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#21

I stayed up after midnight last night reading all 158 postings on ‘2m SSB SOTA’ topic, most of which is relevant to my interest in CW on 2m ….


I concluded …

  1. 2m FM activity is still high and getting 4 contacts to activate most (non-remote) UK summits using low power and non-rubber-duck antenna is usually achievable if you post alert then self-spot.
  2. Anecdotal experience suggests casual day-to-day SSB/CW activity on VHF/UHF has dropped over the last 10 to 15 years - Gerald (G4OIG), Brian (G8ADD).
  3. This is probably due to the drift of most amateurs away from VHF/UHF to ‘more for less effort’ [my words] HF since the Morse code requirement was abolished - Andy (MM0FMF).
  4. There’s still a lot of periodic 2m/SSB activity for SOTA activators if you activate during VHF contests/events - Tom (M1EYP).
  5. Serious DX-chasing SSB/CW activators use an elevated horizontal Yagi/beam (G4IOG).
  6. Many (most?) recently-licensed VHF/UHF chasers probably use a single vertical antenna at home QTH, e.g. co-linear, mainly for FM.
  7. Using mixed polarization (e.g. activator vertical, chaser horizontal) could attenuate signal strength by 20dB. Angling vertical antenna to 45 degrees may reduce loss to about 3dB (G8ADD).
  8. Steve (G1INK) speculates about how many activators try vertical SSB and spot the fact so chasers with co-linears may venture to listen. The idea is supported by others - Dave (M6RUG), Mike (2E0YYY), Gerald (G4IOG).

My SOTA and WOTA hill walks in G/LD will be during daylight hours usually on week days and unlikely to be aligned with contests so I’ll be relying mainly on SOTA chasers. As I said earlier, my use of 2m/70cm is intended for those walks where I need to be QRV quickly, so there’s no point lugging a Yagi and pole/tripod (I’ve tried my Sandpiper 3-el Yagi handheld but my arm ached in no time).

If it turns out that a simple vertical like my Diamond RH770 is unusable because all the SSB/CW chasers have horizontal antennas then my plan is doomed, and I’ll resort to FM only. Looking on the bright side (points 6 and 8 above), I want to try vertical CW/SSB activating, alert and spot that fact of course, and see what the response is. And if I find out a chaser is H-polarized then I could try angling the antenna.

Who knows, if it works out, I might end up taking the FT817 more often than the KX2.


#22

Cross polarisation loss can be enormous around 30dB. But unless your antenna is many wavelengths above ground, or you are standing at the edge of a significant cliff face and you have a LOS path then the real world cross loss will be much nearer 3 to 6dB. This is because much of the signal will include non-direct components at various polarisations.

You could always take a leaf out of the PM handbook and rig an antenna support that mounts on or sticks out of your backpack. Something that holds a simple 2m dipole a couple of feet above your head. You should be able to deploy something on those lines in a few minutes.


#23

I’m too self-conscious to have a dipole on a stick above my head (my wife would say I look like Mr Bean) but I agree with you I need a horizontal solution if most of the SSB/CW chasers are that way inclined.

I’ve found I can put my Sandpiper 3el Yagi onto a modified camera tripod pretty quickly (though I could stick to FM if family with me think it’s not quick enough). Everything fits (more or less) into the tripod shoulder bag and weigh 1.58kg.

I was too cissy to take the gear out in the rain today but from my bedroom I can get GB3VHF (90km away) and found its Morse ID 3/3 on the Diamond RH770 and 5/5 on the horizontal Yagi (sure it would be better without the metal window frames). So, will take both antennas on the next few 2m activations.


#24

* plonk *