Submitted by: David Thorson

If you dream of far away places with strange sounding names, the 10 meter radio may be exactly what you are looking for. Ten meters is primarily a day time waveband; in the USA it is often possible to hear Europe in the morning, all of the Americas midday and the Pacific and East Asia in the evening. Traffic varies considerably, but the major attraction of the ten meter band is that it is possible to make contact over very large distances, especially at times of high solar activity.

The 10 meter wave band (frequencies 28 MHz to 29.7 MHz) is part of the shortwave spectrum where a great deal of Morse code transmission can be found. For those interested in voice transmission, SSB (single side band) is available on frequencies from 28.3 MHz to 28.5 MHz with 28.4 MHz the designated calling frequency. Many radio amateurs enjoy the process of contacting like minded individuals in far away countries, as well a sending and receiving QSL cards to show the extent of their contacts. With relatively small antennas, ten meter radio is a great ‘place’ to gain experience in antenna building and to practice for a higher class of amateur radio license.

Single Side Band is a modification of amplitude modulation which makes more efficient use of power as well as bandwidth. Originally known as SSSC (single side band suppressed carrier) the technique was patented in 1915 and in 1927 a commercial radiotelephone service was set up to use SSB for transatlantic communication. The cost was $75 for three minutes, equivalent to more than $760 today.

During World War II radio communications advanced quickly and the use of SSB spread to amateur radio operators. General Curtis leMay, who, in 1951, had become the youngest four star general in US history (since Ulysses S Grant), was Commander of SAC (Strategic Air Command) in the 1950’s. He was also an amateur radio enthusiast and well aware of the debate over the use of standard AM or SSB. SAC were planning to get rid of radio operators on their new aircraft and intending to use AM equipment, so General leMay had tests carried out to investigate the difference between the two modes of communication. In two flights, one to Okinawa and one to Greenland, SSB trounced the conventional AM systems leading SAC to adopt SSB as the standard for their new bomber, the B52.

Arthur Collins, founder of the Collins Radio company, and a very prominent figure in the history of amateur radio, was one of two participants in the test General leMay carried out. In 1957 the Collins radio company launched the KWM-1 transceiver, the first mobile transceiver and the first to use SSB. Collins radio placed all their emphasis on SSB rather than AM equipment, with the result that since 1957 SSB has been the effective standard for long distance radio transmission by voice.

The ten meter band was opened to technician class licensed radio amateurs in 1987 and in 2007 the requirement for a Morse Code test as part of the licensing process was dropped. It is NOT part of CB radio which is unlicensed. CB is restricted to the 11meter band and to lower power transceivers.

Because of the possibility of receiving signals over a great distance, ten meter radio has a considerable following, including the ten-ten club, an international organisation for radio enthusiasts who enjoy the challenges and opportunities of the ten meter band.

About the Author: If you would like to learn more about CB radio or 10 meter radio you can visit us at 10 meter radios have gained popularity as they offer greater power than a traditional CB radio.

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So Exactly What is the Difference?

Submitted by: Jeff C Thorson

Over the past few years the line between traditional CB radio and 10 meter radio has become blurred. Phrases like '10 meter CB radio' and 'export CB radio' have irrevocably woven themselves into the amateur radio and CB radio vocabulary. Despite widespread use of both technologies many users have no idea what the real differences are.

A traditional CB radio operates on the 11 meter band at about 27mhz. This gives it 40 channels ranging from 26.965mhz on channel 1 to 27.405mhz on channel 40. The distinctive characteristic of CB radio is that access to these frequencies is unrestricted by the FCC and available to anyone. Thus the term 'Citizens Band'. However although access is unrestricted, use of these frequencies is another matter. Users are required to adhere to certain codes of conduct and severe hardware limitations. By FCC rule no CB radio transmitter may exceed 4 watts of transmitting power. A smart operator may use a high quality antenna to 'get out' further but increasing output by almost any other means is prohibited.

By contrast 10 meter radio access is restricted but the allowable hardware is not as limited. 10 meter radios operate on frequencies ranging from 28mhz to 29.7mhz. To access 10 meter radio frequencies you are required to obtain an amateur or 'ham' radio license from the FCC. Such licenses are relatively easy to get and usually free of charge. Certain 10 meter radios also operate on FM radio frequencies which will require more advanced licensing. The hardware involved in 10 meter radio can be quite impressive. Unlike CB radio the FCC considers the 10 meter band acceptable for long range communication, several radios offer over 100 times the transmitting power of a traditional CB radio.

So why has the line between the two become blurred? Many CB radio operators dislike the severe restrictions placed on CB radio power output. Manufacturers responding to the desire for more power have produced 10 meter radios that look and operate exactly like a traditional CB radio and are easily modified to operate on CB radio frequencies. These modifications are probably what both the manufacturer and operator have in mind when it is purchased. It is important to note that such modifications are against FCC regulations and can lead to serious penalties.

The term 'export radio' is also used to refer to these new CB radio hybrid style 10 meter radios. The catch is that these radios are technically only supposed to be marketed for export use only. Most other countries do not have such severe restrictions on transmitting power as does the United States.

Although a significant portion of the CB radio community wants new regulations to allow for greater transmitting power, the FCC is very unlikely to change its policy anytime soon. The FCC regards CB radio as a short range communication device and does not want high powered long range transmissions interrupting local communications. This viewpoint will almost certainly preclude any change in policy any time in the near future.

About the Author: You can follow all the latest 10 meter radio and CB radio news on our blog. Thor's CB Radio Blog will keep you informed on all the news you need to know.

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