146.520 MHz is recognized, nationally, as the National Simplex Call Frequency. A call frequency is understood to be a frequency where an operator can go to in order to place a general call (CQ) and establish a contact. After contact is made the operator and the operator that answered the CQ are supposed to move (QSY) to another simplex frequency or repeater to continue their conversation. A call frequency is just a meeting place to establish a contact. If anyone is monitoring the frequency, looking to catch a distant or local CQ, the frequency is basically IN USE.
Several times in the past this club has attempted to commandeer this call frequency for their net usage. The most recent is when KE5HSW (Mark Holcomb) attempted to set his "Standby Hurricane Net" there when TS Cindy was out in the Gulf. When I reminded him that 146.520 MHz was a call frequency and there were plenty of other simplex frequencies available (and not in use) for a "standby net" the NWS wasn't even calling for, he threatened to report me for "interfering" with his hurricane net. Well, informing him of the gentlemen's agreement about this one particular frequency is not interference. This club seems to label anything they hear that they do not want to hear as interference. Three other hams proceeded to chew Mark out and basically ran him off of the call frequency. I also want to note that Mark was seemingly the only person on there announcing a net. None of the ARES members responded to his attempts to get them up and on the air and we suspect he only did that to get a rise out of me. Seems I'm not the only one that will call this club out on their BS operating procedures.
Now I thought that, since that unfortunate event, these morons in this club would have finally gotten it in their heads that 146.520 is not a frequency they can just jump on for their personal use. Again, it is a call frequency and they're more than welcome to use it as a call frequency. It's not to hold a casual conversation on. It's not to place a net on. The only use for that frequency is to establish a contact and then move that contact to another of the many available frequencies that are almost always NOT IN USE. Then you go back to make another CQ and repeat the sequence.
So, in an effort to help this club out I'm going to list the following frequencies that are available for their use for casual conversations, pretend hurricane nets, and emergency use in case their repeater goes down:
Listed above is 17 frequencies that are almost always never in use. Any one of these frequencies can be chosen as a simplex frequency the W5BII club can meet on should their repeater go down. This can even become twice as many frequencies for use should the average IQ of this club's membership increase to the point where they learn to navigate their radios' menus and switch to NFM (Narrow FM) which reduces the deviation of their transmissions to 2.5 KHz.
Here is what their precious ARRL has to say about the 2 Meter Band Plan when it comes to simplex use on 2 meters:
144.00 - 144.05 EME (CW)
144.05 - 144.10 General CW and weak signals
144.10 - 144.20 EME and weak signal SSB
144.200 - National Calling Frequency (Most agree SSB)
144.200 - 144.275 General SSB operation
144.275-144.300 Propagation beacons
144.30-144.50 New OSCAR subband
144.50 - 144.60 Linear Translator Inputs
144.60 - 144.90 Repeater Inputs
144.90 - 145.10 Weak signal and FM simplex (145.01, .03, .05, .07, .09 are widely used for packet)
145.10 - 145.20 Linear Translator Outputs
145.20 - 145.50 Repeater Outputs
145.50 - 145.80 Miscellaneous and experimental modes
145.80 - 146.00 OSCAR Subband
146.01 - 146.37 Repeater Inputs
146.40 - 146.58 Simplex NOTE! FM is NOT specified. That's for another argument!
146.52 NATIONAL SIMPLEX CALLING FREQUENCY NOTE! Again, FM is not specified.
146.61 - 146.97 Repeater Outputs
147.00 - 147.39 Repeater Outputs
147.42 - 147.57 Simplex Note! Again, FM is not specified.
147.60 - 147.99 Repeater Inputs
You will notice that I have made a few notes on this very easy to access ARRL suggested band plan which most Amateur Radio Operators swear is the Holy Grail of all band plan suggestions. The reason I'm calling this a suggestion because the ARRL is not the authority when it comes to Amateur Radio. Since they are the most organized community of hams though, their suggestions do carry a little consideration and, I agree, these are good standards they provide to the amateur community.
So, why is N0MSW so insistent on using a frequency for their club's emergency "go to" spot that is clearly inconsistent with the entire Amateur Radio Community's agreement? All through this net I was recording these guys discussing robbing a simplex frequency for their use in case the repeater goes down. Well, lets take a close look at this situation. What if the 147.730 MHz repeater goes down and they need to get on the air to discuss what to bring to the potluck, Jimmy's cats, Lucky's ideas of how an 8 PM net should be at 8 PM, Arus' announcement of a restaurant to meet at that will give an old fart discount, etc,...
The repeater goes down. Switch to the 145.350 MHz Repeater (Same club identifier and owned by the club) and use that one. The coverage on the machine will give HT's a better chance than simplex to communicate. Let's suppose that the 145.350 MHz machine goes down as well. Then switch to that nice UHF FM repeater located on 444.300 Mhz that the club owns. See? How simple that is? Again, it's a repeater maintained by the club and the coverage on that machine is every bit as good as the 146.73 machine which is of benefit to any operator with an HT as their station. Now let's simulate the doomsday scenario (hams love this) where all three repeaters go down. Why can you not use 146.73 (the machine's output) AS A SIMPLEX FREQUENCY?
Clubs love rules and procedures so why not establish this procedure? Recommend to your members that, not only should they program a memory slot on their radios with the information for the repeater, but also program a memory slot with the output frequency (146.73 MHz) as a simplex frequency that can be used when the repeater is down AND for use if you're within simplex range of the person you're having a conversation with WHICH IS WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING IN THE FIRST PLACE!
There is no need to establish a simplex frequency for emergency use. Of course, there is nothing saying you can't but if you're going to do that then use one of the many frequencies that IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR A USE OTHER THAN WHAT YOU WANT TO USE IT FOR! KEEP YOUR BULLSHIT OFF OF THE NATIONAL SIMPLEX CALL FREQUENCY!
One more thing. This club thinks they're the only amateur operators around here. There is a whole community of hams in this area that are not members of this club. In fact, the majority of the hams in this area are not members of the W5BII Repeater club and what we want needs to be considered as well. We may not have voting rights for issues in your club but we do have say in what goes on with our bands in accordance to gentlemen's agreements and well established band plans. In fact, what we want outweighs what the minority (this club's membership) wants. Keep your bullshit off of 146.520 MHz and stop your attempts to gain "ownership" of frequencies for your stupid club. Especially if you consider that FM is not specified as the exclusive mode on these simplex frequencies. If you happen to have your squelch cranked up for FM usage you can very easily interfere with a SSB QSO that is in progress. Most of you have no idea what that "Moni" button is used for.
This club seems to have a collective thought process where they believe THEY control frequency usage around here. They don't! This club has no authority to designate frequency usage and, believe it or not, it is their obligation to coexist with the many more amateur operators who are not members of their club. They establish rules and regulations within their club, not for the usage of amateur radio frequencies where the operators are licensed to use them in accordance with FEDERAL law as they see fit. I find it hard to believe that some EC (Emergency Coordinator) will tell them they can use 146.52 as their club's emergency frequency. We, the non-club members, will not stand for this club thinking they have any form of ownership of a frequency we are licensed to use for what it was designated to be used for.
Below is the recording of this net and this ridiculous discussion. Enjoy!
N0MSW! 146.52 MHz is most definitely NOT THE RIGHT ANSWER for now. 40 minutes of your life you'll never get back!