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Author Topic: What Is Freeband 11 Meter Free Band CB Radio Export Radio Info  (Read 32491 times)

Offline R4002

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Please see the HF Underground Wiki page for CB as well as the general information for 10 meter/11 meter band:

CB and 10 meter radio info - do you need a license to operate a 10 meter radio? what is freeband CB radio? 11 meter radios trucking hunting radios CB radio frequencies license free freeband

11 meter band plans freeband CB channels frequencies survivalist emergency CB bands CB channels on ham radio frequency mod channel expansion 27 MHz 11 meter band

"Free band" or "freeband" refers to the frequencies both above and below the legal CB band.  They usually start at 25615 kHz 25.615 MHz (or 25165 kHz 25.165 MHz) and extend up to 27995 kHz or 27.995 MHz, although some people simply consider 25-30 MHz to be the freeband, even though that includes the 10 meter amateur band, there are often pirate, bootleg or otherwise unlicensed operations in the 10 meter ham band.  Apparently 10 meter intruders are a significant problem in certain parts of the world (Latin America, most of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia) due to heavy penetration of so-called export radios or "10 meter" radios - that is, radios that cover the 10 meter band out of the box...but can easily be "converted" to 11 meter freeband frequencies (in addition to the legal CB band). 

Freebanding refers to operating on the frequencies above and below the legal CB band, as well as operating "in-between" the legal CB channels (for example, operating on 27.380 MHz or 27.400 MHz).  This is often practiced by SSB CB operators to find a clear frequency.  Of course, it is often easier to go above channel 40 or below channel 1 to find a clear channel.  During band openings you will often hear many QSOs above and below the legal CB frequencies. 

Further complicating things is that different countries have different CB band allocations.  This is especially true in Europe where vehicles (and radio waves) freely travel across borders.  This has given rise to the multi-norm CB radio, which is a radio that has all the various bands programmed into it, and relies on the customer to select which country they intend to operate the radio in.  Of course, all one has to do is select a different country's band plan, and the radio allows the user to access unauthorized frequencies.  For example, both Germany and the UK have 80 channel CB - they have the standard CEPT, EU, EC, Euro 40, or mid band 40, the same as the US FCC frequency plan, plus 40 more channels. 

Russia has 240 channels due to use of 5 kHz spacing.  Many radios' "Russia" mode simply opens the radio up for export transmit, which is generally 25.615-30.105 MHz or 25.615-28.305 MHz.  (or 25.610 MHz to 30.100 MHz or 30.110 MHz).  The RU or Russia mode often includes the ability to select between the zeros and fives (in other words, the original Russian CB band has channel 19 at 27.180 MHz, vs. the standard channel 19 at 27.185 MHz.)

This board deals primarily with 10 and 11 meters (usually defined at 25 to 30 MHz or 25000 kHz to 30000 kHz).  The 10 meter amateur or ham radio band extends from 28000 to 29700 kHz (or 28 to 29.7 MHz).  The 12 meter amateur or ham radio band extends from 24890 to 24990 kHz (or 24.89 to 24.99 MHz).  This makes a nice "bottom edge".  Since WWV transmits on 25.000 MHz / 25000 kHz, that makes things even easier.

Let's take a look at the 25 to 30 MHz band, legally speaking of course:

25.000 MHz is reserved for time and frequency standard stations.  WWV currently operates here.
25.020 MHz to 25.320 MHz is allocated for fixed and mobile oil spill cleanup operations (FM mode, 20 kHz channel steps)
25.330 MHz to 25.550 MHz is allocated for "fixed/mobile"
25.550 MHz to 25.670 MHz is supposed to be free of stations as it is internationally allocated to radio astronomy. 
25.670 MHz to 26.100 MHz (some sources start it at 25.600 MHz or 25600 kHz) is the 11 meter international broadcast band
25.870 MHz to 26.470 MHz is allocated for studio to transmitter links (or remote broadcast pickup) under FCC Part 74.402
26.100 MHz to 26.175 MHz is the 26 MHz HF marine allocation (3 kHz channel steps, split frequency duplex or simplex)
26.480 MHz to 26.950 MHz is allocated for "fixed/mobile" including military/government users
26.957 MHz to 27.283 MHz is allocated for Industrial, Scientific and Medical ISM purposes (center frequency 27.120 MHz +/- 163 kHz)
26.960 MHz to 27.410 MHz is allocated for the CB radio service (aka Citizen's Band Radio Service) under FCC Part 95
27.410 MHz to 27.540 MHz is allocated to the land mobile (business radio) service, 27.43 MHz to 27.53 MHz 20 kHz channel steps
27.540 MHz to 28.000 MHz is allocated for "fixed/mobile" including military/government users
28.000 MHz to 29.700 MHz is allocated to the amateur service (10 meter band)
29.700 MHz to 29.800 MHz is allocated to the land mobile (business radio) service, 29.71 MHz to 29.79 MHz 20 kHz channel steps
29.800 MHz to 29.890 MHz is allocated to the fixed service
29.890 MHz to 29.910 MHz is allocated to the mobile service
29.910 MHz to 30.000 MHz is allocated for "fixed/mobile" including military/government users

