2M/70CM FM-WHY BOTHER?

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by W4WVW, Sep 9, 2020.

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  1. W2WDX

    W2WDX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well while the comment was crude and pedantic, there is bit of truth here. On VHF especially, the old phrase "height is might" does apply. You may simply be in a situation where you are not hearing what is out there. When you are in a situation where the 2M band only affords reliable communication just past the horizon, and the fact you are in a rural area, how high your antenna is above ground determines your horizon and just how far you can actually receive. So there is some truth to what the nasty guys says, he just said it poorly.

    I'm in an area (Greater New York suburbs out on Long Island) where there is always activity due to population density. However, once I put up a yagi much higher than my roof and surrounding obstructions, I routinely make contacts up and down the eastern seaboard, way beyond the horizon. This is due to tropo conditions that are prevalent in the area (which should be even more so where you are located). Previously with my little AR2 vertical in my attic I heard none of that. What you may find is going horizontal with a Yagi (say in your attic), finding ways to reduce your receive noise levels (preamps at the antenna, high quality coax, etc.) and operating SSB there may be more going on out there than you realize.

    However looking at the geography if your antenna can only go as high as the roof peak of your home, your horizon is up to Cocoa Beach to the north, west to the Kissimmee River (with nothing between you and it really), and Fort Pierce to the south. It's not that there isn't any activity, it's there isn't anybody within your horizon to make activity. You live in a little boxed community with not much around it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
    NQ1B and WA4SIX like this.
  2. W4EAE

    W4EAE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I understand your limitations; but it really is all about location, and the only thing you do to compensate for that on VHF/UHF is height.

    There is quite a good amount of activity in my area (central SC) on the repeaters. From to the top of the roof of my 50ft mast, there are 27 VHF and UHF repeaters that I can use reliably, and another 30 or so that work well in the mornings and many evenings.

    As a test, I stuck a 1/4 mag-mount on my AC unit. Not only does this mean that my antenna is 46 feet lower, but it also means that my house is directly in the way of about two thirds of the repeaters I mentioned before. This took my reliable coverage down to about 5 repeaters. As it happens, there is still a good amount of activity on those 5 particular repeaters; but had it been a different 5 repeaters, it would be dead.

    Not all 27 repeaters in my immediate are active, and the activity moves from repeater to repeater. You might hear a certain group on one repeater for a few days, then hear the same group on a different one. I have also heard groups where when one member had difficulty getting in, they all moved to a repeater that he could reach better.

    All that is to say that if I could only reach two repeaters, I might wonder what the point was as well; but that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of activity going on just beyond my reach.

    You are limited, but I respect your limitations. We all make different choices, and that is fine. Personally, I would never live in Florida; South Carolina is already too freaking hot.
     
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  3. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    A couple buddies and I went on a camping trip on top of a summit in VA this weekend. Two of us being hams, we activated (SOTA) the two summits there (one we camped on and another one along the same forest road). On the first, where we camped, we tossed a ladder-line slim jim into a tree and I called CQ SOTA with a 2m 5w HT. I was immediately piled upon and managed to work about 12 contacts in less than 10 minutes. My buddy then took control of the radio and worked another 13 in 10min or so. We had short rag chews with various hams on 2m FM the rest of the day.

    The next day, we went to the other summit. I set up on 20m HF, but he went to work with a 5w 2m HT and the radio's rubber duck antenna and knocked out a bunch of contacts for SOTA while I got mine on 20m. Back at camp, we had multiple rag chews again with various folks in the nearby mountains (some as far away as 50 miles) using a 5w 2m HT and an elevated slim-jim.

    Yesterday, while working, but leaving my 2m HT running, I heard a guy calling CQ on 146.52.

    Point is, there's plenty of activity on 2m FM, at least in Virginia.

    Chris
     
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  4. W4WVW

    W4WVW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like you had fun!

    No summits here in FL of course, State is flat as a pancake.

    I decided to pack away the FM rig and set up my FT-818ND and put a 40m hamstick on the AC unit mag mount. First contact was 1100 miles away running 5W of CW. This is my comfort zone.

    For ME I guess I'm just an HF CW guy at heart. Pics of this setup are in the QRP forum here if anyone is interested.

    Thanks to all for your replies and ideas. I appreciate the input.

    72 & 73, Mike
     
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  5. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey, we have summits in Florida. They call them "Landfills".....

    Ed
     
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  6. W4WVW

    W4WVW Ham Member QRZ Page

    ;) :D
     
  7. WB7OKU

    WB7OKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    What about Mt. Dora?
     
  8. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mt. Dora is 184' high....
    I've climbed towers 3 times that height.

    Ed
     
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  9. WB7OKU

    WB7OKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Being from the other coast where they have real mountains, I have a chuckle every time someone mentions Mt. Dora.
     
  10. K1JNT

    K1JNT Ham Member QRZ Page

    All it takes is several people spinning the VFO or scanning by and not hearing anything, to establish the notion that nothing happens there. If just a small fraction would call CQ on the VHF/UHF simplex frequencies, they might actually start something. But persistence and patience are needed. 52.525, 146.520, and 446.000...if no one goes there, no one will be there.
     
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