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Old 12-13-2012, 12:51 PM
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Default 6M FM vs 10M FM mobile

I am considering adding either a 6M FM or 10M FM mobile in the car, and would like some suggestions.

Alinco makes a pretty decent 6 or 10 mobile, and there's also used Kenwood TS 50S/60S rigs. I don't have a need for full HF capabilities in the car, so I'd like to stick to just either 6 or 10.

I haven't been on either 6 meters or 10 meters in about 10 years, so I honestly can't remember what propagation was for either band on FM. I'd like to have something simple and cheap in the car that I can use to talk to other people on occasion besides the local round-tables on 2 meters.

There aren't many 6 or 10 repeaters in my area, so I'd probably be looking for good band conditions to work distant repeaters or simplex.

For mobile use, what has been your experiences on 6M FM and 10M FM?
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Old 12-13-2012, 1:22 PM
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I would go with 10 meters. It's open far more often. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s 6 was hopping but it's basically dead now due to the missing solar maximum.
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Old 12-13-2012, 2:34 PM
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You rarely get enough sunspots to raise the MUF above 50MHz for F2 propagation. It did only once in 1999-2000 and I was lucky enough to get a QSL card from the southern tip of Argentina. During the same opening I got a recording of myself as a signal report from the station I was in QSO with in France. <brag>

That out of the way, propagation is mostly sporadic E in summer when the sun is directly overhead and UV causes ionized clouds in the stratosphere. I got a logbook full and one opening was so intense I could mentally track the clouds as reception areas changed.

I have operated 10 as well and during that cycle I was swatting JAs like pesky flies trying to go for rare DX in Southeast Asia but this time around long haul DX is rare... but it happens.

CW and SSB are where the action is so on 6 you'd need a horizontal antenna such as a Squalo or Par Omniangle. Since you want to work FM with a vertical your options on 6 are rather limited especially since FM is the most power hungry mode and the top of the band channelized for the wide band mode. That gives you fewer frequencies available unlike the bottom where with a VFO and narrow band modes more stations can fit in less space.

It's the same on 10 and there practical limitations dictate a vertical mobile antenna BUT being HF polarization is far less important. That means limiting yourself to FM severely limits your options. There are plenty of 10M mobiles around but the majority use SSB because there are far more stations to talk to. Quite often a DX station will join a local conversation and that's where it gets interesting. One thing to remember is more often than not 10 is a "the lights are on but nobody home" band. That simply means the band may be open but everybody's tuning around looking for stations and not calling CQ. Bottom line, if you want to be heard you have to make noise.

Given the choice I would take 10 because more hams use it and it opens far more frequently. Just don't limit yourself to FM or you'll be missing most of the action.
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Old 12-13-2012, 8:02 PM
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I would check with the locals first to see if anyone else close by is running FM on either band. Without someone within 25-50 miles or so FM will get very lonely waiting for Sporadic E-skip, F2 or Tropo propagation enhancements. You will have a much better chance to find locals and take advantage of long distance propagation on SSB, so one of the compact HF/6 meter rigs might allow you to run both modes on both bands.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:18 AM
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I agree that you will find more activity on 10. You might also want to try sideband in the mobile, so you may want to consider putting in a small 10 meter radio like the HTX-100. Lots of them are available at reasonable prices, and when the band is open you can catch plenty of great DX.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:35 PM
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Alinco makes a nice little 10-meter-only mobile radio

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs/2607.html
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:36 PM
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Alinco makes a nice little 10-meter-only mobile radio

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs/2607.html
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:07 AM
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I like both bands, but for different reasons. As everyone here has pointed out, six meters doesn't have nearly as much ionospheric skip as ten. However, that can make six meter DX all the more fun. I can recall ten meters during previous sunspot cycles where you had to hunt for a place on the band to hold a local conversation amid the others from Australia.There wasn't much challenge to communicate around the world on ten.

The six meter addicts are constantly monitoring the solar wind, the sunspots, and how big the aurora is. Those who live closer to the arctic circle have a better chance to communicate via the aurora. It is technically more challenging, but it is also a lot of fun.
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ab3a View Post
I like both bands, but for different reasons. As everyone here has pointed out, six meters doesn't have nearly as much ionospheric skip as ten. However, that can make six meter DX all the more fun. I can recall ten meters during previous sunspot cycles where you had to hunt for a place on the band to hold a local conversation amid the others from Australia.There wasn't much challenge to communicate around the world on ten.

