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Making Contacts / On the Air - Have a question about getting on the air or how to make a contact? Just want to brag about your latest DX contact or contest score? This is the forum for you.

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Old 06-27-2016, 1:57 PM
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Default 6 meter distance help

Hey guys.... not a new ham, but never really played much on 6 meter.
What is a reasonable distance I could achieve on 6 meter between a couple simplex base stations? Say I was using 110watts out to a omni or beam about 20-30 feet up.
I'm not talking any ducting or other enhancements. Is it comparable to 2 meter? Better? Worse? 30 miles, 100 miles?
Terrain is flat.
Thanks for your help

Jamie W8CEN
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Old 06-27-2016, 2:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgarber311 View Post
Hey guys.... not a new ham, but never really played much on 6 meter.
What is a reasonable distance I could achieve on 6 meter between a couple simplex base stations? Say I was using 110watts out to a omni or beam about 20-30 feet up.
I'm not talking any ducting or other enhancements. Is it comparable to 2 meter? Better? Worse? 30 miles, 100 miles?
Terrain is flat.
Thanks for your help

Jamie W8CEN
FM or SSB?

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Old 06-27-2016, 4:28 PM
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Hi Jamie
Good question... there are, of course, a *lot* of variables, but in my experience with low band VHF (25-50Mhz) over high band (~136-175MHZ) -I have found them pretty much equal, watt for watt, distance wise. Low band does have a greater advantage in hilly, mountainous terrain, especially the lower in frequency you go (ie: closer to 25 than 50 Mhz)- it doesn't Picket Fence" when in motion as much--- but there are cost factors to consider. For instance, and a big one, is antenna size. You can have a much smaller high gain antenna for High Band and UHF, and if your distance is unobstructed, will probably be superior. If size matters, especially mobile, then this becomes a factor. You don't see many 60-80 inch Stainless Steel whips on vehicles any more.
.
Where I work we use several radio bands in our field engineering vehicles (from HF sideband to SatComms). For point- to- point mobile communications in the hills and mountains of New Mexico, however, we use 40 Mhz a lot-- its easy to dial up and works the best when the distance is under 50 miles- but there is a tonne of pixie-variables in that range. And we can add to the detractors things like skip, aurora etc. types of interference.
-
Once started on this topic I could go on and on- too much experience is not always a good thing when you want a short answer...
Hope this gave you some ideas
.................................................. ...CF
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Old 06-27-2016, 6:49 PM
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Under the right conditions, It's possible to reach anywhere in the world on six, Sadly, the right conditions haven't occurred for quite a few years.

Six meters is VHF, so the line of sight rules apply just the same as for 2 meters. But, unlike 2 meters, E layer propagation is very effective. During the summer, you can expect to work most of North America and at times the Carribean and northern South America.

Of course, you can also go months with no long haul communications at all. Northern hams can bounce signals off the northern lights (aurora) when they're active and communicate with each other that way. You can also do moonbounce if you're really in to it

Check this map: QSO/SWL real time maps - NA - 50

It shows the actual paths between stations working each other on 6 meters. Bookmark it and go back now and then to see what's going on.

This is an ultra simple primer. But should give you a rough idea.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbyte View Post
Hi Jamie
Good question... there are, of course, a *lot* of variables, but in my experience with low band VHF (25-50Mhz) over high band (~136-175MHZ) -I have found them pretty much equal, watt for watt, distance wise. Low band does have a greater advantage in hilly, mountainous terrain, especially the lower in frequency you go (ie: closer to 25 than 50 Mhz)- it doesn't Picket Fence" when in motion as much--- but there are cost factors to consider. For instance, and a big one, is antenna size. You can have a much smaller high gain antenna for High Band and UHF, and if your distance is unobstructed, will probably be superior. If size matters, especially mobile, then this becomes a factor. You don't see many 60-80 inch Stainless Steel whips on vehicles any more.
.
Where I work we use several radio bands in our field engineering vehicles (from HF sideband to SatComms). For point- to- point mobile communications in the hills and mountains of New Mexico, however, we use 40 Mhz a lot-- its easy to dial up and works the best when the distance is under 50 miles- but there is a tonne of pixie-variables in that range. And we can add to the detractors things like skip, aurora etc. types of interference.
-
Once started on this topic I could go on and on- too much experience is not always a good thing when you want a short answer...
Hope this gave you some ideas
.................................................. ...CF


While I am not the OP, thanks for the information! I've use all bands and modes, but 6 meter is something I usually do not toy with. It's great to know that information on the distance and variables.

