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. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    With our repeaters here all being on mountaintops (and usually on tall towers above those mountaintops) I can reach about 30 repeaters, out to about 70 miles, using a 5W handheld and a whip from my patio. They do all the work.

    For simplex, I've experimented using just a handheld and a whip to another guy using the same thing and range is maybe 2 miles or so. If I sit on my roof (I do that sometimes) I can work the Catalina repeater with the handheld/whip and it's about 45 miles away over a somewhat obstructed path. Again, the repeaters are doing all the work.

    I suspect in the case of the OP, something's wrong with the setup.
     
  2. W0AAT

    W0AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    5 watts(low as my FT-7900 will go) 70 feet of 5/8 inch hardline, one of the cheap 17 foot fiberglass dual band verticals at 20 feet, I can work 60 miles or more and I am on the prairie, flat ground. Think that repeater antenna is at 300 feet
     
  3. AD0RD

    AD0RD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just to let everyone know, I have the antenna attached to a 10 foot piece of PVC sitting on a deck off an upstairs room. I have a 25ft piece of lmr-400 running to it. I currently have the antenna taken down for the weekend, hopefully will have it back up tomorrow for more testing.
     
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Check it out with an SWR meter to see if it's really connected and working.

    One bad connection can ruin your whole day.
     
  5. AD0RD

    AD0RD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did have the wife take the HT with her on Friday to the store, she could hear me from at least 3 miles away, after that she went out of line of sight so it got bad fast but it is transmitting.
     
  6. WO7A

    WO7A Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is entirely based upon the terrain between you and the repeater. 2w is plenty for 35 miles. I've worked one of the satellites when it was over 300 miles away using a Baofeng with stock rubber ducky. Coming from space is obviously a free path, but it certainly highlights the point.
     
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some folks are astonished to see what kind of "range" our VHF repeaters here have. Some are up 10,000 feet and cover population centers 80 miles away just fine -- in fact, that's where most of their users are.

    "Flatlanders" don't experience this, much.
     
  8. AD0RD

    AD0RD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am still new at this and the more mistakes I make, the more I learn. Most likely the issue is mine in not having the radio set up correctly with offset and ctcss. I did use the Elecraft K3/KX3 frequency editor today to set up the repeaters in my area in memory with the correct ctcss but will not be able to try it till I get home.

    Barry
     
  9. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you can see the mountains west of Denver/Boulder from there, you should not have a problem, and the 2 watts on an outside antenna should run circles around 5 watts on a handheld with a rubber duckie antenna. My FT817 runs 2 watts, but the antenna is much more efficient than on an HT, and it greatly outperforms my HTs. If you can see the mountains, you should be able to get in with a peanut whistle.

    Check to be sure you are actually transmitting on the repeater input frequency. Use your HT to listen to your transmit signal to verify that you are on the right frequency. The CRA repeater on 147.225 seems to cover the world out there. The input frequency is 147.825. Set your HT for that frequency and see if you can hear the KX3 on that frequency. The PL tone is 107.2. You can set the FT60 on 147.825 to be in 'tone squelch' mode, so that you will only hear the KX3 if it is transmitting the proper tone. See page 22 of the HT's manual for details on tone squelch mode. If your HT hears the KX3 on 147.825 with a PL tone of 107.2, you should be in business. If you hear the radio without the Tone Squelch on, that means the tone is set wrong. If you don't hear the radio at all, that means the offset or frequency are set wrong. Don't forget to turn off tone squelch on the HT.

    Yes, when the repeaters are on big mountains overlooking you, it doesn't take that much. We used to regularly measure the amount of RF it took to key up our repeater on a mountaintop about 35 miles away, and it was in the microwatt range. That was an unusually sensitive repeater receiver in a quiet place, but it was not unusual for people to work the machine with 100 mW.
     
  10. AD0RD

    AD0RD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok all,

    I figured my problem out. How do I say it was operator error and not look like a fool, oh well. It was the PL tones not set correctly. I used the Elecraft frequency editor and set all the repeaters in my error with the correct tones.

    Barry
     
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