I remember, in the not too distant past, when 2m SSB was a blast to operate. One could easily work 3+ states any night of the week, and very often it sounded like 75m SSB at night, what with so many stations operating up and down the band. Seriously, this was in the early-to-mid 90's. I could call CQ from my very modest station on 144.200, and have to move off of the calling frequency to work folks, to free up the calling frequency for others...
Now, in 2018, it's crickets. Static. No one EVER calls CQ in my area. I listen on my station with a 13 element antenna up at 111', nothing but static. Even when the contests are running, there's only a handful of the same players that pop on from time to time. I hear beacons 200+ miles out at night, but no live humans. Where did all the 2M SSB ops go??
I recently spent a lot of time and effort building and replacing my 2m SSB antennas that were damaged in a storm, but it seems to have been wasted time. I recently asked a question about this on an internet forum, and other hams replied with the same experience. What a shame, 2M SSB can be such great fun, but not like this. Even the VHF contests yield such a pitiful response, it's just not worth the effort, I might as well be looking for microwave activity. Where is everyone??