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whats the next step from CB?


freeagent
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we've been talking (the guys I off-road with) about getting something a bit better than CB, don't get me wrong, CB is fine, but often it would be nice to get something with a bit more range, and that will work better with hills in the way, etc...

What are our options?

whats the difference between UHF and VHF?

whats legal and whats not?

I know some of you on here run other systems, so what should we be looking for? theres loads of stuff on ebay, but don't know where to start..

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Well we tried PMR's and went back to CB :rolleyes: beyond that, mobile phones or honking of horn / shouting obscenities depending on the situation :lol:

Next step from CB for me would be CB with a nice big amp, rumour is the local CB shop sells 300W amps :blink:

OK so in the club we don't spend much time in very remote terrain... I think one of the team is bringing sat-phones to russia after being converted on a previous event.

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I too have thought about this. I reckon that in the same way as mobile phones have pretty much wiped out amateur radio, particularly things like Raynet, they will do the same for CB.

The next big innovation in mobiles is 'Push to Talk' which allows your mobile to behave like a walkie-talkie - but with good voice quality and effectively infinite range!

I reckon the sound quality alone will make this the preferred choice for comms. OK it will cost a little - but think how freely you currently send text messages without giving the cost a second thought?

PMR is too narrow band to deliver good sound quality. You need the quality to be able to make out what someone is saying in a noisy environment.

In the mean time, CB is about as good as it gets within the law.

What we really need are full duplex CB rigs. These allow you to transmit & receive at the same time on different channels. Used with a headset, you can carry on a conversation with someone as if they were standing next to you (phones are full duplex, a CB is Simplex - one person at a time can speak).

For comms between the driver and navigator this would be ideal.

Si

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The next big innovation in mobiles is 'Push to Talk' which allows your mobile to behave like a walkie-talkie - but with good voice quality and effectively infinite range!

I don't think it'll be long before the mobile companies are offering a TETRA style radio system to punters.

All UK Police forces are using them now and they're ace. One of the lads had a trip to Wrexham reently and he was tuned into what was happening in Southern Oxfordshire all the way.

Very mast dependant though, which isn't ideal in the backcountry.

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I too have thought about this. I reckon that in the same way as mobile phones have pretty much wiped out amateur radio, particularly things like Raynet, they will do the same for CB.

The next big innovation in mobiles is 'Push to Talk' which allows your mobile to behave like a walkie-talkie - but with good voice quality and effectively infinite range!

Si

Not really a big innovation. Been around for more than 5 years. Dolphin used to be like that. knew the bloke that set it up and had a mate who had a complete det for his company. Were just like a mobile but were also like a pmr/ walkie talky. Had country wide coverage

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A properly set-up CB rig should be more than enough for use off-road. A group of people tend to be in fairly close proximity to each other anyway, so in this country at least, keeping in contact with each other doesn't seem to be a problem most of the time. Mobile phone-based would be a lot better, but there are some areas in this country that would still be black spots (Brecon Beacons). Satellite would be obviously the best at present for communication to anyone on the surface - regardless of distance apart they are. Apart from poor sound quality, CB is fine by me. I have pmr radios, and I don't think they are particularly good, due to the reasons Si has already stated.

Les. :)

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You guys get cell coverage when off road? Wow what a cute little country. You are SOL here two minutes off road if you want to contact the rest opf the world.

:D:D:D

Reminds me of when we were travling around aus. We were going across the outback where you lost touch of everything for days. And when i phoned a freind in the uk. They said do you have mobile coverage out there. Mobile coverage Nah theres no bloody radio (nothing at all not even some crappy thing) , or tv never mind phone coverage.

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As Les says, CB is fine in the hills if set up ok. Mine will get about 8 miles in the hills, so will others. Moblies are rubbish in the hills, only Orange works ok but even that is not to good. As for PTT then Nokia phones come with it as standard, wel mine dose but I have never used it.

