Is 2m fm out of favour?

Just a quick observation guys n gals,
But when I started with SOTA some 4 yrs ago, the majority of activations were on 2m and sometimes even 70cms. Then some 2 years ago I had a little stint at activating with 6m and 23cms but only very briefly due to the amount of chasers, I supose it was the “experimental” nature of it that appealed, anyways I digress, it now seems that 2m is the last resort for activators and most of it is being done on HF ! Now is this because of radios, hf multimodes in particular, becomming lighter and smaller or is there another reason for the apparent demise of 2m activations.
With the amount of kit being carried up the hills these days it strikes me as though 2m is still probably a good choice for lightweight activities on hill tops, comments would be interesting to say the least and I look forward to them all.
This is not a criticism, its more market/hobby research. HI
Plus there have been a few activations on “close to me” summits today that I cant work because I only have 2m at the office, HI again.

Regards to all


In reply to Lee

Hi Lee i have also noticed this with the alerts that they are mostly on 5megs and hf now and if your lucky you may get a chance to work the station on 2mtrs.
This is ok for the people who have a Nov for 5megs but what about the M3`s that maybe dont have a hf radio or the fact they cant use 5megs and also chasers who may also not have 5megs or 23cms.

I know what the answer will be from the others is to progress and get a full licence, But up here in Scotland unlike the south we have very few courses to further our career in radio just like Ireland where a intermediat licence comes about once a year so in the meantime we have to use what we have.
And many M3s are intrested in sota and some just have a basic handy or 2mtr fm only radio as apose to Multiband/Multimode radios like the 817,847, and for the fit activator a 897.
I myself use 2mtrs for all my sota work when out on the hills i do own a ft-817 and have listed 6mtrs,2mtrs,70cms when placing a alert.
But i think the truth is that its the activators choice to use what they feel and most use 5megs and hf and 2mtrs is placed as a last resort for them

just my views

please give the new ones a chance folks and take 2mtrs with you too

Gordon MM3XGP

In reply to M0LMP:

Hi Lee / Gordon. I used to use 2m exclusivley on summits (my 1st 50 activations) before I started using HF. One reason for going “off” 2m FM was the increasing instances of deliberate jamming. In fact there used to be reports of “the SOTA jammer is at it again”. The other reason is it must be the most inefficient mode & really kills your batteries.
Most activations now I take both 2m beam & HF dipole, however if I start on HF, I can normally log 40 - 60 stations, by which time theres nothing left in the SLAB for 2m. I am guilty of doing 5Mhz, but I also do 80/40/20 & 10m & a glance through my logs of 13000 chaser qsos will reveal a great many M3s. Anyway - Im toying with the idea of going up Shining Tor with the 2m beam to see if there`s any tropo around.
73 Steve G1INK.

In reply to M0LMP:
Hi lee,

2m fm is not dead yet by us, myself and Stuart try to operate 3/4 bands when on an activation 2mfm is used 90+ % of the time and will continue to do so.

although i must admit i usually open up on 2m ssb, 23cm when we remember to bring the rig hi. If i could find the right combination for 6m that would be my preferred band.( as well as 2m fm which is always monitored on an ascent.)

must try 70cm more!!

best rgds Keith G0OXV

In reply to M0LMP:

Hi Lee,
This comment has been made over and over and the facts still speak for themselves and there are still more two metre contacts than anything else. The majority of UK activators will do VHF as well as HF and there are even more VHF only activations. Some mainly EU operators only do CW and that is their prerogative, but the chances of hearing the Germans and French on VHF would be slim for all but those maybe on the East coast.
Personally when I do a summit with the XYL (GW7AAU) I concentrate on HF and Helen does VHF. Our resent activations in GM proved there is life on two metres even in some of the remoter areas as Helen got enough contacts on two to qualify most summits, however I wouldn’t like to rely on VHF only as some of my South Pennine activations have proved the moaners are never there when you need them. The sensible plan is not to put all your eggs in one basket and that way you should avoid disappointment.
Your comments seem also to have come at precisely the wrong time as two metres has been buzzing this morning and I have worked SOTA from GI/GM/GW and G on two metres so far and I am keeping my fingers crossed for GD later from Dieter MD/DL2BQD on GD/GD-001.

Regards Steve GW7AAV

In reply to M0LMP:

This subject has been well flogged to death recently Lee and the bottom line is that the person who does the hard work climbing the mountain, has the right to work whatever band/mode he wishes, end of story.

He is also within his rights to work 4 chasers and tell the rest he is going QRT to twiddle his thumbs

It might make him very unpopular but he can please himself.

The other point is that when we all joined in on the sota organisation, we all knew the state of play from day 1 and was pleased to accept it as was.

I personally always do 2m as well as HF and do sympathise with those with no NOV and no cw skills, but, both are available to all who want it bad enough.

73 Mike

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Having an 18 foot rucksack antenna it tends to get tangled in the trees enough with adding the ground plans as well :0P

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Having an 18 foot rucksack antenna it tends to get tangled in the trees enough with adding the ground plans as well :0P

In reply to M0LMP:

Hi Lee,

in the central part of Germany (jn49hq)is it quite difficult to find 4 contacts on VHF/UHF, especially on weekdays.
So I prefer the HF-bands and usualy got between 20 to 50 QSOs all around Europe.

In my opinion HF-activations are even more interesting than a 2m/70cm-FM-QSO with a VHF/UHF-handheld-rig.
But like on some comments before I agree that everybody should (will) operate on the frequency he wants.

