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Thread: The lovely C.B.

  1. #1

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    Default The lovely C.B.

    Okay, I know I can talk around the world with ham, and C.B. radio had a period where it went down hill pretty severely. Yes I've got my ham license, no I don't want to hear how bad it is I use C.B. too.

    Okay, so I got a box of C.B. radios for next to nothing, and they have been properly tuned and amplified, again I am aware that anything over 4 watts is illegal, aka tweaked and peaked. These radios are great for road trips and such and CB is where I got started and has held my interest for years. It seems as though use overall in my area is down to very little except some true oldtimers. Is there anyone else willing to say they started on a CB and it's still a great way for unlicensed communications, and has a viable spot on the shelf next to the all bander, or even in the all bander transmission list low power? Just a brain picker question.

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    I have a brain injury.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
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    I did.

    It is a good way to start off - visiting a huge scout camp in Switzerland many years ago, they had a C.B. station set up to talk to the other end of the camp. I was fascinated by it, went outside and saw there were no wires to the other end, it was all downhill from there pretty much...

    My brother-in-law gave me a radio, antenna & power supply to start me off, when the UK PR-27 band came out, I got one, it was pretty dead down there, but made a few contacts. The 934MHz C.B. band was a bit of an eye-opener, many of the users were already licensed radio amateurs and encouraged me to take the test, which I did with a small group of locals. We progressed onto 2m, 70cm and eventually, sat the test for H.F.

    Probably the most enlightening aspect for a beginner is joining an active club. I've been through quite a few inactive ones and although they are a good way to socialise etc, an active club always keeps your interest, as more members do different, new things.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5B4AJB View Post
    I did.

    It is a good way to start off - visiting a huge scout camp in Switzerland many years ago, they had a C.B. station set up to talk to the other end of the camp. I was fascinated by it, went outside and saw there were no wires to the other end, it was all downhill from there pretty much...

    My brother-in-law gave me a radio, antenna & power supply to start me off, when the UK PR-27 band came out, I got one, it was pretty dead down there, but made a few contacts. The 934MHz C.B. band was a bit of an eye-opener, many of the users were already licensed radio amateurs and encouraged me to take the test, which I did with a small group of locals. We progressed onto 2m, 70cm and eventually, sat the test for H.F.

    Probably the most enlightening aspect for a beginner is joining an active club. I've been through quite a few inactive ones and although they are a good way to socialise etc, an active club always keeps your interest, as more members do different, new things.
    This is a very good point. I have always been a hands on learner. If you want to teach me let me do it so I can remember. All that to say, being active is important. I also know some people prefer to see someone else do it, so having the option for them to watch as the hands on guys are doing it is a great way for everyone to learn. Great recollection of how things went for you. Thank you for sharing.

    Sent from my SM-S767VL using Tapatalk
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  4. #4

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    I held off from illegal AM or SSB in the UK until FM was legalised in 1981. Like many, I soon got fed up with some of the inane rubbish, and migrated, along with many of the more serious locals, on to SSB and FM on, er, not quite legal frequencies. But with only a handful of people to talk to locally, and having made a few trans-Atlantic QSOs, it got me thinking about getting a ham licence. After some dithering and with some of my friends having deserted CB for 2m amateur, I kicked myself in the proverbial butt and gave myself just two months to take and pass the Radio Amateurs Examination in 1984, becoming licensed as G1ICE and then taking the CW test to get the Class A call sign I hold now.

    So although it's knocked by many, I have a lot to thank CB for, and from what people tell me (and I must admit that although I still have a couple of CB 27/81 FM sets but don't use them) it would seem that the inane babble from the idiots has largely gone. Would I go back to it? Well, I don't really need to, and for local comms with family (all within a mile or so) I can use non-licenced walkie-talkies.

    CB was fun, with a good local club organising get-togethers, treasure hunts and fox hunts. Nothing like that with the local amateur clubs. I went to a couple of meetings and most of them wouldn't even talk to me as a 'newbie', albeit one who'd held a licence since 1984!
    Current radios: VHF/UHF: 2 x Baofeng 2/70 Handhelds. VHF: Kenwood TR9130 2m multimode. HF: Kenwood TS930S-AT
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  5. #5

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    I didn't actually start with CB - my dad was a licensed radio amateur for many years and a SWL for a long time before that. But, I used CB before getting my amateur license.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG0CCX View Post
    I held off from illegal AM or SSB in the UK until FM was legalised in 1981. Like many, I soon got fed up with some of the inane rubbish, and migrated, along with many of the more serious locals, on to SSB and FM on, er, not quite legal frequencies. But with only a handful of people to talk to locally, and having made a few trans-Atlantic QSOs, it got me thinking about getting a ham licence. After some dithering and with some of my friends having deserted CB for 2m amateur, I kicked myself in the proverbial butt and gave myself just two months to take and pass the Radio Amateurs Examination in 1984, becoming licensed as G1ICE and then taking the CW test to get the Class A call sign I hold now.

