10 Meter CB? vs. FCC

For some time we all have been aware that strange 10 meter CB like equipment has been available. Marketed as Amateur Radio transceivers, these units appear to be mostly available from CB shops around the country. What is so funny about all this is the FCC is continuously leveling fines against the marketers of this equipment yet they seem un-phased claiming some sort of right to do whatever they want. The FCC is so very obviously right about this I just don’t get why the marketers want to wear a sign that says “kick my butt… please.” Just what are the details…

From what I can gather, these radios are channelized just like CBs except their channels are in the 10 meter ham band. One example is the Connect 4300HP unit. A manual of some kind is available here…

http://www.cbtricks.com/

The frequency ranges from 28.015 to 28.585 MHz. Power out is 25 watts. I don’t know how the channels map to frequencies, but there is a convention in the ham bands on what type of signal to use where. Consulting this convenient chart by the ARRL they are:

  • 28.000MHz to 28.300MHz RTTY, Data including Morse code
  • 28.300MHz to 28.500MHz Voice for Novice and Technicians
  • 28.300MHz to 29.700MHz Voice and Image for Generals and above
  • Novice and Technicians are limited to 200 Watts

Another radio is the Cobra 200 GTL DX. It appears to have a real frequency display rather than channels.

Virgin motorists and truckers who buy these radios and don’t get a license are pretty easy to spot since they put voice on otherwise voice free segments of the 10 meter ham band. This pretty much exposes them as unlicensed operators.

Search around the Internet a bit and you will see the “tough-guy” attitudes suggesting rules are for someone else. Meanwhile the FCC is successfully fining the crap out of individuals, truck companies and vendor outlets who ignore the many warning letters sent to them. Here are some examples…

All this plus the ease with which voice operations stand out in the non-voice parts of the ham bands make users of this equipment sitting ducks whenever they transmit. Many hams eagerly find out who is transmitting and hand over details to Riley of the FCC which follows up aggressively.

This is like a Cowboys fan wearing their Cowboys jersey to a Philadelphia bowling alley. Sure you can do it, but why?

The only advice I can offer those who want to operate outside the Part 95 CB band is go ahead and get your ham license. It is very easy these days and the equipment you will learn about is superior to the small box stuff that the FCC obviously does not want running around on their turf.

I am not saying real ham radio equipment is all that cheap, but it does facilitate a better radio experience. Get yourself a Kenwood TS-480SAW plus a Tarheel Screwdriver antenna and you will have one fine HF mobile setup.

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