Thursday, October 03, 2013

28Mhz activity: Can we learn from the CBers?

I can hear a sharp intake of breath from some of you, but bear with me...!

You have to admire the way the CBers make the most of the spectrum. For the last month or so, as I've been getting back to the car in the evening, I've been turning the 10m rig on. By and large the amateur band has been quiet, with the occasional Brazilian station coming through.

Tune down a MHz or so and listen to the CB band and there's distinctly more activity. The 27.555MHz calling frequency (not legal in the UK, of course) generally has something going on, even if conditions are poor.

I suppose amateurs, if they find 28MHz closed, they head off to another band - whereas the CBers, in theory, only have the one band that they can use, so make the best of it. It must be the VHF operator in me, but I find a half-open band far more interesting than a wide-open band - it's far more fun to try pulling the weak signals through than having them boom in! So, I admire the guys that are trying out propagation day in and day out and making, from what I hear, some interesting contacts.

When the band is poor or half open - the concept of a centre of activity or calling channel makes some sense. A weak signal somewhere between 28.400 and 28.600 is unlikely to be heard - but perhaps if there was a centre of activity - someone somewhere might hear something.

I wondered whether the 10-10 International group might 'nominate' a centre of activity, but could not see that they did - nets at specific times, certainly - but nothing more generalised.

I seem to remember somewhere reading that 28.400 was nominated as an unofficial calling frequency. Perhaps over the winter, when the band is not in great shape, we should make a few calls there anyway and see what happens! I'll bet some interesting contacts would result.

Maybe some possibilities for 29MHz AM too - some more activity around 29.000 and 29.010MHz AM would be very welcome.

On many bands, it's all about activity. 28Mhz deserves more of our attention, even when it's not wide open! See you on 28.400 SSB or 29.000 AM, maybe?


PE4BAS, Bas said...

We can absolutely learn form CBers in a DX way. Just been informed that it was possible to talk Austral Islands last week several times from Europe on CB! Were is the DX on 10 at that time? 73, Bas

GW0KIG said...

Locally here there seems to be a small CB revival. Listening on the band recently I heard a comment that sums it up quite well. Two stations (one of whom I know is a licenced ham) were chatting about activity on 10 metres as opposed to 11. The comment was made that at any given time there are more CBers listening and transmitting worldwide than there are radio amateurs on 10 metres. Locally here the legal CB bands are almost dead but when conditions are slightly up the CB dxers are there on SSB yet quite often 10 metres is empty. I think you have a point in that they only use 27mhz whereas the amateurs are spread over a much wider range of bands and often ignore 10 metres. I think the idea of a centre of activity or calling frequency is a good one although we already have 29.600 on FM


PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hi Kevin, I think that would be a good thing. As you proposed 28.400 USB would be good. FM is not really a DX mode. If you listen to 27.555 it is really crowded as soon as there is any sign of propagation. 73, Bas

YO9IRF said...

First of all, most amateur operators rather work on a fully opened 21MHz band than to snipe sporadic openings on 28MHz.

The idea is not new, the higher bands (6m, 2m etc) have known calling frequencies already; even in HF there are centers of activity on each band (like around 14.195 for example). On 10m usually the center seems to be around 28.480, but really anywhere between 28.400 and 28.550 you can find SSB activity.

One more thing, I am using a SDR transceiver with 96KHz spectrum display, it is a HUGE help in such conditions, once you get used to it there's no turn around.

G0MJW said...

Don't forget that there is a potentially significant propagation difference between 27MHz and 29MHz when the bands are just at the threshold of opening up.

Stewart G8YQN said...

I listen 27.555 MHz as my indicator of whether 10 metres is likely to be open. It is slightly higher in frequency..
I am certainly going to have a bash at calling on 29.000MHz AM with my Clansman gear as they don't have FM. The summer will be time to have a good go at this.


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