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 …
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- There’s still a lot of periodic 2m/SSB activity for SOTA activators if you activate during VHF contests/events - Tom (M1EYP).
- Serious DX-chasing SSB/CW activators use an elevated horizontal Yagi/beam (G4IOG).
- Many (most?) recently-licensed VHF/UHF chasers probably use a single vertical antenna at home QTH, e.g. co-linear, mainly for FM.
- 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).
- 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.