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Wed, 14/10/2015 - 17:23 -- andyripley

There's something to be said for a sunspot minimum, or upcoming one. You could of course just expect to not make any contacts on the higher HF bands for a few years and mutter on about not having the room for low band antennas etc.
There will be the occasional contact on such as 10m and 6m but having modes other than F-layer propagation, it's just that you may have to put the thought of getting VK or ZL on the back burner for a while. Maybe the odd hop into Europe, but no real DX perhaps.
At this time you may be looking to put the transceiver back in its box or onto an auction site. Well maybe not. Your IC706G2 might not have to gather dust.
I hear the excuse of why lots of people never try VHF DXing simply as "there's no-one on any more". Maybe you skip those pages in RadCom and have never heard of the UKAC  - United Kingdom Activity Contest. Perhaps it's time to get you from in front of social networking and on the air.
There are sessions for different VHF and UHF bands on a monthly cycle. This gives you a chance to try out the capabilities of your kit, and being VHF you don't need to have a 30m mast in the garden. If you don't live in a good spot do as a lot do and travel a few miles and pick yourself a hill. Possibly just somewhere to park up, put up your antenna, and then have a couple of hours making contacts. Time to mark those Tuesday nights on the calendar!
This I have been doing myself. It does work, as location can count for a lot more than brute force, picking a good spot and of course if you find it's not that good then try somewhere else. Isn't that what the experimental side is about? You don't even need to splash out a lot of money on antennas, a lot are prefectly home-brewable at modest cost, and fit in the back of car or even on your rucksack if you're that keen.
Even such as the FT817 will work 6m, 2m and 70cm SSB, so if you have the kit, why not use it? You only need a couple of hours of operation, so you can run from a battery if need be and maybe you don't need to run some rigs at 100W if you want to last til the end of your session on the air. Try this from your vehicle battery and I advise you to park at the top of a hill to allow a rolling start. Automatics need not apply. I have a 17Ah SLA that covers this well.
So what's you excuse to not have at least a listen?