Amateur or ham radio operations as we know it today has existed since the early 20th century. Operators use this radio frequency spectrum for non-professional activities such as messaging, experimentation, emergency communications, and more. People who use Ham Radio VHF and UHF bands are referred to as weak signal operators. Here’s what you should know about working in these bands.
Exploring the 2-Meter Band
The 2-Meter amateur radio band refers to the portion of the VHF band that includes frequencies between 144 MHz to 148 MHz in regions 2 (the Americas) and 3 (Asia and Oceania), and between 144 MHz to 146 MHz in region 1 (Europe, Africa, and Russia). It’s the most widely used band and a go-to for operators working with very weak signals. To work successfully in this band, you’ll need more powerful equipment, including large directional antennas that include several elements. The direction of the antenna is also important. You’ll need to either manually point the antenna where you want to communicate or use rotators.
Communicating With Very Weak Signals
Ham radio operators tended to use either single sideband (SSB) or continuous wave (CW) modes for weak signal work. Thanks to the availability of computers and special software, you can now use digital modes to talk with very weak signals. You can even find digital processing software that can amplify an inaudible signal from what sounds like noise otherwise.
Typically ham radio VHF and UHF communications are terrestrial, in that the signal is transmitted between two points on Earth. You can go beyond terrestrial communications with the following operation modes:
- Earth-Moon-Earth: Using the moon to bounce a signal
- Meteor scatter: Reflecting signals off meteor trails that have entered the atmosphere
- Satellite repeater: Using a satellite to repeat a signal between distances that are too long for normal VHF or UHF band operations
Communicating via amateur radio can be a great way to pass the time. It’s also an interesting way to meet and talk to other people. From contesting to other non-commercial activities and more, ham radio is still a fun hobby.