VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by RadioPixie » 31 Mar 2014, 18:12

Another good reason to have analogue radio comms is that you can't relie on ultra modern technology to work if there is a disaster or emergency. This is where both CB and Ham networks can be of useful. Luckily we live in a relatively stable culture and environment, but can't take that granted.

Even though I'm happy to debate the benefits of VHF CB radio, there comes to the point that is it worth arguing with a few naysayers? Of all the threads I've been on about CB especially about the potential of VHF/UHF, this has been the most intelligent and has foresight for the future than living in some 70's/80's AM nostalgia.

When AM/SSB for CEPT 27MHz CB was announced I took the line of why have more of the same crap. Then I thought ok if people want it and there is no harm, why not indeed. But VHF CB, yes please :D
73 from Dave the Pixie - 26CT052 - G7OPC - CB & Ham Radioaficionado

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by Windy_Miller » 31 Mar 2014, 19:01

RadioPixie wrote:Another good reason to have analogue radio comms is that you can't relie on ultra modern technology to work if there is a disaster or emergency.
Ah, so we are looking for this new VHF allocation to feature Morse code I guess.... :roll: After all, we hear so much about when Armageddon happens, for whatever reason, the only communications that will work is Morse code! :lol:

If, and its a huge if, OFCOM decided there was indeed a need for a modern, short range communication system, open to Joe Public, then what would they specify?

AM and SSB would obviously be out. No need for a start, but also as they are hugely outdated. And remember, this would be a brand new allocation for a brand new service. So it should be forward, not backwards looking. As no other country has it, there are no compatibility issues, requiring such things as AM or SSB.

Digital would be most likely with all the benefits it brings. Its spectrum efficient for a start, with 6.25 kHz channel spacing readily achievable. It also enables every transceiver to identify itself on every transmission, allowing traceability of all transmissions. Kinda like IP address traceability on the web. Should OFCOM / GCHQ have the nationwide network of monitoring equipment that is often rumoured, then all transmissions can be readily tracked, automatically. Essential in these "terror paranoia" times. Digital also brings the prospect of licencing, tied to the ID key embedded in each transceiver. Kinda like the way the Hex ID code in a Personal Locator Beacon is registered to the MCA. Set off the beacon, and immediately, who you are and where your beacon is is available to the MCA. With digital VHF CB, any misuse reported to OFCOM - music playing, button pushing, swearing and blasphemy, can easily be tracked, and in the most extreme of cases, the transceiver remotely killed / stunned and left that way until OFCOM have paid a visit and dished out the requisite financial penalty. In the meantime, users can "ignore" blacklisted users, just as they can on forums like these.

With digital encryption, there would be a higher chance of uptake, as the conversations could be as private as you want (with the obvious exception of GCHQ who would retain any master encryption keys). Then, there would be no issue of users being interrupted by a breaker on the side wanting a signal report or a "net", unless invited.

With UHF dPMR handhelds now under £100, the cost argument has long gone, and it could be argued that digital radios are easier to "lock down" and prevent misuse with. Plus, they can send SMS type messages and other facilities not usually associated with old fashioned analogue radios.

Will they fail when there is some kind of natural disaster? Nah. Being peer to peer, they will work as well as analogue, until such time as the radios themselves get submerged in the tsunami!

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by G8YMW » 31 Mar 2014, 19:40

Don't need a natural disaster. My XYL and I were at her "Bible Bashers Convention" at Lincoln Showground one year when the staging collapsed (Wet ground and "The Faithfull" jumping up and down together) We found the mobile phone network became overloaded and I couldn't phone out.
Like Dave "Radio Pixie" I have always thought that 27 MHz is "Not fit for purpose" for what it was intended.

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by RadioPixie » 31 Mar 2014, 20:56

I think Tony we are on the same wavelength :D Absolutely - not fit for purpose!!

