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Author Topic: Does your area still have CB "home channels" or "town channels"?  (Read 5272 times)

Offline R4002

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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?

« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 0052 UTC by R4002 »
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline skeezix

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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.  ::)

« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 0156 UTC by skeezix »
Minneapolis, MN

Offline R4002

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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. 
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline skeezix

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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.





Minneapolis, MN

Offline R4002

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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. 
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline skeezix

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I went looking for the locals (0030 UTC, Jun 26, 2017) and the band is alive!

Minneapolis, MN

Offline Pigmeat

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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.




Offline R4002

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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. 
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 1858 UTC by R4002 »
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline Josh

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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.
Conveniently located near Vincennes Indiana.

Offline R4002

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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. 
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline Pigmeat

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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?

Offline R4002

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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.
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline skeezix

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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.
Minneapolis, MN

Offline R4002

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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. 
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline Σ

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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. 😊
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