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Author Topic: 2m ssb, am  (Read 7527 times)
N0SOY
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Posts: 72




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« on: October 21, 2012, 03:57:33 PM »

Is anyone using 2m SSb or even am any more?  Considering the popularity of 2m FM is there anyone doing much in the other modes?

Thanks
David
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K0CBA
Member

Posts: 299




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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2012, 08:18:26 PM »

David,

Granted, I don't have a grand setup but in and around the St. Louis area 2 meter SSB is as dead as can be.  Every couple of evenings I call two, maybe three CQs on 144.200 SSB and once and awhile CW, then as per usual shut it down and save the electricity as it is a total waste of time. 

AM and CW is even more desolate if you can imagine it.....and it is such a shame because it could be a swell local rag chew band.

Except for some drive time activity and the wonderful EMCOMM nets preparing for the end times (I guess), repeaters seem to have had their day too.

I guess the activity could come back someday but then too someday we may have honest government. Don't mean to 'piddle' on your cornflakes but thats what I have observed.

73,
Bob
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KA4POL
Member

Posts: 2001




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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2012, 09:46:48 PM »

Unfortunately newer VHF/UHF radios do not provide SSB, at least most of them. For contesting and under good conditions it is still a possibility to do some DX. It is very unfortunate that SSB is on the retreat. But I guess that's evolution.
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KCJ9091
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 07:18:15 AM »

There was a weekly net on 2 SSB.  Since I moved farther out and behind a big hill I'm not sure if it still meets.  It was a pleasant change from the FM repeater nets.
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AG6WT
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Posts: 453




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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 08:05:49 AM »

In the San Francisco area we have some SSB nets. The ones I know about are the bi-weekly S.W.O.T. nets and the weekly 25-25 ragchew net. The 25-25 net uses vertical polarization to bring in mobiles or only have one home antenna for repeaters.

My club also hosts a bi-weekly slow CW net, usually alternating between 2m and 40m. Sessions typically last 30-60 minutes.

I have heard a few faint ragchew sessions at other times on 2m SSB but as I only have a vertical that isn't high up I could be missing quite a bit.

73
Ray KJ6AMF
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20603




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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 11:58:27 AM »

I've been on 2m SSB since 1968 or so, when the band was still mostly AM.  Most of the AM guys shifted to SSB by about 1972-73.

There's always been activity, and there still is; it's a specialty band-mode and still very popular among weak-signal chasers, contesters and "rovers."

Unless you have other users who are within direct-wave range, it's a "weak signal" mode and that's everything it implies.  Most signals are weak, because they're covering a lot of distance -- way, way over the horizon.  It's mostly tropo scatter, with some excitement caused by tropo ducting, Aurora, and occasional sporadic-E (ionospheric) propagation.

Everyone uses horizontal polarization (if they're serious about it), most everyone uses a beam or better, and height makes might.  With a single 12 element Yagi at 60' above ground from my home in L.A., I hear activity on 2m SSB all the time -- well, almost all the time. Tongue  There's activity during "commuting" hours, when mobiles are using 2m SSB; there's more activity in the evening, when people are home; there's a pretty fair amount on weekday mornings (when people are home); and a whole lot more during VHF contests, when the band can actually be quite crowded.

"Geometry" is important.  Here's why:

If you have a 2m beam and a 2m SSB rig and the beam is good enough to routinely make contacts over a 50 mile radius, you might find five other stations to work in that radius. So, you get to know those five guys.

Improve the antenna to a bigger beam up higher and now your radius might be 150 miles.  That doesn't triple the number of possible contacts available, it increases that number by a factor of times NINE, because area is a square function of radius.  Your working area for contacts within a 50 mile radius is 7854 square miles; with a 150 mile radius, it becomes 70,686 square miles.  BIG difference. 

Now improve the antenna more and raise it higher, so you have a 300 mile working radius (very doable on 2m SSB, for almost anyone at almost any location, with a decent beam up sufficiently high above ground).  Now your working area is 282,743 square miles and the number of stations who might be contacted is 36 times more than the number in the original setup with the 50 mile radius.  If you could work five guys in the 50 mile radius, chances are you can work 180 guys in the 300 mile radius.

That's when it starts to become interesting. Smiley

From an "average" location (height above average terrain = 0 at ground level), almost anyone can do that by placing a large beam up about 70-80 feet above ground, and feeding it with low-loss cable.

From a hilltop or mountaintop, it's better. Wink
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KB1GMX
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Posts: 775




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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 03:10:54 PM »

Like WB2WIK said.

I'd add my setup is 200W, 35ft, 11 element beam, working radius 200+ miles.

As to being barren, It can be.  Around here (eastern MA) there are at least 7
nets I can participate in providing I have time.

You don't know without a good antenna higher than the house and preferably
higher than the trees.

Allison
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20603




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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 03:15:15 PM »

Like WB2WIK said.

I'd add my setup is 200W, 35ft, 11 element beam, working radius 200+ miles.

As to being barren, It can be.  Around here (eastern MA) there are at least 7
nets I can participate in providing I have time.

You don't know without a good antenna higher than the house and preferably
higher than the trees.

Allison

Absolutely.

