Is HF 27Mhz CB a viable alternative to UHF?

Do you use 27Mhz CB?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 16.7%
  • No

    Votes: 12 66.7%
  • Never heard of it

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Would like to

    Votes: 3 16.7%

  • Total voters
    18

Choook

Well-Known Member
#1
I did a bit of search and found plenty of mention about 27Mhz and UHF but couldn't glean enough information to satisfy my questions.

A little back ground. I last operated 27Mhz CB's between about 1976 and 1983. Then for reasons I won't go into (and am a little angry about...still) left the 4wd community. Was a communicator in the Army for 15 years so I am familiar with radio frequency propagation and various frequency bands, so that discussion is not required. Have operated UHF in numerous trucks and currently have 80 channels in my 4wd. So.......

What I'd like to know is:
A. Does anyone still utilise the 27Mhz CB frequencies (in particular with SSB)?,
B. If you do, do you think it is useful and a viable alternative to UHF?
C. If I choose this route, is the modern equipment any good or should I be looking at older equipment?, and
D. Is it of any use for remote emergency situation?

Or:
Would you go the full HF mode covering the lower end of the band with potential to communicate much greater distances to known stations?

I understand that satphones and PLBs are available and very reliable and would probably carry one or both in remote areas, just looking at alternatives.
 

dno67

Well-Known Member
#3
Grab a.27mhz radio and and have listen to
35 LSB and see whats going on.
Great for ratbags not so good for reliable
Coms.
I've still got a few antennas and a radio or two, but live in a hollow surrounded by hills
so haven't bothered for the last 10 or so years.
UHF is far more common and used by almost everyone these days.
 

Ditch

Well-Known Member
#4
On the HF side of things there would be a couple of options. The VKS route with the ability to use Selcall to make contact with the RFDS & other rescue operations. Don`t know much about this option but I`m sure other forum members use it & can fill you in.

The other option is Amateur Radio. There are over 14,000 licensed operators in Australia, usually you can find someone to make a contact with if needed in an emergency. Most would only be too willing to help out if needed in relaying messages. There are several "Nets" that are on daily at certain times as well as a dedicated "Travelers Net" that you can call into to report your progress & messages can be left for you if someone needs to contact you. The nets are also a good source of info on weather conditions.

There are several license grades that will give you different bands & power levels to use & the lowest license level is quite easy to obtain. With your previous experience or qualifications you might even be able to get a license without doing any exams.

I got my Ham license 8 years ago & even with the 10 watt limit that I have I have made contacts with people over 500 km during the day on the 40 meter (7 Mhz) band & worldwide at night while mobile & was logging in with a mate 800 km away every evening while traveling solo. Would also have a chat to a guy in Tahiti several times a week to pass the time at night.

Best way to see if you are interested in Amateur Radio would be to check out a nearby club. There is one at Redcliff if you are interested & they would be only to willing to point you in the right direction - http://www.wia.org.au/clubs/vk4/RedcliffeAndDistrictRadioClub/

Amateur Radio has many aspects besides HF (VHF/UHF, Repeater Networks, Satellite Repeaters, Digital Modes, Slow Scan TV (images over radio) just to name a few) & is not for everyone. but might be an option.
 

Choook

Well-Known Member
#5
I used HF all my working carrier & was pleased to see the end of it.
Yes HF can be a bitch sometimes, particularly when you have an assessment and the group have to construct an antenna (a few actually) and communicate with East Timor from Melbourne in the middle of the day using a freq around 2Mhz. We got there but wasn't pretty.

UHF is far more common and used by almost everyone these days.
Yeah I get that, was just wondering if it was worthwhile running both systems, something that capable of beyond LOS.

Amateur Radio has many aspects besides HF (VHF/UHF, Repeater Networks, Satellite Repeaters, Digital Modes, Slow Scan TV (images over radio) just to name a few) & is not for everyone. but might be an option.
Thanks @Ditch but not really up for that, have enough on my plate without introducing anymore complications. Besides I'd rather spend money on photographic pursuits than lots of radio gear.
 

Petunia

Active Member
#6
something that capable of beyond LOS.
If you have played with 27meg, C Q, C Q, C Q DX < oh the memories.
Next, UHF, and disregard conformity? Get creative. As always Arial, Arial, Arial, and if you get my drift, no need for a sand flag pole.
 

billolga

4x4 Earth Contributer
#7
Yes HF can be a bitch sometimes, particularly when you have an assessment and the group have to construct an antenna (a few actually) and communicate with East Timor from Melbourne in the middle of the day using a freq around 2Mhz. We got there but wasn't pretty.


Yeah I get that, was just wondering if it was worthwhile running both systems, something that capable of beyond LOS.


Thanks @Ditch but not really up for that, have enough on my plate without introducing anymore complications. Besides I'd rather spend money on photographic pursuits than lots of radio gear.
We used 5.5 to 8Mhz during the day & around 3Mhz at night.
Finally used Selcall towards the end of my working life. (UHF has selcall for those that don't know where you can "ring" individual radios - your number is usually on the back of the set. You may have heard strange beeps from time to time, that's it)
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
#8
DNO said
UHF is far more common and used by almost everyone these days.
Chook said
Yeah I get that, was just wondering if it was worthwhile running both systems, something that capable of beyond LOS.

