HFU HF Underground

General Category => Amateur Radio => Topic started by: Matt285 on May 20, 2019, 1834 UTC

Title: 2M SSB
Post by: Matt285 on May 20, 2019, 1834 UTC
Anyone here on the site work 2M SSB or CW? If you do or have please post comments. Thanks
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: ThaDood on May 20, 2019, 1914 UTC
I did heavily in the mid-1990's. At a hamfest, I bought a 2nd hand TS-711A 2M multi-mode rig and a modified 140W Mirage 2M repeater amp, (Modified with T/R switching and SSB delay.), then bought a Hamtronics 2M +18dB 2M RX amp. For a beam, I built my own 5 element copper and PCV beam, matched at 144.200MHz. That set-up talked all over the Northeast USA and Ontario and Quebec, Canada. I could talk anytime to the NE states and NJ from WNY. Weekly weekend mornings, there was a group up in the Canadian St Lawrence Seaway, so I shot my beam up there and had some neat QSO's. I'm trying to get back into 2M SSB again. For now, I have a TS-2000X to a homebrew 2M Delta Loop. About the only time that I hear anything around 144.200MHz is during contest times, like the January, June, and September ARRL VHF Contests and ARRL Field Days. I've had local 2M SSB QSO try-outs, but few here are set-up for 2M SSB / CW antenna-wise. Anyway, I want to do it again as well as 432.100MHz SSB again. It was fun and worked distances when HF F2 and Sporadic "E" would be dead. A decent 2M SSB station could reliably work +300 miles anytime. Open some Tropo enhancement, and the sky's the limit, literally.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Matt285 on May 20, 2019, 2237 UTC
Thanks for your reply. I am thinking about selling my current rig to buy an Icom-7000. I know 2M weak signal work is not that common, but I wouldn't mind eventually having a small/med size Yagi set up horizontally for 2M. I used to work a fair amount of  6 meters with my Yaesu FT-817 and occasionally I would hear some 2M SSB/CW activity. I also know that the guys that are big into it run a fair amount of power, use preamps and run very low loss hardline to large arrays. It would be an expensive investment and im not sure if it would be worth it. I suppose I could try dabbling in it with a modest set up and see what I think.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Josh on May 21, 2019, 1919 UTC
I doubt there's much activity in 2m ssb anymore but you can always try and see. I had a Ic210 or whatever it was in the 90s and with a Cushcraft 2m beam could talk within a few hundred miles when there was no tropo ongoing, when tropo was going it was amazing.

A IC7000 is a worthy rig, they used a lot of tech from the IC7800 program to devise it. One could consider the IC7000 to be a mini IC7800. The IC718 is a worthy rig too, but the IC7000 offers so much more versatility. No filters to buy, amazing dsp filtering you can just dial in, etc etc.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Matt285 on May 22, 2019, 1117 UTC
Yeah. I love the simplicity and feel of my 718. However I need a cw filter and by the time I pay for that I would have put enough money into it that I could have purchased a number of rigs that already have filtering and 6M capability. At least HF rigs have come down in price finally.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Josh on May 22, 2019, 1859 UTC
Even new 7300s are going for insane prices. Reason mention is made is the hf performance of the 7300 is far superior to a lot of rigs, 7000 included. The 7300 does not do 2m however. This low cost in the new and used market for the 7300 crashed the used market for the pro series as well as pretty much everything else, but my current pro was gotten for a song so that turned out ok. Case in point, saw a 756pro in great shape for 550 delivered the other day. 550 is down around the "if it works and looks good it's at least worth 500" zone in the used hf rig market. If I didn't want/need 2m and 70cm in one box with hf thrown in, I'd head straight for a 7300. Oddly, 7000s seem to be holding steady in the used market. Also, read the eham reviews for the 7000 and pay attention to the ones with low scores, the same issues come up frequently.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: ThaDood on June 17, 2019, 0344 UTC
Anyone into a 2M SSB revival? I've just read, and even posted, about the weirdness on the posts about 75M crazies. Thus far, (Knock-knock, on this wooden table.), everyone that I've worked and QSO'ed with up there has been fantastic. Let's keep it that way! Oh, and no lightning crashes, until they are under 100 miles from ya. That in itself is keeping me off the lower HF bands now, lightning crashes.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Josh on June 17, 2019, 0517 UTC
I think the norm is about 150 miles for 10w ssb into a beam, sometimes 300 miles depending on power out, elevation, etc. Then there's the aurora and meteor scatter that come into play at 6m and up. I tuned in some aurora (ssb and cw), wich is really weird sounding, but with only 10w couldn't play.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: i_hear_you on June 17, 2019, 1302 UTC
Anyone into a 2M SSB revival?

