No Ham Radio 2 Meter DX Contacts Today

Meteor Burst

Well I didn’t make any DX 2 meter contacts working the meteor scatter today but I did learn quite a bit researching information on the meteor scatter, comets, propagation, and even more about a Yaesu FT-221.

I was excited about the prospect of making a meteor scatter contact but didn’t really know much about it. I have posted what I would call my key points below in a top ten list of things learned about meteor scatter. I know several people did make contacts, so I will just keep trying.

First, one important item was that trying to make 2 meter DX contacts are not made on FM, or even AM, but almost always on Single Side Band (SSB), and using the national frequency 144.200 mhz is common, and the Upper Side Band (USB) is normally used in making these type of contacts. The The initial report from ARRL just said 2 meter contact can be made through the normal frequency of 144.200 mhz and I didn’t think anything else about it until an elmer said that was what DXers (or DXing) use for SSB 2 meter contacts.

Luckily, he also had an older Yaesu, the Yaesu FT-221 all mode 2 meter radio, that he graciously let me borrow. This is a classic 2 meter all band radio and it was a thrill to use it over the weekend. I tuned in a few local repeaters to test the receive ability since he said he hadn’t turned it on in 10 years, and with a few flips of the switches I was listening to the normal local traffic we have in this area.

Second, meteor scatter contacts are very very quick, short contacts, and a lot of the time there is enough propagation time for a CW contact but not enough for a phone contact. A technical NET is our area has some great CW hams and they pointed this out when looking at the time and locations for the meteor scatter.

Third, a dipole would be a good antenna of choice for a DX 2 meter contact. My system setup right now is optimized for a strong 2 meter local contact area, and as such, I use a Diamond, high gain, dual band, vertical antenna at about 50 feet (see gallery images in ham-radio). This is great for local traffic areas but a good vertical V dipole antenna would be great.

So, for my so called top ten list of important things to remember for meteor scatter:

  1. Generally, 2 meter contacts are made using SSB (normally USB) mode
  2. 6 meter and 10 meter might be better if you have the equipment
  3. 2 meter national contact frequency is 144.200
  4. Very quick contacts that last only a few seconds, good for CW, not as easy for phone
  5. If possible, use non-verticle antenna like a dipole or yagi
  6. Know the peak times and plan ahead
  7. Coordinate with a DX friend and plan for a time and frequency to contact ahead of time
  8. Have nice ham friends that let you borrow equipment right at the last second
  9. Don’t forget to ask lots of questions of fellow radio operators
  10. Have fun.

Didn’t make any contacts but had a good time trying. I am sure there are many hams that might read this and know far more than I do about meteor scatter so please feel free to update, correct, or otherwise point out some good information for next time.

Echolink 2 Meter DX Contacts via Internet to England

Echolink SoftwareI made my first contact on the air out of the general 2 meter range for our area a few days ago with someone in Yorkshire England. Although Echolink contacts are not really considered to be DX contacts, it was my first overseas contact, which was run through the local echolink repeater, 146.425 simplex. We had a very nice long QSO on several different topics and I got my first taste of operating on both Echolink and long distance. It was a thrill to make a contact beyond the range of the 2 meter radio range and I now look even more forward to upgrading to the General Class License.

Echolink is a software program that uses VoIP (Voice Over IP), a protocol that many are familiar with on the Internet when using a yahoo messenger or AIM instant messaging, but this software is for ham radio operators only, and makes contacts through user to user, user to radio, or radio to radio depending on how it is setup and who is connected. What is different about it from the familiar instant messaging, besides being a contact from ham radio operators, is its a voice to voice contact and allows other hams to connect from all over the world through node numbers.

The first contact made was actually through the local repeater from my QTH to the UK. The second was computer to computer from a ham in Idaho who connected just to help another ham learn how to use the program. He was a great help and I learned quite a bit from him on the ins and outs of using Echolink. Coming up I will post a list of the quick connects (DTMF tones) for Echolink to the local repeaters that might be in the area, or when you are mobile. Thanks to both M3NGZ and N7JIL for all their help. 73, KI4WLR