These 2 lines sum up the beauty of 27Mhz in the right circumstances.
If you tour in a group, and the leader and tail end charlie have a 27Mhz SSB, You can't beat it. No other voice traffic and great range. The thing is that you have to have at least 2 people in the group willing to invest the time and money to get it working. I have it programmed into my HF and a friend has 27Mhz. It is great, we often get 30 km range.
 
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Choook

Well-Known Member
#9
We used 5.5 to 8Mhz during the day & around 3Mhz at night.
Finally used Selcall towards the end of my working life. (UHF has selcall for those that don't know where you can "ring" individual radios - your number is usually on the back of the set. You may have heard strange beeps from time to time, that's it)
Would have enjoyed those freqs during the day but we had what was allocated and that was it. ACMA basically gives the military what's left over when it comes to training purposes, always ended up with some dodgey freqs for HF comms. Also, with the scenario above we were not using vehicle mounted units only manpacks so we were limited to max 20w output. Would have been nice to have an amplifier in a vehicle, could have punched it up to 100w if needed.
 

Ditch

Well-Known Member
#10
limited to max 20w output
Did well to get a signal that far on 2 Mhz with that power. With the way the HF band conditions are these days you would be hard pressed to do it. One of the restrictions with HF these days is the noise floor, LED lighting, Solar Inverters & Plasma TV`s put out a lot of noise so it is hard to hear a low power signal. Solar Minimum(no sun spots) at the moment doesn`t help.
Can use the 160 meter band (1.8 Mhz) on the Amateur bands, antenna size can be a restriction though at around 80 meters long.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
#11
hook, why not join VKS or another HF club. frequencies that go from around 3 to 15Mhz mean you can get comms any time of day or night. You just have to take the time to learn how HF works, sounds like you already know that.

I'd turn to a Sat phone or EPIRB in an emergency but HF is great for weather, listening etc.
 

Choook

Well-Known Member
#12
Did well to get a signal that far on 2 Mhz with that power. With the way the HF band conditions are these days you would be hard pressed to do it. One of the restrictions with HF these days is the noise floor, LED lighting, Solar Inverters & Plasma TV`s put out a lot of noise so it is hard to hear a low power signal. Solar Minimum(no sun spots) at the moment doesn`t help.
Can use the 160 meter band (1.8 Mhz) on the Amateur bands, antenna size can be a restriction though at around 80 meters long.
Working with simple antena kits at 1/4 wavelength. IIRC our best was an inverted V dipole. We tried a Yargi but that was a PITA to construct with directors and reflectors. Dilli were working at 100w so we got them better than they recieved us.

hook, why not join VKS or another HF club. frequencies that go from around 3 to 15Mhz mean you can get comms any time of day or night. You just have to take the time to learn how HF works, sounds like you already know that.
I'd turn to a Sat phone or EPIRB in an emergency but HF is great for weather, listening etc.
As above mate would rather spend money on photographic stuff (or car stuff) than radio gear was just wondering if the old 27Mhz would be a viable back up to UHF. Yes if I ever go truely remote will certianly be taking the necessary precautions of a Satphone and/or PLB.
 

Big Rig

4x4 Earth Contributer
#13
Well I gotta say, recently I was stranded for 24 hrs. I had no mobile service but had a UHF radio.. we have this fancy channel 5 emergency repeater that apparently is monitored by someone. I can say however that it is a load of bullshit. The repeater may be turned on but it's not much good if nobody is monitoring it. I may as well have thrown the radio away.
For that reason I WILL be going down the HF 27 meg road because as much as its can be a pain in the arse, at least it is monitored.
 

Choook

Well-Known Member
#14
For that reason I WILL be going down the HF 27 meg road because as much as its can be a pain in the arse, at least it is monitored.
I'm also going to run 27Mhz in conjunction with the UHF. Rather than looking at vintage equipment I found this seems to have all the bells and whistles and actually has looks as well (weather station doesn't work in Oz). Or maybe this one. Both have resonable reviews and are not badly priced, I don't think.
 

billolga

4x4 Earth Contributer
#16
Well I gotta say, recently I was stranded for 24 hrs. I had no mobile service but had a UHF radio.. we have this fancy channel 5 emergency repeater that apparently is monitored by someone. I can say however that it is a load of bullshit. The repeater may be turned on but it's not much good if nobody is monitoring it. I may as well have thrown the radio away.
For that reason I WILL be going down the HF 27 meg road because as much as its can be a pain in the arse, at least it is monitored.
For $35 a Month I get 100 two way Sat Messages to E-Mail (Replies FREE out of my quota) or SMS (Cost the receiver around 50c) from my InReach Explorer & it sends out my GPS position with every message.
I can also send an SOS which shows my GPS position as a Link to Google Earth so they can see which tree I am under AND I can say what the problem is & they can reply to my messages.
Why the hell would I bother with HF?
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
#19
Apart from if you have a fetish for radios, I don’t know why would you bother with this sort of setup with the alternatives available that are easier to use, can communicate with everyone and are portable
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
#20
Apart from if you have a fetish for radios, I don’t know why would you bother with this sort of setup with the alternatives available that are easier to use, can communicate with everyone and are portable
@Albynsw, you obviously don't appreciate the stimulating conversation available on the open air waves. The opportunity to interact with intellectually impaired anonymous people is a huge bonus. :D
 
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