The license privileges of amateur radio operators include the use of frequencies within this band for telecommunication, usually conducted locally within a range of about 100 miles. The Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union allow amateur radio operations in the range from 144 to 148 MHz. In the US, that role in communications is furthered by the fact that most amateur-radio operators have a 2-meter handheld transceiver. Much of 2-meter FM operation uses a radio repeater, a receiver and transmitter that instantly retransmits a received signal on a separate frequency. Repeaters are normally located in locations such as a tall building or a hill top overlooking expanses of territory. On VHF frequencies such as 2-meters, antenna height greatly influences how far one can talk, typical reliable repeater range is about 25 miles. Some repeaters in unusually high locations, such as skyscrapers or mountain tops, reliable range is very dependent on the height of the repeater antenna and also on the height and surroundings of the handheld or mobile unit attempting to access to the repeater. Line of sight would be the ultimate in reliability, the typical hand held two meter FM transceiver produces about 5 watts of transmit power. Stations in a car or home provide higher power,25 to 75 watts, however, even without repeaters available, the 2-meter band provides reliable crosstown communications throughout smaller towns, making it ideal for emergency communications. Antennas for repeater work are almost always vertically polarized since 2-meter antennas on cars are usually vertically polarized, matching polarization allows for maximum signal coupling which equates to stronger signals in both directions. Simple radios for FM repeater operation have become plentiful and inexpensive in recent years, while the 2-meter band is best known as a local band using the FM Mode, there are many opportunities for long distance communications using other modes. The typical 2 meter station using CW or SSB modes consists of an exciter driving a power amplifier generating about 200–500 watts of RF power and this power is usually fed to a multi-element horizontally polarized, directional beam antenna knowns as a Yagi. Stations that are located in high locations with views clear to the horizon have a big advantage over other stations at lower elevations. Such stations are able to communicate 100–300 miles consistently and it is not unusual to be heard at distances much further and these distances can be traversed on a daily basis without any noticeable help from known Signal Enhancements. However, when coupled with well known signal enhancements, astonishing distances can be bridged. To traverse these distances, directional Yagi antennas are almost essential and are generally horizontally polarized and these antennas provide huge signal gains over a dipole or simple vertical and make communication over several hundred miles reliable. Meteor scatter, sporadic E, and tropospheric ducting are the most common forms of VHF signal enhancement and are described further below. These Openings as they are known, are generally first spotted by amateurs operating SSB, completion of contacts using these weak signal modes involves the exchange of signal level reports and location by grid square which is known as the Maidenhead Locator System
A 2-meter, handheld transceiver.
A set of two long Yagi antennas for the 2-meter band fed in phase to obtain more gain and narrow main lobe of radiation (WA6PY)