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Author Topic: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?  (Read 252 times)

Offline IZS4

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2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« on: April 02, 2021, 1710 UTC »
So I may have brought this up in the past, but I find myself thinking about it again. I have a Yaesu 818 and recently purchased a 65 watt amp to get out a bit better signal on FM simplex, however I seem to be in a bit of a dead zone when it comes to VHF, at least to the West of me. There is a net operated about 25 miles from me once a week and I have checked in several times using my portable satellite antenna on 5 watts. I've always been fascinated by 2M SSB/CW even though I know its not super active. I have recently thought about getting a 14 element yagi, but it would only be up at around 25' . I will also need to get a rotator, but I would like to have one anyway for other experiments. Based on the low height and max power of 65 watts I'm wondering what I might expect and whether or not it's worth the investment?  Let me know what you think.
Yaesu FT-818 with a 135' OCF dipole and an RSP SDR receiver connected to an MLA-30 loop.

Offline Stretchyman

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Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2021, 1849 UTC »
Good question and something I'm currently getting on with too.

I was warned it would be a lonely hobby and Yes there's not many on 2m SSB unless there's a contest but I've zero interest in contesting but useful to find how far you can get.

A 65W amp won't be much use and suggest far more power, I've gone for 300W as there's a decent kit available but 1KW is just as simple just a bit more expensive..

Your antenna is decent (better than mine)as I've only got room for 6 elements (have both horiz and very to compare). Your height is far too low but does of course depends on the terrain. Height is everything at these frequencies..

I know you're in the US and I'm in the UK but things won't be that much different I guess?

Str..
« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 1825 UTC by Stretchyman »
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Offline IZS4

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Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2021, 1915 UTC »
Yeah. One of these days I'm hoping to have a tower. I would be curious about a link to the amplifier you were talking about, although I don't know If I would have the know how to build something like that. Ive built a couple QRP transceivers in the past, but it was just following instructions and making good solder joints more or less.
Yaesu FT-818 with a 135' OCF dipole and an RSP SDR receiver connected to an MLA-30 loop.

Offline Stretchyman

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'It's better to give than receive' so why RX when you can TX!

         15W and100W models available.

                   Buy one from me, NOW!


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Offline ThaDood

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Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost? That depends, but it is fun!
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2021, 0528 UTC »
In the mid-90's, I paid about $1,100.00 total into 2M SSB. That includes a used Kenwood TS-711A, a Mirage modified 2M 140W repeater linear amp, a Hamtronics 2M GaAS FET preamp kit, LMR-400 coax, and a homebrew copper 5 element HORZ beam. At that time, I knew several people into 2M SSB, and even 432MHz SSB, and that 140W PEP talked weekly into the St Lawrence Seaway, CT, NJ, PA, and even into D.C. off the back of the beam. At the time, I was living near the bottom of the Newtown Creek Valley, my beam was only 30ft up, yet just cleared the rooftops and trees close by. +300 miles, without DX enhancement, seemed to be the norm. It seemed to be about on-par with my 6M SSB system. 432MHz SSB, with 30W and a 3 element beam, got me out to Erie, PA, or about 175 miles. So, was it worth it? At the time, I'd thought YES, plus the experience that I've gained in doing it that I can apply today. Just don't ask how much I've spent on 222MHz FM and 1.2GHz. I probably should include the Astron RS-70M power supply, as well, that powered the rigs and amps.
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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2021, 0143 UTC »
Not a ham, so you can take my opinion with a grain of salt....

I'd bag the 2M SSB idea, as even the ham forums don't talk much about DXing SSB on 2M.

Maybe put the time, effort, and money into 6 meters instead? Besides, when 6 meters is in, it seems that guys sometimes get worldwide contacts. Not so on 2M. Even 2M FM is mostly MIA in my metro. Tune across the band with a good multibander and it's hiss. In 1990 it would have been 2-3 QSOs heard at least, even well into the evening.
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Offline IZS4

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Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2021, 1154 UTC »
You definitely have a point there. I do have 6m capability now in all modes and most HF transceivers all cover 6M. I haven't heard much activity on 6 for quite some time now. I had a small moxon about 10 years ago and was able to work all over the place on the band.
Yaesu FT-818 with a 135' OCF dipole and an RSP SDR receiver connected to an MLA-30 loop.

Offline Traveling Wave

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Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2021, 1752 UTC »
IZS4, I have noticed that the FT8 phenomenon has taken over 6 meters in the last few years. Last year here in WNY, May thru August usually had more FT8 signals present on 6 meters and fewer SSB phone signals. It seems to me that many more people are using FT8's weak signal capabilities than are using phone.
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Offline IZS4

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Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 1125 UTC »
Yes. I think digital modes have gotten much more common on all the bands. I see a lot of activity on 10 & 30 meters also. I'm not a fan of digital modes myself. To each their own though. It is an effective method.
Yaesu FT-818 with a 135' OCF dipole and an RSP SDR receiver connected to an MLA-30 loop.