---International CB Frequency Channel Plans:

While much of the world simply copies the US CB band plan, many countries have different laws regarding mode, transmission power, etc.  North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and portions of Asia make extensive use of AM/SSB.  Europe and Russia, however, make extensive use of FM, with AM and SSB seen as more of a "niche".  Many parts of Europe now allow use of AM, FM and SSB.

In addition to this, several countries allow for additional channels (legally).  These include:

*German 80 channel CB plan (also adopted by Czech Republic, Hungary, and other places):
26.565-27.405 MHz.  Channels 1-40 are the standard 26.965-27.405 MHz channels, channels 41-80 are 26.565-26.955 in straight 10 kHz channel sequence.

*UK FM "27/81" 40+40 channel plan (80 channels total)
26.965-27.405 MHz, US CB band plan, AM/FM/SSB allowed - 40 channels
27.60125-27.99125 MHz, UK only 27/81 CB band plan, FM only allowed - 40 channels, straight 10 kHz step channel sequence

*UK CADS Community Audio Distribution Service (27 MHz Church Broadcast Radio)
26.965-27.405 MHz, US CB band plan or CEPT band "mid band" - FM mode only, 4 watt output power limit
27.60125-27.99125 MHz FM 40 channels - same as UK FM CB channeling, 4 watt output power limit

*Ireland WPAS Wireless Public Address System - 27 MHz Irish Church CB Radio Broadcasting
Two overlapping band plans for 80 channels, 4 watts carrier AM power or 4 watts FM power limits
27.60125-27.99125 MHz - 40 channels (same as UK FM band) - channels LW01 through LW40 AM and FM allowed
27.605-27.995 MHz - 40 channels, straight 10 kHz step channels UW01 through UW40 - AM and FM allowed

*New Zealand 26MHz CB channel plan 40 channels 26MHz CB, 40 channels 27MHz CB
26.330-26.770 MHz, 40 channels, AM/SSB allowed
26.965-27.405 MHz, 40 channels (US plan) AM/SSB allowed

*Brazilian 80 channel plan
26.965-27.855 MHz, 80 channels, AM/SSB allowed with higher power limits

*Russian / Polish "zeros" frequency plan:
26.960-27.400 MHz, same as US plan, but all channels -5 kHz (for example, channel 27 is normally 27.275 MHz, the Russian/Polish channel 27 is 27.270 MHz).  However, Russia allows use of both the "zeros" and the "fives" (standard CB band).  In addition to this, Russia allows use of the low-low band through the high band (26.060 MHz to 27.850 MHz / 26.065 MHz to 27.855 MHz), effectively giving CB 5 kHz channel steps instead of 10 kHz steps.  Many radios sold in Russia feature a "-5 kHz" switch in addition to a "+10 kHz" switch. 

---Now, we'll discuss the illegal or "freeband" users of this same spectrum: 

Generally, the spectrum between 26000 and 28000 kHz (26-28 MHz) is considered "11 meters".  Some operators include some or all of the 25 MHz band as well.  The legal CB band (in most of the world) is the same as the American FCC CB band, 26965 kHz to 27405 kHz / 26.965 MHz to 27.405 MHz divided into 40 channels with 10 kHz channel spacing.  Now, the there's actually 45 channels in the CB band, however, 5 of these, spaced 50 kHz apart from each other, are allocated to R/C (also known as RC, remote control, auxiliary channels, A channels, Alpha channels, etc) and other non-voice purposes.  These frequencies are:

26995 kHz / 26.995 MHz - channel 3A
27045 kHz / 27.045 MHz - channel 7A
27095 kHz / 27.095 MHz - channel 11A
27145 kHz / 27.145 MHz - channel 15A
27195 kHz / 27.195 MHz - channel 19A

These frequencies are used for voice communications by "freebanders", even though they lie within the band limits of the legal CB band.

