2 Meter Fun

My first experiences with my Technician license were on 2-Meters. Like most states, Maine has an extensive linked repeater network which gives a lot of options for staying in touch. Click on any image to magnify.

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This 2M groundplane antenna is featured in many ARRL publications and is easy to build. I used 3/8 copper tubing and some left-over copper flashing. The PVC coupling is filled with shoe goop and is there just to take the wobble out of the vertical. I used plumber’s solder with a small propane torch for assembly.

The HT in the picture above is a Yaesu VX-6R  multiband rig that transmits on 2M, 1.25M  and 70CM bands.    It has general coverage bands including broadcast FM but unfortunately doesn’t demodulate SSB, so the ham band coverage is limited to AM and virtually useless.   Worse, attached to a really decent antenna for HF bands it suffers from front-end overload and poor selectivity.    Also,  there is a 5-KHz minimum channel spacing on HF bands, so you can’t tune 3.921 Mhz, for example,  on 80 meters;  only 3.920 or 3.925, which is disappointing.    This is not a limitation just of Yaesu radios but of many so-called DC-to-Daylight rigs, particularly HTs, so read the specs carefully before buying.  If it doesn’t specifically list SSB  as a voice mode,  it probably won’t do SSB.   I would buy a two-band 6m/2M or a three band 10M/6M/2M mobile or HT  if  I had it to do over again.

However, with the above groundplane antenna I can open the nearest 2M repeater on 146.850, 12 miles away, with a mere 0.3 watts, with the antenna inside the house exactly as pictured.  I need the  full 5 watts with the rubber duck inside.  Outside 5 watts has been adequate so far.  Without the accessory speaker mic  you have to set the mic gain to max to get a good signal out, or scream into the pinhole in the case.  The USB cable and CAT software seem a bit pricy but are much less cumbersome than menu programming with the rig buttons.

One thought on “2 Meter Fun

  1. Beauty of an antenna project. I made a similar one using the SO239 connector and coat hanger wire/brazing rods. Worked the ISS APRS unit with that antenna and passed a text message back and forth to Connecticut. Great antennas and the pic on QRZ with the dog looking concerned for your sanity is lovely. 73! de N2QFD

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