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Old 11-07-2010, 11:45 AM
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Default FM simplex activity in your area

How much FM simplex activity is there in your area? What bands are being used?

Here in the Indianpolis area, it seems that most chit-chat is on repeaters. A lot of hams don't have the ability to put up much of an antenna, so they seem to gravitate towards repeaters. However, there are some pockets of 2m simplex activity among fixed stations with reasonable antennas.

When I lived in the Lexington, Kentucky, area, I found that local repeaters were quiet. The locals hung out on 2m simplex, usually 146.520 MHz, in the evening.

Where terrain is mostly flat, getting a 2m antenna with a little gain up to 10 or 15 feet above grade will typically get you county-wide coverage. You may not hear low-power mobiles, but communication between base stations with similar antennas is certainly do-able.

So, what's simplex like where you live?
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Old 11-07-2010, 12:48 PM
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This thread was a good idea.

I guess I am somewhat fortunate. In my county, Wayne County, IL in southern IL, a majority of ham group uses both repeaters and simplex on a daily basis.
For instance, Our EMA office generally acts as Net Control when we have a skywarn call out. Well our Repeater only covers the western side of the county, so fo the eastern side we use simplex. The EMA office has 2 radios then, one that is set on the repeater, and one that is set on the simplex, that way no scanning, and they are always listening.
Our county repeater in on UHF, and our simplex is 6 meter FM, 52.37

When we're not out spotting, then 147.555 simplex gets used a lot, as does 446.000.
We have one guy that uses 146.52, but I try to encourage newcomers not to use 52 as a talk on channel. Sure, call CQ or a particular station, then ask them to move off to another simplex. I dont even monitor 52 on my VHF, just because if I was scanning, and someone was have a nice long conversation, then I wouldnt be scanning anymore, the radio would just be stuck on 52, and me missing the other activity out there.

Steven KC9GMX
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Old 11-08-2010, 4:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9RXR View Post
So, what's simplex like where you live?
Deader than a doornail. Only around 30 people licensed in the entire county and none of them are active
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Old 11-08-2010, 6:54 AM
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Not much simplex in my area. Relatively mountainous and people mostly use the repeaters. I do monitor 146.520 as well as 446.000 and rarely hear anything.
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Old 11-08-2010, 7:02 AM
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I have all the Alberta, Vhf-hi simplex frequencies programmed in my radio, as a part of my regular scanlist and I rarely hear anything on them. Now and then I will hear a conversation on 146.49 but not very often, mostly echolink/irlp simplex nodes in my area.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:49 AM
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Simplex is very active n my area.
146.475
146.520
146.535
146.580
147.570

You can usally always make a contact!
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Old 11-10-2010, 1:57 AM
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147.555 (the "Triple Nickel") is the simplex frequency in the Montomery AL area. There are a group of about a dozen regulars and any ham is always welcome to join in. The nature of the topography allows typical contact ranges of 20-25 miles. We are usually on most evenings. Our youngest regular is 31 and oldest is 84. We talk about everything from ham radio gear to politics and religion, but rarely talk about our colons and such. Check in on Fridays at 2200 local for the "Hootie Owl Net". It's guaranteed to give you a good upcoming week.
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Old 11-10-2010, 4:02 AM
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In Richmond, VA the most active simplex users are some guys who use 147.56 (not 147.555). The original purpose of that frequency was to update each other on DX chasing. The frequency has been in use for all of my 27 years as a ham and they probably predate any ARRL channel plan.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
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Old 11-10-2010, 4:50 AM
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Default Simplex.

Here in Ft. Walton Beach, Fl. Really flat!!! 3 miles in from the Gulf of Mexico. 146.520 is used some. We use 147.555 for simplex on 2 meters. The retired guys that listen to HF let everyone know if there is activity on the bands especially DX. Our club repeater is down at present so we switched to 147.555. Quite a few repeaters in the local area. With my 2 meter 4 element beam and 50 watts , I can get quite a ways up in to Alabama and east and west also. There are some repeaters here that get little use but during the hurricanes season all are active especially if there is a storm coming. Little to no use of 440. Most have the capability to use it, but it is rarely used.

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Old 11-10-2010, 7:13 AM
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Not much simplex in my area either, although every once in a while I hear something. It's in all of my scan lists.

Seems like simplex is always extremely active in Kansas City when I visit family down there though.
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Old 11-10-2010, 8:31 AM
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There are pockets of a few guys here and there who have scheds and chat on 2m simplex, but activity on .52 is poor. I live just a mile from the main highway between Chicago and Minneapolis and have only worked a few mobiles going past over the years. It's not surprising though as most 2m hams have such pip squeak signals, they can usually just barely get into the biggest repeater. The CBers around here have better stations than most hams! Seriously! It seems that the hams are so 'tech savy' that they believe they are so smart by getting by with so little. Smaller the better. What if the repeater goes down in an emergency? They couldn't talk a country mile.

