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230 mile contact


ytechie
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I was camping on Washington Island (WI). It's north of the "thumb" in Wisconsin. Basically the northern part of Wisconsin. I was scanning for local repeaters using a Wouxun 905g and started hearing some traffic.

I tried making contact, but they said they couldn't make out what I was saying. I walked out of the woods to a nearby hill (about 20ft higher than my campsite). I made clear contact, asked where the repeater was, and my jaw dropped when I found out it was a repeater in Evanston Illinois, 230 miles away as the crow flies. It turns out they have a 200ft+ tower with a Yagi pointed north. The radio path was almost entirely over the lake. 

230 miles! My mind is still blown. Anyone else done something similar?

Screenshot 2021-08-10 172442.jpg

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Did there happen to be any weather in the area, perhaps thunderstorms?  Investigate what's called tropospheric ducting, that's probably what happened to give you the favorable path.  It's hard to predict and ducts form and fall apart quickly.

Another phenomenon is sporadic E-layer skip, but this is usually lower in frequency (from about 28 MHz up to 150 MHz if you're really lucky) and often much longer distances.  This occurs in the ionosphere and is more predicable as the solar cycle rises and falls.

 

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I was camping on Washington Island (WI). It's north of the "thumb" in Wisconsin. Basically the northern part of Wisconsin. I was scanning for local repeaters using a Wouxun 905g and started hearing some traffic.
I tried making contact, but they said they couldn't make out what I was saying. I walked out of the woods to a nearby hill (about 20ft higher than my campsite). I made clear contact, asked where the repeater was, and my jaw dropped when I found out it was a repeater in Evanston Illinois, 230 miles away as the crow flies. It turns out they have a 200ft+ tower with a Yagi pointed north. The radio path was almost entirely over the lake. 
230 miles! My mind is still blown. Anyone else done something similar?
874013242_Screenshot2021-08-10172442.thumb.jpg.78a8fb234ab21e1ebc521637e0f36a26.jpg

Congratulations on the 230 miles! 50 Miles is my personal best on UHF. I agree with others that perhaps tropospheric ducting may have assisted in propagation. It would be nice to know if communications is consistently that good between those two locations or if it varies greatly.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM
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14 hours ago, ytechie said:

I was camping on Washington Island (WI). It's north of the "thumb" in Wisconsin. Basically the northern part of Wisconsin. I was scanning for local repeaters using a Wouxun 905g and started hearing some traffic.

I tried making contact, but they said they couldn't make out what I was saying. I walked out of the woods to a nearby hill (about 20ft higher than my campsite). I made clear contact, asked where the repeater was, and my jaw dropped when I found out it was a repeater in Evanston Illinois, 230 miles away as the crow flies. It turns out they have a 200ft+ tower with a Yagi pointed north. The radio path was almost entirely over the lake. 

230 miles! My mind is still blown. Anyone else done something similar?

Screenshot 2021-08-10 172442.jpg

I made some contacts on 2 meter sideband. One was between Coldwater MI and Milwaukee WI. The other was between the Detroit area MI and Toronto Canada. Both running 50 watts into a M-Squared loop antenna on the roof of the van I had at the time.

https://www.m2inc.com/FG2MHOLOOP

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That is very cool indeed!

My best was some 2M SSB from Tallahassee FL to Texas and once to Clingmans Dome in Blue Ridge Mountains . But both times I had over 100 watts at 90 feet AGL and a RX masthead preamp.

So your walkie at ground level GMRS is damn impressive.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk



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That is pretty amazing. I made a 2m simplex contact at about 77 miles several years ago. There was a scout troop on top of a 9,000+ft mountain peak. I was across the valley at 750ft and we had direct LOS. They gave me their GPS coordinates which showed 77 miles. You definitely win Ytechie! The 905G is a nice HT.

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The online path analysis software scadacore.com shows that this was likely a "line of sight" path.

So no surprise that it would work just fine.  UHF works very efficiently over any direct path.