    So although it's knocked by many, I have a lot to thank CB for, and from what people tell me (and I must admit that although I still have a couple of CB 27/81 FM sets but don't use them) it would seem that the inane babble from the idiots has largely gone. Would I go back to it? Well, I don't really need to, and for local comms with family (all within a mile or so) I can use non-licenced walkie-talkies.

    CB was fun, with a good local club organising get-togethers, treasure hunts and fox hunts. Nothing like that with the local amateur clubs. I went to a couple of meetings and most of them wouldn't even talk to me as a 'newbie', albeit one who'd held a licence since 1984!
    Andy that's a cool story, surprised about the radio club not even talking to you, that's pretty wild!

    In the US 11 meters is the CB "band". Frim what I understand, UK has 11 meter open for use, and with less restrictions than we have here. We are allowed am, ssb without a license on the CB, but we are limited to 4 watts, which most CB radios I think exceed that out of the box now. The regulations have become so loose here it is not funny. Most people, it seems, have abandoned radio communication for the speed and convenience of cellphones. I figure that leaves airwaves open for those of us who prefer it.

    So have things changed as far as the groups go? When I went to an amateur radio group here, they were open to listen and converse about things. I learned from them, and they learned some newer things from me. I enjoyed it, and had a lot of fun, and hope I have an opportunity to rejoin them at some point.

    Sent from my SM-S767VL using Tapatalk
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by OH8GAD View Post
    I didn't actually start with CB - my dad was a licensed radio amateur for many years and a SWL for a long time before that. But, I used CB before getting my amateur license.
    I enjoy hearing about so many starting on CB, or using it before being licensed. It really does seem as though CB is used more similarly to ham in the UK, rather than another species completely, as it is here in the US.


    Sent from my SM-S767VL using Tapatalk
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  8. #8

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    The 11m band has been simply amazing the last few weeks, the sun has treated us well and mother nature has been lifting her skirt almost every day this month!. Hook one up, you might hear "Loose Wire" aka "WR786-Northern Minnesota" on 38LSB! Dig through that box and find one with a nice big crystal filter like a cobra 140 or a midland 13-892 and give me a shout!

    In the US, 4 watts is the AM limit. sideband you can run 12 watts. 12 watts is more than sufficient!

    73, KE0KOY Brandon

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by brandon lind View Post
    The 11m band has been simply amazing the last few weeks, the sun has treated us well and mother nature has been lifting her skirt almost every day this month!. Hook one up, you might hear "Loose Wire" aka "WR786-Northern Minnesota" on 38LSB! Dig through that box and find one with a nice big crystal filter like a cobra 140 or a midland 13-892 and give me a shout!

    In the US, 4 watts is the AM limit. sideband you can run 12 watts. 12 watts is more than sufficient!

    73, KE0KOY Brandon
    I'll have to give it a go. Won't be tonight as storms have been rolling through, but soon. I still enjoy cb.

    Sent from my SM-S767VL using Tapatalk
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KD9KVS View Post
    the radio club not even talking to you...
    That's not uncommon, especially if it's an OT club, happened to me.

    I'd just got my first callsign, built a Double Diamond for 2m and took it to a friends club where I was asked how I designed it and replied that it was built from a book, immediate mockery followed, which kind of put me off clubs for a long time...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5B4AJB View Post
    That's not uncommon, especially if it's an OT club, happened to me.

