Like many, I started SOTA with 2m fm using a HT and rollup attached to telescopic pole. I recently bought a IC-705 and would like to try 2m ssb in addition to fm. I’m waiting for Buddisticks to come back into stock or 6m and HF. I have a MFJ ground rod with a bracket that would allow me to present a 2m monoband antenna either vertically or horizontally—the rub is it’s only 2’ off the ground. I looked at Arrow handheld as an option, but I’d rather not hold anything. I’m not sure what the smart options are.
Welcome to the unfashionable end of SOTA
There are many ways to get on 2m SSB portable and lightwieght… Normal is to mount something on a fishing pole to get the extra height.
A small 3 element bean also works well and I have had good results from a 3 element delta quad similar to 3 element Delta Quad. I have a lightweight one that can be mounted on a camera tripod and works very well.
I dont think we will make it across the pond though although having said that using the arrow handheld dual band 2m/70cm could work via satellites.
Or a DK7ZB Yagi
Or a HB9CV Portable Version:
Combine it with a 6m’ish teleskop GFK mast that will work fine also for setting up a HF dipole or endfed. Forget about the Buddystick (my personal opinion. Nobody needs such a heavy and bulky antenna with way to many parts…). Back on topic
You can give 2m SSB a go with a vertical antenna - I used to do that quite often out of CN85. However, there’s little monitoring of the weak-signal calling frequency of 144.200 - still, if you spot for it you might get someone that has the capability to do SSB. You missed a great opportunity with last weekend’s VHF Contest - bunches of folks on in the PNW. Next chance for lots of activity would be January VHF.
Although it’s not fun to hold a yagi, you’ll only be doing it for a few minutes and holding it gives you a chance to quickly aim. The Arrow is nice, but you might make something lighter and easier to hold. 3 elements is enough.
Firstly you will be able to get some good contacts on 2 m SSB but outside of field days you will need to alert and spot.
Second you are not going to do justice with an antenna 2 ft off the ground. Use your mast to elevate a horizontal dipole or better still a light weight beam. As a rule of thumb you should not be able to touch the antenna when standing on tip toes, arm extended. ie 10 ft plus. 15 ft is even better.
SSB has the potential of 200 mile QSOs. These will be easier on SSB than FM, provided there is someone around. See my first point.
Sadly some stations only have a vertical antenna and these will be weaker on a horizontal antenna. Verticals on VHF are fine for mobile and HH operation but lose out to horizontal polarisation by up to 20 dB if there are a few trees in the path. It also has the edge for longer contacts as the horizontally polarised ground wave suffers less attenuation per mile.
Peter VK3PF had a 5 (?) ele beam which used two upper sections of his squid pole and mounted it on the remaining mast at a respectable height. The elements were stowed inside the compacted pole.
I think the details are on his WP blog and in the proceedings of the Annual M&DRC SOTA Conference which are in the Files Section of OZSOTA.groups.io
I use a 5 element Yagi on a 6m fishing pole. It’s a Diamond A144S5 which clamps to a short section of PVC pipe which slides over the pole. The driven element unscrews but all the rest just fold along the boom making it easy to transport. Since these photos were taken I’ve made a bag for it, which is a good idea as it reduces the chances of nuts etc getting lost.
Far too heavy (and expensive) for SOTA. Make a clone: Simple 3 band vertical (20m/17m/15m) and spend your money on things you cannot easily make.
That’s far too low for VHF antennas. As Ron says, they need to be up higher.
For 2m SSB, an HB9CV or a Moxon. The DK7ZB designs are very good and high performance. That 4ele linked to is ideal for SOTA. Be aware that Yagi design has moved on in leaps and bounds but there are many manufacturers/designs that are old and not worth making or buying. Gain of a Yagi is really a function of boom length and not the number of elements. Lots of elements looks good but makes it heavy and catches more wind!
Most important is that you need to let the SOTA community in your area know you will be QRV on 2m SSB so they are ready and listening or you may find 2m SSB a bit lonely.
Maybe you can get some useful hints here.
Such small antennas are quick and easy to build and you can’t do much wrong. It has almost a guarantee of success.
If you attach 2 clips for mounting, you can use it vertically or horizontally.
Because the elements separated in the middle I have achieved a small pack size.
Not cheap, but 2m and 70cm, extremely compact pack size 50cm x 3cm and very light with 280g.
Construct a 2m oblong loop, at elevations around 1400m ASL and higher I have worked stations over 350 km at 5 watts. Polarisation is horizontal and it is directional broadside through the center of the loop.
Feed point impedance is 50 ohms, you don’t need a 1/4 wave transformer.
73, Andrew VK1AD
Thank you to all who responded. For SSB (and maybe after fashioning a 90 deg mounting option for vertical), I’m going to give this 2m dipole antenna a shot from VK1NAM.
That is a good starting point and will work…not like a beam but to same degree your J-Pole works on FM.
For a 90 degree mount, I have salvaged ‘mounting brackets’ from plastic cutting boards of about 3/16 inch thickness. Mount the radiators to the board using machine screws, washers and nuts. Also attach a length of wire to each connection for the SO-239 or BNC Female jack you can mount to the board. Drill holes in the cutting board spaced to use zip-ties to attach the pole.
Yes, I have done same for mounting a wire 6M Delta Loop to a telescopic mast and it worked quite well.
Good Luck with your project!
I love the simplicity of that design.