Calling Frequencies - -Proper use?

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by K1IGS, Nov 22, 2017.

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  1. K1IGS

    K1IGS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey folks, next in my series of dumb noob questions: What is a calling frequency for? For instance, the 2 meter band plan says 146.52 is the "National Simplex Calling Frequency". Calling for what? To see if anyone is listening.

    What's the proper use for a frequency like this?
  2. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, exactly! Give a call, see if anyone is listening.

    Something like "this is kc1igs, monitoring" might be enough to get a response. But I've had better results with repeating my call, and "calling CQ" a few times.

    Don't expect much. In 3.5 years and 55,000 miles in my new car with mobile rig installed on day 1, I have about a dozen QSOs on 2m calling frequency. And only 1 on 446.000. some towns the local folks monitor the calling frequencies (Reno, NV: Roswell, NM), pretty friendly.
  3. K1IGS

    K1IGS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok... that makes sense now. I heard a lady calling CQ when my HT was scanning once, but couldn't make it over to see what frequency she was on. 146.52 is set up as a channel on my HT, and I was scanning my programmed channels. Thanks!
  4. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    In other services, such as maritime, a calling frequency is used for stations to establish communication followed by a frequency change (QSY) to a working channel. The benefit of a calling frequency is that everyone not engaged in communication would be monitoring so the chance of establishing a contact is maximized. This is particularly important with a combined calling and distress frequency.
    KA9JLM likes this.
  5. K1IGS

    K1IGS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks again folks!

    Ironically my radio picked up a lady calling CQ today on 146.52 - she I guess hiked up a mountain and wanted to get some contacts from there, so I got to hear an example of it.
  6. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Be aware that 146.52 has been recommended as a frequency for use in contests by ARRL.
    "10/21/2015 The ARRL Programs and Services Committee earlier this year unanimously adopted a recommendation from its VHF and Above Revitalization Committee to remove the rule prohibiting the use of 146.52 MHz simplex for making contest contacts.That change will go into effect starting on January 1."
  7. WA9ZZZ

    WA9ZZZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Way back in the 1960's and 1950's, when hams were starting to get surplus land mobile radios and converting them to amateur radio use, the radios required a pair of crystals for each channel and most radios were only designed for a single channel. Some of the early users (even before I got in to it) decided that it would be a good idea if everyone was on the same frequency. This would allow a mobile operator to travel from one area to another and still be able to talk to operators in each area. This was before repeaters were everywhere.

    Thus, a particular frequency was chosen for each band to serve as the National Simplex Frequency. On 6m it was 52.525 MHz and on 2m (if I understand correctly, this was before my time) it was 147.300 MHz. By the time I got on the 2m the simplex frequency was moved to 146.940 MHz so Technician class licensees could use it. Then in the 1970's it moved to 146.52 MHz to leave 146.94 open for repeater use.

    The National Simplex Frequencies are still used the same way, but with much activity on repeaters there are areas with little use of the National Simplex channels.

    A few years ago the ARRL decided that the 2m National Simplex Frequency should be a calling channel. Considering the wide variation in usage, this just did not seem to me like a good idea. I have no idea why they made the change. They now have a different term for each band's National Simplex frequency:
    6m 52.525 "Primary FM simplex"
    2m 146.52 "National Simplex Calling Frequency"
    70cm 446.000 "National simplex frequency"

    As for how to use 146.52 today, it depends on activity in your area. Here are some ideas:
    - Monitor from home. You may hear transient mobiles as well as local users.
    - Use mobile. This is the channel to use for making simplex contacts in unfamiliar areas. Or just use it for general local simplex contacts.

    If you have a club that likes to use simplex, it is usually better to pick some other simplex channel. But if there are no other users in your area, it doesn't matter.

    As far as using 146.52 as a "calling" frequency, i.e., make contact, then move to another frequency, I have never observed it being used that way, but it is a good idea to monitor your local activity and observe what is appropriate.
    K1IGS likes this.
  8. AE1N

    AE1N Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    WHY Simplex ?
    If the local repeater blows up you can switch to simplex to make a contact, 146.520 is the place people who are not locked down repeater users listen for calls.
    When I started on 2M it was mostly simplex on 146.94 for fixed stations to chat on and one repeater in town for guys in mobiles and with handheld radios.
    Radios were mostly one or two channel Xtal controlled.
  10. W4POT

    W4POT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Local use in my area typically has folks who don't know each other typically using the 2m calling frequency on an impromptu basis, where folks who do know each other and coordinate use of a simplex frequency often choose one of the others in place of the calling frequency. The calling frequency is typically programmed into the list a radio is scanning.

    For instance a mobile passing through on the highway uses the calling frequency and someone local answers. They can ask questions or directions.

    Two local operators make contact via the repeater and then move to a simplex frequency other than the calling freq. They can have a long QSO and not tie up either the calling freq or a repeater.

    Folks using HTs to coordinate antenna repairs at someone's shack usually use a simplex frequency and not the calling frequency or the repeater. No need to have a bunch of folks hearing their localized communications.

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