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146.52 FM

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by K2SOG, Dec 24, 2019.

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  1. NQ1B

    NQ1B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Path losses between 2m stations in mountainous, thinly-populated Vermont can easily be on the order of 150 dB.

    We have to get far beyond "visible horizon plus a bit" to engage in these QSOs.

    In one of my recent 2m FM simplex contacts, the other station was running 170 watts to a beam. I didn't have my amp on, so I was running 50 watts to a beam. Both beams are vertical. We made the contact with about S1 on my meter, but it was very weak.

    On the same path, running 50 watts SSB to horizontal beans is armchair copy without moving the meter.
  2. K6GBW

    K6GBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not complaining, I'm merely suggesting that with all the various activities now going on we might better delineate what and who goes where. I think SOTA fine but for many many years we used 146.520 as a local simplex frequency for make contact with someone and then move off. Here in SoCal we have 146.535, 540, 550, 565, 580 and 595. Plenty of room for people that want to carry on base station to base station or base to mobile QSO's. But in the last few years the SOTA thing has become an all day everyday affair. What would be wrong with putting SOTA on 146.595 and Digital simplex on 146.580 so we don't get on each others nerves? Just seems like time for a band plan update.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  3. AF7TS

    AF7TS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can't argue with your basic point, because this is how .520 should be used when crowded.

    Presumably this is someone calling CQ, making a contact and then calling CQ again, contest style with no data in the exchange other than the call signs. Probably pretty boring to listen to, and IMHO 'hogging' the channel if they are not leaving significant space between calls so that other users have a chance to use the 'calling frequency' to establish contacts.

    It used to be that contest exchanges were not permitted on .52, but totally reasonable for someone to make contact on .52 and say that there was activity on some other frequency. IMHO a considerate SOTA operator in a crowded region should probably call infrequently on .52 to say that they are operating on another frequency.

    K6GBW: I hear you and agree that you've identified a problem. I only disagree that 'there oughta be a law' tone of creating a universally defined solution. I believe that the answer is in making the SOTA operators aware of the problem and asking them to operate considerately. Basically appealing to their pride rather than putting them on the defensive.

    KA0HCP likes this.
  4. K6GBW

    K6GBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Jon, I respect your point of view, I just have a slightly different one. I don't think I was suggesting there "there should be a law" only that our local band planners should look at this. I'm not saying my suggestion is the only one, but in crowded areas like Los Angeles I think its time we make some changes. Again, I'm not hating on SOTA people. They have a legitimate right to use the radio just like the rest of us and I'm not trying to put them on the defensive. But if you were here in Los Angeles I think you'd see what I'm talking about. It's not just SOTA people either. The digital aficionados need to be somewhere as well. Have you ever been monitoring 146.520 and suddenly started getting blasted by DMR simplex?

    I think we both agree on 98% of what we're talking about here. We just have different view points on how to get there and that's okay.


    K1BQY, AF7TS and W9FL like this.
  5. NQ1B

    NQ1B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any band plans like that would need to be regional. There's a huge difference between SoCal, where you have a lot of activity, and low-density places like Vermont, where you could sit around for hours on 520 and hear no one. Moving off of 520 here would decrease the chances of more people joining in for a round-table discussion.

    SOTA is a special case because an operator could potentially tie up 520 over a very wide area for an extended period. On the other hand, he'd probably find no one at all on any other simplex channel unless the SOTA activiation was well-publicized. Of course he could get on the local repeater and occasionally announce the SOTA operation and the simplex frequency where he is calling.
    KA0HCP likes this.
  6. K6GBW

    K6GBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    N1QB, I agree, there's probably not a perfect solution. I remember when there was a push to get QRP frequencies on 40 and 20 meters but it seems that never really took off either. All we can do is try I guess.


  7. KE8OKM

    KE8OKM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I concur with the “regionality” of Simplex.

    As a VHF only (VHF only Mountain Goat is my goal) SOTA activator I am fortunate to travel the country as a pilot and activating many different locations. I have had the opportunity to sample .52 activity across most of the USA. Unlike 95% of the US the NY metro area was a tough activation, finding a pause on .52 was a challenge from the foothills of the Poconos. Once I made my presence known I had a blast logging QSOs, many operators are thrilled to work a qrp remote station.

    Etiquette dictates I leave some time between QSOs in case others are trying to get in. If people are listening and willing to call back the whole affair is over in 5 minutes! I’ve conducted 90+ activations 80+ successful (6ish where I could not get even one QSO). In those 90, I have had to wait “3” times after turning my radio on when a QSO was in progress. Other than NY metro area, LA basin and SFO area I have heard no activity prior to calling CQ. I am not looking to rack up QSOs just the 4 required for points. I can’t remember how many times a station called me on a tough activation (2-3 hours of calling) and said I’ve been hearing you call and thought I’d call you back!

    I have been told in West Virginia the Ozarks and a couple other spots that weeks can go by with no activity on Simplex and my being there is helping justify the band privilege.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
    K1BQY and NQ1B like this.
  8. AF7TS

    AF7TS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the kind words. I completely agree on the DMR issue; 146.52 is the _FM_ calling frequency; there is a different SSB calling frequency.

  9. N0NB

    N0NB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here some travelers eschew using repeaters and they will be heard on .52 once in a great while. We've used .52 locally when all of the local repeaters were down. I'm working to restore their operation so I've not heard much on .52 since.

    The most interesting activity is when an air mobile pops up on frequency. I keep forgetting to listen for ISS on its frequency but if they popped up on .52 there would be a heck of a pileup.

    I don't think there are any summits around these parts so SOTA on VHF/UHF is out of the question locally.

    Parks would be another matter but unless one is in or near a moderate sized town, calling on .52 would be a fruitless enterprise.

    There is a group west of me an hour or more that meets on 146.550 every evening. A few years ago most of them were new licensees and this was started as a way to get their feet wet.

    Like with repeaters, I don't know what the answer is to getting more people on the air on VHF/UHF FM whether it be simplex or via a repeater. I do know that the mixing of digital with FM causes a lot of people to turn their radio off. I think that is unfortunate. There was a lot of activity on the K-link system several years back and then digital was implemented on parts of it to complement FM and the activity has dried up considerably. Perhaps I am misinterpreting cause and effect.

    Activity has always been rather sparse, a lot of which I assumed was due to people working during the day and not always being around a radio. Another matter is that we've had a dearth of new hams locally over the past decade. Some of that may be our fault for not being more visible in the community, but also when there was a local Radio Shack it seemed there would be the occasional inquiry. Now that the only place to buy a TV or an AV cord is Walmart, no interest beyond that is generated.

    Regardless, whether .52 or a repeater, more activity locally is welcome!
  10. N1IPU

    N1IPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here in the northeast I find way more activity on 2m SSB than .52 . FM isn't great in hilly areas so it makes sense to use the wattage efficiently and use SSB. Wish the manufacturers would produce a decent low price singleband SSB mobile. I am sure many would jump on that.
    2E0NYH likes this.

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