Two Metres   March 6th, 2012

Two metres seems to me be a band that has so much to offer and yet fails to deliver, at least to the casual visitor like me. There are of course many devotees using large antenna systems and working EME and MS on a regular basis. A few years ago this was the reserve for the most technically advanced stations. But for those with more modest antennas and mediocre locations, the story’s a lot different.
 I set up a small 2 metre station running 50 watts into a 4 element Yagi at around 20ft. Modest, yes, but from just a few weeks operation I know this system can easily give SSB QSOs up to 100 miles with ease. I know this because of a few hours operation during recent contests and lifts. At these times the band is busy. But when the band is flat or the contest is over, the SSB section goes quiet; deadly quiet! It was not always like this. Twenty years ago, SSB was prolific and many mobile operators used this band mode. Today, at least in my location, things are so different. A few days ago, I heard a well placed station with a large antenna calling CQ for nearly fifteen minutes. There was not one reply.
Activity nights help, but the underlying fact is that two metre SSB is conspicuous by its absence. A view supported by some ham radio blogs. The band has much to offer. Antennas are not very demanding in terms of space, and the level of interference is infinitely better than 80 or 160 metres. Of course, many operators have migrated to FM and are content to work their regular local friends on this mode. Indeed many, simply sit on their local repeater channel – but that is another story. Potentially another reason why we have so much unused space on two meters. As a great friend of mine, and ex RSGB President, G2BVN, said many years ago, “use or lose”. Perhaps things are not so different after all!
Peter Waters G3OJV
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