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CB Radio Forum Discussions regarding Citizens Band Radio (CB)

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Old 08-17-2013, 12:07 PM
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Default VHF CB?

Hello all, I'm new here, but a long time radio guy. I was a big time CB'er in the 70's and I'm a ham now. The trouble with CB's has always been the crappy AM quality, the large hard to tune antennas and the large radios. Skip can make local communications (which is what it is for anyway) almost impossible.

Since MURS came out I've found it really useful as a two way radio for real world use. I caravan a lot with my wife and we use for that and for backpacking, off road trips with my buddies. You name it, we use 'em for everything! Even the two watt hand held radios seem to talk further and more reliably than the AM 27Mhz CB.

Am I alone in thinking that if the world stopped turning and the FCC did something intelligent like add 15 more channels to MURS it could become the new CB? We could abandon the squawk boxes and use real narrow band FM radios. Two watts on VHF with a really good antenna would talk quite a ways!

And think about how easy it would be to mount antennas!

Imagine a CB that doesn't suffer from nasty skip blasting through when you're trying to talk to a guy a mile away! Think about how small and convenient a tiny mobile vhf mobile radio could be!

I know cell phones have taken over but there are still a lot of circumstances where a short range (5 miles) radio makes better sense.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-18-2013, 9:52 AM
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Originally Posted by washburn830 View Post
We could abandon the squawk boxes and use real narrow band FM radios. Two watts on VHF with a really good antenna would talk quite a ways!
Unfortunately, that's the problem. CB was never meant to be a long-distance mode of communicating. That's what amateur radio is for.

There is GMRS which eliminates the "squawk boxes" issues.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:24 AM
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Hello W380: Yeah MURs is a great radio service but for some reason not to popular.

A few years back during some forest fires in the local area we had fire fighting traffic on one of the MURS Channels, and the Captain told us to get off the channel in a snotty way. Well emergency traffic surly takes priority. But we would ask after the evenings what was going on and the fire Captain gave us an update after he found out about the MURS Radio Service.

A few days later we sent up mass quantities of iced beer and hot Pizza to the fire fighters, and iced down water. That was about it for all the activities on MURS. I hear a occasional truckers coming thru town.

Too bad its not taking off in popularity. I don't know of any radios made just for MURS but I know 2 meter radios are modified for its use. We have contests to see how little power we can use to talk well over 35 miles.

Jay in the Mojave
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayMojave View Post
... I don't know of any radios made just for MURS but I know 2 meter radios are modified for its use...
Several manufacturers make MURS-only radios.
The FCC will not certify any radio for MURS if it is capable of operation on any frequency other than the 5 MURS channels.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:25 AM
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Mr. Weatherman,

I don't think you read my post quite right. Since CB was meant for short range communications (10 miles or so) then putting it on a HF band (27Mhz) was a mistake. Most people don't need to shoot skip across the country, they only want to talk to another 4x4 a mile away or so. Or maybe a trucker wants to be able to hear whats happening five miles down the road not the guy repeating the same phrase over and over again from his cabin in Montana.

I agree, if people want to talk long distances then they can go with amateur radio. Honestly, I don't think amateur radio is going to survive another twenty five years. The kids today just aren't interested. The use cellphones and the internet. Radios are just a tool to them and they aren't interested in licensing. They just want to buy one and use it.

Personally, I think GMRS, as its currently set up, is a waste of public resources. You have people with the money to put up repeaters constantly arguing to "get rid of bubble packs" and demanding "licensing" as though that will somehow magically make all the bubble pack radios disappear. They use PL tones to keep others away and jealously guard their machines. But most people don't need or want a repeater...they have a cellphone. They do want a radio that they can use in the woods, car to car, at the mall, or when organizing a race.

The only reason I recommend using the VHF band for a new CB instead of just making GMRS all simplex and making it the new CB (like they do in Australia) is because of all the uproar I'm sure such a suggestion would cause. VHF is a better choice for such a new service anyway. It has the best wave propagation for short range outdoor type communications.

If something like this ever happened there should be no pl tone or dpl or any of that allowed. It should be an open system, designed and intended so that others can talk to you. NFM would be better than digital because with digital if two people talk at the same time the signal corruption results in others just hearing nothing. We use digital at work and its not all its cracked up to be.