Freebanders use various types of equipment to operate in the frequencies below CB channel 1 (called the "lowers", "lows" or "low channels") and/or above CB channel 40 (called the "uppers", "highs" or "high channels").  This equipment can be categorized into three broad types:

-Purpose built "export radios" - often sold as "10-meter radios", easily identified by the fact that they're being sold as ham radio equipment yet have a channel display, with multiple banks of 40 channels and CB-like controls.  The famous Superstar radios, Mirage radios, the Ranger/RCI RCI-2950 and RCI-2970 series, Cobra 148GTL DX, and the Galaxy "DX radios" are classic examples of the exports.  Modern export radios include the Anytone AT-5555 and its dozens of clones, the CRE 8900 (aka Alinco DR-135CB or DR-135UK), Anytone AT-6666, President Jackson II, President Grant II, and many others. 

-Modified CB equipment.  This includes radios that were sold as legal 40 channel radios and were then modified, either by installing "channel kits", "frequency mods" or "channel mods" to gain access to additional channels, or by other means.  Since modern CB radios use PLL for frequency generation, there are several methods to open up radios to gain extra channels.  Other modifications include "open clarifier" or "slider" modifications to "slide" between channels (i.e., access frequencies between the 10 kHz channeling), +10kHz switches to get to the A channels, and higher transmit power.  Many high-end CB radios such as the Galaxy DX 949/DX 959 series as well as the DX 9x9 series that followed them, the Cobra 148GTL, most of the Cobra 29 series radios, etc, can easily be modified for additional frequencies.  For example, simply cutting two wires and installing switches on them on the DX 949/DX 959 Galaxy radios can give a user access to 26.695-27.965 MHz.  There are several frequency kits available that give three sets of 40 channels (low channels, mid/CB channels, and high channels), while others provide more bands and/or a +10 kHz switch.

-Modified amateur radio equipment.  This is not referring to export radios or 10 meter radios, which are obviously CBs in disguise.  This is referring to HF ham radio equipment that has been modified for open transmit (often called the "MARS/CAP mod") or "freeband mod".  Unlike the channelized radios listed above, these radios provide VFO continuous coverage up to 30 MHz and often beyond. 

The majority of users either use modified CBs or 10-meter radios that have been "converted" for 11 meters.  Often the conversion (modification) is as simple as holding down two buttons while switching the radio on or clipping a resistor off the circuit board. 

Because of the vast adoption of Ranger/RCI export radios / 10 meter radios by freebanders, a de facto channel or frequency plan has been adopted.  The majority of export radios feature a channel selector (just like a CB radio) plus a band switch.  Higher-end models include a frequency counter or frequency display, but many simply just have the channel display and the band switch.  The bands are almost always labelled with an alphabetical designation.   The "standard" 6-band export radio (Superstar 3900, Connex 3300, General Lee, etc etc) labels the bands A-F.  Some radios include a "HIGH/LOW" switch allowing the band switch to be changed from 6-position to 3-position (instead of A-B-C-D-E-F, the switch reads A/D-B/E-C/F).  Other radios allow for 8, 10, 12 or even more bands, however, the vast majority are 6-band radios, with the regular legal CB band at "band D", providing coverage from 25.615 MHz to 28.305 MHz channelized in 10 kHz steps.

The "Ranger" style export radios almost all use the same main PCB board, with features added or deleted (FM, SSB, frequency counter, echo/reverb, etc).  The Connex 3300 style radio (which is AM/FM only) has the same main board as the Superstar 3900F (Voyage VR9000, Superstar 9000, Galaxy 88, etc - which are all AM/FM/SSB/CW with frequency display). 

Other radios start at 25.165 MHz (putting the legal CB band at "band E") and others still skip 25 MHz coverage all together and start at 26.065 MHz, putting the legal CB band at "band C".  This can get quite confusing for the operator, especially if there's no frequency display. 