I'm taking down a neighbor's old VHF/UHF TV yagi and plan to use the material to build a 144.2 VHF yagi this summer.  I'm also about two beers and a smart phone surfing session away from purchasing the ft-857d that I've lusted after for years.  I'm interested in some weak-signal VHF work.

Is 50w enough for acceptable 2m SSB? Is the ft-857d good enough on RX to try?
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: ThaDood on June 17, 2019, 1840 UTC
I had an FT-857D multiband rig, and had fun using it for ARRL VHF Contests as a rover station with it. Why I got rid of it was it was a terrible AM QSO'er on TX. The Kenwoods, and even Icoms, kick its butt there. Anyway, I find the RX in the FT-857D not the best, and you will want a +20dB RX preamp with it, especially for 2M SSB, and you'll really want one for 432MHz SSB work, if ya ever do that. 50W 2M SSB is doable, with a decent beam out in the clear, and especially above trees and houses. 20W on 432MHz is challenging, but still doable on that rig, especially hill topping it or by a lake shore. The 1st thing that you want to try, when ya get it all set-up for 2M SSB / CW, is to see how many 2M beacons you can RX from 144.275MHz - 144.300MHz, then find out how far they are. When ya get Temp Inversions and Tropo enhancement, 2M SSB and 432MHz really can come alive with nice distances with just 10W, or less. I did a great QSO with just 4W 440FM back in that super band opening in September 2004, WNY to London, ON, Canada for hours. Oh... I remember a SK'ed friend of mine QSO'ed daily on 2M SSB with just 10W, 10 element beam from Penn Yan, NY to NJ, back in the 1990's. Hope this somewhat helps. 
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: i_hear_you on June 17, 2019, 1853 UTC
What I'm hearing is that the ft-857d is _not_ the rig for this kind of stuff!

Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: MDK2 on June 20, 2019, 1449 UTC
The Icom IC-7100 covers all the ranges that the FT-857D does (160-6m + 2m and 70cm). It has a notorious issue where it won't output 100 W SSB when set to 100 W output. There's a mod for that, though.
Title: Re: 2M SSB, made it to "E's"!!!!
Post by: ThaDood on July 21, 2019, 0608 UTC
WOW!!!! Sporadic "E" was so intense, that a friend of mine DX'ed a 93.7FM from North Dakota! So, I checked 10M, 6M, and then 144.200MHz USB. Heard a bunch of super quick, partial "0" calls from 19:00 - 19:40UTC. Almost like meteor scatter quick. 6M and 10M stayed open into the evening, when I had to shut down for work.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: WA4FHY on July 21, 2019, 1828 UTC
"Hey, Dood",
There's some kind of V/UHF contest on this weekend and that
always seems to bring people out of the woodwork. Unfortunately,
some ops believe that contest mode means all knobs to the right! :(

Six has been open most of the weekend here; including a lot of SSB and
even some CW. I checked ~144.200 yesterday and heard some sigs
but I have some wide RFI ~144.198 and that plays havoc up to almost 144.210
so didn't make out much in the way of calls.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Josh on July 21, 2019, 1901 UTC
Also don't forget to try aurora mode. Pretty much have to be in the northern half of the US to use it if stateside but it can be a neat mode.

Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Matt285 on August 14, 2020, 1932 UTC
I recently got a new FT-818 and am able to listen again on 2M SSB. I have tuned into a couple of Florida nets and actually hear activity up and down the East coast (In state so far) and even heard a QSO a few nights later between a guy in Miami and one in Jacksonville. I'm listening on a 135' dipole, so it's not the most effective. It's been a lot of fun listening and I'm glad theres still activity. Makes me want a 13B2 and Mirage 160 amp (Reasonable dreams) Maybe one day.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: ThaDood on August 15, 2020, 2049 UTC
Heck... Put that rig to a VHF/UHF TV antenna and rotate that around, with a +20dB VHF/UHF preamp, and then you'll really see what you can hear on 144.200USB and even 432.100USB / CW. If you should use a TV antenna to TX, minus the preamp in place, you may get away with around 20W PEP. Higher than that and most likely the 75 / 300 Ohm TV baluns will fry. Can be done, though. It wouldn't be hard to construct your own 3 element 2M SSB beam, or even an Omni,   https://www.sekarc.net/2016/01/easy-2-meter-ssb-loop-antenna.html      ,      http://www.hamuniverse.com/2ssbyagi.html    Yeah, that shows 6 element, but 3 can be done.  I make a 4 element PVC and copper #10AWG beam in the mid-90's and talked all over the NE USA States and Canada with 140W behind that.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Matt285 on August 18, 2020, 1526 UTC
Yeah. I think if I were going to get a Yagi for 2m, I'd go with at least 5/6 elements. I have an Elk 2m/440 log periodic I'm planning on using for satellite op's. I suppose that might work a bit better than the dipole. I have noticed 6m being open more often lately, so I'm trying to figure out what to do. I can only have one directional antenna up at a time. Not to mention the financial factor. I used to work 6m QRP using a homemade Moxon. It worked fairly well. I think I would go with a 3/4 element yagi this time around though.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Matt285 on August 26, 2020, 1318 UTC
I made my first 2M SSB contact on Monday. Distance was only about 42 miles, but I thought it wasn't too bad considering I was running a Yaesu ft-818 at 5 watts in to a Elk log periodic 2m/440 typically used for satellite op's about 8' off the ground. Saving and looking for a larger Yagi now!
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Monophonia on August 27, 2020, 2358 UTC
All this 2M SSB talk is making me want to get a 2M beam for my 50' tower build coming up. I'll have more than enough wild load and rotator capacity to put a sizeable 2M beam under the hexbeam.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: ThaDood on October 17, 2020, 1800 UTC
What I wished gained more traction is 222MHz SSB. Nothing around to desense you, except maybe if you are next to the VHF TV CH13 transmitter tower. 222MHz is more sensitive to Tropo as well. Unfortunately, I'm in a terrible location for 432MHz SSB, bottom of a river valley and lots of foliage. 2M SSB is planned for a make-over where I am, with only a 3 ele beam, (To start.), and extra RX preamps. I do have a 2M 140W Mirage amp as well, so I can certainly play on 2M SSB in my decent directions.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: Matt285 on October 19, 2020, 1932 UTC
I'd imagine 220 SSB is a very small group. I don't even hear of any FM activity in my area. I talked to someone on our local repeater that had just moved down from NY and they ask about 220. I have noticed that people I have talked to about it, really love the band and various reasons. Hopefully it will become popular again someday. I doubt it though unfortunately.
Title: Re: 2M SSB
Post by: ThaDood on November 23, 2020, 1909 UTC
I'm going to try and get a 2M SSB beam up for the Winter ARRL VHF Sweepstakes:

January VHF Sweepstakes: The third or fourth weekend in January. See the current rules for this year's exact date.  1900 UTC Saturday through 0359 UTC Monday.