2m.....or is it me?

When I first started SOTA things were simple.

Mind you, I was a bit lighter 5 years ago!

A 2m handy and some sort of home-brew aerial and usually 20 to 30 in the log within half an hour or so.

Is it me or is 2m getting harder? FM is bad enough, but SSB! What a shame.

Is everyone going onto HF?

Or is it that I have no friends




Thought so!

ROTFL. At least you got to go out and play SOTA, I had to refit the radiator that apparently “just came of the wall” at my son’s house.

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Without a doubt John, it is getting harder!

It comes from the fact that the scheme has become more international and the SOTA community has spread!! That last comment makes me seems a bit xenophobic, but by all means please understand that I think the spread and development of SOTA is amazing and fantastic!!

However as a VHF advocate it just means you have to plan your activations in great detail.

Look at where you’re activating, are you within reach of cities where idle FM users will be? Having said that I find myself using FM less now, favouring the digital voice modes for their crisp clarity and VOIP options!

What day of the week are you going out on? Weekends seem to guarantee 2m FM and SSB contacts, however Tuesday afternoons seem harder!! However if you co-ordinate your activations with VHF/UHF contests, then you’ll easily work loads of stations.

Time, anything between 1000-1600 seems OK to me.

It is hard, but it still can be done.

73 Matt G8XYJ (VHF SOTA MG) See it can be done!!!


Not sure there’s that much of a change since 5 years ago John. There’s a definite change since 13 years ago though. In those days of course, us G1/M1/G7 stations were restricted to VHF and there was plenty of us involved. In the meantime, granting us access to the HF bands without a morse requirement has certainly encouraged many to “broaden their horizons”.

The best system IMO for 2m FM is an omnidirectional antenna on top of a SOTA Pole. Mickey 2E0YYY uses this to great effect, and when I witnessed it I recommended it to Jimmy who loves his 2m FM. An MFD was promptly purchased from SOTAbeams as well as a guying kit. Using this set-up, Jimmy gets the sort of results you describe from “5 years ago” still on a regular basis.

Whenever I nip onto 2m in an activation I find I am into double-figures of VHF contacts pretty quickly, so I don’t think there’s any demise as such.


There certainly is quite a lot less 2m activity in general than there was a few years ago.

If I’m in the shack then I usually have the FT817 on 144.300 SSB and my TMD-700 on 145.500 FM and what used to be quite an active local FM frequency - I think for most of the last week I’ve heard perhaps a maximum of 6 people appear on those frequencies in any day.

I recall working a number of stations on 2m FM or SSB on Summits quite regularly at weekends a few years ago, but the number of those in the last couple of years does seem to have dwindled - I know part of the reason for that is because the people I worked have surpassed MG status and are either out much less frequently (if at all) or are operating from more distant locations that I don’t hear.

Yesterday I heard a couple of weak stations on the frequency you were spotted on GW/NW-042 but I couldn’t hear you (I have worked that summit on 2m FM at least once before and loads of times on 2m SSB). I don’t think I heard anything on 2m SSB until the RSGB contest started at 1400 and even then from what I heard it was not exactly busy.

Stewart G0LGS

Thanks for all your replies.

Reading the above something has just struck me…maybe I have a problem somewhere.

Will have to test my MFD and its connections, the mic etc etc as I used to get a better signal out I’m sure.

The last few summits have all been expected to bring in strong and numerous contacts…its not like I’m in the Shetlands or other far away place.

I also have a SOTA beam which I should try more often…

Being a G1, I have always had an affinity with 2m (and 70cms for that matter), especially ssb.

Perhaps the last few activations were just at the wrong time of day, or folk were making merry with the sherry.

I will check all equipment first, then have another go.

And report back here.

To some extent it is a matter of perceptions.

If we take the number of activators recorded in any year as a rough equivalent of activity, and use the database to find the numbers of activators using 2 metre FM in England, then we get the following:


The number of activators peaked in 2011 and has declined since then, but is still about the same as in 2008. I couldn’t spare the time to dig deeper and find the number of activations involved!

