Spring 2006 Issue

Selling SSB to FMers

With the increased availability of multi-mode rigs on the VHF-plus ham bands comes the potential for introducing other modes, in particular SSB, to the casual FM operator. Here WB6NOA tells how to go about bringing these operators onto the SSB mode.

By Gordon West,* WB6NOA

The new entry-level Technician Class Element 2 question pool goes into effect on July 1st this year. Out go the old 511 questions, and in comes a fresh set of 396 questions specifically geared to more current ham radio technologies:

• VHF/UHF courteous operating technique

• Weak-signal SSB AND CW operation

• Satellite and space communications

• IRLP, Echolink, and data communications

• Interference mitigation

• Licensing and rules and regulations

“There are still 35 multiple-choice questions on the entry-level exam, but the smaller question pool will allow for more classroom demonstrations, such as switching off from FM repeaters and working direct via SSB,” comments Bill Alber, WA6CAX, while setting up his VHF/UHF antenna system for an evening class demonstration of OSCAR operation.

Brand-new hams are encouraged to consider VHF/UHF equipment with multimode capabilities. Kenwood, Yaesu, and ICOM all offer new VHF/UHF multimode rigs, but these are relatively expensive (in the $800 and up range). Students are encouraged to look for single-band 2-meter or 440-MHz used radios specifically with multimode capabilities.

“At a recent swap meet I counted ten used, working 2-meter multimode radios for sale, and most were selling for under $200,” adds Alber.

Hundreds of hams have VHF/UHF multimode equipment, but only operate on FM. A good hunting ground for weak-signal operators is their local FM net. Have the net controller find out who has SSB capability on 2 meters and encourage them to hang around until the end of the net and meet on upper sideband, at 144.230 MHz.








The ICOM “fun-mobile”with a pair of 2-meter loops from KB6KQ.

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