Let's talk about 6m FM

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May 15, 2011
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S.E. Oklahoma
#1
I'm wanting to get into 6m FM pretty bad. I've located a nice commercial rig that will work 6 & 10 meters. How many of you guys work 6m FM? I'm just curious on what kind of antenna you're using.

I'm looking a the Arrow 6m beam antennas. I already have a rotor & associated hardware. My current tower setup will have me a little over 30 ft. AGL. Since it's FM, would a vertically polarized beam work better than a horizontal? I know 6m operates alot like HF, which favors a horizontal beam. Or so I'm told.

Anyways, any advise is greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
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S.E. Oklahoma
#3
. I would do that if I had a radio that would do 6m SSB. But I don't.

A friend & fellow ham was working 6m FM repeaters in South Texas 3 nights ago from central Oklahoma. There are numerous 6m repeaters all within working distance of me. I'm not worried about a lack of chatter.
 
Joined
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SW Iowa
#4
If you are going to be working FM repeaters, then a vertical antenna is what you want. Especially for the local machines. If the band is open enough for you to be working repeaters, a directional antenna isn't going to make that much of a difference IMO.
Just FYI, while there are some band openings happening right now, but for the other 95% of the year, don't count on hearing DX. Hopefully you can drum up some activity locally.

Have fun, that's what the hobby is about.
 
Joined
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Lexington, KY
#6
I have been on 6 meters for over 30 years and can tell you that the majority of activity is on SSB and CW. Yes, there is "some" FM activity, but not much. SSB and CW generally use horizontally polarized antennas and FM generally uses vertical orientation. Your results using FM will be enhanced by using lots of power (100 watts or more) and a very high antenna or location.

However, I should tell you that I HAVE worked some excellent DX on 52.525 (The FM Calling Freq), but when I do, you can be sure that there is MUCH MORE activity happening on SSB and CW (and even AM on 50.400). Some of my better FM contacts from Lexington, KY have been talking to mobile stations in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas of Southern California.

FYI: My ONLY 6 meter antenna is a 6 meter Ringo up about 25 feet. That's NOT much of an antenna, but when the bands open up (usually Spring and Summer months), I can work all sorts of skip during a good opening. In fact, using just 100 watts, I have confirmed all of the lower 48 states and about 20-25 countries including England, France, Morocco, Ecuador, Greenland, etc.

6 meters is an interesting band, but in all honesty, it is totally DEAD for DX (skip) 98% (or more) of the time. Around here, there is a small group who actively get together on 52.525 FM in the evenings for mostly LOCAL contacts.
 

AA4TX

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IONAFLXARS0
#7
FM on the “Magic Band” has its places. It all depends on what you want to do with it. For DX, there are rare and fun opportunities. Usually, they are very limited in duration. I have 6 meter FM mobile in my truck, among other bands, and have quite a bit of fun during the rare openings.

However, 6 meter FM excels in another area: local simplex. For mobile to fixed station, and mobile to mobile, 6 meter beats 2 meter and 70 cm quite a bit for distance (without other infrastructure), at least here in the relatively flat terrain of Florida. This is especially true in heavy foliage. My wife and I are both hams, and have found that 6 meter can outperform other bands for direct communication. We also have 10 meter FM, but the local electrical QRM usually limits our range on this band.
 
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Tucson, AZ
#8
Monitor 52.525

In my car I used to keep a high power Motorola Micor on 52.525, on the national simplex freq and yes you may go a while hearing nothing.
At lunch breaks I would give shout out and I would get some really interesting come backs from 20 miles to a couple hundred miles away or better. What was funny I wouldn't hear anyone else until I id'd. Quite few times would discover some decent band openings, when 6 opens it a whole lot of fun.
I would also use an ICOM 502A portable 6 MTR SSB rig and with it's low power SSB I worked at least 27 states with it's pull up antenna only.
If you have access to a 6 mtr FM rig go for it. If you have any 6 MTR repeaters in your state get em programmed in and be patient. Any way you cut it 6 can be a blast.
 
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#9
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; U; en-US) Gecko/20081217 Vision-Browser/8.1 301x200 LG VN530)

I've heard it said of both 10m & 6m, that a lot of band openings go unnoticed, because everyone is listening, and no one is transmitting. If you have the capability, get on the air and announce yourself. You may just kick start some activity.
 
Joined
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S.E. Oklahoma
#10
Thanks for the input guys.

I understand there isin't as much traffic on 6m FM, but I like the odd ball stuff like that. 220, 6 FM, that kind of jazz.

