Having a couple of zero interruption free hours to spare this evening, I plonked myself on the USB calling channel to get an idea of how well this is used in my neck of the woods. To be honest since sideband was made legal, I’ve not had as much time to be on the rig as I’d like, but don’t fear there’s plans afoot for some epic mountain portable overnight sessions this summer (watch this space).

Used the RTL Dongle connected up to the classic silver rod instead of the rig because its easier to capture sound to the computer and it shows me a view of the entire CB band without all that changing channel thing 🙂

cb sdr dx

SDR Sharp CB Style

The other plus side of using SDR is by the way its modulated you can instantly see if the signal is FM or USB (although you can easily come unstuck because AM also looks a lot like sideband, but thankfully there’s not much of that about).

27Mhz USB Reception Log

Started listening around 6pm and straight away noticed a group of guys up around 27.565mhz using USB. They didn’t seem that far away and without hanging there hoping for a location, I’d say from the accents that at least 2 of them were up towards Birmingham.

As sods law would have it, there was what sounded like a radio station (rather than the usual FM style music playing freak) fading in and out on 27.280mhz. Luckily a swift change in band conditions smudged it out about 6.35pm and I could hear right down to the noise level again without any bleed over.

7.46pm turned up a woman breaker from Alvechurch (5 miles from me) talking to a guy 15 miles outside Liverpool (nice copy). She was using standard power plus Firestik while he was pushing 30 watts (naughty!) and it was great to hear both sides of the conversation for a change.

7.59pm 27.555mhz, station calling DX with the only thing I could make out was the location ‘Northern England’.

8.05pm 27.535mhz the band opened up a little and there was a hint of a Spanish station (at what power?) with a hideous roger bleep that sounded too close to an Amstrad 901 for comfort 🙂

And that’s it, 4 and a half hours listening and 15 miles from the UK’s second largest city only turned up a small bunch of contacts (its a weekday though).

Having spent a great deal of my life living in cities the increased radio traffic (CB, ham and radio scanner) is about the only thing I miss, but I’m not desperate enough (yet) to give up all the greenery that my current location has.

SDR Helper

Some of these would have passed me by without the SDR waterfall, proper headphones and a quiet house. Must start using the SDR dongle in conjunction with the rig as a quicker way of seeing where the activity is, but may have to be careful keying the mic while the dongles acting as a receiver!

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3 Responses to Where is the USB?

  1. Don Bridge says:

    I am just now getting back into CB radio (Mod 26.815-28.045 MHz), having been tired of the music players and the 1000 watt drips who like to hear themselves talk. I have an older Uniden President Grant which had been modified to the above frequencies and a new Uniden Bearcat 980SSB regular CB. I’ve only been listening for about 5 days and wondered where the heck all the USB and LSB folks have gone. I can hear about 534 miles on AM from Gulf Breeze, FL to Ft Lauderdale, FL with a few in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois. Those indicate my reception is about 500 miles with a 102″ whip the base of which is only 11′ up. I enjoyed your article so I am asking “Has USB/LSB slowed down from 10 years ago?”

    • Carl says:

      Hi Don

      I do think that time has taking its toll on CB radio but not in the way you’d expect. Many of the more technical users of CB that were around 10 years ago (or so) have probably moved over to ham radio. The entry level needed to get a basic ham ticket is lower than ever and if your recent experience is anything to go by, they did so looking for more people to talk with 🙂

      • Don Bridge says:

        Thanks for your reply Carl. My “grandson-in-law” recently got his ham ticket (lowest). I may do the same thing. Thanks again 73s (Father-W1DDY, Mother-W1OTI, Step Father (W1OTJ) . They’ve all since passed, but the community is familiar.

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