1296 CW and SSB?

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by W7UUU, Aug 12, 2021.

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  1. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I've recently acquired an Icom IC-9700 as a part of my shack redo. I have long enjoyed the energy of the VHF contests - bopping from CW to SSB, 6m to 2m...

    Now that I'll be running the 9700 I will be adding 440 to the mix, both for CW and SSB

    Do I wish it had 220? YOU BET! But alas, it doesn't and we all know why.

    Instead it comes with 1296 at 10 watts which in itself is cool - I've never so much as touched that band!

    But my question: is there any meaningful point in putting up a Yagi on the band for VHF(UHF!) contesting? 10 watts to a Yagi pointed UP is a usable thing for satellites and I get that - but is it worth the trouble for a terrestrial contest to add a new band to my efforts? (At 10 watts to a somewhat-low Yagi)


  2. WA1YHO

    WA1YHO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you have enjoyed the energy of jumping between bands during the contests then having an additional band only makes it more fun. Perhaps ask around on 2M SSB about the activity on 1296 is in your area. Perhaps operate a contest with 432 and see what your results are. You'll work fewer stations on 1296, especially with just 10W and a single yagi. I've not seen numbers but I suspect that a preamp will help (be necessary?) the 9700 on 1296 receive. Depending on your antenna location relative to your shack and how serious you are you might want to consider a mast mounted preamp. At the least you will want the best low loss coax you can afford. When I was on 1296 I ran 75' of 7/8th hardline out of the shack up to a tower mounted preamp then flexible 9913 around the rotor up to four 45 element loop yagis at 65'. I started with ~10W and then upgraded to 60W. In my best direction I was able to work similarly equipped stations as far away as 250-300 miles on CW with typical conditions. Have fun with your new toy!
    W7UUU likes this.
  3. W4EAE

    W4EAE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Whether or not it is worth it for terrestrial contacts is almost entirely dependent upon activity in your area. I have made some 23cm contacts, but every single one of them was scheduled.

    There appear to be several 23cm D-Star repeaters in your area. They may be able to give you some sense of how the band behaves. It is not exactly like 70cm, and it is also not exactly like 2.4Ghz.

    If you want to get really serious about it, treat it like you would any microwave band. Coax losses are always significant, no matter the coax; so feed-point mounted preamps and power amplifiers are the gold standard.

    All that said, you might be able to hit one of your local 23cm D-Star repeaters with 100ft of LMR-400 into a 2m/70cm vertical.
    W7UUU likes this.
  4. W2EV

    W2EV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Dave,

    Foliage attenuation is significant at 23cm. Port Orchard is a beautiful area and trees are a big part of that. Unless you can get above the tree line, you're fighting a losing battle for terrestrial success of any kind.

    I suggest that you focus on satellite work where success is significantly easier to attain.

    A 3' rear mount loop yagi will deliver 15dbi of gain with a 3-dB beamwidth of 30 degrees. See DirectiveSystems.com

    If you can get above the tree line, mount it on your tower at a 15-degree angle and you'll still have 12 dBi of gain at the horizon to work terrestrial stuff while bathing the sky from 0-degrees (horizon) to +30-degrees for satellites.

    If you can't get above the tree line, mount it on your tower at an angle that is 15-degrees above the treeline and think "satellite".

    Ev, W2EV
    N3AWS likes this.
  5. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Dave,

    You may find the band a bit "dead" except during contests, but there can be SSB activity (at least nets) on regular weekday (evenings) as well, in populated areas. It will be good for satellites, but in terrestrial work, I'd guess (?) 50-100 miles coverage with a decent Yagi at 30' or more ("decent Yagi" on 23 cm being about 23 elements at a minimum) but if/when you get a duct (that may be possible in your neck of the woods) propagation can be several times normal. (I was able to work KH6HME once on that band with SSB on 10 Watts, from So. Cal, but that is a relatively unique situation.) I'd say put up a (horizontal) antenna and try it, you just might like it enough to get a bit more serious about it! Good luck, and I'm sure you will have fun, at least in the contests!
    N3RYB likes this.
  6. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't see any satellites currently using 23 cm.


    The mode L 1269 MHz receiver system sensitivity was 10x too low. A requirement for at least 5 kw e.i.r.p. deterred most operators. Had the sensitivity been correct, 10 watts to a long yagi would have been ample, and mode-L might have been as popular as mode-B, maybe more so, because the 70 cm downlink is such a quiet band. No explanation was found.
  7. KD9VV

    KD9VV Ham Member QRZ Page

    My 1296 port will probably never see coax. LOL
    As others have said, other than satellite work and depending on your locale, there is very little
    1296 out there for terrestrial...heck, I'm in a rather large metro area and I hear almost no 432 at all; even during contests.
    K8PG likes this.
  8. W2EV

    W2EV Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for all the great replies. I can clearly see that 23cm will be very low on my "rebuild the shack" priority list :)

  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    23cm is certainly useful in VHF-UHF contests, and most "rovers" carry it.

    Yes, it's common to "work up the bands" to get there.

    To me, the amazing thing about UHF and SHF is how tropo ducts work. They don't happen every day. But if you catch a good one, path loss on 23 cm is often lower than on 70cm and much lower than on 2 meters...and on 6 meters they typically don't work at all.

    At my home station in NNJ years ago I had four 55 element loop yagis at 72 feet (fed with 7/8" Heliax) on 23cm and if I was lucky to catch a duct, could make 50 contacts in an hour or two, out to several hundred miles. We'd go "down the bands" to 70cm, then 135cm, then 2m...and signals got weaker and weaker.

    I used a "1 watt" 23cm transverter made by SOTA (long gone, but it was actually very good) driving a 2-stage homebrew amp with 2C39s in each stage: First stage produced about 10W, second stage produced >50W output from a common 1kV power supply. Great homebrew projects, very low cost but lots of "metalwork" involving cutting copper, flow soldering Be/Cu spring fingers and all that. Way more "mechanical" than electrical. Plans were all in the ARRL VHF manual at the time.

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