Friday, March 8, 2013

Talking on Simplex on 2m

For the upcoming Virginia QSO contest, I will have to learn to make simplex contacts. Simplex is simply direct communication between two stations. There is only a small portion of the 2m band devoted to simplex, most it is rather crowed with repeater inputs and outputs. There is a certain challenge to getting in a simplex contact, you can make it happen.

There are a few different tricks to operating simplex. The first is that you will need an antenna that is better than normal, preferable as high as you can get it. This will allow you to get the maximum area, and considerably improve your chances of success.

Second, you need to be close to your target range. It is really hard to make a QSO with someone that is more than 30 miles away on simplex.

Lastly, you will probably need to put up with more noise than you typically would. My radio typically shows 3 bars of power is a perfectly readable signal. I frequently talk to repeaters on 5+, and often don't bother if the signal is below that.

Overall, simplex is a fun challenge which will allow you to communicate with someone in the event of a repeater being out. It's always useful to be able to talk such distances.

I was able to make 3 contacts today, two of which were on the national calling frequency, 146.520, and one on another simplex frequency. One of them was even 30 miles away! While cruising the repeaters can be fun, it's worthwhile to try simplex every now and then.

I should add that everything above 10m is simplex, as you can't operate a repeater over 29.50MHz. But I still haven't made my first HF contact yet. Still, it's quite a bit more challenging to get a 2m contact, and it's worth the effort!

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