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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post 2m ssb/cw activity
I posted a question about the Spectrum Comms (UK) 2m transverter, but given the number of views v nil responses, I am assuming that nobody here knows anything about it.

However, I have found a couple of positive reviews, which raises the question, is there enough activity on 2m ssb/cw to justify the outlay?

Unfortunately, not having any 2m receive facility, I'm completely in the dark on this.

Back in the 70's and early 80's, I worked a lot of 2m cw/ssb, with a homebrew 100W transverter, but haven't listened to those modes on 2m since then. I did try 2m FM for a while, but that was more like CB than amateur radio, so I gave that 'the elbow'.

Given that nobody seems to make a multimode vhf/uhf transceiver now, does that send out some sort of message?

Having a 450D, a transverter is the obvious choice if I were to return to VHF, but my homebrew days are now long since over, so its 'off the shelf' or not bother at all now.

G4DDk's Anglian transverter, is well thought of but Sam only supplies it in kit form now, and my old eyes aren't really up to soldering surface mount components.

The Kuhne and Elcraft transverters are undoubtedly 'top notch' products, but very expensive, especially for a mono-band product.

I wouldn't want to buy second-hand, so the Spectrum Comms offering is the only realistic offering, at Ā£283. I would however, be very disappointed if I found the ssb/cw sections of 2m to be desterted, and only to come alive for contests, briefly inhabited by 'bingo callers'


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Dave
Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:28 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
God loves a tryer, but I think that you are not going to find what you are looking for on VHF.

On the other hand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKPWzLgvgW4

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Chris, 'oop North.


Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:53 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
Well a mate has the Speccy 4m transverter and its really good.


I cant see why you wont go second hand to just try...I would! Then upgrade later if you find it useful.

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Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:08 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
G6CSL wrote:
God loves a tryer, but I think that you are not going to find what you are looking for on VHF.

On the other hand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKPWzLgvgW4


Probably very apt Chris (lol)

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Dave


Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:12 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
G4YVM wrote:
Well a mate has the Speccy 4m transverter and its really good.


I cant see why you wont go second hand to just try...I would! Then upgrade later if you find it useful.


Perhaps a simple receive facility to start with, to 'test the water', and see if there is life out there.

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Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:13 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
It seems that someone is trying to 'drum up' some ssb/cw activity on 2m

www.facebook.com/Morseon2M

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Dave


Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:26 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
there is this..

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ukvhfuhfcontesting/

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Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:29 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
Interesting Phil, but I reckon that's just 'Bingo Calling'.

Absolutely fine for contest minded folk, but not for those that want a bit more than 5/9 and a contact number.

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Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:36 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
I think You and Me both like the same type of radio Dave.

But. I have accepted that radio - as we like it - is making its 'last stand' in the CW sections of 160m / 80m / 40m (plus 60m and 30m on major contest weekends) and nowhere else.

DXers go up in frequency as the high bands open ... I go down to the lowest open band. I get a nosebleed above 10MHz.

Your optimism is admirable, but maybe it is best to add your mighty fist to the Moonlight Ragchewers, and stop flogging a long-dead horse. We are at solar min, and the nights are drawing in. Happy days. :)

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Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:39 pm
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
tbh Dave the activity levels of the 80's etc will never come back, that said there are still good times to be had when conditions are up and luckily I enjoy listening to white noise when they are not :lol:

I would guess that you are in a ideal part of the country to take advantage of any openings to the continent.
Luckily over here there are still many keen on VHF but SSB /CW and good systems are a must outside of openings due to the size of the country.

I would seriously consider getting a second hand unit first though just to have a dabble, a horizontal aerial with decent feeder is a must though otherwise you'd certainly feel the band is dead ;)
I've even mounted a transverter masthead in a waterproof box back in the day to reduce losses - surprising what 10W will do when it's at the aerial :thumbsup:

If needed there is a board available from a Ukraine amateur that will drop the miinimum 5W output from your 450D to a suitable drive level. It's also easy to arrange to get split TX and RX if needed.

73

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Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:41 am
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
A couple of things to keep in mind.
With the higher bands what you get out of them is very much related to the effort you put in.
Unlike HF, a basic setup, poor antennas, lossy cable and an expectation of randomly going on and getting a pile of QSOs isn't going to work.
Take time to understand what's going on, good equipment, very low loss feeder, sensibly large antenna - remembering the beamwidth, masthead pre-amp if your local noise level is suitable, and observing what is actually happening on the bands.
Not just 2M.
To the casual observer, of HF, it would appear many people concentrate on possibly just one, perhaps two, bands.
Most I know, on VHF, operate several bands - in my case 6M through to 13cm - so, if 4M is wide open you're unlikely to find me on 2M.
I will be monitoring, in case that band opens, but will not get involved in a local chat.
Some of my regular 2M contacts will be missing if, for instance, the weather suggests 10GHz might be interesting.