The six meter addicts are constantly monitoring the solar wind, the sunspots, and how big the aurora is. Those who live closer to the arctic circle have a better chance to communicate via the aurora. It is technically more challenging, but it is also a lot of fun.
I'm with you Jake - 6 meters is actually my favorite band and I monitor 50.125 any time I'm in the shack. The fact that openings are more rare than on 10 does make it more exciting when they do happen and there are websites available to monitor live propagation enhancements like Spraodic E-skip, F2, Tropo, Transequitorial, Aurora and even EME. I get a text message to my cell phone any time there is enhanced propagation reported on 6 that would include my area (Texas). For me, 6 meters is a lot of FUN!

Activity on 6 meters is way up from 10 years ago since manufacturers started including 6 on virtually every new HF rig.
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Old 12-16-2012, 6:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3td View Post
I would check with the locals first to see if anyone else close by is running FM on either band. Without someone within 25-50 miles or so FM will get very lonely waiting for Sporadic E-skip, F2 or Tropo propagation enhancements. You will have a much better chance to find locals and take advantage of long distance propagation on SSB, so one of the compact HF/6 meter rigs might allow you to run both modes on both bands.
^^^^ THIS ! ^^^^

I had a yaesu 8900 which did both 6 and 10 and it was pretty lonely alright!
And that was with a base antenna not a mobile install.

If you specifically want to work FM, then I'd go with 6. Too much noise on 10.
Plus theres a lot more 6m repeaters and many are linked in to 2m/440/whatever.
If you want to actually talk to other people, get a radio that does SSB.
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Old 12-16-2012, 8:26 PM
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If you specifically want to work FM, then I'd go with 6. Too much noise on 10.
Plus theres a lot more 6m repeaters and many are linked in to 2m/440/whatever.
If you want to actually talk to other people, get a radio that does SSB.
Rapidcharger, I lived in Gwinnett County from 1992 - 2000 and there were a couple of 6 meter repeaters in the Atlanta area. I was a GARS member when we put a 6 meter machine up that had good coverage, is it still on the air?
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:57 PM
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I doubt he work much on 6m SSB with 100watts with a vertical. A 6m loop and acouple of 100watts is a must if that band opens up. 10m SSB dont need much there. A stick and stock power and he can do pretty good. but he still has to go against people running a kilowatt.
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Old 12-17-2012, 9:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3td View Post
Rapidcharger, I lived in Gwinnett County from 1992 - 2000 and there were a couple of 6 meter repeaters in the Atlanta area. I was a GARS member when we put a 6 meter machine up that had good coverage, is it still on the air?
I think the gars 6m machine is still there. I don't have the 8900 anymore so I haven't been listening there in a while. There's also a couple of others, one of which is in jasper and linked in to some busier repeaters on 2m and 70cm.

What I loved about 6m FM was how well it works for simplex. When the GARS 6m repeater was linked in for the net and someone would check in via 6m, I would hear everyone on the input crystal clear. If you can work around the interference issues, its a more user friendly band for base-to-base or base-to-mobile simplex in the hilly piedmont. I love 6m but again, very lonely most of the time.
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Old 12-17-2012, 1:32 PM
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"I doubt he work much on 6m SSB with 100watts with a vertical."

That I'll agree with, on 10M and below (remember it's wavelength and not frequency) FM is the only vertical mode because of mobiles and repeaters. That's where it ends, polarization is important but power is not, that's what QRP is all about. While I've not run true QRP (5W or less) 10 on 6 does more than you think and regardless of the mode 100W is quite sufficient on any band.

"...but he still has to go against people running a kilowatt."
I find that amusing, whether operating my station or a friend's (Amateur Extra running DC to light) I only ran into that once and was defeated. 90-120W on whatever band was quite sufficient until one day working DX on 20 I encountered the infamous California Curtain. After a good half hour of getting nowhere I fired up the beast, a Collins KWS-1. Finally I gave up, the only time I did except for the dog pile on 6 trying to work Africa, the Iron Curtain was penetrable, the California Curtain is not. Consider our revenge, to them it's the East Coast Curtain... hi hi.
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