    I'd just got my first callsign, built a Double Diamond for 2m and took it to a friends club where I was asked how I designed it and replied that it was built from a book, immediate mockery followed, which kind of put me off clubs for a long time...
    Maybe I view things a little differently, if someone takes time to do the studying to learn how to build or do anything with anything, they are doing what they can to better themselves. Trying to remember that you were probably at that place at some point, and remaining humble to what they are doing. Maybe congratulate them and make suggestions on how they can improve it from one you built years ago. Maybe I think to simplistically, but life is to short to be haughty over anything. As Ms. Frizzle would say, take chances, make mistakes and get messy!!! Do not forget to have fun. When you have a bad memory, and have had a near death experience that forever changes your life, it is even easier to appreciate the small things. I will get off my soapbox and hush for the time being. I really do appreciate reading others stories and experiences. Thank you all for sharing, and keep them coming.
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  12. #12

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    Default Amplifier Recommendation

    This is exactly where I am right now. I just got my Ham license a couple years ago but I don't have any Ham equipment yet. I bought a CB radio both for my vehicle and my house because the equipment is cheaper and I thought it would be something good to learn on given the large number of features on the high end CB units. I'm running a 9' whip on my Nissan Xterra and my house antenna is the full size 24' variety w/ ground plane that was advertised to also support 6 - 20 meter equipment.

    Can somebody recommend a good amplifier to use for both my vehicle and my house setup?
    Could this same amp also serve me on 10 meter equipment as I begin to migrate in that direction?
    Current Equipment
    Galaxy DX 959 w/ SSB, 102" whip, antenna rated for 500 watts
    Galaxy DX 2547 w/ SSB, Solarcon Max 2000 w/ ground kit, antenna rated for 5000 watts
    Cables for both setups are RG8X type coax

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMack View Post
    Can somebody recommend a good amplifier to use for both my vehicle and my house setup?
    Do NOT put more than 300w down that coax, its not rated for more than that.

    A few comments on the amp thing.
    FCC regulations say you cannot run a power amplifier of any kind on 11m. Currently, the band is doing well enough to make nearly countless contacts most days of the week with the 12w ssb limit.

    If (when) you do use an amplifier on 11m, on behalf of everyone out there, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE buy a decent one that actually has output filtering to remove harmonics. Since amps are illegal on CB, most of the people selling them online, even some of the "name brands", have absolutely no output filtering (because there are no requirement for quality control and emission standards) and you will very likely be creating harmonics all the way into the mid-VHF region. This interferes with ham operators, TV's, hospital gadgets, and many many things a decent person would not knowingly wish to interfere with. Although I've chosen not to use more power, I personally have no issue with people using a little more power on 11m if it is done correctly and used respectfully. Unfortunately, there are too many "ratchet jaws" running "golden screwdrivered" radios into "splatter-box" amplifiers bleeding over, not only the whole CB dial and in-between, but over the whole RF spectrum.

    Most hams hate CB for 2 reasons: foul language and horrible emissions.
    Be smarter than the average CB'er.

    73, Brandon

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMack View Post
    This is exactly where I am right now. I just got my Ham license a couple years ago but I don't have any Ham equipment yet. I bought a CB radio both for my vehicle and my house because the equipment is cheaper and I thought it would be something good to learn on given the large number of features on the high end CB units. I'm running a 9' whip on my Nissan Xterra and my house antenna is the full size 24' variety w/ ground plane that was advertised to also support 6 - 20 meter equipment.

    Can somebody recommend a good amplifier to use for both my vehicle and my house setup?
    Could this same amp also serve me on 10 meter equipment as I begin to migrate in that direction?
    Current Equipment
    Galaxy DX 959 w/ SSB, 102" whip, antenna rated for 500 watts
    Galaxy DX 2547 w/ SSB, Solarcon Max 2000 w/ ground kit, antenna rated for 5000 watts
    Cables for both setups are RG8X type coax
    Congratulations on your accomplishment getting your license!!!

    Okay... I may catch a bit of flack for this, but find a good 10 meter amp, then when you get a 10 meter rig, you can give it a boost. Even on my antenna tuner it registers 11 meter as 10 meter, and keeps everything good. It will have better filters, and not cause harmful interference. Just my 2 cents worth of opinion.

    Sent from my SM-S767VL using Tapatalk
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  15. #15

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    in the 70s 2 things got me hooked on radio - listening to shortwave broadcast stations on my grandparents radiogram (remember them!) such as VOA, BBC World Service, DW etc...and Dad and the CBs on 27Mhz that he had in his trucks. After dinner he would let me sit in the truck listening for far away stations on LSB channel 16, and the local guys on AM 11. But, it was DX on 16 that really got me hooked. One night we had a conversation with a bloke from QUEENSLAND - that was amazing for an 8 year old kid. By the time I was 10 dad gave me his old CB when he got a new one, and I set it up in my bedroom and all us kids talked all around the local area far into the night, nearly every night. Then when I got a car, a crude gutter mount and I was on the air mobile and that was fun too - but dying off by the mid 80s...

