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?