Good points, of course. I think many newbies (and even some oldies) are discouraged about VHF weak signal work (say, SSB) because they don't install an adequate antenna to really try it out. I've often heard, "Yeah, I tried 2m SSB and day after day never heard anybody." "What's your antenna?" "My 8 dB gain vertical that works great on FM!" Oops. Fact is, there's less activity on 2m SSB (or 70cm, or really any of the VHF bands except for 6m), so the stations are much more spread out. If I review my logs over the years, 95% of all stations worked are over 100 miles away. Probably 80% are over 200 miles away. You're not going to hear them with a vertical. Then there's "I tried a horizontal beam and still didn't hear anybody!" "Oh, what did you try?" "I had a 4 element beam on my chimney! It should have worked great!" Oops again. It doesn't necessarily take buckets of money, but it does take some "work" to do well on 144-222-432-902-1296+ MHz SSB. One can build an 8 element Quagi on a 14' boom that works very well for about $20. Get a used rotator for $100. Some surplus TV hardline for "free." Install 30' of guyed mast in a roof tripod and get the beam up 50' above ground. Total cost for all that might be $200-$250 inclusive. But then, you have something that actually works.