6 Meter FM Repeaters
Just curious how many of you use 6 M FM repeaters. Seams like there would be more interest than there is currently.
Years ago when I worked for a electric utility they use Low Band 48 Mhz state wide repeater network. Coverage was excellent. For example a repeater located in west of Henryetta could work from Tulsa to the north, to Hugo to the south or a radius of over 100 miles. Then they moved to 800 Mhz and had to set repeaters up all over the state.
In my neck of the woods it seems to be an attraction by charisma deal on any repeater in any band. If the flavor of the month is on 220, that's where the bucks go...same for 6 or 440, etc.
I certainly do not want to sound egotistical, but when I quit hanging out on 220 about 6 yrs ago a lot of other ops got off there as well.
My opinion is that you should shape your local band selections by how often you use a particular band. My XYL calls me on 220, with her FT33R and a homebrew amp into a super Jpole. I talk to her on an ADI-247 and a 1/4 wave whip. There are as many variations as there are air molecules.
It would really help new amateurs who want to build antennas to find an older copy of the ARRL Antenna book. There are too few explanations and too little data in the current editions. By old I mean say pre-1989. Cruise hamfest tables and Ebay, there are plenty available pretty cheap.
I work them on a daily basis anymore as I avoid the 2m ones you don't find all the problems on 6m. I enjoy working them and you can find openings for e-skip far sooner than 2m. I also can use my FTDX-5000MP for FM and have a few times for DXing using a yagi and 1k output. I have a good vertical at home a 6m Ringo Ranger @ 65' and can work 6 different repeaters from 40-175mi away with mt radio a Midland Land Mobile converted 100 channel w/scan and cross band repeat using a 2m handheld. a former Missouri Highway Patrol radio.
It has 110w output and the main radio unit was trunk mounted now under desk. If you shop around you can find these for $40-$100 that have been converted to our band usage I paid $45 for mine then $25 for the HT and charger to match.
I live in Monett, MO. between Joplin and Springfield and work the Tulsa repeaters on 2m and simplex daily and 6m down to Ft Smith to Mcalester, OK.
Last edited by N0AZZ; 06-11-2012 at 01:09 PM.
73 de Fred N0AZZ
The License is Only Your Starting Point in Radio!
MVDX/CC of SW MO., DX Hogs, OARS, NARC, NCDXF
ARRL member, ARRL and W5YI VE
DX the thrill of the chase
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Not much up this way. I had a 6 meter FM mobile in the car for many years, and I could count all the 6 meter QSO's I had on the fingers of one hand, and still have extra fingers. There are some low level machines in the Twin Cities, and some pretty good ones over in SE Wisconsin, with a very few scattered around in between.
Six meters used to be problematic for TVI, and it still has that stigma, though the big TVI issue is largely gone. The antennas for 6 are quite large compared to VHF and UHF, and most people don't feel a big advantage to using the frequency. The 6 meter FM ham rigs I've used all seem to have poor limiting action, so you get ignition noise when mobile - not something I've heard on commercial gear for the same band.
Still, for someone just dying to put up a repeater, this band is largely unoccupied, and I'd rather see a lot more 6 meter repeaters than another one on 2 meters, where there are already too many.
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I think a lot of the reason that Repeaters on 6 meters are not so hot is because of interference.
In the day we would wipe out VHF TV Channel 2 using 6 meters and that channel was used just about everywhere in the USA. 6 meters was TV channel 1. Some places did start at channel 3 because two channel spacing was the norm.
Antenna size and Duplexer size made it harder also. Split Transmit and Receive sites made it hard to operate repeaters on 6 and 10 meters, but that was the only way to get very good results, at least in my experience.
If the FCC has its way, I look for Amateur Radio Operators to loose 6 and other frequencies.
There are WISP and other Wireless , Mostly cell phone Companies willing to pay for our Frequency Spectrum, and they are being sold to the highest bidder. I do not think that the highest bidder will be Hams.
One reason they went to Off Air Digital TV was to make room for something else, and most of the new On Air TV channels are on UHF now.
6 Meters is a cool band tho, I like it and had a repeater on 6 in the day. It was a split site linked with 440Mhz tube gear. Very cool when the band opened.
"Books tell how it should be, Experience tells how it really is,
Theory only works perfect in a vacuum." KA9JLM Don
6 meters is good when the skip is in . . . sporadic E or however it happens. One bad thing about the band is that most handhelds are 2 meters and up; very few were built for 6 or 10 meters, unless you find a surplus commercial handie to convert/rock up. Another is the physical size of duplexers, which makes a split site almost a necessity.
And a lot of hams are paranoid of TVI to channel 2. This is a moot point now, as most of the NTSC analog channel 2 stations have moved to the high VHF band (7-13) or UHF. Seems that skip plays havoc with low band TV channels.
I wish there were more 6 meter repeaters tied to 2 meters or other band (what I'd call crossroads repeaters). That way whatever you have, you can still get out on 6 when 'dx' is hopping. 10 meter remote bases are fairly common, but that's because no duplexer is involved.
Yeah I understand and 20 years ago I would agree with you. But not today with CATV and SATV. Not many folks use OTA reception anymore.
Originally Posted by KA9JLM
Well the duplexer size is a non issue for stationary equipment. No experience with 10 M repeaters but I can imagine receiver de-sensitivity would be a huge issue with such narrow freq separation. At 6 meters in my experience receiver was not much of an issue even 30 years ago. Using a single antenna it ran about 1 to 2 db which is acceptable. Back then we use GE Master-II and Motorola Micor repeaters. The GE units were the lessor of the two repeaters, but the Micor RF front-end was superior in performance and selectivity.
Originally Posted by KA9JLM
What we did do to combat the GE receiver problem is run duplex antennas, one for TX and one for recieve using space isolation on the tower. TX antenna went on top, and RX some distance down. That worked real good.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. Even if they did make 6 M HT I think the antenna length would be a Turn-Off. Pretty much a mobile or base station application. But when done right runs circles around 2M and 70cm.
Originally Posted by WA7KKP
Seems most of the repeater-building people are generally the Part 90 people by trade, and they're generally more interested in 150-450 meg stuff. Handheld radios as noted are a big part of the intended user base too.
Seems the people who are interested in 6 meters are the weak-signal people. Repeaters, at least on 6m, are of no interest to these folks. And on the flip side, 6m offers no useful benefits to the repeater people. Antennas are larger, Es happens (and that wreaks all sorts of havoc on the repeater systems (and their users) which intend to be local-coverage-only).
Here in Dallas, at least a decade ago when I looked last, there were two or three 6m repeaters in the book. I listened for a bit, called a few times, and at least when I tried there was nobody there. I haven't looked since. On the other hand, I love 6m; it's a magic band. But the things that make it magic are in direct opposition to the underlying notions of repeaters, hence part of why there are so few of them in the first place.
Yaesu VX7R has 6m capability. I have used it a few times.