HFU HF Underground

Loggings => 10/11 meters => Topic started by: R4002 on June 24, 2017, 2336 UTC

Title: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on June 24, 2017, 2336 UTC
I've noticed something about certain areas and wanted to get the HF Underground group's stories on this.  That is, up and down the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, at least along Interstate 95, each area seems to have a "home channel" with larger areas (read: cities) having several home channels.

For example, driving up I-95 from Richmond, I notice channels 1, 7, 14, 22, 33 and 38 LSB are the "home channels" for the Richmond area, along with at least two out-of-band frequencies (one for AM, one for SSB - I'm not going to mention the frequencies - at least not yet ;)).  As I drive north, the local channel about 20-30 miles up 95 is suddenly channel 35, then once I'm in Fredericksburg its both 31 and 35 (and possibly others).  Near Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, the local channel (at least for SSB) appears to alternate between 38 LSB, 39 LSB, and freeband frequencies above channel 40 - 27.425 LSB, and 27.435 LSB (I'm sure there was/are in-band AM channels too).   There are also several base stations located near the 95/495 (Washington Beltway) interchanges that operate on channel 19, sometimes as their own personal chat channel - often talking over the trucker chatter since they run power and have base station antennas.  I don't really consider 19 to be a "town channel" though. 

I know the further south you go the more popular CB becomes, which supports the "home channel" or "town channel" thing. I know they are a throwback to the old 23-channel CB days back when you had to have a license and certain channels were designated intra-license and inter-license (i.e., some channels are for users under the same license to use while others are for users talking to people operating under difference licenses, with channel 9 as the emergency channel, 10 as the original road or trucker channel (soon changed to 19) and 11 as the "calling" channel.

Given the popularity of radios that can operate out of band, one of the most popular SSB frequencies around here is actually above 27.405 MHz.  The AM guys that hang out on channel 14 also have at least two out of band AM frequencies that they like to use as a "private" channel.

So my question to HFU is, does your area still have "town" channels?  How often are they used?  Or do the AM guys just hang out on 19 and the SSB guys hang out on 38?

Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: skeezix on June 25, 2017, 0154 UTC
I haven't noticed that around here. Its usually dead here for local use.

The truckers usually stick to 19, but I did hear a couple the other day on 28.

There's a couple of guys that I've heard now & then (very sporadically) "up one band."

Way back in the late 80's, my friends & I were on 27 as our home channel. Those losers didn't have SSB.  ::)

Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on June 25, 2017, 2041 UTC
Interesting, I've always associated 28 (and 26) with "big radio" channels (like 6, 11, etc).  Although when the band is closed I suppose that makes no real difference.  Truckers that venture from 19 either do so by going out of band, or by staying near 19.  I remember listening to some on 23 and 27 when the band was closed.  They actually seemed pretty far away from each other.  Even though channel 20 is actually 20 kHz away from 19, it seems like lots of CBers like to skip channels when moving from channel to channel. 

27.505 MHz AM - often known as "channel 50" to the locals up here (even though its channel 8 up one band) seems to be the popular AM channel for out of band "private" QSOs.   27.575 MHz is also popular, and that makes even more sense as one of the local channels here is 14, and 27.575 is channel 14 up one band.  Of course, 99% of the time, they stay on their "home" channels.

I have heard some of the channel 33 guys hanging out on 26.885 and 27.785 MHz, which are channel 33 down one band and up one band respectively.  I have also noticed stations checking SWR and antenna systems by starting at their home channel and then flipping the band switch up and down and keying the mic. 
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: skeezix on June 25, 2017, 2253 UTC
The guys on 28 the other day were on the interstate and only were talking for a short bit. 28 was otherwise quiet.

The other locals that I've found up one band I think was on ch 14 up there. 27.575 sounds familiar, but I haven't heard them for a while so unsure.

Tuned around the band now (2250 UTC) and its open a bit. 6,11 and a few others, but not much out of band.

397 from NC on 39L talking to someone in WI.





Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on June 25, 2017, 2331 UTC
The band was nice and open from my location earlier today, worked several midwest and northeast US states as well as several Canadian provinces with a barefoot Superstar 3900 and a stock magnetic mount Hustler IC-100 CB antenna.  Great conditions.  The in-band legal SSB channels (37, 38, 39, etc) were all wall-to-wall with powerful signals.  27.415 LSB, 27.425 LSB, 27.430 LSB, 27.435 LSB, 27.445 LSB, 27.485 LSB, 27.500 USB and 27.555 USB were all active as well.  I had a nice long QSO with a station in Michigan on 27.445 LSB and then about 20 minutes later I worked the same station on 27.555 USB. 

27.575 MHz AM is one of the "high channel" frequencies that I often hear AM activity on, and its usually truckers, with some hunters/locals using the frequency from time to time as well. 
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: skeezix on June 26, 2017, 0036 UTC
I went looking for the locals (0030 UTC, Jun 26, 2017) and the band is alive!

Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Pigmeat on June 26, 2017, 0502 UTC
21 has been one for as long as I can remember and 17. I rarely go up there any more since my last CB crapped out a decade or so ago. It's a PIA to remember the frequencies if you don't have them in front of you.

From what I understand, what used to be "The Old Lady" channel here decades ago, 6, along with 12 are popular now. I'm sure it still changes from one small geographic area to another. I live in rural state, the channels that are popular on one side of a decent sized county will be different than the ones in the center and the other sections. The few towns in that section normally operate on the same frequencies for local bs'ing. You still see a lot of CB antennas on houses and cars, someone is doing some talking.



Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on June 26, 2017, 1852 UTC
One thing's for sure, CB radio is still alive and well, especially in rural areas.  I live in an urban area and CB is still very popular even in the downtown areas, despite the fact that 26-27 MHz doesn't propagate too well in built-up areas.  That may explain why most of the locals are running power.  

In a rural area with a high quality base station antenna, I know 4 watts carrier power will actually get out pretty well.  I take it for granted that most operators are at least running a "peaked and tuned" radio.  

I recently installed a Uniden 520XL bare bones 40 channel AM CB radio and an old Radioshack magnetic mount CB antenna on my roommate's car and he absolutely loves it - I keep telling him about the "town channels" in the areas he drives through, but he just leaves it on 19 the whole time.  Pure utilitarian.  Even with a basic setup like that (4 watt radio, I've measured it at around 4.5 watts carrier to 17 or so watts PEP / "swing") and a base-loaded 1/4 wave mag mount antenna, he's able to talk to truckers on channel 19 (which is almost always congested) 4-5 miles away from him in either direction on the Interstate.  

It's interesting that the channels mentioned are all close to the center of the band (27.185 MHz - channel 19).  21, 17, 14, 22, etc.  The channel 22 guys sometimes move up to channel 23 and 24, even though they think channel 24 is "further away" from 22, its actually closer than 23, since channel 22 is 27.225 MHz, channel 23 is 27.255 MHz and 24 is 27.235 MHz. 
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Josh on June 26, 2017, 1904 UTC
In northwest Omaha the channel was 2, at least when I was playing cb, however there was a ghetto channel for the east side and downtownies.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on June 26, 2017, 1907 UTC
It's the same here, channel 22 is the "ghetto" channel [it has other names that I'm not going to type out here]...the other channels are generally used outside the city proper. 
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Pigmeat on June 26, 2017, 2001 UTC
Before my last CB crapped out I used it to check on my now late Uncle, who preferred his ancient 70's base station to the cellphone his kids gave him. (the man hated phones of all kinds). It was about ten miles as the crow flies and easy to do with four watts into an inverted "v".

I see small lawn care and tree trimming companies vehicles running around with CB antennas here. As most of the trimmers are from south of the border and beyond, I wonder how many local "big guns" have tried to work them thinking they've got the South Americans blasting in?
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on June 27, 2017, 0022 UTC
Tree companies and paving/road construction companies seem to make heavy use of CB around here as well.  There's one that has trucks with two antennas on each, one for CB, and the other for their 43 MHz band business radio service system.  Since they often work with other contractors/sub-contractors, having CB makes sense.  Same with the state department of transportation operating their own 47 MHz system, having radios for the VHF high band state police Project 25 digital trunking system, scanners of various types and a mag-mount CB antenna on some trucks for good measure - so the snow plow guys can talk to the truckers.

