2m Station

I operate on any mode possible on 2m, but rarely via repeater or satellite. I’m most often found DX-ing on SSB/CW down the bottom of the band, operating meteor-scatter using FSK441/JTMS, or EME with JT65b.

My current 2m station comprises a Yaesu FT857D driving a Beko HLV-600 solid-state pa, into an 11 element F9FT yagi at about 6m a.g.l. On receive there is an SSB Electronics SP-2000 masthead preamp. Antenna rotation is accomplished using a very old (>25 years!) Emotator, modified with an ERC controller for computer control. PC connections to the radio (audio/ptt/cat) are via cheap interfaces, bought from ebay for less than I could have built them for (no longer available, as far as I can tell).

The station can also be accessed remotely using RRC-1258 MkII remoterig boxes from Microbit, with the body of the FT857D remaining at the radio site and the head at any remote operating site.

As implied in the picture below, the 2m antenna is close by a building to the west, which runs nearly exactly north-south. The antenna is below the ridge-line of that building which is very rf-noisy so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to hear much from about 200˚->west->020˚ azimuth. Luckily there’s not much in those directions from here on VHF, but it does make working moonsets impractical.

The best ground gain here, useful for EME, has been observed with the antenna at around 60˚ or 70˚ azimuth, and is no quite so good when the moon is rising further south (i.e. a more southerly declination). My practical EME windows are from -0.5˚ to 5.5˚ and 8˚ to 15˚ elevation, with peaks at around 3˚ and 12˚. I can usually also hear the stronger stations from 17˚ up to about 24˚. Interestingly, my practical experiences agree exactly with reception of the Graves radar on 143.050MHz – a very useful beacon for mapping the EME performance of antennas!

Here is an old picture of the very simple 2m antenna. Since this was taken I have corrected the “lean” on the mast so it’s now vertical and added a 19el F9FT 70cms antenna about 1.5m below 2m:

2m 11el F9FT antenna

2m 11el F9FT antenna

Here is the 2m rig, which can be used locally or remotely:

2m station at EI3KD

2m station at EI3KD

…and the rig’s head unit in remote configuration:

Remote FT857D head

Remote FT857D head

 

 

17 thoughts on “2m Station

  1. Wolf

    Hi Mark,

    I still cannot believe, that I have worked you on your CQ via the moon with this setup.
    But WSJT did show me a good fieldstrength of phantastic -22dB.
    As I also do not have much antenna gain (4 x 2.1 lambda, moderate stacking in H and E), this is a physicall miracle.
    For the moment you are my new record via the moon, and it will be diffcult to beat.
    My latest (1995) smallest station via the moon was F9HS with a single 5 WL Yagi, 1k, whom I worked on CW randomly.

    Best, 73 Wolf

    PS. Very nice Web-Page from you.

    Reply
    1. Mark Turner Post author

      Hi Wolf, yes it was very nice to make the QSO via 2m EME. Actually conditions were not too good – the Moon had quite a southerly declination so it was not the best moonrise ground gain for me, and there was a solar CME impact causing big problems with fading because of extra Faraday rotation and/or absorption. It must be possible for you to work smaller stations at the perfect time!

      Good luck with the 2m DX, 73 Mark

      Reply
    1. Mark Turner Post author

      Hi Josef,

      many thanks for another QSO. For some reason, I put in my log that your card came via the buro (it must be a mistake here), so I will have sent it back that way too. I will send a new card via direct for both QSOs.

      73, Mark!

      Reply
    1. Mark Turner Post author

      Hi Chris,
      yes I have the optional TCXO installed but I fitted it as soon as I bought the rig so can’t comment on what difference (if any) it made. The ‘857 is certainly very stable with it in.

      If I was looking at buying a TCXO module now I’d investigate the 3rd-party XRef-FT part, although the close-in phase noise of the XRef is a bit down on the OEM version.

      73, Mark

      Reply
      1. Chris

        RR Mark…

        I’ve tried to to JT65 on 2m with the FT-857 between myself and another chap who had one, equally without the TCXO-9 in it and the traces were drifting all over the show in the waterfall. 🙂

        I’ve got most of the gear for giving EME a try now, just need to sort out the relays/sequencer for the LNA… Might catch you on air.

        73, Chris

        Reply
        1. Mark Turner Post author

          Ok Chris – I previously had an FT706 without TCXO and that was very drifty as the LO (crystal) was heated by the rig’s PA on transmit, and then cooled again by the fan on receive…

          Something you’re probably already aware of: Be careful if testing on tropo in case signals are being propagated via aircraft-scatter (ACS), which can introduce significant doppler shift on signals. My experience is that, outside of real tropo ducts, almost all medium-range “tropo” at VHF is actually via ACS!

          Regards, Mark

          Reply
          1. Chris

            Hi Mark.

            The JT65 experiment with the two non-TCXO’d FT-857’s was just 40km ‘across town’ to see if it would work, so ACS definitely not an issue and I’m in ZL so the planes are not that frequent anyway. 🙂

            73.

  2. Taka : JP3EXR

    Hello Mark
    QSL card is arrived safely today.
    Thanks for the quick response and your Thoughtfulness.
    Very nice your web page, And very good equipments there!!
    I hope to see you via EME QSO always.

    I will pray for the good health of you and your family.

    Thank you 73, Taka JP3EXR

    Reply
    1. Mark Turner Post author

      Hi Taka,

      Many thanks for your direct card and I’m glad you received my reply. I think I have caught up with everyone now – I sent several other direct cards and many to the bureau last week. You have an excellent 2m station, mine is very small really! I think you will be very successful with such a good signal. Wishing you very good dx.

      73, Mark

      Reply
  3. Franjo

    Hallo Mark..
    It was a nice suprise …work EI on 2m ES
    Here rig is ft817 5w/7el 2m of roof
    my first EI ever on2m .. near 2000km wih portabe rig .. exelent
    Pse QSL my is ok

    Reply
    1. Mark Turner Post author

      Hi Franjo, congratulations for a nice contact – the Es season has been very poor here this year so it was great to hear a good opening! 73, Mark

      Reply

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