2m - SSB or FM?

Hi All,

As many of you know from my previous posts, myself and Bob M1BBV will be doing the Lyke Wake challenge on 28th June.

Originally we intended taking HF, but the weight is prohibitive. So we will only be taking 2m.

Now, I have a dilema! - Do I take SSB or just FM?

FM is simple - My Alinco DJ-F1 will do that nicely (now with a recelled battery thanks to YYY!)

But if we go with SSB, that means taking the FT-290. AND some form of ultra lightweight omni directional horizontally polarized antenna! This adds to the complexity, but also quite a bit to the weight! We already are looking at an all up starting weight of nearly 20kg!

We wont have long to stop on either summit, as we have fixed stop times and a deadline. Likewise we wont have time to set up and use a beam, no matter how lightweight. Theres also a distinct possibility that our times on the summits might well be at rather antisocial hours! We could be looking at activation times of perhaps 05-06:00!

So the question is - is SSB worth the extra weight and hassle? Are there likely to be sufficient SSB 2m stations on air listening for us if we hit the summits early? And is the increased range benefit over FM from the tops of the North York Moors any real advantage?

If we do go with just FM, we can increase our range by using a specially made ultra light weight vertical antenna attached to one of our Bergens!

Opinions please!

Martin G7MRV

I’d go for FM only, due to the greater probability of being heard and worked by casual listeners, and the considerably easier and lighter weight options with the gear. I’d also try to publicise and update as much as possible about likely QRV times, as well as self-spot. If a summit is likely to be activated between 0500 and 0600, then get a reflector post on the night before then a few people might get up early especially to work you.


M1EYP has the right of it.
Put the word out ahead of time, have a chaser (or two or three) listening at the appointed hour, and take advantage of your Alinco’s compactness and light weight!
Having just entered my seventh decade, light is good, and I plan to follow your excellent example (only using my Yaesu … mostly because it’s what I have!)

1 Like

Martin I have used 2m vertical that attaches to the side of my rucksack. I got it from Sotabeams years ago not sure if they still do it. It was called the Rucksack Special (RSS) and is a halfwave dipole inside white conduit. I have found this to greatly improve the signals over a RD when using a handie. I use it attached to my VX-170 which is clipped to the shoulder strap and has a handheld mic so I don’t have to take the rucksack off when I get to a summit.


Don’t think the RSS itself is still in production, but the MFD could be used in such a fashion.

Thanks chaps,

It would be nice to use SSB, but the weight and complexity I think probably do rule it out this time. The numbers sort of speak for themselves - Alinco DJ-F1 with ‘big’ 12v battery pack - 450g, with newly re-celled ‘little’ 7.2v pack (actually higher capacity!) - 440g, FT-290R-mk1 with 8x internal NiMH C cells - 2.5kg!

Thats the weight of another 2l of water/lucozade!

The antenna I should be able to make myself, I have various lengths of fibreglass rod and tube about, and ample coax and wire. Im considering this design here Bicycle antenna which looks to me like a Slim Jim!

I like 2m ssb.
The MFD or similar works fine as a vertical and/or horizontal.
Help keep weight down too.
Having said all that, M1EYP has the answer.
FM. More chasers likely too.

Slim Jim made with 300 ohm ribbon & mount on walking poles, saves taking seperate mast

1 Like

The backpack antena from OK1CDJ - 2 el. (transferred inside the boom) 190g.
Vertical - horizontal in my hand.
FT-817 with internal LiPo 3 Ah, 1.2kg and neck strap.