My first ever RX outings on 2m were with a derivative of the CQ2 super-regen RX circuit from Practical Wireless back in the late 1960s. The very first signal I ever heard on 2m was G3VEH/P on Caradon Hill in Cornwall. I was located at Kingsbridge in South Devon. I used a small crystal earpiece and a 19 inch whip. The same receiver was later adapted with the addition of an RF amplifier in my Fredbox AM transceiver. These were the days when AM was still king on 2m. The best DX contacts with the 10mW Fredbox were impressive.
A few years ago, I rebuilt my Fredbox and had a few local QSOs on 2m AM. It still works well for something this small and simple. More details of the Fredbox are on my website. Follow the link above.