If I get on 6 FM & have a good, clean ragchew with someone else that I normally couldn't contact on 2m or 440, then it's money well spent in my book.
 

k3td

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Wake Forest, NC
#11
I've been active on 6 for years - most of the time was SSB/CW but I have recently installed a Midland Syntech II FM mobile and also have a Kenwood TK-6110 for use at home. Most people never get the 6 meter disease, but for those of us who do there is no cure!

There is a fair amount of activity on 6 FM depending on where you are, both simplex and repeaters. As others have noted, there is definitely more activity on SSB/CW. As far as antennas go, FM activity is primarily vertically polarized. During E-skip propagation enhancements polarization doesn't mean much because when the signal is reflected off the E cloud the polarization is not preserved. For local contacts however polarization makes a big difference, so I would definitely recommend vertical

When we get some E-skip, you will have plenty of folks to work. When we don't, which is most of the time, it definitely helps to have some locals who are on 6 FM in your area. I would check with your local club to see who may be active on 6 FM. In my area near Austin, TX there are folks on 52.525 MHz as well as a local repeater. In addition there are EchoLink conferences of of 6 meter repeaters and remote bases that help promote activity. Mike, W4NFD in Muskogee County, has a repeater and remote base on connected to several other repeaters via EchoLink - is that any where near you? I believe the repeater is on 51.560 MHz with a minus 500 kHz offset and the remote base is on 52.490 MHz.

Good luck and 73!
 

k3td

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#12
Thanks for the input guys.

I understand there isin't as much traffic on 6m FM, but I like the odd ball stuff like that. 220, 6 FM, that kind of jazz.

If I get on 6 FM & have a good, clean ragchew with someone else that I normally couldn't contact on 2m or 440, then it's money well spent in my book.

Sounds like you fill fit right in on 6 meters Matthew! And yes, you will be impressed with the local ground wave communications of 50 MHz vs. 2 meters and 440 MHz - as long as there is someone to talk to!

73!
 
Joined
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Central Upstate NY
#13
In my area there is some 6-meter FM activity. One repeater is south of Rochester, NY and covers most of west central NY; another is south of Syracuse, and covers central NY quite well. Not a ton of activity, but then some of the other bands are not all that crowded either.
 
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S.E. Oklahoma
#14
Thanks for the heads up Tad! I'm just down the road from Muskogee. About 60 miles. I can get into the Muskogee 2 meter machines no problem with 50 watts & a J pole, so 6 meters, 100 watts & a beam should be a breeze. I'll have to try W4NFD & see. I'm Sec/Treas for the local club. They think I'm crazy for wanting to get on 6 meters FM. lol. But like I said, I kinda like the odd ball stuff.

I'm still a little ways out on getting my 6 meter rig on the air, but I'm hoping to have it up soon.

w2txb, there are a few repeaters within working range of my QTH. I'm hoping I can make a few contacts on them. A good friend lives about 80 miles East of me & is active on 6 as well. At the very least I can work some repeaters with him.

Thanks a lot guys, I appreciate it.
KF5LCH
 
Joined
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Rotterdam, New York
#16
Who knows, if you try it, maybe you will "revive" 6 meter FM in your area. Most HF rigs are all mode so if others have 6 meters in their HF rig, then there's a good chance they can do 6 m FM. If there's someone or some people using it, there's a chance some others will start to use it as well.

Kinda like 2 meters simplex here. Most everything around me was done through repeaters but a couple months ago another ham and I started to go to 146.58 every evening and chat. Then another person joined, and after doing this for a while, there's now 6-7 people who consistently join in with us. Basically, if there is activity there, there's a chance people will give it a try.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
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#18
Six fm is active in the LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY area, it hasn't stopped today, it is linked into 2 meters also, the guys are on 53.410.0, I live 28 miles away and with 10 watts can make contacts easily.
POB/K8LEN/PEKIN, INDIANA
 
Joined
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Ingleside, IL
#19
6M, Use it or Lose It!
Lots of Easily bent Ex Commercial VHF Lowband l stuff out there Very Cheap I've bent GE MLS up to 6 and they're sensitive 60W and I havent paid more than $20 for them.
A lot of Cable TV and power line noise wipes out 6SSB but the noise blankers in the GEs are great.
A lot of fun! might even roll a repeater together. Going to explore RHCP LHCP for isolation and polarization immunity....When the band's up IT ROCKS!
Local also is very long range comparatively... 73 DE MATT
 
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