Earlier today, I visited Sevierville, TN to test for my FAA Drone Pilot license. The test went well, and, after grabbing a quick lunch; I had a bit of time to spare. Since I was already this far, I decided to make the 30 minute drive over to Greentop (W4T/SU-076). I arrived at the summit to find tower crews working on one of the nearby cell towers. They went about their way, and I went about mine. I grabbed my radio bag, and climbed the fire tower. Since I didn’t have a lot of time, and with previous success on this summit on VHF, I decided to set up on 2m. I clipped my roll-up J-Pole to the inside of the fire tower’s cabin, and connected it to my Yaesu FT-818.

Success came pretty quickly, with 7 contacts on 146.52 FM right out of the gate. At this point, the contacts were starting to slow down a bit, and KG4LMW; my first caller of the day, wanted to try SSB on 2m. Having only worked 2m SSB once or twice before, I was eager to take this opportunity. We quickly moved to 144.2 USB, and made our second QSO of the day. Even though I was running a vertically polarized antenna, I decided to continue calling CQ and picked up 3 more contacts. At this point, things were yet again starting to wind down, and I was running out of time if I was to make it back home for my evening Zoom meeting. I quickly packed up my gear, climbed down from the tower, and started down the mountain; just as rain was just starting to set in.

All-in-all, I found 2m SSB to be an excellent addition to my SOTA “bag-o-tricks”. It’s certainly something I am looking forward to utilizing in future activations. It am interested to determine its level of success in less populated areas where VHF isn’t always optimal. So, where do we go from here? 2m CW? 70cm AM? The possibilities are endless.

Until next time, 73.

View from the top of the fire tower.