ZB2/... How to activate on VHF. Please help!

Some time next week I hope to activate the Rock of Gibraltar. As a non-local ham I am not allowed on HF. That leaves me with the VHF capacity of my FT-817 ND. The permit etc. is in the works and looking good… for which I am thankful to the helpful local authorities.

I have treated myself to a “fancy” higher quality coax (surplus 75 Ohm, cut and measured to 10 wavelengths on 144 MHz), a ground plane for vertical polarization and an oblong for horizontal polarization. These will go as high as possible. I suppose my linked dipole should work on 50 MHz as well, as suggested by the sotabeams calculator.

In my experience until now, it is not really easy to get a simplex contact on 144 MHz FM.

I can do FT8, PSK, CW (poorly, but with enthusiasm), and the voice modes. Currently most people are going crazy with MSK, but I suppose it is unrealistic for me to get there and operate on the summit.

Any suggestions how to best activate with the available resources are very welcome. Thank you.

73, Kiril



Don’t forget you only need 1 QSO to get the unique
The next 3 just get you the single activator point


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I have no local experience but I would try 2m FM first with a vertical antenna. A bit of Spanish will help a lot I think. Cinco, neuve, neuve will be fine for an RST. :slightly_smiling_face:

There are a few 2m FT8 operators around so I would try that too.

If you can rig a horizontal antenna try 2m SSB and FT8 with that as well.

Good luck.

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I think 50 MHz is also allowed from ZB2 which might get you another contact somewhere.

When my dad Tom @M1EYP was in Gibraltar 2 years ago while the cruise ship he was gigging on was docked there, he found more local activity on 70cm FM than 2m FM so maybe worth trying 70cm FM. Please note also that you do have to apply for a reciprocal licence to operate in Gibraltar.

Jimmy M0HGY


Thanks everyone. Good points, especially the one re. 70cm. Maybe worth making an antenna for it.

Will try FT8 / CW on the way somewhere, curious how that will work.

73, Kiril


Hi Kiril,

I looked at previous activations of this summit. Several failed to get 4 contacts in spite of a number of towns within 25 km.

There appears to only have been one QSO on 2 m and that was on FM. Also there has been one contact on 6 m, mode unknown.

I would certainly try 2 m and 70 cm simplex FM. SSB and CW might perhaps be a desperate move. FT8 might work on 6 m, especially if there is some Es propagation, but unless you have experience using this on a summit I think it would not be helpful.

Maybe an email to some of the listed activators would confirm the best approach.

I would not take a lot of gear. A good end fed VHF vertical for 2 m and 70 cm and a dipole for 6 m would be as much as I would carry.

Alerting local VHF people is the key I think.

Good luck.



The Mode was SSB.

I had left the antenna up after a UKAC and was about to take it down when had a quick listen round and there was a ZB2 ! Worth a try even better when I discovered they were really on the rock. By the time I had put a spot up the propagation had gone.

It just happened to the right time of the year (May) for e propagation. There was also a whole lot of EAs on at the same time.

73 de

Andrew G4VFL


All good points, thank you.

Meanwhile I received the licence to operate.

True, it’s just a two point summit, and I only need one contact, but if possible one wants to do better.

Thanks again, 73,

Kiril, I would suggest you arrange with a sched with someone in the Gibraltar ARS to guarantee you one contact so you can claim the unique and the association. Then everything else is a bonus.


Good point, done via the online form.

I activated Gibraltar a number of times in 1971 & 72. Using only Morse.
My aerials were within the activation zone. I used 6, 8 & 12MHZ. I was using about 7kw😀
Callsigns used were GYU4, GYU6, GYU8. Logged lots of /MMs

Oh, and I got paid by HM Government :blush:


Why 75 Ohm? The 817 has an output matched to 50 Ohm.

For 2m FM something like a J-pole or slim-jim is good. you could also make one for 70cms.

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Was the big amp out of service for some reason? :laughing:


Go far a satellite activation!!!


An integer number of half wave lengths of transmission line will let the transmitter see the antenna impedance.
Some transmission line theory, but looks good on the NanoVNA as well

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Well, Dear OM, this may be your chance to get the complete. 6m dipole or better and the patience to suffer my CW. Provided propagation plays along :⁠-⁠)

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There are passes of the ISS. Last time I listened in it was very chaotic, but maybe the location will make my call stand out.
Thanks for the hint.

Yeah, ISS is often busy. In my experience with other FM birds, people tend to let SOTA ops make contacts during a pass.

I don’t think so Kiril… I only do HF & Morse. But thanks for the suggestion. And good luck with your activation in Gib. And enjoy your stay - I spent 18 months there and enjoyed it.

I don’t know where on The Rock you intend to activate but assuming you don’t know, do make sure your gear / equipment 'phone etc., is thief proof if you go anywhere where the troupes of Barbary Apes are. They’ll steal whatever they can grab - and they are fast. They will take things out of your hand too!!