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?

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “28Mhz activity: Can we learn from the CBers?”

  • I quite agree, Tim. Personally, I’m very interested in working 2m SSB under FLAT conditions, but the band only really comes to life during a contest or opening. I’d prefer more contacts outside these events and even more so on 70cm, for example. At least there are centres of activity to give my CQ calls a fighting chance.

    Sometimes I wish I’d taken the exam in the 1980’s and enjoyed the greater V/UHF activity thanks to the ‘B class’ licence. looks like the kids are getting the keys to the whole sweetshop straight away these days! 73, Rob.

  • Ross - WA4KEB:

    I agree wholeheartedly. 10 Meters is high enough in frequency that a mobile antenna is quite doable. When the band is open, I’ve been able to make contacts as far away as Europe and Russia on 100 Watts on the way to work or heading home. Calling CQ on 28.400 makes sense and I’ll try it from now on to see if I can generate a little activity.

  • Karl N7DMA:

    On 10/10/13, 10-10 Int’l has a sprint. See: http://www.ten-ten.org/calendar.html

    Hopefully the band will co-operate!


    10-10 #73257

  • k8gu:

    This is a really good observation, Tim. In the US, 28.400 was pretty active as a calling frequency for a long time. Adding 6m to HF radios hurt 10m activity, in my opinion, as did blanket labeling of “10m mobile” radios as souped-up CBs (however true that might be). You work with what you have, I guess…

  • Pb2b:

    I could’t agree more. One dx call frequincy on 10m would be perfect.

  • F4HDM:

    Totally agree for me

  • 30da016:

    Perhaps 11m operators are more efficient with the little space they get.

  • Darren VK4FEAT:

    Great article by Tim. Apart from contest times, I’ve found that you’re far more likely to work DX on 11m than you are on 10m. The presence of a designated call frequency on 11m does facilitate this process however licensing limitations would also ensure that when an opening does occur on this band that there will always be some guys there to work it.

    On 10m, in OC, 28.490 appears to be a popular calling frequency although it doesn’t appear to be consistently used as such.

    I agree with Tim when he says that 28 MHz does deserve more attention as it is a great band! A calling frequency could help!

    73 de Darren, VK4FEAT (DA-RC Member)

  • john G4YBJ:

    We need more of these type of comments Tim. I was lucky enough to work 10 during the large sunspot cycle from the Orkney Isles where I lived at that time, and to say the least it was wonderful. I started as a CBer myself but moved on to the Ham after my B licence , but soon got the A after passing the cw test , in those days you had to for getting on the HF. I ALWAYS WAS A HUNTER, and spent lots of time after the sunspot cycle had faded calling on 10Meters . My two favourites 10 meters during the day and Top band at night , where you learn all about radio . Best wishes to all who work 10 , hope to see you there .

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