Dipping into the 2m/70cm waters...an idea.

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by 2E0OZI, Sep 24, 2014.

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  1. AK4PX

    AK4PX Ham Member QRZ Page

    With Energizer lithiums the AA pack for my Wouxun UV2D lasted more than 6 hours providing comms for a kayak paddle challenge (I shadowed the race coordinator).

    And that pack kept going all week; net check ins and ragchew.

    The factory li-ion pack lasts a while but not like that. Eneloops last about the same time as the factory pack.

    An 18in/19in whip is a big improvement over the ducky, and one of those homebrew yagis will pump your signal up nicely.

    As long as it is line-of-sight the distance is basically meaningless.

    Many an operator using an HT QSOs thru the amateur satellites which are over 100 miles up in orbit as well as QSOing with the International Space Station over 200 miles up in orbit.

  2. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well I did my walk today and ended up here;


    Pretty easy walk only about 25-30 minutes from the carpark, maybe less. Managed to hit a couple of repeaters in line of sight quite a few miles away, but nothing heard much until I had to leave and then had a nice conversation with M0ZOL a freind of mine. Also heard a chap in Wales!! Next time I go up I'll have a far better antenna and hopefully a bit more time on the top, might even try a bit of simplex. All in all a fun walk.
  3. KK4YWN

    KK4YWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I bumped into this thread sunday morning and like the idea. I asked my girlfriend if she was up for a hike. She was. And so we went to Stone Mountain NC with my budget HT in hand. We had a great time and the view was amazing. Sadly, no contacts made on the duckie antenna. Plenty was heard though.

    I'm going to build a three element yagi and try again.
  4. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Pretty much been working out a method for setting up the dipole quickly and trying to generally sort myself out as to how I will work from up on a hill. Glad you gave it a try!! Tonight was a 2m contest here but I am not one really for contesting, and had no time to give it a shot anyway from a remote high location. Also with FM only radio its going to be a struggle.

    Fingers crossed this weekend I will be on a hill giving simplex a go.
  5. KG4NEL

    KG4NEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is encouraging. I get the idea every now and then about trying 2 meter and up SSB, but as I'm towerless for the time being (and for a while in the future) it really isn't practical in the hilly Piedmont of NC. But something like an FT-817ND and a little omni loop could be a good motivation to get out and hike.
  6. KK4YWN

    KK4YWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was thinking about fishing around the repeaters for interest in a 70cm hilltopers group. 70cm because lots of new techs have dual-band ht's capable of a few watts, and because a 70cm beam is quite easy to pack up a mountain (and they're easy to build). Any mode would be welcome, but FM would probably reign supreme.

    Getting new hams out-of-the-house on-the-cheap is the primary objective. Drawing them into VHF/UHF QRP DX is a nice side effect.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very good thoughts, and I agree.

    I was a "gung-ho" VHF-UHFer for many years, and while I always had an HF station, my money and my heart went into fooling around pushing the envelope on VHF-UHF (and later, SHF). It's serious fun for those who don't mind doing some work.

    My home station made a 2-page spread in QST back in the early 80s (thanks to W1XX who did that) and if you find that you'll note seven operating positions, each with its own gear and chair, and keyer etc. Six of those were VHF-UHF, from 50 through 2304 MHz, each with its own rig, amplifier, sequencer etc. One was for HF. My towers had sixteen VHF-UHF antennas on them, and two for HF.

    It can be addicting if you really get into it.:p
  8. KK4YWN

    KK4YWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I see guys throwing money at go-boxes and stuff and I just don't get it.

    There's a young guy one one of the repeaters here.. Great kid. Works hard for little. Takes care of his family. He's dying to get a mobile vhf rig. He's been working off an ht for a few years because he has mouths to feed.

    When a guy like that sees a big gun station I wonder if he realizes where that big gun started and how much time and effort was out into building that station.

    Seems to me the best place to start is at the antenna. But a lot if people don't start there. They get a radio and a plastic gobox to fill with power poles. Maybe they'll build a jpole or slim Jim and that's it. The antenna never performs worth a hoot and they start studying for the general so they can proceed to the promised land: hf. Then they get an hf radio and install another poor performing antenna or three until one day they're chewing a rag into a cloud burner on 80ms and accomplishing the same regional ratchet-jawing they could have done on vhf... But with far far sexier equipment.

    Off my soapbox ...

    Dress up hilltoping as a way to do long distance ht work and the first hurdle is overcome: gain antennas. Ten years down the road they're bouncing off Pluto with laser pointers or some such.

    Beats the hell out if "busting a pileup" to exchange false signal reports :)
  9. K4ISR

    K4ISR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am in the "starter" position... All I have is a Beofeng UV-5R (max 4W) and a few antennas:
    * Stock antenna is junk.
    * The Nagoya NA-701 is good for receiving, and decent transmission distance (10-15 miles) provided you have a decent line of sight. The reception can be deceiving as you may be getting in a clear signal, but they may be putting out 25W+ or repeater with higher power, so at 4W, it doesn't quite have enough to get back to it without a higher elevation and much cleaner line of sight.
    * Tram 1185 on top of larger SUV gets me 25+ miles 2m simplex through the local forests.
    * then this past weekend made a rigid copper pipe Jpole (after some extensive research). I have it up temporarily off my back deck but already I can reach repeaters I haven't been able to hit before including one 15 miles north of me (that I had to drive at least 4-5 miles north to hit with the Tram 1185), and another 12 miles southeast. So really this Jpole is working great on just 4W. Once I get it up higher to its permanent mount and a mobile base with up to 55-65W, I am hoping to reach a few more repeaters that are 25-35 miles. Not expecting much more, and if not thats fine, still got 5 repeaters I can hit now with 4W.

    I have learned that some people just toss together antennas without understanding or learning about elevation differences between them and the target repeaters/people. Being at 25 ft elevation with antenna at 50 ft, and there is a 200 ft hill between you and the repeater/person on the other side who is at 50-100 ft with no contact... Then they get a higher power radio with the same antenna at 50 ft. Then they buy or build a different antenna, at 50 ft. I researched this and understand I may not be able to reach those repeaters 25 miles east of me which is fine, just means a little bit of a drive, or hope I catch them bouncing off the repeater 15 miles north of me.

    In the end, I've learned that a decent antenna with even cheap $35 HT radio can still get contacts, but go into it realistically and educated. Learn the elevation, use websites like http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm (using the how elevation after you have the 2 points selected) and trace a route to the area where you know a repeater is and see if there are hills in the way.

    UHF isn't used much here so I haven't been able to actually contact anyone with that yet, but not missing much since they primarily use 2m for local contact.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  10. KG4NEL

    KG4NEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had a soft spot for weak-signal VHF/UHF ever since being hooked by AO-40 in the early '00s. When that blew up, a major opportunity for experimentation for new hams was lost.

    As a non-homeowner, long-boom Yagis are kind of out of the question for me to install. I'd have to resort to hilltopping to make VHF SSB make sense. But I love to hike/trail run anyway, so maybe that's my motivation :)

    The go-box thing is another issue :p Around here, we lose power about once a year during the winter, for a few days. Depending on hurricane season, maybe an extra few days in the fall. My go-box consists of a few charged AGMs, a fueled-up generator and a bottle of scotch :)
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