Last edited by k9rzz; 11-10-2010 at 8:33 AM..
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k9rzz View Post
It seems that the hams are so 'tech savy' that they believe they are so smart by getting by with so little. Smaller the better. What if the repeater goes down in an emergency? They couldn't talk a country mile.
I agree. If I wanted to work QRP, I'd go do that.

But, we are talking about FM where the received signals should be pretty darn good. I hear so many guys working repeaters using handhelds with rubber duck antennas, which is bad enough, but they make it worse by running low power. Guys, come on! Your signal into the repeater is lousy! It's no fun straining to understand what you are saying through the white noise and drop-outs. I run around town most of the time running 10 watts into an antenna with a bit of gain. If someone tells me I'm not getting into the repeater very well, I either bump up the power or sign off. I'm just not going to subject the listeners to a crappy signal.

Your point is well taken. The guys who work 2m repeaters most of the time and who claim to be ready for emergencies really need to test their abilities on simplex. In my area, we used to do simplex nets on 2m, 220, and 440 every once in a while to see if we could cover our county if the repeater went down. I think we surprised a few people with just how much you could do without the repeater.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dwh367 View Post
Deader than a doornail. Only around 30 people licensed in the entire county and none of them are active
Well David, Put up an antenna and I'll yell at ya on SIMPLEX! Think 3 watts will do it from Vanderburgh to Spencer across Warrick? There is some activity on Simplex from Henderson, KY to Mt. Vernon.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by W9RXR View Post
I agree. If I wanted to work QRP, I'd go do that.

But, we are talking about FM where the received signals should be pretty darn good. I hear so many guys working repeaters using handhelds with rubber duck antennas, which is bad enough, but they make it worse by running low power. Guys, come on! Your signal into the repeater is lousy! It's no fun straining to understand what you are saying through the white noise and drop-outs. I run around town most of the time running 10 watts into an antenna with a bit of gain. If someone tells me I'm not getting into the repeater very well, I either bump up the power or sign off. I'm just not going to subject the listeners to a crappy signal.
I run 50 Watts into a Diamond SG 7900 on my car and sometimes even I get crappy signals into the repeaters. Depends on where I am and terrain between me and the repeater. Most of the times I could probably get by with less power but then I'd have to adjust settings while driving and I don't want to do that even if it is just a Pushbutton the the MIC. lol I have talked SIMPLEX on my drive to/from work at ranges from about 20-25 miles.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:24 PM
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Here in Central Texas (Austin to San Antonio), the simplex activity is pretty busy.

A local "non-group" calls themselves the "Unusual Suspects." No membership required, just talk enough on simplex, and you're in. I believe the use 146.565, and are mostly centered in San Antonio.

Some of the local Skywarn groups use simplex when out of range of the repeater (Hays County specifically).

I also have made plenty of QSOs on 146.520 in the area.

Lastly, another ham, whom I happen to work with, and I use 70cm simplex almost daily and 2m P25 simplex on a regular basis, mostly mobile-mobile since we leave work at the same time.

I'll roll the VFO knob through the simplex allocations regularly and I'm surprised how much I hear (even if it's weak), so plenty use it around here.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:42 PM
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Wife and I exclusively use 2 meter and 70 cm simplex to talk back and forth. We are centrally located on a big hill and have a decent dual band antenna up at 60 feet. We can work simplex 60ish miles in most directions.

Couple to that the fact that my parents and aunts and uncles are all licensed, we keep the frequency fairly busy.

Outside of us, I hear no simplex activity around here at all. An occasional traveler on the interstate (I scan .52) is all.

I do agree that most folks would rather just work through the repeater because it is easier. We have very high level machines which sit on high peaks here in the rockies. A simple handheld will access the repeater and yield 100+ mile contacts.

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Old 11-10-2010, 1:49 PM
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Not much at all. Sometimes I'll hear out of state hams in 4wd talk on the Jeep trails here.
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Old 11-10-2010, 7:05 PM
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SIMPLEX
WASHINGTON COUNTY..PEKIN INDIANA
I never hear anyone on it, and I have it in my vehicle, no repeaters just simplex and nothing 146.52.
Brownsburg and Perry county, I run sstv on 2 meters if you want to try on 144.510 sometime or digital modes mt-63. have only made one qso to Louisville, Ky., let me know, can come up around 6 in the evening, use mmsstv free program or fldigi free..

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Old 11-10-2010, 7:14 PM
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Very little simplex traffic here at all,thanks to all the OM's feeling obligated to talk 2-3 miles across town on repeaters,for fear that those precious repeaters would croak!
The topic of simplex came up for local contacts and they almost pushed up daisies.
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Old 11-10-2010, 7:45 PM
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Cool Activity

Here in phoenix ther is minimal activity during the day and more at night depending on who is home or not but it is better than nothing
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