Let's Talk About 146.52MHz
National 2 Meter “Calling” Frequency: 146.52
Let’s talk about it.
I monitor 146.52 daily, via scanner in the shack or on the ‘B’ band of my mobile rig, and I constantly hear ragchews on what is supposed to be a ‘calling’ frequency. What gives! Is it that hard to QSY to another open simplex channel (there’s 18 of them in the NESMC band plan). To be honest, this practice really discourages monitoring, because sometimes you don’t care to listen to that QSO and/or you’re too far to participate. About 99% of the time, I simply turn off the scanner, or turn the dial while mobile - but what’s the point of a ‘calling’ frequency at that point (not to mention it makes the sticker on my car a lie).
Not everyone is looking for a ragchew either. Sometimes locals like to monitor for new guy in town or someone who’s just passing through, looking for a quick bit of informaiton and doesn’t know the local repeater frequencies, or.. you might find yourself to be that new guy or just passing through from time to time. If .52 is tied up with a long QSO, by the time that person (or yourself) has a chance to key up, they may no longer be in the area or the question they were going to ask is now OBE.
The Three Minute Rule
There are two ways to make a calling frequency useless:
- No one ever uses the calling frequency (nobody there, nobody home)
- The calling frequency is always tied up due to lengthy contacts
So we need to encourage hams to monitor and use the calling frequency, but not monopolize it. We don’t have to be extreme about it. Perhaps a “three minute” rule of thumb: if I am in a contact with another station on the calling frequency for more than 3 minutes, it is time to change to a different frequency. This opens up the frequency for other hams to use. Just as important it keeps the long ragchew sessions away from the calling frequency. These long sessions have a tendency to discourage monitoring of 146.52 MHz. One ham recently told me that he tries to keep a receiver tuned to .52 for anyone just passing through the area that might need some help. But when some of the locals get on the frequency and chat for an hour, the radio gets turned off.
There, I said it: the calling frequency is for calling, not for ragchewing.
I find the ‘Three Minute Rule’ to be one of the best approaches I’ve found - the problem now becomes getting the locals to agree. Let’s all try to adopt this and keep the frequency open for everyone, and for the purpose it was intended. I’d also recommend to program the simplex frequencies in your radios, listed below, which will make it that much easier to QSY.
73, KC1MJP - Mike
2 Meter Simplex Frequencies