Simple As Simplex

By Jonathan Imberi

After an amateur has made a contact on a repeater, it is proper to move the conversation to a simplex frequency if possible. A repeater is not meant to be a soapbox. Others who may need to use the repeater will not appreciate you tying up the repeater unnecessarily. The easiest way to determine if you are able to communicate with the other station on simplex is to listen to the repeater input frequency (on reverse). This is the frequency the other station uses to transmit to the repeater, and if you hear his or her signals there you should be able to use simplex. Many amateur radios include a reverse feature. With a push of a button an amateur can listen on a normal transmit frequency. This is a very useful feature for checking to see if you can operate simplex with the another station. 

If you want to perform an on-the-air test of a pair of handheld radios, you should select an unoccupied simplex frequency. This way tests can be performed without interfering with repeater users. 

The function of a repeater is to provide communications between stations that can't otherwise communicate because of terrain, equipment limitations, or both. Therefore, stations that are able to communicate without a repeater should not use one. This way, the repeater is available for stations that need it. Another plus to using simplex rather than a repeater is that communication on simplex offers a degree of privacy impossible to achieve on a repeater. On simplex you can usually have extensive conversations without interruption. 

Remember to select a frequency designated for FM simplex operation or you may interfere with stations operating in other modes without realizing it. Each band has a designated national FM simplex calling frequency, which is the center for most simplex operation. The 2 meter national simplex calling frequency is 146.52 MHz. On the 1 ¼ meter band it is at 223.50 MHz. On the 23 cm band the national simplex calling frequency is 1294.50 MHz.