i'm sure you're putting out nightly calls on 52 and the other local simplex freqs...keep them ALL in memory and scan them to see when you hear someone local to you...also scan the whole band to find the hidden simplex freqs folks use......in an urban area like that you will ! Good luck and have fun !
2m activity has died down over the last two decades...but be persistant ! Try clubs up there too !
On those nights when the local repeaters are quietly rusting, I use my Kenwood dual-bander to scan two sets of repeater outputs "145.110 to 145.490" and "146.610-147.390". I discovered accidentally that a Tennessee repeater 48 miles away comes in better than some local ones.
I can xmit/receive to the northwest about 50 miles (5W xmit) and 100 miles (50W) up past Knoxville.
(Yet with all the granite mountains to my east, I can't hit the repeater in Hiawassee GA 15 miles away.)
I'd love to chat on 2M with you but I'm 350 miles west of you so that's not going to work any time soon, but you might find a "non-local" repeater that you can hit and make a new bunch of acquaintances. I've met a bunch of folks on the Sweetwater TN repeater (W4YJ's 145.250) using 5W through a 2M/440 J-pole antenna on a 20' mast. I'm now a regular on their Tuesday pm Monroe County ARC NET.
If you haven't already, you can download a copy of the 2M bandplan (and others) from The SouthEastern Repeater Association, Inc. :: Home, which is the frequency coordinator that covers NC and most adjacent states. I get SERA's quarterly Repeater Journal and charted out the bandplan to see which repeater pairs are "coordinated" within 50 miles of my place. Then I focused on the inputs and outputs that ARE NOT coordinated and discovered some of those "hidden" freqs that Barefootdipole was probably talking about.
Enjoy the hunt!
73's de Vern
It's a long shot from where I live but I'd like to try some simplex with you. In fact, I believe more people should try 2 meter simplex. We would all be surpised at what it can do. We'll set up a scheduled contact if you'd like.
I, too, was 14 years old when I got my first amateur radio license. That was a very special time in my life but I remember realizing what an expensive hobby I had gotten myself into!
I'll try to send you a private message to coordinate scheduling, etc.
My name's Frank. I live in the area and have just seen your post. I'll try to ping you when I'm out and about. I too will PM with my rather obtuse time frames and let's see if we can contact each other.