Between all the new novices at the time and the availability of an inexpensive, easy to use rig, 2 meters flourished. I lived in Santa Monica, CA at the time--a time where there were no repeaters. All communication was simplex and you actually called CQ. Because the Communicator was crystal controlled, we all carried rows of crystals left over from WWII. I believe the Communicator tuned about the 18th harmonic to get to 144 megacycles.
The big downside of the Communicator was its popularity. I do believe that many novices played with this rig for a year until their licenses expired and never worked on their code speed to qualify for the General Class License. And that was the whole idea behind the Novice License. To remain a ham, I upgraded to technician after my year was up. Technicians were not allowed on 2 meter voice but they were on 6 meter voice. Gonset built a 6 meter Communicator but the band was never as successful as 2 meters.
Another advantage of the Communicator was that it could run on 110VAC or 12VDC allowing it to go mobile with ease. Because I did not have an antenna at home, I would drive to the top of hills overlooking West Los Angeles and chat until my car battery was getting low. I parked facing downhill so if my battery would not start the car, I could release the brake and start rolling downhill and start the car that way.
Because 2 meters was simplex and somewhat limited in range, most contacts were within a 1/2 hour driving distance. This made for many back-yard get-togethers and also active club activity. After I put up a beam, I made a contact in Dana Point (north edge of San Diego) which was significant DX for that time.
Comparing 2 meters today and those early days, sometimes I regret the proliferation of repeaters. Repeaters certainly give us unlimited range and quality but we have lost the spontaneity that exists on most other bands. Running on 2 meters today is a science in the management of these systems. Tuning up my Gonset and spinning the dial around the band to find activity was simple, rewarding and fun.
Dick Clark, K6GLB