2m National Simplex Frequency 146.520 ? to use or not to use?

The National Calling Frequency on 2m 146.520, has always been an issue of debate for hams. To use it or not to use it? Do you just give your call, wait for a reply and then if you do get a reply, move to another channel, or can you sit and ragchew on .52?

Hams are really divided on this. Officially, National simplex and calling frequencies are by mutual agreement, and are not a part of the FCC regulations. Some feel that it is good operating practice to keep contact length on these frequencies to a minimum, moving off if you wish to continue. Although, it is not illegal to remain on the frequency.

Some Hams feel that this frequency should be left open for emergency calling etc, and while a short chit-chat would be ok, a full on ragchew is not. A few have even gone as far as to register complaints about hams using 146.52 simplex, and rag chewing on the “channel” when they should move off and leave the frequency clear for others.

Again, this isn’t a law, nor a rule: This type of agreement goes back to the days of crystal control, and most crystal controlled rigs came ready to go on two channels: 146.52 and another one (often 146.94), and many Hams on the other side of the fence feel it’s unnecessary. It’s technically a very old “gentleman’s agreement” that shouldn’t matter anymore.

Many Hams feel that the worst thing that has happened was to make 146.520 Simplex the ‘national calling frequency’ and to effectively *discourage* it’s use by telling Hams to make their contact and move off. Ever since then, traffic in some areas of the country on 146.520 is nearly nonexistent where and when you need it the most. Many Hams say they monitor 146.520 on a regular basis and go weeks without hearing any traffic. Many Hams are now encouraging people to use 146.52 and keep it busy. If someone has a real emergency, they can break in and at least know there’s somebody there to potentially help: This is a lot better than a dead frequency.

So what are you feelings on this issue? Let’s hear it!

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