The roadside assistance trucks all have VHF low band (45/47 MHz), VHF high band (digital trunking), 700/800 MHz antennas (vehicle repeaters for digital trunking) and a hodgepodge of various CB antennas.  Some of them have dual ball-and-spring antenna mounts (one for a VHF low band antenna, and the other on the opposite side of the truck for a CB antenna).

I've seen 4 foot fiberglass coil antennas, 60-70" base-loaded whips, Wilson 5000 trucker antennas, and 108" stainless steel 1/4 waves opposite the VHF low band antennas.  With all those antennas combined with VHF-high band and scanner antennas...one wonders what the radiation patterns for those types of setups are. 

I even remember seeing a military convoy driving down 95 and the lead humvee had a Wilson 5000 CB antenna slapped on the roof (as well as VHF FM SINCGARS antennas).  Interoperability, yo.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: skeezix on June 27, 2017, 0105 UTC
I even remember seeing a military convoy driving down 95 and the lead humvee had a Wilson 5000 CB antenna slapped on the roof (as well as VHF FM SINCGARS antennas).  Interoperability, yo.

That actually makes a lot of sense as can get road conditions easily. Also if there are any smokeys up ahead.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on June 27, 2017, 2006 UTC
CB is the 'voice of the highway' so that makes perfect sense.  Since most information from trucker chatter on 19 can be gained simply by listening, it wouldn't surprise me if somebody brought a radio and antenna from home just to know what's going on.

Even the Virginia State Police used to have Uniden 520XL radios installed in their cars as part of the standard radio package.  They have since been removed from VSP vehicles, but, as I mentioned before, VDOT and other state agencies keep CB equipment in their vehicles for the same reason that army convoy had a CB in the lead vehicle. 
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Σ on June 28, 2017, 1224 UTC
Stafford Springs, CT used channel 22 a few years ago. Home channels are where you hang out and wait for your buddy to call you. I used "channel 44" back in the late 70s and 80s and there were a whole bunch of us who used to go 4 wheeling. It was good to have a channel to call for help on if/when we got stuck. 😊
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on August 07, 2017, 1547 UTC
Channel 44 as in 27.445 MHz?  Some of the locals around here call refer to one of their out of band / freeband CB channels as Channel 50 - 27.505 MHz (usually followed by "yeah, go to channel 8 and then go up one band" since most people are using export gear with a channel display and a band switch, but no frequency display or frequency counter). 
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Σ on August 07, 2017, 1602 UTC
When I was active it was hard to get an export radio. Most everyone had switches to pull up or ground PLL pins. You needed a chart to know what channel you were on. The President Madison I used at home had a purple wire that you could cut on the Ch 9 quick button and that went automatically to 27.445 MHz. That was the reason it became the home channel. All the mobiles in our group were Uniden Grants and had the same feature.

Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Josh on August 07, 2017, 1818 UTC
Most of us in my gang in Omaha around 89 or so ran 148s, modded by a great guy named Lady Chaser. This is steeped in cb kulture lol. Of course, a modulation hack was employed as well, making it grossly distorted but several times more power output. Basically the amc was removed from the circuit. The 148 was/is a cult classic but the 2510 shamed it save for in ssb selectivity. The 2510 is a proper radio, the 148s should be left stock. Nowadays I run a stock radio shack copy of the pc122, with the amc adjusted to just fold back on peak ssb power it does 18w and I'm satisfied with that.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Σ on August 08, 2017, 1616 UTC
I also had several Motorola Mocat CBs that were nice. They weren't strong on modulation but had terrific receivers. No one would believe you when you said you had a Motorola CB.  :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3yYeUZNfM0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3yYeUZNfM0)
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Josh on August 08, 2017, 1741 UTC
I also had several Motorola Mocat CBs that were nice. They weren't strong on modulation but had terrific receivers. No one would believe you when you said you had a Motorola CB.  :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3yYeUZNfM0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3yYeUZNfM0)