Anyway, these are my thoughts, I don't expect everyone to feel the same way. I just think that all the other public radio services (CB, MURS, GMRS, FRS) all have serious design flaws that limit how useful they are.

CB is on the wrong band for what it was intended and antennas are a pain.

MURS is good put has too few channels.

GMRS requires a license that no one wants to pay for or be bothered with.

FRS is too low powered to be truly useable and the pl tones cause people to walk all over each other anyway. And for the love of God please find the guy that invented those stupid noise making roger beeps and punish him severely!
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:27 AM
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ND5Y, Yes Motorola has the RDM2020 that is a nice MURS only portable radio. I have a pair and they are really good radios for the money.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:42 AM
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I use murs to talk around town,great way to communicate
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:24 PM
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MURS has been a useful service for a number of people. It's creation has sort of been lost in the noise of the cheap FRS/GMRS radios. With the inflated range claims that are used to market the FRS/GMRS radios, the 2 watt MURS service doesn't seem to stack up as well, not to the average consumer. You've discovered how well 2 watts on VHF can do, but most consumers won't ever understand this.

MURS was made out of VHF frequencies that were commonly used in low end commercial radios that were sold sort of indiscriminately. As tends to happen, the majority of people don't bother to get licensed. The FCCs response seems to be to let everything fall apart, then give up and change the licensing requirements to "license by rule". Just like they did with CB and some marine VHF usage.
UHF has some similar licensed itinerant frequencies that have been flooded by low end radios. Not to be confused with FRS or GMRS, there are part 90 frequencies that are set aside for commercial itinerant use. Those frequencies are pretty much out of control, and many of the users are unlicensed. Sort of like the MURS frequencies were many years ago. I'm sort of expecting to see the FCC "MURS-ify" those in the coming years. That would/could open up a "MURS UHF" service.
With the FCC's lack of enforcement, and the precedence set with shifting more and more services to "license by rule", I wouldn't be surprised to see more frequencies go this way.

As for more VHF channels being added, that would be nice, but the 5 are pretty much under utilized as it is. There are certainly frequencies that would be likely targets in the VHF band to be 'MURS-ified", but VHF spectrum is pretty limited and in high demand. The FCC really likes to sell off spectrum, so I don't see much happening.

It would be nice to see a manufacturer start producing a more ruggedized MURS portable. There are older radios you can purchase and reprogram, but this is outside of the capabilities of the average consumer.
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Old 08-19-2013, 5:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nd5y
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayMojave View Post
... I don't know of any radios made just for MURS but I know 2 meter radios are modified for its use...
Several manufacturers make MURS-only radios.
The FCC will not certify any radio for MURS if it is capable of operation on any frequency other than the 5 MURS channels.
Try DakotaAlert and IntercommsOnline (or IntercomsOnline) for Part 95 certified MURS radios. I have one of the Dakota HT's.
I would like to see more/better radios for MURS, especially mobiles. Not that I can afford any at this time, nor for some time to come, but I'd still like to see them.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:19 AM
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Motorola also has some good handheld MURS radios. They are the RDM2080D, the RDM2020, and the RMM2050.
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:57 PM
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I think FRS, MURS, and GMRS all fall under Part 95. This makes them all CB.
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Old 08-26-2013, 4:12 AM
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No, that makes them all Personal Radio Services. Only Part 95, Subpart D is CB.
(The GMRS used to be known as Class A of the Citizens Radio Service. It was never Class A of the Citizens Band.)
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Old 09-02-2013, 2:17 PM
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The 5th frequency of MURS was used my our local Walmart, and was calling for someone once and they told me to get off of frequency. I told them no, it is a free channel per the FCC, and perhaps they may want to refer to a business frequency, but that frequency is MURS and free for anyone to use. He got snooty with me so I went to the store and found the guy to prove the point to him. I showed him the rules and they now use a different frequency.

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Old 10-30-2013, 8:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by washburn830 View Post
Since CB was meant for short range communications (10 miles or so) then putting it on a HF band (27Mhz) was a mistake. Most people don't need to shoot skip across the country, they only want to talk to another 4x4 a mile away or so. Or maybe a trucker wants to be able to hear whats happening five miles down the road not the guy repeating the same phrase over and over again from his cabin in Montana.

