2 Meters – Off The Beaten Path

So, Now What? Part Four

 

So, by now you have some radio capable of two meters (144-148MHz) operation and a tourist map of the sights (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To New York City Repeaters). There comes a time when the most cautious tourists get tired of the path prepared for them by others and starts out on their own journeys.

Even the most self assured tourist can use a few helpful hints of where you might go and where you might not go, or at the very least, where and when you should go into these places, and what you should or shouldn’t bring with you. This article is meant to be that cautionary guide to “the rest of two meters”!

Let’s start with a generally agreed upon Band Plan for two meters, originated by The Colorado Council of Amateur Radio Clubs:

Frequency (MHz) Usage
144.000  – 144.050 CW/Earth-Moon-Earth (EME)” Moon Bounce”
144.050  – 144.100 CW Weak Signals
144.100  – 144.275 CW and SSB/AM* Weak Signals
145.275  – 144.300 Propagation Beacons
144.300  – 144.500 Satellite/OSCAR
144.500  – 144.900 FM Repeater Inputs
144.900  – 145.100 Weak Signal, FM Simplex, Digital Packet
145.100  – 145.500 FM Repeater Outputs
145.500  – 145.800 Miscellaneous Experimental Modes
145.800  – 146.000 Satellite/OSCAR
146.010  – 146.370 FM Repeater  Inputs
146.400  – 146.580 FM Voice Simplex
146.610  – 147.390 FM Repeater Outputs
147.420  – 147.570 FM Voice Simplex
147.600  – 147.990 FM Repeater Inputs

(Frequencies in RED are NOT shared simplex channels)
*AM usage is NOT in the original Band Plan but has been inserted by this author.

The 2 Meter SSB calling frequency is 144.200 MHz.

All 26 FM Voice Simplex Frequencies (at 15KHz spacings) are:

146.400        146.415        146.430        146.445        146.460        146.475

146.490        146.505        146.520*       146.535        146.550        146.565

146.580        146.595        147.420        147.435        147.450        147.465

147.480        147.495        147.510        147.525        147.540        147.555

147.570        147.585

(*Note – 144.520 MHz is the National FM Voice Calling Frequency)

 

That is the suggested Band Plan, in a nutshell! Please try and stay away from coordinated non-shared frequencies used for Repeaters (you know, the stuff in RED).

 

A few precautionary suggestions:

 

Keep in mind that your signal does NOT exist on an infinitely thin slice of the frequency band. By the nature of all kinds of modulation, it invariably extends either in one direction (in the case of SSB) to both directions in FM, or AM. Don’t let the “tail” of your signal’s frequency range, bleed into some other Ham’s transmission!

If you contact someone using 146.520MHz, the courteous thing to do, is to agree upon a Simplex frequency that is NOT the National Calling Frequency and have your conversation (QSO) there (if you MUST use Q-Codes, such statements as “OK, this is W2XYZ, I’m QSY” will let people know that you’ve gone elsewhere on the band, but you can always say the same statement in actual English). It is NOT considered Good Amateur Practice to tie up the National Calling Frequency with casual chit chat. Once agreed upon, move OFF the National Calling Frequency for the next Amateurs to use!

Amplitude Modulation (AM) mode has had many resurgences and there is always a question of where AM belongs on the 2 Meter Band (since, as you may have noticed, AM is not mentioned anywhere in the Band Plan). People interested in operating AM on two meters would like an agreed upon AM National Calling Frequency – usually suggesting someplace in the 146.200 to 146.275MHz range with the belief that AM is Phone just like SSB, so there’s no reason why AM can’t share this frequency range.

If you’ve spent the big bucks on a heavy duty radio capable of a full 100 watts of two meter output power, congratulations! But with great Power, comes great Responsibility – remember that it is Good Amateur Radio Practice to only use sufficient power to have an understandable conversation with the guy on the other end of the aether!

…and PLEASE watch your language out there. Talking on the radio is like yelling in the middle of an occupied park. You never know who might be listening. Children learn all the obscenities rather early in their lives, there’s no reason for you to help them further with that kind of conversation. It’s not a private conversation and should never be considered one (except for the NSA, that’s what phones are for). If you want people with a lot of free time and a room full of scanners to know how your hemorrhoids are doing, well that is YOUR business! If you need to share, the most appropriate person to share it with is your physician. Please, no singing, no battle cries, no string of obscenities or very personal details of past conquests. If you feel an uncontrollable desire to host your own Morning Zoo Radio Show (even the guys that CAN pull it off seem to be unemployed these days – take the hint), perhaps the CB band of 11 Meters would suit your talents better, or public access cable TV? We are Amateurs, but let us stride to be as Professional as Amateurs are can be…

And as always…

REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN!

 

-The Editor-