Monday, August 3, 2009

VX-8R does 220 Mhz

Well, I thought I had bought a rather swanky tri-band HT, but thanks for Daniel, VE7HWD, I'm now acquainted with the 220 Mhz capability of this rather nice radio!

During a nice QSO a few weeks back Daniel and I went on a tour through a range of bands and modes just for fun. We QSY'ed our way through D-STAR, 2m FM repeater, 2m simplex, 11m FM, 11m AM and... 220 Mhz repeater. I had no idea that the VX-8R was opened for 1.25m in Canada - the radio's box and most of the manual refers to the 6m/2m/70cm bands. There are just a few references to the extra band in the manual, where you'll see it referred to as an extra US band. Anyway, suffice it to say that I was rather chuffed to discover that I had another band available to me without realising it!

On the few occasions I've monitored this band since, I can see that it's a rather quiet backwater - at least in these parts. Clearly, there are few radios that support the band out-of-the-box, and perhaps proper antenna systems are also relatively rare. Most V/UHF multi-band antennas seem to choose resonant bands at 2m, 70cm and maybe either 6m or 1200 Mhz as a third band. So, it seems that you pretty much have to know that you want 220 Mhz to get it, as it usually involves going out of your way to get this band - except of course if your HT happens to be delivered with it!

When I mentioned this discovery on the club net a few weeks back, it prompted the comment from another club member that it would be interesting to see who else has 220 Mhz capability and maybe talk the band up a little. Right now I'm finding that most of my VHF fun is currently on D-STAR (it hosts some nice nets, including Canada-wide and BC-San Francisco), but I've a mind to put a bit of a shout out on 220 Mhz sometime to get acquainted with the denizens of that band :-)

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