Which band is best for practical CB?

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1771 Views:1666 Replies:9 FollowUps:16
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After dreaming about having my own 4WD since I was a kid, I've finally gorn and dun it, and bought myself an old Landcruiser to learn in. Now I want to outfit it with a CB, but I haven't been in touch with the CB world for 25 years, since I was a teenager. Back then, everything was on 27MHz, UHF was new (and you only had 1W to play with) and SSB was the way to go. So for 4WDing to day, what's the go? UHF? Or can you still buy an SSB rig for 27MHz? I want it for emergency access more than just chatting, so range is a must. I know there are UHF repeaters in a lot of places, but what's the real story on how useful UHF is when you're in the rainforest? What are drivers using today?
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Reply By: Fred - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus, Most 4wders use UHF. Some still have 27meg too and you can still get SSB. I use both but find UHF better for reliable longer range - over 100km using a repeater is often achieved and yes there are repeaters all over the place now (see list on this site) I still like the extra long range achieved on SSB with skip but of course you wouldn't want your life to depend on making contact using it as it's not reliable! HF is the only reliable long range contact but the initial cost is considerably higher than UHF (Maybe 10X) Uhf has scanning ability so you are able to find people in the area - particularly useful in desert areas when it's good to know if there's someone coming up the other side of the dune you're about to crest!!
AnswerID: 5866

Reply By: Fred - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus, Most 4wders use UHF. Some still have 27meg too and you can still get SSB. I use both but find UHF better for reliable longer range - over 100km using a repeater is often achieved and yes there are repeaters all over the place now (see list on this site) I still like the extra long range achieved on SSB with skip but of course you wouldn't want your life to depend on making contact using it as it's not reliable! HF is the only reliable long range contact but the initial cost is considerably higher than UHF (Maybe 10X) Uhf has scanning ability so you are able to find people in the area - particularly useful in desert areas when it's good to know if there's someone coming up the other side of the dune you're about to crest!!
AnswerID: 5867

Reply By: Fred - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus, Most 4wders use UHF. Some still have 27meg too and you can still get SSB. I use both but find UHF better for reliable longer range - over 100km using a repeater is often achieved and yes there are repeaters all over the place now (see list on this site) I still like the extra long range achieved on SSB with skip but of course you wouldn't want your life to depend on making contact using it as it's not reliable! HF is the only reliable long range contact but the initial cost is considerably higher than UHF (Maybe 10X) Uhf has scanning ability so you are able to find people in the area - particularly useful in desert areas when it's good to know if there's someone coming up the other side of the dune you're about to crest!!
AnswerID: 5868

Reply By: Darian - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus - hope my comment only appears once - amen to the above, and.............UHF is very good for local comms - a variety of antenna
types will get you across varied terrain - SSB on the HF CB is very good too - from the interior, you can most often jump right out to the
coast , but not catch up with folks in between.
It can be very useful, with a decent whip antenna (we have talked to NZ from the Nullabor / to Hobart from just south of Alice).
If going into remote areas, it would be silly not to have the 100 watt long range HF - second hand crystal locked units can be found for
$4-500 all up. Membership of VKS737 would put the icing on the cake (yes - I am a member, but don't get paid for plugs).
Some gurus suggest the Crystal locked units have better range and performance
than the new fangled, all singing and dancing auto tune units.....cheeerz.....dp
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Follow Up By: Plexus - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
By 100W HF I take it we aren't talking 27MHz anymore...
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!
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Reply By: Darryn - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus ask around at a 4wd club. There will be heaps of people with heaps of radio setups and someone should be able to steer you in the right direction with setup and operating info.
Regd's Darryn
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
While a 27MHz SSB can often achieve greater distances than UHF, it's not reliable, and most people on it are hobbyists not 4WDers. The 100 watt SSB refered too above is not CB (those radios cover from 2 MHz to 27 MHz and are obviously dearer).

The majority of 4WDers use UHf these days and scanning is a very handy feature so you can find someone talking nearby if you need to. Again you can't rely on any CB for emergencies, but I'd still rather have any radio than none.

You can certainly still buy SSB 27MHz CB's both new and secondhand. If you get a secondhand one I'd take it to a reliable radio shop and get it checked and tuned (usually not too dear).

In the coastal ranges of Far North Queensland (rainforest and hills) I find UHF range somewhat limited (sometimes only 5-10 km), but up these way there's not many people using 27MHz sideband either. Mind you on a good day you will get Tassie crystal clear, but again, you can't rely on that.

I personally think you'd get better value out of a UHF as that is what most other 4WDers have. If you can afford it get a SSB as well. And if you are going into seriously remote areas get some sort of proper long range communcations, or at the very least an EPRIB.
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Follow Up By: Plexus - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for all the info. Yes, from what I have seen, I think UHF will be the go. If I were going into serious never-never land, the $4k or so a 100W HF rig would cost is certainly worth the money. But I'm not anywhere near that yet in terms of experience or money, so that narrows it down to short-range rigs, and if I'm going to do that, then UHF is better than 27MHz for me simply if for no other reason than you're more likely to be chatting to a fellow 4WDer over the crest of the hill instead of a pimply teenager asking my "vintage."
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Plexus, sad to say you'l find the pimply teenager asking your vintage and foul mouthed idiots on UHF too!
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Reply By: Craig - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Plexus,
If the clubs can't give you 'first hand tips and experience', you may wish to hire various options and try them out over the weekends, while you are out bushing.
AnswerID: 5885

Reply By: Maresa - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Here in Melbourne the UHF is the most popular choice with 4x4's,Truckies and Deer Hunters all using them.
In an Emergency chanel 40 can can usally reach someone to help.
But it's wise to always carry a mobile phone sometimes you can get service in the strangest places.

Most of our friends use GME UHF Radios the latest one can now even scan Police radio.
AnswerID: 5886

Follow Up By: Plexus - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for all the info. And Fred, don't apologise so much apologise so much apologise so much apologise so much.
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Follow Up By: Fred - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
OK OK OK OK
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Reply By: les - Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 22, 2002 at 00:00
plexus, I to have been out of the cb world for awhile. But this time last year I did a trip up the Canning Stock route and through the Kimberleys, travelling alone [one veichle and one mate] and the trusty old pearce/simpson 27mhz.am upper & lower SSB. I decided to get a VHF for safety sake, and picked one up secondhand with aerial for $650, I also joined the Australian national 4wd radio network. But when we got on our way, we found that almost everyone else had UHF. as their main source for close communications. and at least one of their party had a VHF. I have just bought a UNIDEN UHO90 which has both AM & UHF and can scan both frequencies, if, like me, you have friends who have one and not the other, you can scan both of them at the same time and be the go between. well I hope this helps.
AnswerID: 5944

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