Finally made it to an EARC meeting last night. Yes, I am a nerd.
I met some people I've talked to on the air, which was nice. Everyone was very friendly. I got some information on HF radios that I'm looking at.
The presentation at the meeting was about 2m SSB communication, the "ignored" mode. I am familiar with SSB, but have never used it. I was not aware that people did SSB on 2m (VHF, around 144Mhz). Generally, the 2m band is reserved for local communications on mobile and handheld radios. But the lower portion of the band has a slice set aside for SSB communications.
Reasons for using 2m SSB given were reduced power consumption (good in emergencies since you want to conserve power), practice SSB tuning before hitting HF bands, practice CW before hitting HF bands, and getting the cool Battlestar Galactica radio effect.
At any rate, it was an interesting meeting. Learned a lot and had fun. Now I'm looking at radios to buy.