2m/70cm SSB/FT8

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by WB0FTY, Jan 14, 2018.

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  1. WB0FTY

    WB0FTY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a question about 2 m. I have been using 6 m for SSB, FT8, MSK144, JT65, etc for some time now and when things are popping it is a lot of fun. I have been asked by a few hams mostly on the west and east coast to get on 2m SSB, MSK144 and FT8 because of my grid. I am out here in the midwest plains of Kansas. Pretty flat. Now I can only put a smallish beam antenna up about 34 ft on a pushup pole. I cannot have a tower so I have two push poles I can use. So I have been looking at a Kenwood TS-2000, FT-991A, IC-7100, and FT857D. My question is before I put down $1000 to $1400 dollars for one of those radios and I am new to the VHF realm how much or how often is 2m open enough to make a east coast or west coast contact? Or is that even feasible or worth even thinking about? Thanks for your help.

    Bernie
     
  2. K5TRI

    K5TRI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd say if by small we're talking somewhere 5 elements and your power would be the 100W the TS-2000 delivers to your 34 ft. high antenna don't bother with either coast.
    Unlikely to happen. You could of course make it a 20'ish element antenna and point it towards the moon. That might get you both coasts :).

    TS-2000 used run around $800. Just either stay away from the years that had filter issues or be prepared to replace them. I got mine from a bloke in Denmark for cheap.
     
  3. WB0FTY

    WB0FTY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info. The two gentleman who really wants my grid is in Indiana and Georgia. He said this in his email. "If you can manage ANY kind of 2m antenna, even a horizontal dipole and 50W I can work you on 2m MS. I run 1 kW to a 17B2 at 85' and have a very clear shot in ur direction with no noise. He told me a 10 element and 100 watts would be no problem if we could hit it right." The other gentleman said he had a 22 element at 90 ft with 1 kw and thought we could talk. I was thinking that might be a long haul and I am not getting into satellite. Have enough going on now. Was just curious if this was even feasible. Like I said I am new to this and just don't want to spend big bucks to gear up and only be able to make contacts a couple of times a year.
     
  4. W0AAT

    W0AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My daily range to 100 watt class stations is 300 miles... but I am running about double the antenna gain of a 17b2... That is running 750 watts on my end to 4 M2 2m12's at 35 feet when I have the tower cranked up.
     
  5. K5TRI

    K5TRI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Totally forgot about MS as an option. My last MS contact was ~800 miles from Washington to Nevada running 100W into 14 elements. 10 elements might be even better because of the broader pattern.

    You mentioned East and West coast, that would still be a stretch.
     
  6. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    By VHF do you mean 2m and above?

    On 6m, given your location, a simple homebrew Moxon will work great. 2m and above, you'd need a decent yagi and some tropo progagation, which I'd expect you would get a few months a year.

    Here on the west coast, west of the Cascades, its about impossible without meteorscatter to get much eastward. I do great N/S but there's nothing west and the mountains block a lot. But even on 6m I've surprised myself.
     
  7. WB0FTY

    WB0FTY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info from all. I do have a 6 m moxon up at 32 ft and it does quite well. Yes I was thinking 2 m and above. I was just wondering I guess if it would be worth the extra cash layout for a antenna, radio with HF/V/U SSB, coax, etc to try 2 m or 70 cm.
     
  8. W0AAT

    W0AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I love the difficulty of chasing grid squares on 2m and up(6m is to easy...), tropo, eme, plain old brute force forward scatter to stations up to 600 miles away(my best on absolutely flat band conditions, no enhancement, no tropo, no meteors...). Both of us run power and multiple antennas and we rag chewed for about 15 minutes before the radio gods decided the path was going away and he dropped to just under the noise floor.

    EME CAN BE DONE single yagi on the horizon with the bigger stations, work EU on 2 meters!

    And when tropo pops in(and you are in a prime spot for it) paths to 1,000+ miles are possible. During the massive tropo opening early 2000's I heard CO2OJ in Cuba from my QTH in SW MN! I couldn't get his attention over the wall of 4 land stations to make it a 2 way... My best for tropo is around 1,250 miles!

    Then there is aurora which would be rarer where you are compared to my location in MN. But it does happen and I have worked stations from down there. Plus you would be in range for me pretty often and for the guys down around Sioux Falls.

    VHF isn't for everyone but if the bug bites you...
     
    KA2BPP likes this.
  9. WB0FTY

    WB0FTY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info. I appreciate it. That is what I was looking for.
     
  10. KJ4TX

    KJ4TX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If they want your grid so bad have them send you a radio to use for awhile. That way you don't put out money that might be better used elsewhere or it will tell you that you can't live without 2 meter SSB or digital and you can get serious about buying a radio and antenna.

    I have a Icom 746Pro which I think is a very good radio that I use almost exclusively for 2 meters. Not quite the receive in it that some Kenwoods have but still a very good radio. I have a SignaLink connected between it and a laptop for doing digital. I've done MSK144 and a few FT8 contacts on 2 meters and a bunch of SSB and FM simplex. I wish there was more digital on 2 meter but unless you leave in a very ham populated region you aren't going to see it very often.

    If you want to get a good idea of just how much activity is going on in the different modes of 2 meter, take a look at the PSKReporter web site. Set it t o 2 meter All Modes, 12 hours (or less for a better indication) and see how many balloons show up. Not every balloon means that there is a contact if you hit it as it could just be someone that is monitoring but not transmitting and not all those listening show up as a balloon. It will give you an idea of how active it is though. Most activity is the Eastern third of the US most of the time. There is activity in the middle third at times, especially if they can reach the Eastern third. You won't find a lot in the Western third though. As was mentioned above, we can get North/South but it is more difficult to get East of the Cascades. Of course there are always exceptions because we do have people that are in good locations, run max power and have very good antenna systems. For the rest of us average hams, it's not so good a lot of times. It is what it is though.

    In my opinion, I would not buy a radio just to make a few contacts on 2 meters because people needed my grid. If you are itching for a new radio and will end up buying one anyway and just need a couple of excuses to justify it (we've all done that :D) then at least get one that is a full 100 watts. Anything less will handicap you even more.

    Mike
     

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