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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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