VHF CB radio has long been dreamed of by users in many countries but if it ever came along how far would you go to get new equipment?. Would you have to see a huge take up of the new UHF system before jumping in feet first, just to cut the risk of ending up with a lot of radio kit that is next to useless if things don’t take off.
VHF CB Radio, A Totally Different Animal
Unlike 27 MHz CB Radio any longer range contacts on a new UHF system are going to need a little infrastructure in the form of repeaters, but this isn’t a cheap business. Getting a repeater together can be easy enough but its the placement, maintenance and running costs that mount up over time. The nature of signals at UHF mean the location (and height) of the repeater will make or break its usefulness.
Some amateur repeaters that were originally hosted on the communications towers you see living on many high spots have been forced to moved, either through raised rent or due to an end to the heavily discounted use of these towers services the ham community received. If an organization with the backing that ham radio has faces disputation to its repeaters, how does a new CB system get a shot at developing an effective linked repeater network.
If your lucky enough to have a great location then a handy local repeater isn’t going to bother you that much but if your stick in the concrete jungle its going to make all the difference to what you get from your shiny new UHF CB radio.
Nothing is set in stone especially as evolving services fight for space in an already crowded radio spectrum and what’s given can just as easily be taken away. The UK used to have 20 CB channels all the way up at 934 MHz but the right to operate on this frequency was withdrawn in 1999, despite a number of radio operators making use of it.
Its not just the obscure frequencies allocations that are at risk of being swallowed up be the commercial sector. This is clear from the way radio amateurs have been concerned for years about completely losing some or all of the 70CM (440 MHZ), a chunk of spectrum that’s very much in demand.
If we spend cash on new equipment and any VHF allocation gets underused, will that get axed sometime in the future also. Don’t forget that part of the radio spectrum is much more valuable than any allocation at 27 MHz (or anywhere else in the HF bands).
At the moment there are so many unknowns, if the funk involved over SSB is anything to go by, I’m not optimistic that VHF CB will arrive before I depart to the great secondhand CB shop in the sky but who knows, stranger things have happened 🙂
Ham Repeater Courtesy of Wikipedia