Vy73 cu on HF de Fritz dl4fdm,hb9csa

In reply to 2E0HJD:

It’s the 3x 5/8ths that is 18 foot, the 1/2 wave is on the top of a 36 foot pole on top of a 60 foot mast and the coax is only 10 feet long so I don’t take that one with me unless we are doing Valleys on the Air ;0P

In reply to M0LMP:

Hi Lee
The same statement than Fritz DL4FDM: Normaly you have no chance to get the qso’s on UHF/VHF. I tried it several times: on 2m: no success; on 40m: no problem. Most time I have only my 40m-Transceiver with me - sometimes I take the IC-T90 with me.

73 David, HB9RVS

It’s an optical illusion Lee. It will often seem the at the number of 2m activations is low, when dwarfed by the number of 7MHz CW and 5MHz SSB activations spotted on SOTAwatch. But I have done the research, and found that the number of 2m activations itself is still rising year-on-year. Not as fast as the increase in 40m CW or 5MHz, but still actually increasing in number from year to year. You will find the stats I produced in another thread somewhere.

In reply to M0LMP:
As it happens, our activation of LD-037 today was the first that we’ve ever had with no contacts at all on 2m FM. Caroline M3ZCB was calling for about an hour with no replies. Admittedly this summit is difficult for VHF, but we’ve done it before on 2m FM. Caroline eventually qualified it on 2m SSB, and of course I had no trouble on 5MHz. Unfortunately the delay meant we did not have time to do LD-035 afterwards.

In reply to All:
Thanks to all who commented, some great info and points of view, most interesting. However, Mike(DSP) I wasnt criticising at all or having a moan even, I think you may have taken my post the wrong way, I was interested in the reasons behind the more prevelant HF activations of late, was it down to kit or conditions or something else ? Also I knew I could trust Tom (EYP) to confirm what has always been the case, that 2m is still the most active band for activations which is great, but not the be all and end all, as I may start to monitor HF a little more at work when I can be bothered to put a wire up at the shop.
So interesting comments and thanks all for your input.

Cheers to all


In reply to M0LMP:

Hi Lee,
in S-Germany the same here as Fritz DL4FDM posted before.I need many luck to get the 4 qso´s on vhf to qualifiy the summit. and another reason is, that most summits ,at example in the black-forest, are total different to most UK summits , because on 95% of our summits is deep forest with many trees and bushes,so its difficult to make vhf or higher on these hills.
and for me, yes, i prefer hf , because i like the international log with many calls from differnet countries . the last expeditons i have calls on 30m from EA,9A,SM,LY and UA… . i think on vhf u have every time the same calls and there is not much cw-activity :wink: yes, i like cw :wink: with 5w or less and a dipole u can work whole europe…and since the last activitys i also qrv on ssb on hf-bands a get many new friends ! most of them in G,GW,GM etc. with my normal antenna and abt. 10watts its possible to get 40 chasers in the log, with my bigger antennas maybe up to 60…90 qso´s on hf-only. all in all the vhf´er in DL looking more for new squares,dxcc´s , eme es ms . not for sota-stations on the summits…more popular is in germany the bbt-contesting on hills from 144mhz up to ghz-bands.

vy 73 Klaus DF2GN

I think it’s inevitable that HF operation will increase as SOTA becomes more international in its reach. But in fact, a review of the current alerts database still shows the overwhelming majority of planned activations offering 2m as well as other bands, so empirically I would say the evidence is that 2m activity is still considerable.

There’s much more to amateur radio than 2m shack-on-the-belt stuff. 2m is a fine band but is very limited in what it can achieve, especially in more remote areas. Other bands have their own sets of characteristics and limitations. It stands to reason that people will experiment. Furthermore, it is only to be expected that as SOTA matures, so the spread of activity will more closely mimic that of amateur radio as a whole. And there is far far more HF activity than VHF activity in the broader hobby.


In reply to G3WGV:


from North Wales it depends where you are. A lot of the time you are screened from population centres by higher mountains at close range and sometimes it can take an hour or longer to get four contacts on 2 metres FM. As has been said, SSB is more efficient than FM and I much prefer it, but sadly often there are no takers at all on this mode.

I like to try as many bands/modes as I can but time/weather/space/weight/location often restrict the choice. Not to mention forgetting some vital lead - or even the pole on one occasion!


Whereas Robin GM7PKT usually tries to activate on VHF first I prefer HF.

This Saturday I tried for 2m SSB and the wind took my antenna and mast - whoever is next on ES-006 would you see if you can find one spreader from my delta loop - I was lucky to find the rest (somewhere south of the summit)!

Seriously though, I find it easier to keep an HF dipole in the air, even when the pole self collapses; keeping a VHF beam up is, I find, more difficult.

As for the use of other bands than 5MHz, where was all the activity on 40m, skip was not too long as I heard both UK and Eu (mainly PA) stations down the bottom end but not a soul came up on my (previously announced) 40m frequency and this seems to more the norm these days.


Barry GM4TOE

In reply to M0LMP:

Funny thing Lee, reading this thread I immediately picked up on 2m FM as opposed to 2m SSB, whether or not that was your intention, I’m not sure.

I use 2m SSB for several reasons:

  1. By pure preference
  2. Because it has the potential to go further
  3. Because I am less likely to get embroiled in a contact where I am being informed of the length of every piece of coax in the other chaps station.

I certainly will continue to use a combination of 2m SSB and HF SSB / CW. however, there will be the occasion when I am found on 2m FM, but as FM has never been a “natural” mode for me, I usually find myself making my descent with a dawning realisation that I’ve forgotten to put a call out on the mode.

73, Gerald