I regularly monitor the beacons and do routine tests with one station in particular.
DL6YBF, Helmut, is 700km away.
It's almost without fail a successful test.

What, exactly, are you hoping for out of the band?
There is, frequently, CW to be heard - particularly during AUR and ES - but to get the best out of it needs you to adapt to circumstances.
If the band is open you can pretty well forget having a chat with anyone.
If tropo is poor you look at MS, or even EME.
You need to get people to realise you are there so lots of CQ calls, of reasonable length not just two CQs and your callsign :lol: .
Learn which directions are productive and what difficulties certain directions present.
Monitor ON4KST chat, if you wish, to see where activity is although, unlike HF, only interesting/unusual contacts tend to get posted.
Your location should be good for the continent, where VHF/UHF seems to be treated much more seriously

Cheers

Tony

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Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:58 am
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 2m ssb/cw activity 
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
Thanks for you input guys, much appreciated.

Back in the 60's, 70's, and early 80's I lived in London, at a mere 50' ftASL, surround by buildings, and with the ground to the N and NW of me rising to around 300 ft asl, so to the N and NE I was effectively firing into the hill.

That said, under 'lift' conditions, I was able to work up into the Midlands, and Cheshire on 2m ssb/cw, with an 8 ell beam at 40ft. Back in the 70's, while up in Staffordshire on a residential training course, one evening, drive up the Merriton Low, near Buxton, and operated /P with a borrowed Liner 2, and a 4 ele beam. Up there, at 1600 ft asl, and with the band in good condition, I worked stations down on the south coast, and well into the continent.

The highest point in Suffolk is just 400 ft asl, albeit several miles away. I am located a 150 ft asl, but have pretty much line of site with the East Coast, but large arrays are not an option here, which is why I favour cw, as it will always be readable, when ssb isn't.

As you tell me that 2m ssb/cw is much more prevalent on the continent than its is in the Uk, then I am perhaps well placed for this, when conditions are good.

Having come back into amateur radio, after many years away from it, I have to wonder what happened to cause the decline in 2m ssb/cw activity in the UK. I know that we had a large influx of people coming into the hobby from CB, who then made a beeline for HF, and 2m FM, but what about the old guard like me, why did they desert 2m, especially given the lack of solar activity, and the fact that its likely to remain poor for years to come.

I know from recent experience, that I can get into southern Europe on 6m, with my measly 6.5m vertical, so that band is sorted good enough for me, and I'll ponder some more on what I might do for 2m.

I will ponder some more re 2m, before making any decisions.

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Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:00 pm
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
I think that the decline in numbers on 2m was simply the result of ending the Morse requirement. 2m used to be a rite of passage / necessary evil while you were learning Morse.

Unless you were seriously into VHF/UHF for its own sake like Tony, then it only gave limited 'Inter-G' capability at best. So as soon as it became 'HF for all', then the DX'ers went and DX'ed on 20m - 10m, and the Inter-G'ers moved onto 40m and 80m, which are miles better for the job.

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Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:26 pm
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Post Re: 2m ssb/cw activity
You could be right Chris, but I can remember quite a few G3 and G4 stations being active on 2m ssb/cw, and yet they were licensed to operate on HF.

40 and 80m were great inter G bands, were you could enjoy a good rag-chew about operating, construction, and antennas etc on ssb, but what I hear on there now, apart from the odd technically able amateur that you might be lucky to come across, are PTT operating number collectors, and people running power levels that they aren't licensed to use.

Perhaps its the more serious amateurs that, although few and far between, might start migrating back to ssb/cw VHF and above, given the poor band conditions on HF. I can't see the 'twig and personal brigade" doing so.

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Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:02 pm
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G3XSA wrote:
You could be right Chris, but I can remember quite a few G3 and G4 stations being active on 2m ssb/cw, and yet they were licensed to operate on HF.

40 and 80m were great inter G bands, were you could enjoy a good rag-chew about operating, construction, and antennas etc on ssb, but what I hear on there now, apart from the odd technically able amateur that you might be lucky to come across, are PTT operating number collectors, and people running power levels that they aren't licensed to use.

Perhaps its the more serious amateurs that, although few and far between, might start migrating back to ssb/cw VHF and above, given the poor band conditions on HF. I can't see the 'twig and personal brigade" doing so.


1. Yes, I was one of them :)
2. Agreed. A lot of the new intake are 'plug in and PTT' men. They don't really have a lot to talk about, so they just collect squares and lamp posts. That's why I am 100% Morse these days. 'Doing' Morse is the hobby for me now ... the radio either works or it doesn't. If Morse had died out like many predicted, I would have just quietly QRT'd years ago and gone and played trains.

I'd still lay most of the blame at the door of the RSGB. Their slogan should be ''Taking the 'Radio' out of Ham Radio for 20 years''.

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Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:24 pm
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