SSB on 2m using a 10m SSB radio with a transverter

Posted on by AE0BQ

Everybody knows that 2m FM is how we talk to our ham radio buddies on the local repeaters. Just pick up a janky Baofeng HT for $25, plug in the repeater settings, and you’re good to go.

But SSB is much more efficient than FM, and when conditions are right, SSB contacts can be made with stations over a thousand miles away!

Of course, this requires a radio that can do SSB on 2m. If you are lucky enough to have an expensive all-band all-mode radio that can do SSB on 2m, then you are all set, and you can stop reading this right now. Most of us have 2m transceivers that can only do FM.

But….if you have an HF radio or QRP rig that can do SSB on 10m, then you can do SSB on 2m by using a transverter.

What is a transverter? It’s a circuit that sits between your 10m radio and a VHF antenna, and bidirectionally converts between the two frequencies — 28MHz and 144MHz. The HF radio outputs SSB at reduced power, and the transverter converts that up to 144MHz and drives your VHF antenna. Similarly, the transverter receives on 144MHz and converts it back down for your receiver. The transverter has an internal RX/TX relay that is controlled by the PTT output of the HF radio.

This arrangement will work for any modulation that your HF radio or QRP rig is capable of. My ICOM IC-7300 supports CW, SSB, LSB, AM, and FM, and can also handle a variety of weak signal digital modes using fldigi and WSJT-X software. Most multi-band HF radios have similar capabilities. The µBITX is a low-cost QRP kit that will do SSB on 10m.

The input of the transverter handles 28-32MHZ, and the 10m band is 28.0 through 29.7 MHz, which means you can cover 144.0 MHz through 145.7 MHz in the 2m band. Lots to experiment with here!

I ordered the following transverter kit for $75, which includes shipping from Ukraine. Output power is 10-15 W with an input of 50mW, so the kit includes an attenuator board. The boards are fully assembled, tested, and tuned. The kit includes everything shown in the picture.

(Pic says 70MHz; I ordered 144MHz.)

Transverter Board Specifications
RF range – 144 … 148 MHz
IF range – 28 … 32 MHz
IF input power – 1 … 50 mW (0.05 W max.) or 0 … 17 dBm
LO frequency – 116 MHz (3rd overtone of 38.6666 MHz crystal)
LO frequency stability – +/- 3 ppm
Output power – 10 … 15 W
RX gain – typ. 20 dB
Noise figure – typ. 1.0 dB
Image rejection – typ. 70 dB
PTT control – Contact closure to ground
Supply voltage – +13.8 V DC (+12 … 14 V DC)
Current consumption – typ. 2 A (TX)
TX Output transistor – RD15HVF1
RX Input transistor – BF998
Dimensions (mm) – 80 x 45

Attenuator Board Specifications
Attenuation Level – 30 dB (10 W IN – 0.015 W OUT adjustable almost to ZERO)
RF Input Power – 5 … 10 W (15 W Maximum)
HF Bypass Power – 100 W
PTT control – Contact closure to ground
Supply voltage – +13.8 VDC (+12 … 14 VDC)
Dimensions (mm) – 39 x 67

Following are some links about 2m SSB.
Colorado Council of Amateur Radio Clubs (CCARC) – Frequency Use Plan