Breaker – Breaker

It is my long held intention to become a licensed radio amateur, but with limited spare time over the last few years I simply haven’t got around to it. I have the necessary technical knowledge but don’t have the practical experience. I have dabbled with PMR-446 transceivers but they don’t allow many ‘legal’ experimental opportunities.

So when my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said “You can buy me a CB Radio” and they did!

It is a Midland 78 Plus Multi it has the legal 40UK/40EU channels, plus it can be set to European and North American frequency bands.

It isn’t the first CB Radio I’ve used, back in the early 80s when I was at school I managed to blag the use of the a friends set up with a small magmount antenna on a biscuit tin joined in the new craze! My handle was Morroco Mole 😉

I am experimenting with the set up at the moment, powering it from a modified PC supply which is giving out a nice stable output a little over 12V. I have constructed an inverted-vee antenna out of some spare cable. It is currently in the middle of the back lawn, the central mast is only around four meters high and the elements are set approximately 45 degrees to the vertical. It has an ‘ugly’ air choke and using a £10 SWR meter I’ve tuned it and the worst ratio I get is a little over 1:1.5.

It all seems to work but at the moment I don’t seem to have anyone to talk to on either the UK or the EU/CEPT channels. I’ve heard the odd transmission on some channels but they have been from nearby Mansfield and Nottingham.

I have monitored CB frequencies before with my scanner with limited success and was hoping for better with a proper CB radio. It is still early days but I think I may need to rethink my antenna until I get around to getting my mast sorted. I might have to stick the inverted-vee in the loft.

I was tinkering on Sunday afternoon and I switched the radio over to AM just as some more “Superbowl” skip came in, they really are amazing to listen to! 

Citizen Band – “The Super Bowl”

Not feeling too well at the moment, have a suspected inner ear infection which is causing dizziness and nausea, so taking it easy today.

I switched on my scanner this morning and decided to peruse the CB channels, it is something I haven’t done very often as usually there is nothing to receive and is problematic since my scanners cannot exactly tune to the UK frequencies accurately.

What I did find were a lot of suspected ‘Eastern European’ transmissions on the CEPT/EU band in FM and AM mode. I also came across lots of activity on the “Super Bowl” Channel 6 (27.025 MHz AM). Apparently the popular channel for “skip shooters” using high powered amplifiers and indeed copied a few 1kW transatlantic transmissions. There were also a lot of SSB transmissions about but the PRO2006 scanner I have doesn’t have side band capabilities.

I have thought many times about getting hold of a cheap CB, or one of those popular 10m/11m amateur rigs just to get some practice in operating a transmitter before getting around to taking my foundation test. Especially as OFCOM have announced they intend to finally harmonise with the EU on the use of AM and SSB next year. http://www.southgatearc.org/news/october2012/ofcom_ecc_decision_on_am_ssb_cb_apparatus.htm