SSTV ON VHF
K8BE's Note Pad
Most SSTV operators know that there is an abundance of activity on the HF bands.On most any day, one can tune to 14.230 and copy many great pictures. There are nets on, where the net control can forward pictures to folks too far away for band conditions to allow. Even then, some of the received pictures are not necessarily "Keepers". Along with that, on occasion, the net control may not be able to hear you trying to check in, or you may get covered by other checkins. Yes, the nets sometimes are very busy. Along with that, there are frequent contests going, where the Slow Scanner gets clobbered by the infamous "CQ Contest". This can be very trying to ones patience.
Now this might not interest everyone, but what about 2 meters FM?? Many of us have found a 2 meter sstv net, on a local repeater, which affords not only what is a usually CD quality picture, but some great fellowship also. There has been some activity on VHF for a good while, but over the past few years, I have found a real trend toward SSTV repeaters on 2 meter FM, and not just in my area of the country.... they are popping up all over. This is really encouraging. No fighting for your place in the crowd, and copying less than perfect pictures. One even gets to send more than 1 picture per session, depending on how many operators check in to the net, which is usually 1 to 1.5 hours in length, and can help or be helped to fine tune software or computer.
A few of us in this area have been really promoting Digital Communicatiions, and have found that this is what some of the operators that can not find time, or ambition, to upgrade their license, have been seeking. Not to say that all you will meet on the local nets are Technicians..... quite the contrary, most of us on the local 2 meter FM nets are Extra Class, and we welcome any class of license to participate . This might be just what is needed to stimulate activity and upgrades. Don't get me wrong.... there are MANY Amateurs around the world who know my callsign well from SSTV on the HF bands. I have certainly been there, and will still use it, but I find real satisfaction on the local 2 meter nets! The appeal of no QRM, no major crowds, contesters, etc., on 2 meter FM, has made this facet of the hobby a joy, and real relaxation for a positive change. Many of us work some simplex on 145.50 & 145.55 when there is no net. You may be open for a welcome surprise when you send your "CQ SSTV" picture. Don't pass this opportunity by, with decent 2 meter rigs available at a very low cost. Some of the BEST software is FREE! Same computer as for HF, and interfacing is the same too. Let's keep the ball rolling, with digital modes on 2 meter FM.