Please note this article first appeared in the April 1996 edition of MARA NEWS
FM DX - Y NOT???
by Glenn Howard, K1GVM
Are you getting fed up with too much repeater or computer operation?You worked hard for your license, and you talk with your friends on the repeater all the time, but is there anything more you can do?Try FM Simplex DXing! Especially at this time of year when the bands open and we get some solid lift. If you have two watts or more (and more is better), and a yagi antenna (4 elements or more), then you can hit repeaters and simplex frequencies beyond the range of just that little rubber duck that came with your HT.
You say you don't have a yagi? OK! Get a stick of wood and some aluminum rods, and build one. The Yankee in me says that's the easiest thing to do. And building a 2 meter yagi is very simple. If you have the money, buy one (that was not the Yankee in me coming out). This antenna will improve local repeater operation also.
Now, you're in business. Get on a local simplex frequency and call CQ. Now you can see what DX grids and neighboring states you can work. With a small yagi antenna, you can go mobile to a hill (or a mountain, if you happen to be out in western Massachusetts or up in New Hampshire or Vermont). Now you can really get some range! I once worked a station in Nova Scotia who had just an HT. The same thing happened to me with a station from New York State! Of course, my station on this end was a bit larger, but you can still get the idea.
You might be interested in a ham I used to know from Quincy, W1UAR. He was a fairly wealthy man with a house on the water near the Shipyard in Quincy. He built a 138-foot tower just for do FM DXing with his 10-watt station. You might also be interested in the name of his boat - the Short Wave!
If you have any questions, look me up on the repeater - I have the answers. Maybe we could have an inter-club contest between WARC and MARA, or we could build a bunch of antennas as a project at a meeting one night if enough people say they would like to do it. Lets give it a try!