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Weak Signal Operating:

Weak signal VHF/UHF work can be one of the most addictive, rewarding and frustrating aspects of amateur radio. It is addictive because the thrill of making a contact right at the noise level, by reflecting your signal off the ionized trail of a meteor, catching a sporadic E opening or by bouncing your signal off the moon just can't be beat.

The reward can range just from the satisfaction of working a new station/grid/state/country, from earning one of the many rewards, or from seeing that new piece of equipment you spent countless hours designing, scrounging and building finally on the air and making contacts. And frustrating too after spending hour after hour listening to noise wondering if the other stations aren't all just parked in front of the TV watching football.

As defined by the HAMster Weak Signal Group, Weak Signal Operating is SSB Phone, CW, Digital, Meteor Scatter or EME on 6 meters {50MHz} to 23cm {1296MHz}. We defined a limit of 23cm, as this is really the last band that holds the characteristics of UHF. In the same way that 10 meters shares HF & VHF characteristics, 23cm shares UHF & Microwave charcteristics. Microwave Operating is an entire different animal then VHF/UHF.

VHF/UHF Weak Signal Operating is not complicated, and you can enjoy fantastic results from a modest station. But unlike HF, it is much more technical and a good experienced Elmer is recommended for a new comer to VHF/UHF Weak Signal Operating because the technical barrier can be greater then on HF. The more effort you apply designing your station with regard to antenna selection, feedline, and radio the happier you will be with the results and the less you will have to spend going back and replacing a station.

Where high quality low loss feedline offers benefits on HF, it is critical for a quality station on VHF/UHF. Loss can add up quickly and 2 db loss between your antenna and your radio can mean the difference between hearing a weak station and not hearing it. The most critical portion of your Weak Signal Station is the feedline and it is here that you should put your greatest effort.

It is important to set your expectations with reality, you need to think of Weak Signal Operator on 6 Meters through 23cm more along the lines of hunting or fishing. There will be a lot of time spent listening to dead air, and waiting for good band conditions. The HAMsters is working to change this, by encouraging new and experienced VHF/UHF SSB hams to make this mode and our frequency part of your daily activity with morning round tables, and have even moved a lot of our mobil activity to SSB. HAM's located through out our region operate and monitor 144.200 and 144.205. What you will find is the more activity you and your local group perform on SSB, the more you will attract.

Nothing will replace the thrill of your first contact to a new state, the challenge of working a new grid. I will remember for the rest of my life, making my first contact from my home here in Texas with a station in Florida on 1296MHz using 10 watts and a simple 45 element single yagi.

Expect depending on your area and the terrian, an average of 150 to 200 miles station to station operating on 2 meters, with normal morning enhancement 200 to 300 miles, and with good tropospheric ducting and Sporadic E conditions you can enjoy 500 to 1400 miles.

With openings you will enjoy good conversations, as well as many people working as many stations as possible. Weak Signal Operators collect GRIDS like some folks collect baseball cards, HF Dxers collect countries, etc.

Typical Contact Exchange:

Call/Grid/Signal Report

See our Technical Station for more information on building your station, and please feel free to reach out to any member for elmering, If we do not have the answer, we will find it for you.

HAMster Amateur Radio Group

Promoting VHF/UHF Weak Signal Activity since 2006

Get in touch: CW/SSB Phone/Meteor Scatter and EME

SSB Operation: 50.130/144.180 Repeater Operation: 147.120 pl 82.5/145.350 pl 82.5

HAMster Chapters

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Due to the nature of VHF/UHF Operations and the desire to promote weak signal activity around the country, we have created sub-groups, to help spread Weak Signal Activity and Training.

As the HAMster Group continues to grow, we will enjoy more DX oppurtunities as well as national activity and contesting....

As we add more Chapters in Cities around the country, we will be updated this link. Providing regional information, activity and events.

Click on the City for more Local Information

San Antonio HAMsters

Atlanta Georgia HAMsters

Houston HAMsters