Looking through my logs of the last 4 years I find very few FM DX contacts on 4 metres at all.
The local contacts are rare enough, but when it comes to contacts to the outside world, it is getting really depressing.
I am living in the open countryside a bit up a hill, no QRM and no obstructions here. Take off is great to the South,West and most of the East.So no problem there.
I have run one rig here in continious scan mode scanning a bit over 40 frequencies in FM. The rig is running nearly 24/7/365. Sometimes I have it on at nighttime as well- I can be sure that I will be not woken up by any noise- there will be none....
Sometimes I also have another rig with a horizontal antenna facing south east watching a single frequency.
This rig and antenna is used then for the DX contacts in SSB during the openings, while the other rig keeps scanning now only above 70.250 MHz in FM. Usually it is dead there- until Ivan comes up....
I worked S51DI Ivan a good few times- probably every 4 metre FM rig owner will work him sooner or later.
Worked a couple of Danish stations as well when there was very good prop.
Worked Joachim from Portugal- who is a brilliant VHF/UHF experimenter and does call as well in FM mode.
Heard one station from Spain- Barcelona area several times calling in FM- but I could not make any contacts.
ZB2B Ronald from Gibraltar was coming up a good few times over the years in FM. Always a pleasure to chat with him.
Heard stations from -probably - Northern Africa- outside the Irish allocation several times...sounded like taxi companies.
Heard OIRT high power commercial radio stations many times.
This is my result after 4 years on the band, and continious scanning.
Never heard a station from England,Wales or Scotland- even when 2 metres was wide open to that part of the world.
Worked one station form Belfast during an opening on 2 metres. The guy was so nice to QSY- and 4 was wide open. Any calls on 70.450 and 70.260 MHz afterwards were in vain- even when the band was wide open.
I found FM DX a waste of time. Whenever the band is open, I make contacts in the SSB part- but on FM there is nothing at all. One can call and call and call- but no reply.Most people who do DX do not watch the FM part. We all would like that people put effort into this- but the sad reality is that there is no effort at all into the FM mode and that most PMR-only rig owners have not the most favourable set-ups.
FM DX is something very special- I do it for many years on 29,51,70 and 145 MHz. But if I compare the amount of QSOs to the SSB mode, SSB contacts outnumber FM contacts by more than 9 to 1.This figure speaks for itself.
FM is nice for local contacts or raised inland tropo condition. If you are lucky to live in reach of groups who use 4 metres...
Let's face it: DX contacts are nearly always in SSB. Of course there are exceptions- but ...
Loads of PMR rigs around- but many are sitting on the shack shelves or the antenna is down...
DX contacts in FM are mostly done by people who have no SSB equipment.
My first year on 4 was only in FM- and I got only a handfull of contacts.
It all changed dramatically when I got a transverter- which is the way forward.
You also need a good opening on 70 MHz to get a reasonable QSO in FM together. You cannot expect much from a vertical antenna, 20 watts output and a high noise level from your surrounding city.
A few QSO I had in FM were extremely difficult, to say the least. It would have been much easier in SSB and a directional antenna.