After a lengthy process CB users in the UK will be allowed to use the single sideband (SSB) and amplitude modulation (AM) modes of transmission from July 2014. This debate has been going on so long that interest has fizzled out over time with many believing that it would never be passed.
Depending on how well you’ve stuck to the citizen band license conditions this major change may not make any difference to your use of 27 MHz but if those who have stuck to FM (frequency modulation) go out and spend cash on a new SSB radio it will be a much needed boost for the few suppliers of CB equipment left trading in the UK.
New UK SSB CB Radios
Even though sideband is still illegal to use in the UK that hasn’t stopped a few enterprising radio retailers from trying to get ahead by offering soon to be legal SSB sets for sale. A quick look around online found Nevada Radio offering the Midland 8001XT FM/AM/SSB mobile CB which will be legal to use in the UK once the license changes have come into force and Amazon have the full featured President set pictured below on their UK website.
There has always been a grey area between the different legal status of owning and using certain equipment in the UK and both retailers point out that these CB radios are not yet legal to be used until July.
With so many AM/SSB sets already on our shores many will have access to a CB to use once it becomes legal along with the forever busy secondhand trade in legacy sideband radios which might impact any campaign by manufactures or retailers to introduced new CB’s to existing users.
This relaxation of the CB license in the UK (and Europe) is the most sweeping change ever to happen since citizen band transmissions were first legalized in 1981. The introduction of SSB as a standard transmission mode does potentially give the system more range while at the same time going against the idea of a short range community service that CB was first meant for.
Will this change promote more use of 27 MHz in the UK? Our guess is that only time will tell, we are months off from the license updates coming into effect and it will be interesting to see any increase in activity on air after the official date.
More information about the changes can be found at the Ofcom website