As for digital comms, all well n good, but do CB'ers (when we get our VHF allocation ;) ) wish digital voice or analogue? I prefer analogue to hear the more natural tone of the voice and not sound like Steven Hawking. No offend to the professor :geek:

As for mobile phones and events, as a someone that works at festivals including Glastonbury, mobile phone systems at time get very overloaded. Two-way comms are ideal. I occasionally earwing and the public do use PMR446, but some of these sites are pretty big and these diddly little walkie talkies do struggle .
73 from Dave the Pixie - 26CT052 - G7OPC - CB & Ham Radioaficionado

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by RogerD » 31 Mar 2014, 21:03

I don't think it would be too difficult to argue at the EU that PMR446 can be too crowded in busy areas and a VHF version would be worth having.

I don't see any need for digital, analogue is fine for the purpose and digital 446 hasn't caught on.

I think that a lot of business use has migrated to other technologies and what remains is often well served by 446, so I'd be surprised if there was all that much demand for the freed up spectrum 143-168MHz.

I think something at 155 MHz could double up as extra capacity for intership channels, marine VHF radios featuring new licence-free channels as a bonus could work well.

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by ChelseaCat » 31 Mar 2014, 21:40

Agreed analogue would be good enough TBH

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by Adriano9966 » 01 Apr 2014, 18:09

:) I also think analogue would be just fine but the ball is squarely in ofcoms court .I would encourage anyone reading this thread (who is favorable to ofcom creating a vhf Cb allocation) to follow the link to the consultation and express as much in the feedback form.
:) As others have stated we have absolutely nothing to lose by requesting this as the worse thing that could happen is they say No! :D I actually think they will say yes because they themselves have suggested it on their own consultation.
Also I think it was a great injustice removing the 20 channels on 934 without at the very least offering an alternative somewhere else!
Now that there is some spectrum available on VHf it seems only fair to me that 20 channels should be given back to uk citizens/residents ........Over to you Ofcom

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by Otter » 01 Apr 2014, 18:59

delboyonline wrote: We've had AM/SSB on 2m and 70cm for decades and hardly anyone uses it!
A gentle reminder that we're talking about CB, not Ham radio. We've never had it.
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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by M0PLT » 01 Apr 2014, 19:08

After some research I have decided to drop AM and SSB from the ideas-pool. I was looking for a simple method to facilitate data-modes on the proposed VHF CB service and SSB seemed a better solution than a 3rd-party closed-source Terminal Node Connector and associated software. Audio Frequency Shift Keying (AFSK), with tones running from 1200Hz to 2400Hz appears to be a solution usable via a simple interface and free applications, such as 'fldigi'. It will offer 1200 baud, which is sufficient for people to text-chat - which was the intention of the idea.

I concur that pure-FM radios will be a better solution. We can avoid the frankly odd and horrid AM to FM kludged radio designs common to CB, and the high costs associated with SSB filters/mixers/linear amplifiers. That was one of the nice features of the Amstrad 901: a simple microphone JFET pre-amplifier feeding the VCO. No horrid routing through the audio amplifier! FM also allows more choice for squelch control, such as using tone-burst (I just want to sound like NASA :mrgreen:), CTCSS, or DCS.

I still feel that any proposal should seek more bandwidth than just 20 channels. This should not been seen as a replacement for 934MHz alone. For many HF is unusable and they may well abandon it if offered an alternative (I know I would for CB). If you live in an area where your HF noise-floor is less than S1, consider yourself golden, extremely lucky, and in an ever-decreasing minority. Those of us stuck in the urban sprawl often see S3 to S5, and higher, and only see less than S1 when there is a huge local power-cut and we operate from batteries. That is not to say we would be totally safe from QRM up on VHF. Plasma TVs, LED lighting, and our old friend, PLT, have all been shown to cause interference from 3MHz to 300MHz (and higher). The greedy pigopolists behind PLT are pushing their "standard" prEN50561 with a view to annihilating as much of the radio spectrum as they can (see: http://interference.org.uk/forum/showth ... 477#pid477); with governments around the world only too happy to assist them! The general public are starting, very slowly, to wake up to the problem of radio interference, with those who retro fit LED lighting, and/or those moving in to new-build with LEDs, finding their VHF Stereo and DAB radios killed stone-dead when the lights are on. They are looking for answers and learning of the problems of EMC compliance. It is not yet at as stage where the 'red-tops' will start to campaign, so we are still somewhat on our own.

