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:
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.