For a lengthy time at work we used 40 MHz for communications. We now use a 700/800 MHz P25 trunked digital system integrated with VHF for the mountainous areas, and it functions better than low-band.



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Old 06-28-2016, 12:46 PM
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Hi Andrew- I hope this comes thru, I crashed it out the first time----
I think a P25 7-800 Mhz system is fantastic too- our issue is that we do a lot of things in some of the most isolated places in the Lower 48 states. I think there is a fine line between High and Low band Vhf, but I find that low band gets into gulches and around hills better. If I had to stake my life on the two I would select Low band, but irregardless, we can assume a 30-50 mile mobile to mobile range in the flat deserts, on both bands.
-
[As an aside, I find that a digital signal is hard for non experienced operators to 'tune in' when the signals are marginal. With analog, you can move about to find that 'hot spot'-- with digital its either there or not. Also around here a lightning strike on that 800Mhz system will ruin your day ! ]..... (and lightning seems to really like 800mhz out here
If we only had universal coverage , I'd use digital too..
.
.................................................. ...........CF
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:53 PM
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I think 6 meters is about the same as 2 meters or even 432 given equivalent stations. For example, 100 watts and 13 elements on both ends will get you ~ 50 to 75 miles on a stone deaf 2 meter band (SSB). 100 watts and 5 el on both ends will do the same on 6 (no tropo enhancement of any sort). Add power, more elements, or some height to your antenna and the distances will improve. Once you start talking 500 watts or more and stacked antennas up 70 feet or better, then you can start generating your own propagation.
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Old 06-28-2016, 1:00 PM
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So, after revisiting this topic today, I turned on 6 meters to see what was cookin' and worked two stations in Colorado on 50.125 USB - That's 750+ miles. The US east coast had a pretty good opening to Europe.

This is pretty normal for distance in the summer Sporadic E season --> Sporadic-E Propagation at VHF
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Old 06-28-2016, 1:39 PM
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I used to use 6 meters FM extensively in the Midwest. I had mobiles in my wife's car and my work car, as well as a base at home. The best mobile configurations I had were 110 W Syntor X9000 mobiles with ball-and-spring antennas. The house had a DB201 on it.

I was able to go several counties between the cars and base on simplex. I could not do that on 2 meters, nor could I do it on 440.

6 meters will follow the curvature of the earth better than 2 meters will. It also tolerates dips and valleys better. In areas where we were shadowed from my 440 repeater, 6 punched through very nicely.

None of that factors in "DX." Like public safety, DX wasn't our friend, per se. My radios were programmed for 52.525 in carrier squelch for F1 and our own simplex with a DPL code for F2. I really was the only one who used F1. My wife couldn't care less about the band being open. But when it was, I did not want us chatting up 52.525.

I also had a 7 element yagi for SSB and CW. These were two very different systems, between the FM and SSB operations. SSB would talk further, but my antenna system was more directive. I also used a transverter on an HF radio and a tube amplifier. I could regularly talk to stations several hundred miles away. That was a function of living on a hilltop more than anything else.

How far you'd get between base stations depends on a lot of variables, kind of like those FRS radio claims. 100 W at 30 feet was about what I was running for my FM setup. I would probably say you could do 50 miles without a repeater, at a minimum. More, if one or both of you is/are on higher ground.

There was an old radio salesmen's rule: 100W at 100 ft can talk 100 mi. Might have been true in the days of the low noisefloor, but these days, who knows?

If you can get your hands on an old copy of Gene C. Hughes' Police Call book, the 70s or 80s versions, there was a great explanation about how different frequency bands work.

Good luck and have fun on 6!
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Old 07-19-2016, 9:15 AM
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I have experience with talking to a friend that lives about 80 miles away. Running 100 watts on sides. He had a 3 element 6 meter yagi at 20 feet and I have a 5 element at 25 feet. Some days we could talk OK on 6meters and other days his signal was on the ragged edge and it wasn't easy to talk.

I think that if either or both of us could raise our antennas even another 5 foot would be a big help.

Keep in mind that is local ground wave. When the band is open I can work all over the US.
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