 

I did experience "ducting" once on VHF and it can be amazing.  I had moved to my new house in southern NH and tried the TV on rabbit ears to make sure I could still get Boston and Manchester TV.... but I also got Burlington VT clear as day.   I was amazed....But the next day it was completely gone.  Just a fluke thing.  It was late November so not sure what actual conditions were at play.

Vince

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Yagis are multi-element antennas having 3 or more elements. The rear element is the reflector and is 5% longer than the dipole which is the next element. Ahead of the dipole or driven element are directors; each is 5% shorter than the element behind it. The more elements, the narrower the antenna focus is and greater gain. 

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@BoxCar Great. Thank you. I understand the description. Now, what I do not understand is that (from what I searched last night) there are some Yagi antennas or just antennas in general that accept both GMRS frequencies (462 MHz to 467 MHz) and also work for other frequencies. ***I just wished they were all to be labeled "GMRS" compatible. I have had a big learning curve on this. 

I would like to setup to base station (Simplex) with directional antennas in hopes of being able to communicate at least 8.32 miles apart with not mountainous blockage, just a lot of homes. Can anyone send me a link to the type of antennas that would work for me? I do not have the base station yet, but I think I would probably get 2 KG 1000G's. 

 

Your thoughts?

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I believe that 50W radios are overkill for what you are asking. A 15 or 25W radio would accomplish the same thing. The key point is the antennas used and the height of the antenna. Yes, power can be applied to "burn through" the buildings, but a high antenna is a lot easier to accomplish. There are several places you can locate for fiberglass or aluminum poles that will raise an antenna 40 feet or more. A 40 foot pole with an antenna on it attached to your roof is like getting an additional 3 stories of height. As an example, look at this one: MFJ MFJ-1917 Antenna Accessories Masts, MFJ1917 (hamradio.com). That mast and a BTECH UV-25X2 BTECH UV-25X2 – BaoFeng Radios (baofengtech.com) would set you back about the same dollar wise. I've used the 25X2 since I was licensed and it's a solid unit for home use. It isn't built for repeater use; the duty cycle is only about 12 minutes of continued use per hour. I also used the radio for ham work as it is both VHF and UHF but it is a Part 15 radio only. 

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2 hours ago, djxs said:

@BoxCar Great. Thank you. I understand the description. Now, what I do not understand is that (from what I searched last night) there are some Yagi antennas or just antennas in general that accept both GMRS frequencies (462 MHz to 467 MHz) and also work for other frequencies. ***I just wished they were all to be labeled "GMRS" compatible. I have had a big learning curve on this. 

I would like to setup to base station (Simplex) with directional antennas in hopes of being able to communicate at least 8.32 miles apart with not mountainous blockage, just a lot of homes. Can anyone send me a link to the type of antennas that would work for me? I do not have the base station yet, but I think I would probably get 2 KG 1000G's. 

 

Your thoughts?

Keep in mind that when you use a Yagi antenna it will be directional.  You're probably used to what's known as omnidirectional antennas, which cover all directions around you.

Pictures may help.

An omni is just a vertical like you're probably familiar.

omni.png.02a987b2099317e97b9bdfa704b95029.png

The horizontal is like a bird's eye view looking down at the top.  It covers 360° around in all directions.  The vertical is the pattern up and down as though you're looking at it from the side like in the photo.  This particular antenna is high gain so the pattern is very flat, you usually won't see it so squashed like that but I hope it gets the point across.

A Yagi looks like this, with the elements BoxCar mentions.  This example has 5 elements.  From left to right they are the reflector, the driven element is black and 3 directors.

yagi.jpg.fca89587869fdcd281a3713afa39c96e.jpg

 

It's pattern will look like this.

 

directional.png.fca16b7561bdcb1099a2e7f896b148c9.png

 

See how it focuses all the energy to one side?  That means it won't work well to the other side.

Just want to make sure you understand the distinction before you decide to use a directional antenna.  You usually use a Yagi (or other directional, like a dish for example) if you're truly only interested in a dedicated link.  It has to be fixed in place fairly rigidly because even a few degrees off and signal drops off fast. 