World-wide the number of 2m FM activations shows no sign that the trend of continuous increase will reverse, the peak in 2011 seems to be a local effect.


Thanks Brian.

Interesting stuff. I guess that now proves its me after all



Happy New Year to you all by the way.
I best put it on here as you wont hear me on the radio :wink:

I hope more are going to HF. When I activate I try to give out the summit to as many as I can and HF seems to be the best way.

Special thank you to those who run CW!!

Kent K9EZ


Hi John

SOTA is as hard as you want to make it!

First requisite as a chaser. Be in your shack. Second use a decent antenna if you are a chaser. Third if you haven’t got a decent antenna and don’t like wasting your time wait until the callers subside and then call the activator if you can hear him/her. .

As an activator - 2m is not dead if you are an activator in the right place with the right gear. Activated 4 summits today in the North Pennines using 2m FM and worked 67 stations. Not using an handie of course, why set yourself up to fail? For guaranteed success you need some grunt. 40 watts output from a cheap 2m mobile radio to a dipole at 4m AGL is what I use these days. We haven’t all migrated to HF. Horses for courses is the key to success, some of use various parts of the spectrum and different modes depending on where we are and how long we want to spend on cold windy summits suffering.

Good luck and welcome back to SOTA!

Phil G4OBK

PS I’ve tried using a beam on 2m FM years since but find it too much of a faff carrying it and keeping it airborne and pointing in the right direction. They are also rather awkard to clamp to a thin fishing pole without crushing the pole in.

A cheap mobile might well be the answer.

Something small and used.

Anyone tried a Chinese mobile yet? £60 delivered sounds about right…

Have you tried charging the battery? :wink:

I have one… Wide open for all sorts of pager noise, and probably lots of other things too.
S9+ noise constantly driving within 3 miles of the hospital in Swindon just off the A419/M4, (mind you, everything seems to show up S9+) lots of similar pager noise driving up and down the M5 between the M50 and Cheltenham too.

I did chase a SOTA summit from it in the week before Christmas whilst mobile, so not all bad :wink:

An adjustable squelch (with a knob… ooh err…) wouldn’t go amiss, far too much hassle trying to change it in the menu from the mic.


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Lovely to catch you on 40 this morning :grinning:


Thank you

I don’t do a lot of 2m FM, but did a bit after the VHF contest today. It was easy peasy. 13 contacts in 13 minutes. I could have gone on and made a load more, but it was getting very cold, very windy and very dark, and I wanted to go home for my tea. But I can safely conclude that rumours of 2m FM’s demise are well wide of the mark. If anything, it is easier and more active than in those so-called “golden days” of SOTA 5/10 years ago.

Before that, it was the 4th and final session of the RSGB Xmas Cumulatives. Today’s results in that were:

6m: 9 QSOs, 6 mults (G, GW + IO81, 82, 83, 91) = 54 points
2m: 31 QSOs, 20 mults (G, GD, GI, GW, GM, F + IN99, 73, 74, 75, 81, 82, 83, 85, 86, 91, 92, 93, 94, JO01) = 620 points
70cm: 6 QSOs, 5 mults (G, GD, GW + IO74, 83) = 30 points

A pleasant and enjoyable series of contests - I might even be persuaded to miss the Boxing Day footy to take full part next year.

Local variations, perhaps. Two is very dead here right now, all repeater channels and simplex channels quiet, one weak FM station on 144.900, and I am beaming from one end along the long axis of a conurbation of 2.44 million inhabitants.


Yes, but have you made any calls Brian? 2m was quiet here just before I called “CQ SOTA” on 145.500MHz. Suddenly everyone was calling.

I can’t help but suspect all the grumbling is from people who sit in the shack all day long monitoring the 2m FM simplex and repeater frequencies waiting to hear something - but never put a call out themselves! That’s not aimed at you Brian; I’m sure you understand the generic point I’m making.