Looking For a 2 Meter and 70cm All Mode Rig, No HF Included.

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K2WH, Aug 3, 2018.

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  1. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately it is a LOT more effort to put a beam at 70 ft than at 25 ft. I doubt that you'll ever have more than a tiny fraction of active hams who have 70 ft towers. That's just the way it is.

    It doesn't help that the VHF and up bands come alive during contests and then go dark again. Obviously anyone who can work me during a contest could work me any other time, but they aren't there. It appears to me that most VHF+ ops are primarily contesters. Nothing wrong with that, but it limits the utility of VHF SSB for those who have liked to rag chew.
    NH7RO likes this.
  2. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm curious, Steve. You have worked a lot of people on VHF weak signal over the years. How many of them had 70 ft towers and huge beams? How many had modest stations like a mast with a 9-element yagi? The massive stations can reach out farther and work more people, but logically, I would expect there to be a lot more modest stations out there to work, even if they're weaker. Do you see a pattern of a few strong stations and a lot of weaker stations? Or were the modest stations just unworkable beyond 150 miles, so you never heard them?
    NH7RO likes this.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nothing wrong with the FT-847 have one here for satellite work it's a great rig and extremely reliable. You have a very key factor.....LOCATION...the other as WIK points out a real good antenna system while maybe more important on VHF/UHF would apply on any band.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The "big guns" on VHF literally all had towers, often very big (100-140' was not at all uncommon -- I remember W3MFY's 120' self-supporting tower with huge VHF beams on it, outside of Philadelphia.. "antenna here is a pair of 15 element Telrex yagis at 147 feet" ...but the tower and big beams stuff was the common element for just about everybody who was "serious" about VHFing) -- but that was also back in the days before CC&Rs and HOAs were commonplace. Nobody I knew lived in one, or with any restrictions.

    Some not only had big antenna systems but also lived on hilltops, which made it even better!:)

    But those of us with the big systems worked hundreds of hams with much smaller systems, and they'd often be, "Holy cow! I can't believe you're in..." wherever it was. The "heavy lifters" do the work, and contacts with them can be enjoyed by all.

    Kind of like EA3JE in Spain on 20m SSB right now...the band can be just barely open but he comes blasting through. It's not power, it's antennas and location.

    Yes, I think the pattern was (and still is) some very strong stations and a lot of weaker ones, but it's fun to work the weaker ones.

    I also think the "difference" between the large, high systems on VHF-UHF vs. HF is much larger on VHF-UHF. A 20m dipole at 30' might only be 10 dB down from a 20m beam at 70' at the same location. But a small beam at 25' vs. stacked beams at 70' on VHF-UHF can yield a bigger difference, more like 20 dB; maybe more than that when you're way over the horizon for the "lower beam" station.

    Since everything on VHF-UHF except "FM" is all "weak signal," it's an appropriate description -- signals really are weak. If every signal I hear on 2m was 10 dB weaker, I wouldn't hear many stations. But on 20m, if every signal was 10 dB weaker, the band would still sound very active!
    NH7RO and N5WVR like this.
  5. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's not just the CCR/HOA that has changed. Housing, health care, and college costs are taking a larger share of income. I think it's harder for today's median-income ham to afford to put up antennas and towers than was the case 50 years ago.

    That said, I think that "Big Guns" pretty much have towers by definition, on HF or VHF-UHF. I am running a kilowatt to a hexbeam on HF, but I'd never claim to be a Big Gun. The antenna is about 25 feet AGL! I consider myself a solid Little Pistol.

    I wonder how many of those "heavy lifters" are routinely on the air when there isn't a contest runnning? A station who can only work "heavy lifters" on VHF-UHF could easily find the band completely dead on a typical evening when HF is busy, and quickly lose interest in VHF-UHF.

    That's probably a large part of the activity problem today. Few hams are going to dive all-in on VHF-UHF and put up stacked beams at 70' when they first get interested. They'll put up a smaller antenna to see what's out there. I've lost count of the number of online posts that start out, "I'm interested in 2m SSB, but I never hear anything on my vertical..." Those who take the trouble to put up a 25' beam quickly find that they can work out 100 miles plus in contests, and then hear little to nothing between contests. That doesn't make them want to do the HUGE additional effort required to go to 70', even if they have no CCR/HOA issues.

    No one on HF would brag "I hear you solid, and you aren't even moving the [S-meter] needle!" That's a very VHF-UHF perspective. If I could only work VHF stations who "moved the needle", there would only be a small handful of people available.

    On 20/40/80, I am used to working people anywhere from S5 to S9+20. Dropping them by 10 db would leave most still workable, especially when the 'spots are better than they've been lately. (QSB has been horrible for the past year!) On the other hand, dropping all my HF phone contacts by 10 dB would move many of them from "let's have a long relaxing rag-chew" to "QSL, TU for the contact".

    Of course, background noise is higher on HF. I can work those S-zero "not moving the needle" stations on VHF because they're still above the noise floor, but on HF they are probably not, especially below 20 meters.

    I wonder if the rise of FT8 on VHF-UHF will make more contacts possible with poorer antennas, and drive more interest in VHF-UHF among casual operators without towers?
    NH7RO likes this.
  6. KA5IPF

    KA5IPF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Off topic, slightly. I can remember back in a good cycle working Japan on 10m solid copy and well above the noise floor. It was a TS-830s and the s-meter never moved.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  7. N4MTB

    N4MTB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have an Icom IC-821 and just picked up an IC-970h. Now to work on the modest antennas. Seems like something different to do when HF becomes unusable.
    Both rigs put out 45 watts , how much of an amplifier am I going to need???
  8. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wouldn't start with an amplifier at all. If you put at least 9 elements as high as you can go, you can see what's out there. Get on the next VHF contest and see what happens.

    If you can follow WIK's advice and get up to 70 ft+, you'll probably be happy unless you're in a very isolated area.

    I worked a fair number of weak signal stations with 50 watts before getting my brick.
    NH7RO likes this.
  9. N5WVR

    N5WVR Ham Member QRZ Page

    10 meters is almost VHF. :)
    NH7RO likes this.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just noticed where you live (per QRZ.com lookup, anyway).

    When I lived in NJ I worked up "your way" all the time (every day) on 2 meters. Golly, I think my first contact in northern VT was K1BKK back in about 1966 on 2m CW, when I was about 15 years old and just starting to explore VHF.

    Is he still around after all this time? Always had a killer signal (for many years) into NJ on 2m.

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