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Old 06-25-2015, 04:06 PM
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UHF radios - new to the USA question!

hey!

we've just moved to the US from Australia, and I wondering whether anyone could guide me with a few UHF radio questions? Just interested in communication between vehicles.

- In Aus, we were limited to 5w. unless you were a primary producer (then I think it went to 25w) - is it the same in the US?

- Is there a certain frequency range UHF operates on in the US? or any weird quirks I should be aware of?

- what brands are worth a look (or keep away from)? I've seen a bunch of cheap chinese stuff on ebay, then it jumps in price to ones I know (Icom, Motorola etc)

- any thing else I'd need to know? just in case I end up on Area 51's frequency and ge abducted by aliens or something

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Old 06-26-2015, 10:22 AM   #2
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What type of UHF are you looking at? Frequency allocations in the US are a bit different.

We have; FRS (Family Radio Service) is UHF, 0.5W handhelds only, no license. GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) also in UHF, 5W limit, license required (no test just an application). GMRS & FRS actually share some frequencies. FRS is rather limited in range despite advertising, expect a half mile. (maybe a kilometer)

Down in VHF is MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service), unlicensed, 2W power. Not very many people use it, radio's not that easy to find.

Most vehicle to vehicle communication in the US is down on HF. CB service. Unlicensed, 5W limit. Vehicle mounted radios as low as $40, plus antenna and mount. This is most likely where you want to be.

Other option is Amateur Radio – ham. License required, 1500W limit (most mobile radios are 50 with 5W handhelds) All bands available UHF, VHF, HF. VHF – 2 Meter is pretty popular and dual band, VHF/UHF, radios are common.

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Old 06-26-2015, 10:52 AM   #3
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In Australia, their equivalent of the American CB radio is on the UHF band. So that's why he's saying "UHF". I think what he's really asking for is guidance on CB radio in America. Here in America, CB Radio is not in the UHF band. It is on 27Mhz.
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:24 PM
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Awesome - exactly what I was needing to know!

Yes, in Oz, our typical radio communication is on UHF, graduating from the old days when it was all CB.

I found this on an Australian forum which explains what I've been used to:

Quote:
CB has a frequency of 27 megahertz. It is susceptable to interference from vehicle components, powerlines all manner of things. It is occasionally known to get great distance but generally (and 99.9 % of the time) it will get 3-7 klm vehicle to vehicle. It's audio is by means of AM, just like AM comercial radio in your car's factroy radio and is not as clear as UHF so that is why most do not use it anymore. It will not work with UHF CB.

UHF CB has a frequency of 477 megahertz. It is superior in that it gets very little interference, signals are clear and generally has better range. It will get 3-15klm (i have managed 22klm car to car up the beach and 120klm base to base using beam antennas) depending on terrain. It's audio uses FM just like your car's radio and that's why it gets better audio. There are many more brands and options and accessories available for UHF compared to AM. UHF Handhelds walk all over AM CB handhelds for build quality, range, function and ease of use.
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:29 PM
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So, what is HF CB then? A better quality than the CB 27Mhz steered away from?

How many people use GMRS then - or is that more used by people towing their Caravans and RV's?

Oh yeah - I've been looking at vehicle mounted as well as a 5w handheld.
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:32 PM   #6
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Yep. Unfortunately there is no equivalent UHF thing here in the USA. The UHF options that @sparky detailed are correct, however are not widespread. There are organized groups that have licenses and use them. Otherwise you'd be talking to yourself. Conventional 27mhz CB is the popular widely used thing when off roading here.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:36 AM   #7
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So, what is HF CB then? A better quality than the CB 27Mhz steered away from?
CB is on the HF band as opposed to UHF.
It's the same as you quoted 27MHZ AM. Still the same staticy communication.
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:40 AM   #8
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HF is very ambiguous so don't look too deeply into it. HF technically covers 3 to 30mhz and is not specific to any peticular service or use. CB radio in the USA is in the 27-28Mhz range, so it falls within the upper end of HF. As opposed to in Australia where it is in the 477mhz range. 477 falls within UHF, which is technically 300-3,000Mhz.
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:02 PM
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So, are my little handleld .5w UHF radios going to cause anyone giref over here?

Where/what should I start looking for a decent vehicle mount CB?
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:25 PM   #10
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You will be talking to yourself. Most of 477mhz range in the USA is for commercial and public safety use. At best, nobody will hear you. At worst, you will be talking to your local police department.
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:59 AM   #11
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No police, 477 is in TV channel 15. Doubt that you would interfer with anybody, you might hear a lot of trash. Technically illegal to use here.

Lots of on-line sites carry the radio's. Brands to look for are Uniden, Cobra, Midland. Stay away from Galaxy, Roadking, any 10M/CB combination. Anything thing that advertises "Big Signal" , "Peaked and Tuned", extra frequencies. That is all out of band stuff.

Regular CB is 5 watts, 40 channels. You don't need SSB (sideband), few use it. A usable plain radio starts at $50 and works just a well as a $150 radio, just less flash. One option that you might like is a radio that also receives the weather band. Add in antenna, cable, and mount, you will be around $100 or less.
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Old 07-02-2015, 02:40 PM   #12
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You can check out our full line of CB radios, antennas and electronics at www.ftlcbradios.com All of our radios are 100% legal to use in the US and we have all brands including Cobra, Uniden, and Midland. We only carry the best CB antennas including Firestik, Wilson, and Cobra. You will receive free shipping on orders over $50!
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Old 07-02-2015, 03:29 PM   #13
Knows a couple things...

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You can check out our full line of CB radios, antennas and electronics at www.ftlcbradios.com All of our radios are 100% legal to use in the US and we have all brands including Cobra, Uniden, and Midland. We only carry the best CB antennas including Firestik, Wilson, and Cobra. You will receive free shipping on orders over $50!
Nice site. My only nit-picky suggestion would be in the SWR section where it talks about what to do if the SWR is too high on ch 1 or ch 40. Having done 2-way radio 'stuff' including commercial, military, ham, and CB since the early 60's, my suggestion is to just have customers tune their antennas solely on channel 20. If the SWR is tuned for minimum and is acceptable on channel 20 which is the mid-point of the band, it will be as low as it can be on 1 and 40 too. Tuning solely on ch 20 is a real time saver that produces optimal results all the way across the entire band.
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:58 AM   #14
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Nice site. My only nit-picky suggestion would be in the SWR section where it talks about what to do if the SWR is too high on ch 1 or ch 40. Having done 2-way radio 'stuff' including commercial, military, ham, and CB since the early 60's, my suggestion is to just have customers tune their antennas solely on channel 20. If the SWR is tuned for minimum and is acceptable on channel 20 which is the mid-point of the band, it will be as low as it can be on 1 and 40 too. Tuning solely on ch 20 is a real time saver that produces optimal results all the way across the entire band.
That's a great tip Jerry! Definitely a time saver!

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