A frond gave me a borked one that had ssb, it was neat looking but I never got it working.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Σ on August 08, 2017, 2344 UTC
I might have one of those in storage... need to go look for it sometime.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"? Oh yeah!
Post by: ThaDood on August 10, 2017, 1118 UTC
Deep within the bowels of West Virginia, CB CH 12 is very much a staple where I am locally, (Which is surprising when any skip rolls in, CH 11 has terrible bleed over from those over MOD mud ducks.). Just the next county south of me, CH 35 is active nightly. Some of the coal trucks in the daytime, I hear them on CH 8. And, when the weather gets cooler, there's an on / off group that likes to meet on LSB CH 39 on various evenings regionally around the WV, KY, and OH, tri-state. There seems to be a small group in the Capital area on CH 26. And, with Routes 64, 77, and 79, here with their multitude of wrecks, CB CH 19 is a necessity for sure, with truckers being boots on the ground to 1st bitch about any mess-ups. Certainly a reason for me to keep a CB in my truck, fo' sure. Oh... And I've heard various, weak, traffic on CH 2. albeit, I don't know where they're coming from. So, very busy CB-wise in WV.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: Pigmeat on August 11, 2017, 0416 UTC
Back in the 70's and 80's when weed growing here was on a huge scale, the growers would head out to set on their patches around this time of year until harvest in late Sept./early Oct. They all communicated via CB. There weren't that many people living out that way then, and nearly all the growers were locals. You might not know where they were, but everyone knew who they were by their voices, it was comical to listen to.

Local sheriffs and judges are elected, and the economy had turned to crap in the late 70's. The law wasn't about to go out and track ol' Bub down, who was simply trying to provide for his family, and risk pissing off the couple of hundred people he was related to or friends with. Those votes could swing a tight election in a lightly populated county where those growers were one of the main yearly infusions of hard cash. The only growers that got nabbed regularly were what was left of the commune types who'd arrived from out of state in the late 60's and 70's.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: MDK2 on August 11, 2017, 1414 UTC
Back in the 70's and 80's when weed growing here was on a huge scale, the growers would head out to set on their patches around this time of year until harvest in late Sept./early Oct. They all communicated via CB. There weren't that many people living out that way then, and nearly all the growers were locals. You might not know where they were, but everyone knew who they were by their voices, it was comical to listen to.

Local sheriffs and judges are elected, and the economy had turned to crap in the late 70's. The law wasn't about to go out and track ol' Bub down, who was simply trying to provide for his family, and risk pissing off the couple of hundred people he was related to or friends with. Those votes could swing a tight election in a lightly populated county where those growers were one of the main yearly infusions of hard cash. The only growers that got nabbed regularly were what was left of the commune types who'd arrived from out of state in the late 60's and 70's.

Minus the radio communication portion, this story reminds me of what Larry Livermore, the founder of Lookout! Records (the East Bay punk label that issued the first releases from Operation Ivy, Green Day, and The Donnas, among others) said about his time in some forested part of northern California in the late 70s/early 80s. The Lookout! name was first used for a zine he self-published while living there, named after a fire lookout tower. Among other topics, he wrote about the rather open secret of MJ growing in the area, which apparently formed a significant part of the local economy. Apparently a bunch of the growers showed up on his door and "suggested" that he not write about that anymore. He would soon relocate to Berkeley, get involved with the then-brand-new Gilman Street Project (an all ages punk club where the aforementioned bands, among others, would first make their mark), start his label, and eventually make rock history.

Anyway, the point is that it's funny how open some of this stuff was. When I was in Seattle in the late 90s, a very large grow operation was discovered on the grounds of Lake Sammamish State Park, just east of town. It had obviously been there for years, and had covered escape routes that may well have been utilized when the cops stumbled upon it - nobody was ever arrested. But it covered a few acres and was apparently just right there for anyone to see if they went just a bit off trail.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: skeezix on September 03, 2017, 1608 UTC
Went to the MN Renaissance Festival yesterday which is located right next to a gravel pit. On the way in to parking, went by some of the gravel pit things and there was sign that said "Channel 25 on CB" on a side road next to a little shed.