Paul

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As Les says, CB is fine in the hills if set up ok. Mine will get about 8 miles in the hills, so will others. Moblies are rubbish in the hills, only Orange works ok but even that is not to good. As for PTT then Nokia phones come with it as standard, wel mine dose but I have never used it.

Paul

To slightly bend the topic boundary - Mobiles in hills: anyone know why some Swedish people I was with were able to pick either of two service providers in Scotland a couple of years ago, but because my Orange mobile couldn't get an Orange signal I was stuffed! Why doesn't global roaming work within the UK? If it did then mobiles would be far more useful in rural areas... My phone could see the other SPs but wouldn't connect to them. :angry:

Rog

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CB 4 watts or thereabouts at 27MHz, and with the curernt sate of the sunspot cycle, that bit of the radio spectrum is all but closed for long distance communication, there's the odd random opening but nothing you could rely on.

I ditched CB years ago and went amateur, huge choice of bands modes and power to use, huge choice of kit, and price. Far less numpties, music players etc too. Currently I've got everything from 80m to 70cm at 100w in the Range Rover. The car looks like a porcupine when in full radio dress!

By the way, Simonr "same way as mobile phones have pretty much wiped out amateur radio, particularly things like Raynet"

Since when? Amateur is alive and well, as is Raynet. The whole point of Raynet is providing communciation when the regular systems like mobile networks, have failed, although a lot of Raynet groups seem to forget that.

Remember that underground fire in Manchester a few years back? Knocked out most of Manchesters telephones, amongst other thing. It was Raynet that kept the emergency and council services working, as a lot of cabling vital to their networks were destroyed.

Now real PMR can be very effective, I'm not talking about the £25 handies out of Argos. Trouble is, such sets aint cheap. We use a pair of Icom something or others on the rifle range for comms between the firing point and the stop butts. IIRC they were something like £200 each, but they work every time. They are weatherproof, long life battery packs and are couple to ear defenders which have in built headphones, a boom mic and the facility to amplify sounds, but cut off instantly with gunfire. Essential for that application but not a cheap set up.

If you're running MSA events then you should realy be using the MSA frequency, which means yet more kit :rolleyes:

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To slightly bend the topic boundary - Mobiles in hills: anyone know why some Swedish people I was with were able to pick either of two service providers in Scotland a couple of years ago, but because my Orange mobile couldn't get an Orange signal I was stuffed! Why doesn't global roaming work within the UK? If it did then mobiles would be far more useful in rural areas... My phone could see the other SPs but wouldn't connect to them. :angry:

Rog

Because if mobile companies cooperated then we, the user, might see that actually Vodophone is carp in a certain area and that we get our signal from Celnet or Orange or T-mobile and then change providers. The bottom line is that we get a poorer service for it.

Chris

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I was going to say alomst exactlt what Highway Star said about Raynet - bloody good bit of kit.

CODAN is good but IIRC illegal in the UK

We used to use Jesau (sp?) proper PMR at the experience - bloody good and very long range for handhelds - bulk buy worked at about 80quid each plus base station

A decoent CB without amp will get about 11 miles but Thunderpole sell amps that will take that up to 60 in good radio weather

I want to go for my Ham licence over the next couple of year - been talking to Dave Bowyer about this as he is a bit on the keen side of amatuer radio

Good sat phones are down to about 600 quid S/H

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:D:D:D

Reminds me of when we were travling around aus. We were going across the outback where you lost touch of everything for days. And when i phoned a freind in the uk. They said do you have mobile coverage out there. Mobile coverage Nah theres no bloody radio (nothing at all not even some crappy thing) , or tv never mind phone coverage.

You needed a good HF radio or satellite phone. They both work fine in the outback. For everything else UHF is king in Oz. 27Mhz sets became doorstops here 20 years ago.

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As has been said before, proper PMR sets are pretty good. the sets we use for training cost ~£250, not £25. ICOM and Motorola have pretty good 'pro' sets. We also use ICOM VHF handhelds, they're nice bits of kit.

whatever you use, a decent aerial makes a whole lot of difference.

