The Simplex Things in Life

Years ago, when I was a little ham, and my only radios were an Alinco DJ-162 and a Radio Shack HTX-212, I was very happy on just 2 meter for a long time. The reason is a group of people I knew. Just before I first got my ticket, a friend, who was an Amateur Extra, told me that he and some friends hung out on a simplex frequency most of the time instead of talking on a repeater. I got the Alinco handheld while I was studying, and while I was waiting for my license to come in the mail so I could transmit, I started listening to them.

By the time the license came, I knew who all of them were (I actually knew the aforementioned Extra and another guy in the group from, well, another radio service). They were a very funny crew. Dry, biting humor, silliness, and best of all, a complete lack of regard for the pomp that was (and still often is) popular on repeaters: saying every call sign in the conversation every time you finish a transmission, worrying about who’s turn it was in the rotation, etc. Just a group of people hanging out and talking. One habit they had, which I still have to this day, was taking pauses between transmissions. Before wisecracking, pause and give someone a chance to break in.

Anyway, other than a drive to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wherein I and a friend decided to see just how far away I could drive before I wasn’t hitting the BIG repeater anymore, hanging out ragchewing on 2 meter simplex was the most fun I ever had on 2 meter.

Well, this week I got tired of the bad recieve and terrible microphone audio on the cheap UHF/VHF radio I was using, and got myself one of these to use as my base station:

That’s an Icom IC-2730. Yes, that’s a D-104/TUG-9 desk mic behind it, and yes I hooked the D-104 up to the 2730, but the audio is all wrong for FM.

Not only does it receive repeaters I couldn’t get through the noise on the old radio, but people say the audio sounds great when i transmit. So of course, I wanted to try it on simplex as well. I got on 146.520, the national 2 meter simplex calling frequency, and just started occasionally calling out. I was pretty casual about it. Stuff like, “Hey, is anyone hanging out on simplex today? This is W8NAT”.

It wasn’t long before I got an answer, which led to a nice long conversation with a fellow about 8 miles away who makes it a habit of having his radio listen on 146.52. I had a blast.

So, I will also make it a habit of monitoring .52 when I’m around the radio. Repeaters are fun, but simplex is more funner.

Moral: nostalgia can be a good motivator.

2 thoughts on “The Simplex Things in Life”

  1. Nat – great to work you on THOR this evening. Sorry I had to run – was happily typing away and then heard clap of thunder. Will look for you again on 40 some evening. I’ve been off the digital modes (except for FT4 and FT8) for a while – just got a new shack computer and got fldigi running again. Take care and 73.

    1. I had a blast. I like the chatty digital modes and THOR is one I don’t get to use a lot so that added to the fun. Hope to catch you on the air voice or digital. 73!

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