From my home which is not a great VHF location (it's 850' a.s.l., but that's just barely "average terrain" around here) I have a typical working radius of about 300 miles on 2m SSB.  A bit more to the east, since I can work Phoenix, which is 400 miles.  A bit less looking northeast, since a mountain range 5000-6000' high is fairly close and creates a bit of an obstruction.  I can usually work up the coast to the SF Bay area, which is 350-400 miles, but that's right along the water which makes it easier.

I'm using 12L at 60 feet above ground, fed with 1/2" hardline.  Nothing special nor expensive, just takes some work.

But due to the reasonable working radius, there's always people to chat with on 2m SSB.

If I use a loop antenna at 35 feet above ground, I hear just about "nobody." Tongue
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KE5ICG
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2012, 07:52:20 AM »

From what I have heard on the band, 2m ssb is pretty active in the Mid-South.  FM is decent on the repeaters and there are pockets of simplex FMers.  But it is true that you've got to get that antenna up there and a beam is needed.

Current Central Arkansas QTH is not great for getting antennas way up.  At the old house, which was on a flat prairie, I had a 2m/440 dualband vertical on a chimney mount about 20 ft above the roof.  Beam was a homebrew 3L on tripod about 10 ft above roof.  This worked pretty well, but when I homebrewed a 7L beam and added a 5 ft section to both antenna setups the difference was dramatic.  One of my regular contacts in east Tennessee said I went from readable but fairly weak on both FM and SSB to being so strong it was like I was there.  That was with 10 watts and just over 200 miles.  Not too bad.

I won't have results like that at current abode until I  get the tower built.  SO true that you have to get up as high as you can with best antennas possible.


73 and good 2m work to all -- Ray, KE5ICG
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K0CBA
Member

Posts: 299




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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 09:23:03 AM »

While having mega elements many feet in the air on really high terrain with a couple of hundred mile range is truly a giggle it has some downfalls. If you and a far off station do not have your near laser sharp arrays pointed within a few degrees of each other at the moment, you're chances of having a random QSO or hearing each other goes way down.

Especially on V/UHF there is or should be more to life than "DX". Need some physical help with a project, want some local friends with local interests, would like to scare up some guys for a get together or for a local hamfest, borrow or lend a piece of gear for a try out, or want more than a "give me your grid square and get off my frequency" QSO? then at least it should be complemented with an omni for local round table work.

As you can tell from the comments, 2 meter SSB activity is pretty regionalized; some areas are great and some are ok while most areas (mine for sure) seem to indicate you would do just as well with a dummy load for an antenna.  Unfortunately in the latter no one seems to want to be the first to put their toe in the water to find out.

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KM3F
Member

Posts: 506




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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 10:56:00 AM »

Some elaboration on distance and antenna gain.
Depends on what your interest is.
High antenna gains are needed for weak signal work long distance.
It's true that high gains mean limited hearing in other directions at times.
However it does not always mean you will miss a station off the rear or to the side unless the station is in a deep side null in the antenna's pattern.
I would say that 12 elements is about the limit for aversge all around uses.
It tends to make you use the rotor a lot to find and  peak signals.
Many high end ststions use a pair of lesser gain antennas to get the gain but have a wider pattern especially for contesting.
So there is some science in it depending on what your want to do.
A second antenna is cheap to make up for the coverge.
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WB4AUW
Member

Posts: 42




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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 06:28:13 PM »

Does anyone use 2 meter FM anymore?
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20603




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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2012, 06:21:45 PM »

Does anyone use 2 meter FM anymore?

They do, but it ain't what it was in the 70s.
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VE1CZ
Member

Posts: 70




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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2012, 04:48:00 AM »

If you think 2 meter SSB and CW is dead there you should live up here in FN85.I have recently begun to try setting up a small station(TM255a,RFC 170 watt amp and a 13b2) and there is not very much activity around here.There are a few of us that are trying to establish a presence on 2 even going as far as to setup a bcn on 144.288 beaming SW.Hopefully soon there will be some decent tropo to have some fun with!!
Tnx Bob VE1CZ FN85hq 
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20603




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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2012, 10:26:51 AM »

If you think 2 meter SSB and CW is dead there you should live up here in FN85.I have recently begun to try setting up a small station(TM255a,RFC 170 watt amp and a 13b2) and there is not very much activity around here.There are a few of us that are trying to establish a presence on 2 even going as far as to setup a bcn on 144.288 beaming SW.Hopefully soon there will be some decent tropo to have some fun with!!
Tnx Bob VE1CZ FN85hq 

When I lived in NJ (late 60s through mid-80s) I used to work NS and NB all the time on 2m SSB.  There were a number of active stations there at the time.  Bernie VE1UT used to be a "slam dunk" on several bands, including 432, 902 and 1296 MHz for me -- and always came though well on 144 MHz.  I know he was closer, down near Yarmouth, but he had a great shot Stateside.

It should be a good shot "down the coast" for you.  I've operated from Cadillac Mtn, Maine a few times on VHF and although that is more elevated and slightly closer, it's in your same general area and we could always work from there down to the coast of VA and NC, and occasionally farther down than that on 2m SSB.

BIG antennas help. Wink



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