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By the way, Simonr "same way as mobile phones have pretty much wiped out amateur radio, particularly things like Raynet"

Since when? Amateur is alive and well, as is Raynet. The whole point of Raynet is providing communciation when the regular systems like mobile networks, have failed, although a lot of Raynet groups seem to forget that.

Remember that underground fire in Manchester a few years back? Knocked out most of Manchesters telephones, amongst other thing. It was Raynet that kept the emergency and council services working, as a lot of cabling vital to their networks were destroyed.

I'm not knocking Raynet - I've been a member of Cambridge and Mid Sussex Raynet. The trouble was that the organisers of events we used to provide cover for increasingly realised that most of the participants had mobiles and the role of Raynet or similar was diminishing. Our involvement was more & more marginal and it just got to a point where I thought it was not worth the investment in time and money.

It may be different where you are, but my 2m rig sits on my desk scanning. Apart from packet and a bit of repeater traffic - it's mostly silent. There are few nets any more and general chatter is scarce. The internet and mobile phones have taken their toll.

I can see that when something really bad happens and knocks out the mobile network - the emergency services in particular may be a bit stuffed, but it is them that need to keep Raynet on board in the mean time, not just hope that the members of such groups will rally round when needed having been sidelined for years.

I was also not claiming that PTT mobiles were new. Just that none of the networks apart from Dolphin have gone live with it yet and it's likely to be years before the boom in it's use. Text messaging took about 5 years to become a must have feature from it's inception. I think that PTT will be used in the same way as camera phones. It's useful because you will always have it in your pocket.

Even the 'good' PMR rigs are not that good. 446 sets are just too narrow bandwidth to get good sound quality. I have a pair of Icom PMR446 sets - and the quality is only marginally better than the much cheap Motorola ones.

My friend Simon C (G1ZMY) and I (G7DMQ) used to use 2m/70cm full duplex with headsets while we were driving in to work in London. I have never experienced CB having anywhere near the readability whilst driving.

We, and a load of other amateurs went on a Ski trip in about 1994 - all armed with 2m, many with back-pack mounted whip antennas & one or two with Linear Amps (burners). This was before we had mobile phones. Simon, I and another friend became stranded on the other side of the mountain - about 5 miles thickness of rock away from the rest of the group when the weather closed in. We managed to make a miraculous scratchey contact with one member of the group (Alex IIRC), before they called mountain rescue! Good quality kit, well set up and a knowledge of how to use it and procedure can all make a huge difference.

Si

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Thanks for all the replies guys, i might try improving our current CB's a bit first then... I've got a 25W amp (yes I know its illegal) but not used it in anger yet...

i think i'll look into a better Antenna first, or improving the ground plane on the one i have..

on a separate issue...

I changed my alternator last summer, the replacement was a Denso 100A model (genuine part basically) and ever since then i've had loads of interference through the CB when using the windscreen wipers... is there some sort of filter i can put in-line into the power supply to the CB to block this out?

if so, what is it called, and where can i get one from?

to say it annoys me is a massive understatement....

cheers guys..

M@tt.

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i think i'll look into a better Antenna first, or improving the ground plane on the one i have..

Probably a good idea. In the UHF world the antenna is the most important part, bar none. I use different antennae depending on what I'm doing. A short 4.5db gain jobbie for convoy and heavy cover/undulating ground use, and a tall 9db gain for long distance, flat ground use with the repeater stations.

There's a simple little graphic showing the difference between UHF antenna selections here:

http://www.olbis.com.au/ap_template/subcat_antennas.asp

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Freeagent -

You should have a suppressor on the back of your alternator - it may not have come with the new one, but needed to be swapped over from the old unit. The current flow from the alternator causes spikes of radio interference which manifests itself as a clicking through your speakers.

Les. :)

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Going the Amateur Radio route is a good option.

It gives you access to a massive range of bands and modes of communication.

The quality of the equipment is FAR superior to CB kit. And the prices are very good for what you get these days.

Do a search for your local radio club, they will probably run courses, there are 3 levels of licence. The foundation one can be done in a day, including the test. The licence is also FREE for life.and the big plus is tht you will be legal. Details of it all can be found at Ofcom.