I also think we can sweeten the deal [for more channels] with an offer to do CADS properly (even if you do not agree with it). It is/was a disaster on 27MHz, with church services in Ireland skipping over the water to cause annoyance in the rest of the UK (and possibly Europe). There were even cases of unscrupulous installers using Ham gear and setting up churches on 28MHz. That was not the idea of a "local" broadcast system. On VHF, it would be kept local; and maybe monitored by local volunteers to ensure no-one increases their power, or switches from their allocated channel(s)? And if CADS is not taken up, there are more channels to play with should the system catch on and suck users from 27MHz and PMR.
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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by ChrisCSL » 01 Apr 2014, 19:28

I think it's just a dream to be honest.

In Paragraph 1.2, it gives ''an allocation for CB radio'' as a suggestion.

In Paragraph 1.4 - ''We propose'', there is no mention of CB radio.

The object of the exercise is to temporarily allocate these released bands, until they can be sold-off to PMR users when the market demands.

CBers have 'form' for occupying bands years BEFORE they are allocated, and then not leaving them. What would the chances be of CBers meekly kissing goodbye to these frequencies if and when Ofcom sold licences to use them to others? ... None. They would NEVER get them back.

I agree that VHF CB would be ultimate CB - at least for semi-local and mobile use. I remember the old ''Open Channel'' green paper, which suggested a truly excellent frequency around 225MHz for CB.

We could now be using 5/8 over 5/8 Co-Linears on our chimneys, and we could be using 8-over-8 slot yagis with elements only 26 inches long to chat to each other over 40 or 50 miles.

But no. The ill-informed insisted on 27MHz and nothing else, so that's what we got. Sorry ... suck it up.

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by Oggy » 01 Apr 2014, 20:14

AN UPDATE........

I have the full backing of our fellow European Citizen's Band Federation (ECBF) and there will soon be word of it posted on the ECBF website.
I have also spoken to my contact within Ofcom on the subject and state there is serious interest for a VHF system within the UK.

You have my word as your Delegate I will do everything I can to help in this matter :geek:
Make your voices heard within Ofcom.
European Citizens' Band (ECBF) Delegate For The United Kingdom
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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by M0PLT » 01 Apr 2014, 20:17

Thank you Dave. You are our guiding light.

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by delboyonline » 01 Apr 2014, 20:21

Oggy wrote:AN UPDATE........

I have the full backing of our fellow European Citizen's Band Federation (ECBF) and there will soon be word of it posted on the ECBF website.
I have also spoken to my contact within Ofcom on the subject and state there is serious interest for a VHF system within the UK.

You have my word as your Delegate I will do everything I can to help in this matter :geek:
Make your voices heard within Ofcom.
Many thanks Dave!

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by ChrisCSL » 01 Apr 2014, 20:24

Oggy wrote:AN UPDATE........

I have the full backing of our fellow European Citizen's Band Federation (ECBF) and there will soon be word of it posted on the ECBF website.
I have also spoken to my contact within Ofcom on the subject and state there is serious interest for a VHF system within the UK.

You have my word as your Delegate I will do everything I can to help in this matter :geek:
Make your voices heard within Ofcom.
Despite my rather gloomy post above, if you and yours can actually get us VHF CB, then I will salute you and personally buy you a pint.

It's what we should have done in the first place. CB was 'dumped' in the useless 27MHz 'industrial band' for a reason.

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Re: VHF CB Radio/Freenet in the UK?

Post by Oggy » 01 Apr 2014, 20:34

I've even been in contact with the Ex President of the CBA on the matter yesterday (now there's a guiding light and legend :o ).
All we can do is try our hardest and stay positive (and realistic) multimodes is just an unworkable idea and best left to Amateur Radio on VHF IMO, we need a decent VHF FM allocation maybe with 5 watts output power I would say.
A big thanks to Delboy who always kicks things up it's backside to get things moving and Chelsea Cat and everyone else for their positive attitude towards this idea. :D

73 Dave.
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