Flying high right now, as I was able to hit over 110 miles on 2 meters, using only 20 watts power in FM mode. My longest contacts yet on 2m FM. I was scanning my Yaesu FT-8900R on the way to the store tonight, and picked up a weak repeater signal on 147.32 Mhz. I rolled to a stop after finding a spot with a peak signal strength of an S-4 reading, contacted and was able to chat with two blokes in Burnaby and New Westminster, British Columbia from Renton, WA.
Turns out the repeater I was hitting and bouncing off of at 20w is:
Salt Spring Island Amateur Radio Club
SALT SPRING ISLAND, BC V8K 2H8
Distance between Maidenhead Grid Squares:
CN87vk to CN88fv: 117.9 Miles
My longest distance before was in the Cascade Mountains, on a Simplex frequency a couple of years ago:
CN97ej to CN87kf: 70 Miles
"Big Deal, it's only a repeater on 2 meters in FM...not impressed"
So what? I don't even have an HF rig yet, I can't hit thousands of miles in CW or SSB on QRP (less than 5 watts). For me tonight, it's an accomplishment to make my first International DX, still being wet-behind-the-ears in HAM radio, in any mode...and still able to do it under the max power or my mobile VHF rig (50 watts).