Via (but not associated in any way, other than the person running it is a member of the club, and many of those attending are also club members) the club of which im a member (SORC) is facilitating a course next weekend for around 8 people. I cant remember the exact numbers, but out of 200 members i think around 70 hold amateur licences. Its not a radio club, it is an offroad club, but radio slots in pretty neatly.

SUB NOTE: I have now amended this post following feedback from a member of the SORC. It covered some fair points, However I DO NOT wish to get into the 'politics' of such matters. I am a member of the SORC. My post was in relation to helping a fellow Landrover Enthusiast. Not about the SORC. I am not qualified/authorised in any way to comment on the SORC and its ins and outs. I did point out that it is 'not a radio club'.

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Freeagent -

You should have a suppressor on the back of your alternator - it may not have come with the new one, but needed to be swapped over from the old unit. The current flow from the alternator causes spikes of radio interference which manifests itself as a clicking through your speakers.

Les. :)

Les, my new alternator is a different style to my old one, the old one had a tin heatshield on the back which covered all the terminals and wiring, the new one is a sealed unit, which doesn't allow for the heatshield to be fitted, as the instructions say it isn't needed...

there were no components that could be removed from my old alternator (looked at it today) and nowhere to fit them on my new one (also looked at it today as had to remove it...

thats why i wondered if you can buy an 'in-line' one that can be fitted in the power feed to the CB...

thanks for all the other info guys...

lots to think about...

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Sorry, I missed this first time round, but it’s an area that is close to my heart, mainly because it puts bread on the table. :D

This is a wide scoping subject , as the penalties for getting it wrong are quite severe !

Basically in the UK, for unlicensed use, you are restricted to either CB, or PMR446.

Generally for our use CB will be the better option as it has much greater range.

PMR446 was designed for use within ‘on site’ locations and being UHF gives good building penetration ( VHF ids not so good ), however, the power is restricted to 500mW ERP (Effective Radiated Power). This type of flea power has very short range, even more so when not line of sight. The equipment in generally cheap and not particularity robust. Here is the link to the Ofcom 446 information page. Also attached to this post is the OFW57 PMR446 leaflet.

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/ra/..._info/ra357.htm

ofw57.pdf

Business radio in the UK – it used to be called PMR (Private Mobile Radio – which then became Professional Mobile Radio) operates in one of several bands depending on the type of service. For simplex operation (which is what our requirement would be) will be in the regions of 168 -170Mhz and various areas within 460 to 470 Mhz. I don’t think there are any simplex channels in Sub bands I & II of Band III (190Mhz to 219Mhz).

This requires licensing and the current licence fee is around £140 per annum for 10 units. The licence is normally site specific and a UK wide licence will probably be more.

Attached to the post is the latest Ofcom document that gives all UK frequency allocations (as agreed as part of a world wide process fro each country through the Geneva process) from DC to daylight.

fat2004.pdf

This link gives the current UK business radio pricing :rolleyes:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/ifi/lic...ess_radio/fees/

Amateur radio is a route that could be taken, but of course all the users would need to be licensed in their own right and all the rules regarding log keeping, callsign notification every 15 minutes etc, must be maintained. Also if you are an overland traveler, a 2 metre or 70cm rig in the middle of the desert will be about as much help as a chocolate umbrella, so an HF rig would need to be carried. Perhaps another point is that the UK does not have full reciprocal licensing agreements worldwide, and some countries will NOT temporary license amateur radio operation even though you can prove the correct competence. Even those that we do have reciprocal arrangements with, some authorities will need to be notified in advance.

I guess then we come onto Satellite. This is a bit of a minefield for the unwary, but there are some really good services out there, albeit a little on the expensive side.

http://www.inmarsat.com/ this crowd offer a good service and are UK based….. I currently use the BGAN service …….. http://broadband.inmarsat.com/

Both of these also offer good service,

http://www.iridium.com/

http://www.globalstar.com/

HTH :D

Ian

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