[VHFcontesting] Total newbie questions about 2m and 70cm antennas and receive filters

Chet S chetsubaccount at snet.net
Tue May 21 14:59:18 EDT 2013

Hi John,

My return to VHF contesting was also with an FT897 a few years ago after an
absence of many decades. 
First time out, I listened to just 6M connected to a 20M antenna that
provided reasonable swr. I recall only making about 10 contacts that first
time. The 897 can be finicky to swr on 6M. If that is a problem, adding a
coax jumper to the feedline may change the impedance enough to allow it to
work.  After installing a 6M yagi, the QSO count greatly improved and I was
getting hooked on VHF. 

Later I bought a good HF radio that included 6M so I then used the 897 on 2M
feeding a decent yagi antenna. That worked pretty well; the 897 receiver is
very sensitive on 2M, but unfortunately is easily overloaded from strong
signals, and there are many near me. So I had to stay far away from the big
signals.  IF filters would not help that at all. Eventually I added a good
2M transverter to an HF rig and solved the overload issue. 

On 432, my 897 is rather deaf. I still use it there, but have added a remote
preamp and the required switching to take it out of the line on transmit. It
now works on 432 "well enough". My 897 is connected to a computer, and the
well known serial port birdies are quite noticeable on 432 but can be worked
around. Most contacts on 432 are ones you arrange with someone you work on 2
or 6M, so you can pick a frequency that is clear for you. 

Hope to work you in June.

GL and 73,
Chet, N8RA, FN31

-----Original Message-----
From: VHFcontesting [mailto:vhfcontesting-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf
Of John W
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 6:34 PM
To: vhfcontesting at contesting.com
Subject: [VHFcontesting] Total newbie questions about 2m and 70cm antennas
and receive filters

Hi guys,


I am an experienced HF contester, but I have never tried VHF contesting

I just ordered an FT-897D and I'm hoping to give it a try in the June VHF


Antenna questions:

Realistically, I can probably only put up a dipole for 6m in the time I

I have a 13 element 2m beam I can put up a few feet below my 5-band
20/17/15/12/10m quad. 

How far away from the quad does it need to be to work OK?   *This is a
temporary arrangement.* Long term, the quad will be gone and the VHF ants
will be by themselves on the 40' tower, or maybe even up on a taller future

I want to get a 70cm beam - I am thinking about an InnovAntennas 12 or 13
element LFA-SQ Yagi.  (Any recommendations for or against that one? And is
one enough?)

How far from the 2m antenna does the 70cm antenna need to be if it's on the
same mast?  

Could I put either antenna (or both?) right in the center of the HF quad so
that it is firing through the quad's driven element? 

Do I also need some sort of omnidirectional antenna for either 2m and/or
70cm?  Seems to me that with such sharp directionality and high F/B ratio,
my rotor is going to be VERY busy. Where can I get tips on what are the best
directions to point when looking for contacts in the contest?  In fact, is
there some online reference for new VHF contesters that I can read to get
some general pointers?


Radio questions:

Do I need to add a CW filter and an SSB filter to the radio?  If so, what
bandwidths are appropriate?  On HF, I might use 500 Hz or 300 Hz, and 2.3 or
2.0 KHz.  I don't know if the same applies on VHF.  I figured I would go
with Inrad filters just because I like them a lot in my FT-1000MP's.
Anybody out there using Inrad filters in an FT-897 and want to make a


Bonus question:

I think the rig does 100w on 6m, 50w on 2m, and 20w on 70cm if I recall
correctly.  Is that going to be enough power to have fun, or am I going to
get frustrated? 

I am in a really good QTH btw, and an amplifier is really NOT in the budget
at this time.


Thanks and 73,





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