Summer 2009 Issue


A List of FM VHF Operating Activities

 By Bob Witte, KØNR

Photo 1. A typical 2-meter FM transceiver is the utility mode rig that can be applied to many different types of operating.

How many times do you hear someone comment, “2 meters FM is just too limiting. All you can do is chat on the local repeater”? It is easy to draw that conclusion, and there is certainly nothing wrong with chatting on repeaters—a lot of good ham activity happens that way. FM is the Utility Mode, which means it is the mode that gets the job done and it is useful for many different ham radio activities. The use of FM VHF is only limited by your imagination.

Let’s see if we can expand our thinking a bit and discover some of the “other” radio activities on FM VHF/UHF. In fact, I’ve made a first cut at a list of FM VHF operating activities.
Here are the rules for the creation of this list:

• To be on the list, the activity must be possible using a typical dualband 2m/ 70cm FM transceiver (handheld, mobile, or base) and associated accessories (antenna, power supply, transmission lines, packet TNC, computer sound card, etc.)

• Commonly available ham radio infrastructure can also be used, such as repeaters, VoIP links, OSCAR satellites, Winlink, etc.

• The author of this column will determine whether an activity is unique or a duplicate of another item. This will be arbitrary and capricious.

I spent some time reviewing the pile of ham radio magazines I have around the house, pulling out anything related to FM VHF. In the process, the following list was created:

1. Chat with your buddies on VHF simplex. (OK, that was an easy one.)

2. Make a contact via the local FM repeater.

3. Check into your local club FM VHF net.

4. Operate from a mountain or hilltop and take advantage of Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT).

5. Take a road trip with the goal of making contacts on VHF FM.

6. Report severe weather during a Skywarn severe weather net.

7. Provide communications for a public service event.

8. Participate in ARES or RACES activity during an emergency.

9. Activate a rare grid or location, especially during a VHF contest.

10. Transmit your fixed or mobile location using APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System).

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