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Author Topic: Is this idea worth the effort??  (Read 2329 times)
AJ4RW
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Posts: 568




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« on: August 07, 2013, 07:58:22 AM »

I'm preparing for my next tower/antenna project which will start later this year.  I've always enjoyed 6 meters but haven't put much emphasis on working 6 meters till now.  So, I know I will be installing a 6 meter antenna but I'm also contemplating putting a 2 meter antenna up.  I'm not into chit chatting with my neighbors on a repeater nor doing emergency communications.  I've done both and at one time was an EC.  I enjoy operating CW, digital and SSB.  My question is this.

Is the 2 meter band open enough to warrant installing a 2 meter antenna for maidenhead/DX chasing?  If so, when is 2 meters normally open for doing this?  I've never done 2 meters in this fashion so it will be a first if I opt for a 2 meter antenna.

73 Randy AJ7G
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 08:22:58 AM »

Looks like you're in Florida, which is a good place to be for VHF work.

2m sporadic-E is very rare and completely unpredictable; most "DXing" on 2m is really just tropo and not ionospheric at all and peak conditions are still unpredictable -- mostly based on local weather patterns.  You might find if there's a sudden drop in surface temperature (sometimes after a storm, for example), an "inversion" sets up where the air above is actually warmer than the air below, and that helps refract signals with less loss at VHF-UHF.  Of course, there's always meteor scatter available as meteors fall nearly 24/7 and leave ionized trails that reflect signals for brief periods of time; using WSJT digital modes, m.s. can be worked pretty successfully even though you don't "hear" anything at all.

Most of the m.s. activity is early morning hours, I've found.  M.s. can be worked on SSB also, if you run enough power to big enough antennas (it's "easier" using JT modes like FSK441).  And of course tropo "ducts" can set up almost any time (again, local WX conditions guide this), and ducts up the coast from Florida to VA and even beyond that aren't too uncommon.  The ducts rarely benefit 6m signals, but do work at 2m and often work "even better" at higher frequencies (222, 432, 902, 1296 MHz, etc -- up into the microwave region).

IMO to enjoy the "fun" of 2m weak signal work, large and high antennas fed with very low-loss transmission line are more important than almost anything else.  When I lived in northern NJ 25+ years ago I was very active on VHF-UHF weak signal modes and did work stations in Florida from time to time.  The guys I could actually work all had stacked beams on big towers...could never hear any of the "average" stations (like one beam at 30 feet or something).

I think it's not so much "is the 2m band open enough...?" but rather: Conditions vary but you can pretty much "make your own conditions" with a big enough antenna system. Wink
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AJ4RW
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 02:39:03 PM »

Steve, thanks for the education on 2 meter propagation, great learning experience.  I'm not going to be that elaborate on my antenna or height though.  I plan on putting up a 8 element quad (part of a 6 n 2 quad) about 35 feet to start.  I'm glad I have a little time to think about doing this though before I start pouring concrete for the base.

73 Randy AJ7G
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 03:18:47 PM »

Steve, thanks for the education on 2 meter propagation, great learning experience.  I'm not going to be that elaborate on my antenna or height though.  I plan on putting up a 8 element quad (part of a 6 n 2 quad) about 35 feet to start.  I'm glad I have a little time to think about doing this though before I start pouring concrete for the base.

73 Randy AJ7G

Great!

I don't know if you're thinking about the Cubex 6/2m quad but it's only an 8' boom and hasn't much gain (I've used them, even tested them).  But it's certainly better than not being on the band! Wink

An 8L Quagi on a 14' boom is a much better 2m antenna, if you're interested to build something.

73 & GL with the new installation!
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AJ4RW
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 05:48:06 PM »

I like the quagi design.  Looks like the best of both worlds.  I've got some time so will see if I can drum up a boom to make this happen.

73 Randy AJ7G
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