Add a 2m or 6m Beam for Portable?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by AD0RX, Jul 10, 2020.

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  1. AD0RX

    AD0RX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like to go to the woods and setup a doublet on a 35' fiberglass mast and that's been great! I've found locations with very low RF noise, which makes it worth all the effort. I'm thinking about playing around on VHF and I'm excited to put a little Yagi up above the doublet and here's the question...

    For the first Yagi purchase, would I have more fun on 6m or a 2m? I'm mainly a CW guy, but I've been getting interested in SSB lately.

    The woods location is in DM79kh, about 10 miles south of Denver and I'd be operating Thursday or Friday from about 1900 to 2300Z. Elevation is about 8300 feet. I'll be using a FT-817 at 2W or so.

    I've heard of the VHF Beam Spinners on 2m group. I'm not sure of their activity level, and whether they monitor 6m as well - any info here would be appreciated as well.

    The last setup:
  2. K4AGO

    K4AGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    A silent 6 meter band vs. a silent 2 meter band. Which is more fun?

    Decisions, decisions, decisions...

    But, taking into consideration that you are talking about hoisting a Yagi up to 35 ft. in the woods, my suggestion would be neither.

    a 1/4 wave vertical on a hilltop would probably give better results and wouldn't be nearly as much trouble.

    If you insist on putting a Yagi on top of that mast, it would be prudent to operate up-wind of it; and, don't park near it.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  3. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Is there any SSB or CW 2 meter activity in your area? Even if there is, I expect you'll find more on 6. And you will find plenty when it is open. :)
  4. AD0RX

    AD0RX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the advice on the vertical antenna and not parking within reach of a falling mast.

    I think that's what I'm trying to figure out. I am not able to check for activity outside of the times that I get out to the woods, which isn't all that often. I don't have any antennas setup at the house so I'm hoping that people from the area where I live can provide some insight.

    I've seen the dxmaps site which shows 6m Es openings on the East coast lately but what I can't determine is whether locals are monitoring when there is no enhancement. I'm not necessarily looking to talk to Europe, just want to be able to make a casual contact or two.

    Thanks for the replies.
  5. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think the best bet, as some other OM mentioned, is a nice 6-meter vertical/groundplane. Who wants to haul around a 6-meter beam? And 6-meters will give you a lot more activity--right now for sure--than 2.
  6. AD0RX

    AD0RX Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, thanks for turning me toward a simpler and better plan. I think I'm just excited to have a Yagi, but I'll put that on hold for now.

    I'll go do some research on simple 6m ground plane antennas and see if I can whip something up for the next outing.
  7. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had good luck with a simple dipole on six. Easy to build. If you have some available trees and a sling shot, you can get a dipole on up there.
    K8XG likes this.
  8. N1YR

    N1YR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Remember that Six and Two meters almost have a 3:1 relationship. A compromise quarter-wave antenna cut for 48.5 MHz will tune as a 3/4 wave on 145.5 MHz, and might still be acceptable at the low end of six meters. The maximum signal from a 3/4 wave vertical on two meters may be somewhat above the horizon. Or experiment with a simple six-meter dipole that might be "good enough" on two meters.

    Many 2-meter 5/8 wave mobile antennas equipped with a series matching coil will also tune as quarter-wave whips on six meters. Install one of these verticals with a 5-foot counterpoise and you may get good performance on both bands. Even better, configure a mount for two of these antennas opposite each other as a horizontal dipole in Buddipole fashion.

    By common usage, FM antennas are vertically polarized and CW/SSB antennas are horizontally polarized. Near-Line-Of-Sight operations might cost you three or four 'S' units when cross-polarized, but I can tell you from experience on two meter mobile SSB that contacts can be made regardless.

    Good luck and have fun.
    K8XG likes this.
  9. G8ADD

    G8ADD Ham Member QRZ Page

    My advice is to use 2 metres, and make (or buy) a simple three element yagi which can be installed on your mast for either horizontal or vertical polarisation. The reason for my suggestion is that two metres works all through the year and not just during the summer Es season. Also there is a steady level of summits on the air (SOTA) activity - I just checked the Spots for today on Sotawatch and there were ten activations in the USA on 2m, nearly all on FM - and where there is significant SOTA activity there will be Chasers monitoring for portable stations, they'll work you even if you are not on a SOTA summit! Better still, join SOTA, operate off the easier summits, post Alerts on Sotawatch for your activations and the keen Chasers will be waiting for you!:)

    On a hilltop site the beam does not have to be on the top of the mast, about ten or twelve feet will be adequate and of course the thicker part of the pole is more robust. Also the higher gain of a longer beam is offset by the narrower beamwidth, with a shorter beam you will not have to spin the pole so much to find stations. A roll-up J-pole made out of 300 ohm ribbon will be adequate for 2m FM if you are not seeking DX, just hang it off the top of the mast!
  10. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used my FT817 with a very portable Elk 2 meter/70 cm log periodic beam. Arrow makes similar 2 band yagis. At 8000’ I would forego the mast.

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