Height is usually the better first step to better coverage as has been recommended.

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@WRNA236 Thank you so much for the detailed information. It really does make a lot of sense. I think this is the best bet for the particular needs that I have. I want to setup a base station at my parents house for emergencies. Do you have a link to an antenna I can purchase it from?

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21 minutes ago, djxs said:

@WRNA236 Thank you so much for the detailed information. It really does make a lot of sense. I think this is the best bet for the particular needs that I have. I want to setup a base station at my parents house for emergencies. Do you have a link to an antenna I can purchase it from?

Here's a few to scan through.

https://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=191_193_258_977_978

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4 hours ago, BoxCar said:

...That mast and a BTECH UV-25X2 BTECH UV-25X2 – BaoFeng Radios (baofengtech.com) would set you back about the same dollar wise. I've used the 25X2 since I was licensed and it's a solid unit for home use. It isn't built for repeater use; the duty cycle is only about 12 minutes of continued use per hour. I also used the radio for ham work as it is both VHF and UHF but it is a Part 15 radio only. 

The Anytone AT-779UV won't cost quite as much as the B-Tech, and it comes type-accepted and configured for GMRS. It puts out about 18 watts on high power, and from my experience, seems to work reasonably well with a decent antenna. I've used it to reach my home from several places I never expected it to work for me.

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That Anytone is my primary GMRS rig, installed on a cup-mount in my EV when driving, and since it uses a cigarette lighter plug, easily moves up to my shack for use with my 12v power supply connected to my Comet Tri-bander on my roof.

The Anytone gets great coverage for me, even as compared to my 20 watt Yaesu FT-857d when also connected to the Comet

It retails for $99 and the same exact rig is also sold as the Radioddity DB-20G, and that one retails for $129.

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6 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

That Anytone is my primary GMRS rig, installed on a cup-mount in my EV when driving, and since it uses a cigarette lighter plug, easily moves up to my shack for use with my 12v power supply connected to my Comet Tri-bander on my roof.

The Anytone gets great coverage for me, even as compared to my 20 watt Yaesu FT-857d when also connected to the Comet

It retails for $99 and the same exact rig is also sold as the Radioddity DB-20G, and that one retails for $129.

You mentioned a comparison to your FT-857D elsewhere.

Have you checked (or had checked) the filters in your FT-857?  They are getting up there in years and there are ceramic band pass filters in the IF section that can fail.  It's actually a pretty common failure point with all radios from the late 1980s on.  And the radio is old.  The FT-857 came out nearly 20 years ago now and the FT-857D was introduced 14 years ago, so all of them are getting up in years. 

The main symptom is your radio suddenly going deaf and it's worse in mobile radios due to their compact size and the vibration, temperature, humidity, unstable power.

https://dh1tw.de/replacing-yaesu-ft857-if-filters/

The VHF and UHF on an FT-857 won't ever blow away a good dedicated FM mobile, but then again those don't do 2m and 70 cm SSB or AM, not to mention any HF/6m, in a book-sized box so there's a matter of expectations with everything that's stuffed in something has to give.  None-the-less, my FT-857 (-D also like yours) wasn't really that much worse than a similar vintage FT-8800 or TM-V71 I've had.  Compared to a current Chinese radio they will all seem less sensitive, although they will be more selective and less prone to intermod.  That's the trade off that's made.

But even so I'd bet your radio's front end could use some TLC, maybe some parts (there's low and high pass filters in the VHF and UHF RF front ends that could also drift and fail) and alignment. 

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Can you recommend a good technician for the FT-857d?  I prefer SoCal if available.

I really enjoy it and I miss the days I used to put it in its backpack, with a collapsable sectional antenna I purchased from eBay, and went up to the top of Saddle Peak with a folding chair and table and a Duracell PowerPack 600 (12v, 28Ah) and worked HF all day long!

It is pretty much hardwired to my shack now, but I have considered punching another one or even an FT-891.

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