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Author Topic: 2 meter weak signal modes  (Read 19677 times)

Posts: 0

« on: December 02, 2012, 04:06:53 AM »

I just picked up a 2 meter 25 watt all mode radio as part of a trade. Up till now I've only worked HF in cw and digital modes (using WSJT on JT-65A). I would like to get into 2 meter weak signal modes such as fsk144 and jt44 as well as cw. I have no interest in FM or repeaters.

From what I've read online you need a 10-17 element beam and over 100 watts to do well. Does this mean a 3-4 element beam won't work at all for these modes? I think a small beam is more in my price range and interest level at this point but I don't want to invest in something that won't work at all.

Any advice is appreciated for a newbie to VHF.

Thanks,  Tim

« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 04:15:22 AM by TTOMAS59 » Logged

Posts: 1565

« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 02:56:19 PM »

What radio is that that does 25W all mode??

25W is a good starter.   FM is not that much for VHF weak signal but some do that.

For SSB/CW and Jt65 25w may be a starter.

Antenna, 3-4 element is  not enough and barely enough to make up for cable losses.
it may be more of a tease than useful.  Also use the very best cable you can unless
the run is really short (under 50ft).

Seriously I start by advising people to use at least 6 elements and up for
SSB weak signal.  Also the antenna needs to be high as possible and clear of local
obstructions like houses and possibly trees.  That and a decent 3-4 element isn't so
cheap unless you make your own (good project).  If you elect to start small on the
antenna higher is better and pay note you likely to hear stuff you can't talk to.

With all that said I do know and also use a small 4 element for hill-topping where
altitude and a clear path make up for low power and a tepid antenna.

Polarization horizontal or forget it for SSB/CW/Digital weak signal modes.  FM is
usually done vertical.

Find a used antenna that is mechanically in acceptable shape, you need a rotator.
FYI the Ratshack/CDE whatever cheapie rotators will turn a long beam but at the
cost of lifespan.  You need enough pole or tower to get the antenna up high.



Posts: 0

« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 09:47:56 AM »

Thanks for the info Allison. Right now I'm looking at a five element weighing under two pounds using a 20 ft push up mast. I've seen adds for 11 element beams available locally but they weight about 11 pounds.

All is probably moot since I live in a forestry area. In fact an antenna in my back yard would be below the lowest branch of a large tree. There are no hills in Florida.

I appreciate it - saves me some money. I dislike buying ham gear that never gets used hi.

73s,  Tim

Posts: 0

« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 10:08:48 AM »

BTW radio is an IC-290H.

Posts: 29

« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 06:41:45 PM »

When I was doing some 2 meter weak signal this past summer all I had was stacked 4 element Arrow yagis mounted at 30 ft. I made some contacts 200 to 300 miles most mornings and evenings . But I grew bored of it. I am sure if one could get some real antenna height it would be fun.

Posts: 393

« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 08:55:02 AM »

Those old 290H's (not the A's) are great little rigs with darned good receivers.....I know; I have one and wouldn't let it go.

Admittedly, the 'click' tuning is a bit course for SSB/CW and the lack of CTCSS for FM is an additional drawback.

Because of it's age it's probably considered not worth the expense but 25 watts is about perfect for driving a 2 meter brick and for the FM thing there is always a ComSpec encoder.

One last little thing, if you use a 9 to 12 VDC wallwart and wire it into the ground and center pin of the rig's plug, you won't lose the stored memories when you switch off the power supply. 

Posts: 1565

« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 03:21:03 PM »

Well Florida is also very flat and the trees ay be here but its worth a try.

Generally gain and antenna height are performance items more than power.  A good RX
(and a 290 is very good) is important.

Oddly I tried a pair of the Arrow 144S-4 yagis stacked and as a pair vertical they were
tepid but one above the other horizontal they were decent.  Polarization is everything.

I got into it with a IC245 (SSB/CW/FM 10W) and a used and pretty tired 13 element
and that was enough to get me hooked even though it was only 24ft up.  Don't have
the antenna any more but the IC245 does backup duty that has a good RX too.


Posts: 0

« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2012, 09:54:50 PM »

I gave up planning anything for 2 but I obtained a 3 element yagi for 6 and also a 6 meter Moxon. Two is on the back burner.

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