New CB'er. Some Questions

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New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby SporadicE » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:50 am

Hi,

I'm a new CB'er. I've been reading the forums here and elsewhere, and I'm aware that since the advent of the internet in the last decade or so CB seems to be dying out?

Is it still worth getting a radio? I was doing some DX'ing this evening and heard a couple of people talking, so I'm guessing someone is still using it!

I was looking at a mobile rig to put in the car. Still looking at the logistics of mounting it without permanently damaging the car or drilling holes. I have a few ideas, but still need to resolve another problem — which radio to get?

I know that there have been some changes lately regarding legality of SSB, and so radios now have a few more options that radios just 5 years ago did due to this (ignoring EU bands).

I've been trying to find the cheapest features vs. cost of radio, and have been looking at the Superstar 3900 with UK mod. The other option is apparently a Ham radio (10 M) reprogrammed for CB (CRT SS 6900N). Are either of these radios any good? Is the 6900N usable legally without a license (obviously for CB only and not on the ham band)?

Any recommendations for aerials?

:thumbup:
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby m0lsx » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:10 am

I would guess now that SSB is legal here in the UK, then yes it's worth while regardless of what local activity you have. However I find CB's to be expensive for what they are.
Local FM activity is patchy & of very varying quality.
What it may be worth doing is looking at a amateur radio Foundation Licence. The licence is easy & cheap to gain. Well within the reach of anyone. My daughter passed hers aged 9. And it gives you LOTS of spectrum & the opportunity to talk to the world most days.
As for a CB antenna. The most important thing is earthing it. Despite only being a 10/11 meter wavelength it still needs good earthing & without that any antenna is compromised.
A roofbar is not ever gong to provide a good mounting place for any antenna below VHF.
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby m0lsx » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:15 am

SporadicE wrote: The other option is apparently a Ham radio (10 M) reprogrammed for CB (CRT SS 6900N). Are either of these radios any good? Is the 6900N usable legally without a license (obviously for CB only and not on the ham band)?


These are not really amateur radio radios. They are just sold as such to side step the legal implications of selling these radios to CB'ers. No amateur radio would EVER be sold with a roger beep for example & I believe all these alledged 10 meter amateur radios have one. So clearly they are not aimed at radio amateur.
Also why would a radio amateur want a radio for 10 meters with channels & without CTCSS & repeater shift?
In shipping terms, the 10 meter sales pitch is "A flag of convenience."
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby lars » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:30 am

FWIW I have a Thunderpole 1000 in my car, and it works tolerably well for my purposes, now that I've spent days and bloody days getting the antenna set up properly. It cost about £70, but most of the folks I talk to on CB are using car-boot-sale stuff, which cost a few quid. Vehicle-to-vehicle range is a few miles in urban areas, perhaps a bit more in more open country.

I rarely hear anybody on the UK CB channels except the folks I have arranged to talk to. There's a certain amount of pointless blather on Ch. 19, as if some folks didn't know there were other channels. I never hear any DX activity on the UK or CEPT channels, but I don't know if that's because there isn't any, or because my equipment isn't sensitive enough to read it.

As for SSB, I'm not really sure how that works on 11m. I understand from the Ofcom documentation that it should use the CEPT frequencies in the range 26.965-27.405 MHz; but is that the exact same channels? What happens when we have FM, AM, and SSB all using the same channels?
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby BlackKnight_UK » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:55 am

A couple of years ago I bought a Midland 80 channel handset to see if I could get back into CB having been off the air for 15 years. It was a complete waste of money, there's no one on there here. I took it to Yorkshire with me just after I got it, sat overlooking the M62 and heard 2 Geordie truckers on 19 and that was it in 3 days.

I know handhelds are crap, but you would expect to hear more than 2 people next to a busy motorway.

I still have a Midland port-a-pak and two 80 channel FM radios from the 90s in a cupboard but I doubt they will ever get used again.

As for the Midland handheld, if I could sell it as used 3 times and get what I paid for it I would sell it tomorrow.
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby lars » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:47 am

Yeah. There just doesn't seem to be much interest. The best reliable (i.e., non-ionospheric) range that can be expected from a vehicle is, perhaps, seven miles. There just aren't likely to be many people in range, except maybe truckers if you're near a motorway.

That's great for groups that use CB for specific purposes, because we can more-or-less be sure of having the entire band to ourselves most of the time.
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby BlackKnight_UK » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:31 am

It was fun in the 80s :happy:

When you were trying to talk to a friend half a mile away but couldn't here them for Italian sideband, this was on 27/81, then suddenly in that noise was someone in Scotland, I'm in Somerset. I could chat to the one in Scotland but not the one half a mile away.

These days you can't hear anything at all most of the time. :sad:
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby m0lsx » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:37 am

BlackKnight_UK wrote:It was fun in the 80s :happy:

These days you can't hear anything at all most of the time. :sad:


The early 80's were a sun spot maximum & this is a sun spot minimum.

CB makes a really good short range & licence free system & is great for vehicle to vehicle chat when you are travelling together. But it was never designed to be much more than that.
The biggest problem with CB is the fact that most of the people involved in campaigning for it to be legal, knew Image about radio & thus wanted 27 MHz, as that is what the American had :rolleyes: :rolleyes:. Which at sunspot maximum was great. But at any other time 27mhz is Image.
The UHF CB frequency around 900 Mhz was good.But no one used it as it was not as idiot proof as 27mhz set ups tend to be & it was more expensive. So it was lost.
The last time I listened to my local 2 meter repeater it was exactly the same people as on CB & I even heard a private conversation on CB between some Amateur Radio Club members discussing an upcoming club committee meeting once. Presumably they thought they could chat away from the ears of other committee members on CB. ImageImageImage
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby SporadicE » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:20 am

Hi,

Interesting comments.

What would you suggest for a radio suitable for use on a Foundation license? Nothing too fancy! I have been looking at the Yaesu FT-450D as it can have its TX power reduced to meet license requirements, and covers all amateur bands without breaking the bank.

Unless I'm looking in the wrong places, it seems radio sets are becoming fewer in number, and more astronomical in price?

I'm unfortunately not blessed with whatever is needed to understand electronics, so while I could assemble a radio from parts following a schematic, don't ask me how it works (though I do understand the basics).

Any suggestions for a mobile rig?
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Re: New CB'er. Some Questions

Postby lars » Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:50 am

FWIW, I built my transceiver from a kit. It does work, kind of, and there's no question that I saved a heap of money -- the complete kit was about £80, as I recall. It's assembled on a piece of scrap plywood, with metal brackets that I found in my shed to mount the controls on.

Would I do it again? Probably not. The tuning frequency drifts a little, partly because of the heat generated by the output stage, and partly just because of the design. It's hard to get decent power without distortion, and tuning all the dozen-or-so trimmers for proper operation, without lab equipment, is a real bear. So, while I don't regret the experience, and I do use the unit from time to time, I think if I had it to do over again, I'd look out for a second-hand IC-718 or something like that.

There's no way I can justify the cost of _any_ new HF transceiver, at current prices. I do understand that the prices are not exploitative, and the level of technology really does justify the cost. But new prices start at £500 or more, and I just don't have that kind of money.
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