    1993-2000 saw me living out west and with a great SWL station and to be honest that was my main focus. I had a fine CB set up too, but only made 10 or 20 good DX contacts in those years. Always abided by the law, 12w no more.

    The old radio desire came back in 2010 and I got my ham license then, courtesy of the excellent local radio club. CB?? Not interested these days, its my past. These days I'm a CW + WARC guy.

    CB - great times.

  16. #16

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    My father and three brothers had a trucking company from the late 50’s to mid 70’s and he had a Johnson white face CB in his home office with a Star Duster antenna at a respectable 50 ft. When my father was through with his office I would take over manning the radio and would play on it into the night. When I became driving age I had a CB in my vehicle and so did some of my friends, we had a lot of fun.
    Then the movie Smoky and the Bandit came out and CB went down hill.....

  17. #17

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    Yes, I started out on CB, about 1970, because that was all I had.

    By 1982 - there was no point in even having an antenna because of too many morons.

    I never had an illegal radio or an amplifier, never saw the need for either one.

    There is enough open spaces with no activity on 27 mhz that there is no need to - run more power.

    Invest your money into a more efficient base station antenna - some sort of beam with a long boom and an antenna rotor. Not sure what you wish to accomplish with an amplifier that you can't accomplish with a beam antenna.

    Yes I do agree SSB is a much more efficient way to talk, but the equipment costs considerably more.

    I never had a use for Galaxy cb radios. They aren't a very good quality.

    Even a dipole antenna, and my legal Regency Range gain is good enough to talk 18 miles to a mobile.

  18. #18

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    We are starting to get a good group of locals together on 11m and its becoming enjoyable again. I had a few galaxys. Some were drifty, some had harmonics, but a few simple modifications clear all that up. The Galazy 979 in my truck gets out just as well as the washington on the Sirio827 5/8gp at home and the highest harmonic is 37dB down on that mobile rig. Thats not bad. The audio reports come in just as good as my TS-130s too. All in all, if you un-spread those filter coils (lol), put some wax in some specific places and let them warm up, they can be a real pleasure to operate. Sure, the crystal filters are not what they used to be, but thats why I love this washington! That said, I hear and can be heard just fine on those galaxy radios (when I don't have to chase signals with the clarifier). There is a station about 44 miles from me that I talk to almost every night. He said there is a local 20 miles past him that hears me just fine, and thats consistently with no extra juice. The station 18 miles away... we hit each other with +20dB signals every single night.

    I agree on the power thing. If you need more to be heard, there's already too many foul mouths running broken equipment coming in to enjoy it. But galaxies are not all bad (assuming you don't buy them from a certain seller whose name includes that of a soft metal), and if you set them up properly, 18 miles is nothing for a barefoot 11m radio (even on AM). Hams have told me "just use 10m, its more challenging", to that I say "making a contact with a barefoot 11m radio amongst all that garbage is more challenge than many hams can handle!" Plus, I like the ability to talk to unlicensed people as well. I didn't start looking down at CB'ers just because I got my ticket... If a general carpenter walks into a cabinetry shop, the cabinetry guy doesn't talk badly about the general carpenter just because he isn't as good at joinery. Yet, the same thing happens every day with the radio hobby....

    I'm a general class ham, but a CB will always have a place on my desk!

  19. #19

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    I have a Cobra 2000 in storage for the last 25 years, I really should wipe it off and see if it still works. It was a helluva receiver back in the day, but I don't have a proper antenna for 11; time for a cheesy wire dipole maybe?

  20. #20

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    25 years is a long time. If it doesn't work anymore, don't simply junk it. The cobra 2000 is one of the most sought after 11m radios out there. They go for the price of a decent HF ham rig online. The only thing that radio will ever need (if treated properly) is a few new electrolytic capacitors, an alignment, and maybe a potentiometer here and there. Otherwise, that radio is rock solid. Many people plug them in to find they no longer work and junk them not realizing the simplicity of the fix.

    A wire dipole would do just fine, although, being I'm more a fan of the local aspects of it, I prefer a vertical antenna and highly recommend a Sirio if you do get serious about 11m. Works great locally and shoots skip just as well.

    73!
    KE0KOY ~ Loose Wire MN786

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