Purpose built export radios such as the Connex Deer Hunter and Connex Coyote Hunter include the legal CB band as the highest band, but still follow the A-B-C-D-E-F alpha labeling for the various bands. For example, the Connex Deer Hunter covers 26.065 to 27.405 MHz in 3 bands (B, C and D).  The Coyote Hunter covers 25.615 MHz to 27.405 MHz in 4 bands (A, B, C, D).  This goes along with the general rule of AM traffic staying below channel 1, and SSB traffic being more common above channel 40 (as these radios are AM/FM only and do not feature SSB).  Hunters make extensive use of the freeband frequencies.  A similar radio is the Superstar 121, which, like the Connex Deer Hunter, offers 3 bands.  Instead of 26.065 MHz to 27.405 MHz, however, the Superstar 121 covers 26.515 MHz to 27.855 MHz and the band switch is labeled even more literally.  Instead of C-D-E, it simply says "LOW-MED-HIGH".   Many other so-called "120 channel" radios use this labeling, instead of the alpha labeling of radios with more than 3 bands.

Each band is 45 channels (450 kHz) - that is, 40 channels + 5 "alpha" channels, most export radios are fitted with a +10kHz switch to access these channels. 

Connex 3300/Superstar 3900/90% of export radios frequency plan:

Band A:  25615-26055 kHz / 25.615-26.055 MHz
Band B:  26065-26505 kHz / 26.065-26.505 MHz
Band C:  26515-26955 kHz / 26.515-26.955 MHz
Band D:  26965-27405 kHz / 26.965-27.405 MHz
Band E:  27415-27855 kHz / 27.415-27.855 MHz
Band F:  27865-28305 kHz / 27.865-28.305 MHz

There are, of course, variations to this rule "band plan".  The famous Galaxy DX 99V, for example, simply has a bandswitch labeled "A-B-C-D" with a "HIGH/LOW" switch (giving the user 8 bands to choose from.  Instead of 25.615-28.305 MHz, the Galaxy 99 adds an additional band at the top and the bottom of the frequency coverage, expanding the coverage to 25.165-28.755 MHz.  Other radios go even further, for example, the RF Limited Magnum 257HP covers 25.165 to 29.695 MHz, and the Superstar 158EDX covers 24.265 to 29.655 MHz in 12 bands.  With the arrival of the "new style" Chinese-designed export radios (Anytone AT-5555 series, etc), the new de facto export frequency coverage has changed from 25.615-28.305 MHz to 25.615-30.105 MHz.  Some “10/12 meter” or “12-meter” / “10-meter” radios like several President CB and 10 meter radios now offer 24.715 MHz to 30.105 MHz coverage as the export option or expanded frequency option to cover the 24.89 MHz to 24.99 MHz 12 meter band, the 25-28 MHz (or 26-28 MHz...or 26-30 MHz...) 11 meter band including the CB band and freeband frequencies *and* the 28 MHz to 29.7 MHz 10 meter band all in one.  Radios available on the market now have the capability to switch between 10m/12m coverage and full 24.715-30.105 MHz coverage with a simple mode change in the radio’s menu.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 1808 UTC by R4002 »
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/transceivers/scanners/receivers - land mobile system operator - focus on VHF/UHF and 11m

Offline Polar Bear

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Thank you for that in depth analysis of Free Banding and an explanation of where it occurs.

The only thing I could add would be why do it if its so simple to obtain a amateur radio license and use 28 Mhz legally with a call sign.

The USA Technician Class License exam - there is no Morse code requirement, and is nothing more than a background check to obtain a FRN number and a simple 35 question, multiple guess test - you have to score above 70%.

The material is published - so there is no surprise questions and the questions and answers can be obtained free online.

Most of the people that I know that still operates The Citizens Band in the USA that operates it as a hobby, wishes that there was still a license and a call sign.  Most of them would gladly pay for a license if the FCC would use the money from the fee for some sort of enforcement of the rules.

Paying hundreds of dollars for an illegal export cb radio makes no sense in today's world where you can buy a perfectly good ham radio that does all the bands - not just 10, 11, 12 meters for the same amount of money.  and you don't have to pay for a peek n tune for a ham radio, because most of them comes standard with 100w SSB / 25W AM and adjustable audio.


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To be honest, as someone that use to merge between the two worlds of 27/28 Mhz (I'm reformed now) Sadly a lot of times there is more activity on the 27Mhz SSB  compared to 10 meters. This is likely due to the fact that most of the people who work 27Mhz likely only have radios for this spectrum and therefore monitor these frequencies more often than people that have access to multiple bands. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of Kenwoods, Icom's and Yaesu's being used on 27/Freebands. Most people graduate into the more civilized ham bands that offer much more opportunities and less BS, However some people choose not to rise up and expand their horizons and will spend $$$ to use an HF rig for that small purpose. I get that true HF rigs offer better performance compared to a standard CB, but it seems like quite an investment for such a small amount of bandwidth.