History of the SSB Net

When I became a Ham years ago I was only interested in working DX on HF. I considered VHF as useful for FM Repeaters and local QSO's only. I never gave any thought to using any other modes because the cost of the equipment was high compared to HF radios.

It wasn't until 1993 that I was "exposed" to 2 meter sideband. I was visiting a friend in Zephyrhills, Florida when he invited me to use his station to check into the Gulf Coast SSB Net run by W3ZR in Cape Coral, Florida. I was amazed that a 10 watt signal could travel 120 miles ! To say the least, I was bitten by the VHF weak signal bug.

I purchased a used 2 meter transverter and a small yagi and set up my first VHF SSB station at my home in Davie, Florida. I soon became a regular on the Gulf Coast Net. After a while it became apparent that something was lacking. Namely activity at times other than when the net was on. So I grabbed the bull by the horns and founded the Atlantic Coast SSB Net on the "blue water" side of the state. I would open my net at 8:30pm Sunday nights in the hope of catching "spillover" from the Gulf Coast group. At first the checkins could be counted on one hand but soon things started to roll and about two dozen Hams would show up. Things were on a roll.

Then came Uncle Murphy. First W3ZR moved and turned the Gulf Coast Net over to others. Unfortunately activity there dried up and that Net died. And Tropical Storm Gordon paid me a visit in October 1994 and destroyed my home, putting me off the air. It wasn't until May of 1995 that I was able to start the Atlantic Coast Net again from my new home in Pompano Beach, Florida. Just like before activity was slow in coming but thankfully things have REALLY picked up.

At last count, 196 (as of 11/28/99) stations have made it into the log with an average of two dozen per session. Coverage has been super with CO2OJ Oscar in Havana, Cuba ( EL83 ) holding the title of most southerly station and K4KVR, Dave in Sea Island, Georgia ( EM91 ) being the most northerly.



View Map Of Net Coverage Shows the locations of Net Participants

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What do EL79 and EL83 mean? Link to the ARRL explanation of the Maidenhead Locator System