY in St. Charles, MO had a sked in the mornings on 144.200 about 9 AM. Dick in particular had an amazing receive ability. I once worked him from an old Icom IC-202 portable rig running 3W into the built-in telescoping whip antenna from my front yard in Godfrey, IL, near St. Louis.

In 2000 I upgraded to Extra and shifted gears toward HF operation. I do miss the great people on 2M SSB and was very sad to learn that several years ago, Dick's antennas were badly damaged in a storm. As far as I know he was never able to rebuild. A great loss to VHF SSB in the midwest.

73
Brad KB9BPF

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KE7DJQ
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Posts: 51


WWW

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« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2012, 02:45:21 PM »

In Salt Lake City, UT, there is a repeater tied into the Western Reflector.  I can reach it with my 2M radio from 80 miles away. This is part of a large network  connected all across the US and in many countries around the world.  Some places need to use IRLP, but not all places.  I don't. 

Being global in scope means lots more people are on it. 

Maybe you have a repeater near you connected to it. 
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K0CBA
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Posts: 299




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« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2012, 07:48:49 AM »

I have been calling CQ on 144.200 in all headings for the last 11 hrs and only made one contact, this sucks!

Yes it does and it is a real shame. 2 meter SSB/CW could be a lot of fun for local round tables and just like 6, the band does not need to be open to enjoy a local chat.

When 6, and on the rare ocassions 2 meters is open....it's "gimme your grid square and go away".
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KC9VFO
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2012, 10:37:53 AM »

I have been calling CQ on 144.200 in all headings for the last 11 hrs and only made one contact, this sucks!

Yes it does and it is a real shame. 2 meter SSB/CW could be a lot of fun for local round tables and just like 6, the band does not need to be open to enjoy a local chat.

When 6, and on the rare ocassions 2 meters is open....it's "gimme your grid square and go away".

You are right! I know I have a small station compared to the big shooters but I am still good for 100 miles plus.  It would be a great band for local rag chews etc if more folks were involved. I would think any Tech would be thrilled to experiment with 2 meter SSB. I am on a quest to get some locals I know involved somehow. I even bought a radio for one life long friend to use who has been studying for his license. If I just had one reliable contact to test antennas and radios etc it would make a world of difference. I also give my call on 152 FM with out much action. Oh well. ..
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2012, 03:28:08 PM »

2m SSB this past weekend was active coast to coast for the VHF contest.

Were you on for that?
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20603




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« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2012, 07:43:33 PM »

2m SSB this past weekend was active coast to coast for the VHF contest.

Were you on for that?

Yeah, I guessed you weren't. Cheesy

VHF weak signal work does not occur 24/7, it occurs when there are operating activities.

Last weekend during the contest, I worked about 500 miles in every direction, because there was activity there.


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LA9XNA
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Posts: 108




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« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2012, 02:01:27 AM »

Monitor this site.
http://www.dxinfocentre.com/tropo_nwe.html
You can set it up to show you any region on earth an givesr you a week of forcast.
Then you can just beam your antenna in the right direction and start calling.
Beacon monitoring is another option to check the conditions.
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