Question on ranges with my 2 meter setup

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by AD0RD, Jan 31, 2015.

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  1. AD0RD

    AD0RD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a Elecraft kx3 with the 2 meter option. I am using a Diamond v2000 antenna at 30ft above the ground. So far I have not had any luck with making any contacts on 2 meters.

    The Elecraft puts out only 2 watts and I have no 2 meter amp. I live SE of Denver and most of the the repeaters are in the Denver area. My house is 35 miles as the crow flies to the city center of Denver and I am wondering if I am just under powered and not able to reach out that far? My Yaesu FT-60 with Diamond rubber duck can reach those repeaters but it is 5 watts which is more than double of the kx3.

    I did send my wife about 5 miles down the road with the HT and she could hear me fine.

    Barry
    kd0vqm
     
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most repeaters use "PL" (CTCSS) to activate them. Do you have CTCSS enabled and set to the right tone frequencies with the KX3??

    Difference between 2W and 5W isn't much. I'd think 2W to a good outdoor antenna should easily hit repeaters 35 miles away which are likely on hilltops. I can work the repeaters on Santiago Peak in Orange County from here with 2W and a "rubber duckie" antenna on my hand held, and they're 70 miles away...but up quite high. The important thing is to assure you have the right tone frequencies programmed.
     
  3. AD0RD

    AD0RD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I thought I had everything set correctly. The Denver Radio Club turns off the CTCSS needed during the net so I thought I should be ok. They did hear me break squelch but nothing else.
     
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe something's wrong with your antenna. Did you check its SWR etc?
     
  5. W0GSQ

    W0GSQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Barry, have you tried checking into the 2M SSB net on Monday evenings at 7:00PM?
    It is on 144.220 and there are several stations on the net that are over your direction and should be able to work you.
     
  6. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    2 watts into a decent antenna with some height should easily outperform 5 watts into a rubber duck (even a reasonable quality 1/4 wave rubber duck).

    I don't know where your problem is, but after double-checking the CTCSS tones and frequencies, I'd try to figure out if it's the radio or antenna. I might start by connecting that known good FT-60 to the antenna you had been using with the KX3. Do you hear well? Can others hear you? It ought to be a great improvement over the handheld antenna.

    Obviously, if you've got an antenna analyzer that works well on 2m, check out your antenna, and don't forget to check out the feed line -- put a dummy load at the antenna, and the feed line ought to show 50 ohms at all frequencies on the analyzer, as well as at DC with a multimeter. What kind of feed line are you using, BTW? Something with reasonably low loss at VHF, I hope?

    Swap it the other way, and put the FT-60's rubber duck onto the KX3, and the KX3 ought to perform very close to as well as your FT-60 had been working.
     
  7. W0AAT

    W0AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What are you using for feedline and how long is the run?
     
  8. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Without knowing the situation of the repeater it is difficult to be certain....

    However, I will disagree with the others and say that 2w is marginal for a 35 mile range.

    You also don't mention what your coax is, nor how long. 2w is easily dissipated in a long run or less than optimal coax. I would plan to use something like 9913 or 400 type low loss coax for your application.
     
  9. W0GSQ

    W0GSQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You should also have no problem getting into the 146.97 repeater on Pikes Peak from Kiowa.
     
  10. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would agree under most conditions. I've had difficulty using 75 watts to go 5 miles. If someone just said, "Can I reach a repeater 35 miles away using 2W?", I'd lean toward, "Probably not". But terrain and obstructions play a large part of 2m propagation. We know that the path in question was doable with 5W and a rubber duck, so I maintain that the same path should be doable with 2W and a good rooftop antenna.
     
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