I briefly heard someone on 10m single-sideband (SSB) saying goodbye to his QSO friend, and that he was going to tune around on 2m SSB. Although I knew 2m SSB existed, never occurred to me that now that I have an all-mode rig, I could also tune around there instead of being bound only to FM by a handheld radio. I started sweeping from 144.100 MHz and started hearing morse code at right around 144.282 MHz. I switched to CW mode and tuned further to 144.282.23:

I recorded it, and was fascinated. Note, this was received while connected to my 10m dipole antenna that is pretty poorly mounted against a fence 6ft off the ground– not the most optimal setup.

After spending many retries, replaying the recording over and over and referencing my morse code (CW) cheatsheet, I found this to say:


This is hamspeak for: Testing from KJ6KO beacon, (at grid) CM88ws.

I googled this, and found the site for the KJ6KO beacon at Bald Mtn, some 65 miles away from my location (my grid location is: CM98hb). So neato!

When I got my first radio with rubber ducky antenna, I used to think that 2 meters with 5 watts only had range for a few miles, since the only repeaters I could hit were fairly close by. Little did I know how much the antenna itself, polarization, and antenna placement mattered.

Now that I live in a valley with repeaters on mountains all around, I can see that a 40w beacon 65 miles away comes in loud and clear 559 (in spite of a wrong antenna that is poorly placed). And now with me only transmitting 5w with an elevated low-SWR half-wave vertical antenna and counterpoise, I come in fairly clear hitting a club repeater 50 miles away.

Even on VHF 2m, ham radio is quite amazing. Finding this beacon was a fun journey.

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