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Choose Your 2M Frequency Wisely

posted Sep 5, 2013, 7:23 AM by Stones River
Tidbits From:

Written for amateur radio operation in Colorado

Bob Witte, KØNR
4 September 2006

You've just purchased your first 2M FM transceiver and have been chatting with both old and new friends around town on the 2M band. You and your buddies decide to find an out of the way frequency to hang out on. After tuning around, you find a nice, quiet frequency that no one seems to using and start operating there. Nothing to worry about, right? Not so fast, there are a few more things to consider when selecting a frequency on the 2M band. Let's take a look at the key issues.

FCC Rules

The first thing we need to know are the frequencies that the FCC has authorized for our particular license class. For the HF bands, the frequency privileges depend greatly on the license class of the operator. Above 50 MHz, the frequency allocations are the same for Technician licenses and higher. In particular, the 2M band extends from 144 MHz to 148 MHz. The FCC Rules say that any mode (FM, AM, SSB, CW, etc.) can be used on the band from 144.100 to 148.000 MHz. The FCC has restricted 144.0 to 144.100 MHz to CW operation only.

Band Plans

Knowing the FCC frequency authorizations is a good start but we need to check a bit further. Amateur radio operators use a variety of modulation techniques to carry out communications. Often, these modulation techniques are incompatible since a signal of one type can't be received by a radio set to another modulation type. For example, an SSB signal can't be received on an FM receiver (and vice versa). We need to use our authorized frequencies wisely by sharing the band with other users and avoiding unnecessary interference. Thus, it makes sense to have a band plan that divides the band up into segments for each type of operation.

2M Band Plan

As shown in the table, the 2M amateur band plan supports a wide variety of radio operation. Large portions of the band are dedicated to FM operation, consistent with the popularity of the FM mode. There are portions of the band designated for repeater outputs (which is the frequency that we tune to receive the repeater) and repeater inputs (which is the frequency we transmit on to use the repeater). Notice that these segments are positioned 600 kHz apart consistent with the standard 2M repeater offset. There are also frequencies designated for FM simplex.

On the low end of the band, we see segments for some of the more exotic modes. At the very bottom is the CW portion, which includes Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) operation. EME operators communicate by bouncing their signals off the moon.