I agree, if people want to talk long distances then they can go with amateur radio.
I agree. CB should not have been put at 27 MHz. It did originate in the 465 MHz area but they couldn't get the radios to work right back in 1948. My question is why didn't they put CB on VHF back then? Was VHF not developed enough for radio? Heck they had TV back then, and the first few channels were VHF.

Also depends on what you consider long distance, but amateur radio is a hobby more the less.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:19 PM
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@KD0PEZ
It was attempted on VHF, but wasn't obtainable, not because they couldn't, but because it would have cost WAY too much for the average consumer to obtain. Think about how elaborate a TV transmitter is. Aside from modulation (as it is much easier to modulate voice at AM than a combination of NTSC video and audio, on two seperite carriers, keeping them stable and in sync etc). At the time, it was significantly more difficult to keep the resolution of error of a transmitters carrier at VHF within tolerance so a receiver would not have to be constantly re-tuned to receive the broadcast, than it was at HF. This increased cost astronomically in the TX end of things. A stable receiver is much easier to build with lower cost parts than a stable transmitter.

So because of this the CB band was moved to HF to make it cost affordable for the average consumer to afford and use, and by the time that VHF was cost affordable, there were so many people using the service that it would have been a nightmare to migrate the CB band to VHF or UHF.

Then later as things progressed, other services were implemented in VHF such as GMRS, FRS and MURS.

In Canada GMRS is license free. and even still there is no activity other than children playing on them when their parents buy them these radios as x-mas gifts to use like we once did on the old 1/4w 27mhz walkie talkies.

The real reason i think these services aren't used as much as they could be, is the only people that use them are die hard radio enthusiasts, hunter and campers etc, and anyone who requires a radio for work. Its one extreme to the next, either its a hobby or you need it for work, that's what radio has become since cellular technology and the internet have become so affordable for everyone to have. The average person has no need for a radio anymore, because they can just pick up their cell phone and dial a number or send a text.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:05 AM
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"The average man has no need for a radio anymore, because he can just pick up his cell phone and dial a number."

Until the underlying cellular network fails (as it does from time to time) or dies outright, rendering the "average" man's ability to "just pick up his cell phone and dial a number" entirely moot. Then what?

It's coming, man. Just wait.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:13 AM
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oh I know its coming. and when it does, us with our radios will be invaluable, ... or they will just murder us and take them. lol
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_vader View Post
"The average man has no need for a radio anymore, because he can just pick up his cell phone and dial a number."

Until the underlying cellular network fails (as it does from time to time) or dies outright, rendering the "average" man's ability to "just pick up his cell phone and dial a number" entirely moot. Then what?

It's coming, man. Just wait.
Average Joe consumer can't think beyond the immediate. To most people, cellular telephones are a utility, not a luxury. They almost always work, and people have completely wrapped their lives around them. It doesn't occur to them that the system might fail. In their minds if they pay their bill the system will work. If the system stops working, then that means "carrier X" is stupid and I need to change to "carrier Y" because they are not stupid. Most consumers have zero knowledge of the infrastructure needed to support their iPhone, other than some vague hint of a "tower" providing "bars" to their phone. Most can't tell the difference between an AM broadcast antenna or a cellular tower.

I've fought this for years at work. I run a few radio systems for public works and public safety. Occasionally some bean counter decides that they don't need radios and everyone should just use (preferably their own) cell phone. I have to occasionally explain the weaknesses of the cellular system to our people and why it is foolish to rely on the system in an emergency. Some listen, some don't. I've had senior level IT directors refer to them as "CB's". I even had the Chief of Police get wooed by Nextel many years back and had to stop them from dumping all their two way radios.

Most are good little consumers and do whatever the commercials on TV tell them to do. Expecting them to understand anything other that what they are force fed by media is unrealistic.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:57 AM
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It was attempted on VHF, but wasn't obtainable, not because they couldn't, but because it would have cost WAY too much for the average consumer to obtain.
How much more would it have costed as opposed to HF? CB's weren't exactly cheap when they first started out.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:57 AM
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Or had the FCC just done what many other nations did in the late '70s, they could have legalized FM on the 11-meter band.
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