2 Meter FM

A SOTA certificate is the only feasible award for someone with FM only equipment.
In areas with a lot of peaks near population centers, like southern California, it would be nice if the Activators could spend more time on 2 meter FM. I know I am not the only one hoping to make contact on 2M FM. We would like to participate more. Hope to hear you on 2 Meters FM.

In reply to K6QCB:
I agree…here in So Cal there are hundreds of peaks…a handful of activators and even less chasers. It would be very cool to have more activators monitor 2 meter and have those who do activate maybe come eastward in the So Cal mountains. I have a few friends who are interested in chasing but cannot make contact with those who activate.

A FM 2 meter award would be kinda cool to have as my first award too.


In reply to K6QCB:

If you go to the shop and look at the awards application you will see a box marked “Additional Information” which is a drop down menu. At present you can add “All VHF” but not “All FM”. I think that if you contact Barry he can add something suitable to the certificate.


Brian G8ADD

I’d like to see more 2 meter activity too. I’ve gone up to San Pedro Hill (without an alert) with my HT, with all of the LA Basin visible and no one has come back to me on the simplex frequency. I guess most people are monitoring repeaters.

I remember my first disappointing 2m only activation of Kratka Ridge and had only 2 contacts.

Lately during my activations I have left the HT on 146.52, I have made a few QSOs. K6TW had some success from Cucamonga Peak by bringing a small Yagi and pointing it South, he got into the San Diego area, maybe more hams are monitoring 146.52 down there.

In reply to N6JZT:
N6JZT…you are so very right…we need to get the word out in the I.E. and the basin about these activations.

I know on Morton Peak I made 23 contacts on 2 meters. But I was also using an FT 8900 and a Diamond Vertical. About half of the contacts were friends who knew I was going to be on Morton so those contacts were easy.

When I see an activation that I may be able to make contact with the activator I do in fact tell a few friends even if I cannot make contact with them.

So I am doing my best in trying to pass the word…I have yet to make a QSO with you and you are one of my goals!!! LOL!!


In reply to K6QCB:
I couldn’t activate HF earlier this year due to very strong winds, so I setup on 2m FM with a handie and a Dipole.
I was amazed how much attention I got regularly running small pile ups along the way from just 5w!. After 3 hours of fun with many comments of “thanks for activating 2m” I closed down… What a buzz!
Some kind of award/challenge for 2m FM would be a step in the right direction like the current 12m challenge.
I have found in the past people do monitor repeaters more than the calling channel, if things should stop just go on a repeater and call… It doesn’t take long before stations hear the qso and follow onto Simplex… from there its starts over and you are flat out again!.. Activity generates activity!

In reply to N6JZT:

On a Sunday afternoon in August 2012 I did an all FM activation from Cucamonga Peak (2 QSOs on 446.000 and 29 QSOs on 146.52 in 2 hours time). I had intended to set up using HF, but there had been thunderstorms over these peaks the day before, and it looked like with very little cloud development it could happen again, so I wanted to be able to leave the summit quickly and chose to activate using UHF and VHF.

Equipment: FT-817, 5W, 5/8 over 5/8 UHF, 1/2 wave VHF antenna mounted on radio.

Worked WW0W mobile on 395 to the north somewhere, a mobile in downtown San Diego, out to Ventura towards the west, and a lot of places in between. I don’t know if my timing was really good to find that many people listening, but I didn’t have any problem finding contacts. I don’t believe any of these where active SOTA chasers.

There are several keys to making contacts. Use a better antenna than a rubber duck. Get the antenna as high in the air as possible (on Cucamonga I held the radio/antenna above my head while transmitting). VHF/UHF QSOs usually take a little longer than HF contacts because they are more than just signal reports and move on to the next station.

If your on a relatively high peak you don’t have to be near a population center to get all your contacts on VHF. I did this with two peaks in eastern Idaho last summer. Again, get a good antenna up in air, call for awhile, eat lunch, call some more after lunch. Part of it is timing, who is listening when. Take a break and do something you need to anyway, and then call again after the break. Of course you want to listen during your break in case someone new shows up on frequency.

Doug, N7NGO

Thanks for the info Doug! I usually use a 1/4 wave whip on the HT, was thinking I should try a better antenna. Maybe hang a co-linear in a tree or something.


In reply to N6JZT:

Some simple 2m antennas which make a big difference.

Add a 1/4wave ground wire. i.e. 19in of thin wire that clips to the earth of the handy ant. socket and just hangs down. It makes about 3db improvement for almost no effort. Use it with the rubber duck or with a 1/4wave telescopic ant.

A ribbon feed J-pole is a little more effort but again an improvement on a rubber duck. Hang it from a tree or use a small fishing pole to hold it up. The antenna rolls up to hardly anything.

A co-linear can be made from RG-58 sections. Again tree or fishing pole support is needed and it also rolls up to next to nothing.

With all VHF antennas, is not height but HAAT, height above average terrain that makes the difference. On a hill where the ground drops steeply away in the direction of your chasers then you can mount the antenna nearer the ground. Otherwise higher above local ground is better.


I am glad to see all the posts and I hope this will lead to more 2 meter FM activity. I understand that 2M FM may be quiet at times, like 10 am on a week day when most are at work. Later in the day or the weekend should be better. Trying 146.550, 146.580 and 144.330 in addition to 146.520 might get more contacts. A roll up j-pole should help also.
Its frustrating to want to do more than chat on repeaters when all you have is FM equipment. It would be greatly appreciated if those of you who do all the hard work climbing to the top of those peaks, making this a great program, could spend more time on 2M FM in addition to your HF work.
I also agree that an FM only certificate would be great. I’m hoping to get at least 100 points for the first certificate on FM.
Thanks to all.

In reply to K6QCB:

I have already issued certificates annotated “144MHz FM” so it is not a problem to do this for people.
Where mixed modes and frequencies are normal for an Activator or Chaser this does involve filtering their results to determine when the particular qualification was achieved - not difficult just needs the time/opportunity/motivation when checking the claim.


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

In reply to K6QCB:
I am enjoying reading about others getting into 2 Meters. Out here in north east Tn. Some of us put together a Facebook page. It has turned out good. In these Smoky Mountains we have a lot of activators and chasers. It helps when you get ready for an activation, it helps in getting the word out. We talk about J-poles, Beams, HT’s, and where good locations to set up your stations. How rough the trails are, if you have to bushwhack your way in, and stuff like that. The response was great. It has increased the population of SOTA participation in our area. We have people checking in from the 5 states near upper east Tn. It might help you have more chasers looking for you after you post your activation alert on the SOTA web site. Just an idea. Thanks to all those who help SOTA successful. Gulley

Right now I am out every weekend in Maine activating the W1/EM district. (Plenty of 1st activation options here!) 2 meter FM is my mainstay, and only when it dries up do I haul out the HF gear. I only run .5w and an arrow 3el as my standard on 2m. Most peaks net close to a dozen contacts, all on 146.52. Even nabbed a station on Mt. Washington for a state to state S2S on 2 meter FM.

It’s worth packing some 2m gear here in Northern New England.



I never heard you on 146.520 on any of those Maine summits here in Arizona…I may need a bigger 2M antenna.

I still need Maine on SOTA…break out the HF!