This will be tough to confirm since they're about 20 miles from me and probably only run during the business day.
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on September 03, 2017, 1754 UTC
Back in the 70's and 80's when weed growing here was on a huge scale, the growers would head out to set on their patches around this time of year until harvest in late Sept./early Oct. They all communicated via CB. There weren't that many people living out that way then, and nearly all the growers were locals. You might not know where they were, but everyone knew who they were by their voices, it was comical to listen to.

Local sheriffs and judges are elected, and the economy had turned to crap in the late 70's. The law wasn't about to go out and track ol' Bub down, who was simply trying to provide for his family, and risk pissing off the couple of hundred people he was related to or friends with. Those votes could swing a tight election in a lightly populated county where those growers were one of the main yearly infusions of hard cash. The only growers that got nabbed regularly were what was left of the commune types who'd arrived from out of state in the late 60's and 70's.

Awesome post Pigmeat.  I can confirm that, at least in the city I reside in, there are some drug dealers using FRS and GMRS radios to communicate with lookouts, etc. Myself and other listeners here have logged dealers talking to runners on 462.725 MHz [FRS / GMRS channel 22 in most radios]. Logical progression from 27 MHz CB to UHF FRS/GMRS.  Wouldn't surprise me if this was the case today where growers still operate.  

skeezix, was that sign you mentioned for coordinating dropoffs for the MN Renaissance Festival?  Sounds to me like a "guard shack" type deal where the truckers switch to a certain channel to communicate with whoever is in charge of coordinating movement in the freight yard.  Locally, there's a yard that uses CB channel 7 - 27.035 MHz for those purposes.  It has also been heard on various VHF business band frequencies, but that seems to be for yard workers only, not for the truckers themselves, who stick to CB (and frequencies available to them with 10 meter export radios) only.  
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: skeezix on September 04, 2017, 2151 UTC
Awesome post Pigmeat.  I can confirm that, at least in the city I reside in, there are some drug dealers using FRS and GMRS radios to communicate with lookouts, etc. Myself and other listeners here have logged dealers talking to runners on 462.725 MHz [FRS / GMRS channel 22 in most radios]. Logical progression from 27 MHz CB to UHF FRS/GMRS.  Wouldn't surprise me if this was the case today where growers still operate.  

I have yet to hear any of that here on CB/GMRS/FRS. I'm guessing around here they use cell phones.


skeezix, was that sign you mentioned for coordinating dropoffs for the MN Renaissance Festival?  Sounds to me like a "guard shack" type deal where the truckers switch to a certain channel to communicate with whoever is in charge of coordinating movement in the freight yard.  Locally, there's a yard that uses CB channel 7 - 27.035 MHz for those purposes.  It has also been heard on various VHF business band frequencies, but that seems to be for yard workers only, not for the truckers themselves, who stick to CB (and frequencies available to them with 10 meter export radios) only.  

The sign was indeed for the trucks in the gravel pit for doing whatever it is they do in there. It wasn't for the shuttles for the RennFest. In the RennFest, the workers had UHF radios. I didn't have scanner with, plus, I was busy trying to not live in the real world for a few hours.  ;D

There's a major downtown Mpls street under construction (Nicollet Mall, for those that care) and some of the contractors have a couple of CB antennas on top. They don't look phased since they're only a couple of feet apart. Don't know if they use them while downtown, or if they use them on their other jobs.


IIRC, the sign at the gravel pit should be right here. (https://www.google.com/maps/place/4445'58.2%22N+9335'31.1%22W/@44.766171,-93.5925082,133m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d44.766171!4d-93.591961)  (or at least somewhere in this side thing)
Title: Re: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?
Post by: R4002 on September 05, 2017, 1546 UTC
Looking at the Google Street View for that location, I see a trailer with a vertical CB antenna mounted on it, no sign relating to CB channels can be seen though.

The construction guys probably use CB for truck-to-truck communications and general banter...that, or they're used for other purposes.  CB is the thing that all the different contractors (who may or may not use VHF or UHF business radios) have in common.  The highway assistance trucks in my state all have CB antennas on them (in addition to VHF low band, VHF high band, and UHF and/or those RadioShack scanner antennas with two loading coils) to listen to truckers on channel 19.  I've heard several conversations on the state DOT VHF low band system relating to something like "what are the truckers talking about on the CB?" during snowstorms.