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Old 17-05-2008, 20:26   #1
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CB and VHF...

Does anyone use CB (27Mhz) radios? If so how useful are they?

How useful are VHF radios?

Reason that I am asking is that I am coming up to "fit radio" time. CB radios are cheap and do not require a licence. VHF radios are a little more expensive and need a licence in Oz.

It looks like the way to get a VHF licence is to join the volunteer Australian Coast Guard and do their course.
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Old 17-05-2008, 21:05   #2
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VHF marine radios are the most useful means of radio communication for small boats. This is because they allow you to communicate with other boats, commercial ships, shore stations, Coast Guard and, in emergency situations, with SAR aircraft. You can also receive weather broadcasts from shore-based stations. Their principal limitation is that they are mostly "line-of-sight", i.e., your antenna must be in-sight of the other station's antenna. This means within about 20 miles of a shore station, and 3-10 miles or so of another vessel.

CB radios are not much used on boats in U.S. waters, but I believe they are more common in OZ. They operate on 27mHz which can have a slightly longer range than VHF and, when skywave propagation is available, can communicate over thousands of miles (very infrequently these days).

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Old 17-05-2008, 21:22   #3
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VHF should be choice number one for safety and navigational communication. For all the reasons stated in the last post.

However, VHF can not be used for chit chat if you travel with other boats. CB is great if you regularly travel with other boats and they have CB. Then you can chat up all you want on any channel (except 9).

VHF has specific channels for specific purposes and none of those are for chit chat.
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Old 17-05-2008, 22:04   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
Does anyone use CB (27Mhz) radios? If so how useful are they?
Mr Boracay,
All good answers so far but depends on what YOU want the radio for.
If you just want a radio to use occasionally in Sydney harbour and don't want to spend much money then 27 MHz CB will get you by.
If you are cruising further afield and want good reliable coverage spend the extra money, get the licence (quite easy really) and go for a VHF that suits your pocket.
Sure most (all?) Aussie volunteer sea rescue groups use 27 MHz (and VHF) but most of the traffic on 27 MHz seems to be recreational fishers.
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Old 18-05-2008, 01:24   #5
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Actually, you can blab away for as long as you want on 68, 69, 71 and one more channel that I like using because few know it is available. It would be rude and annoying to others, but it is legal.
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Old 18-05-2008, 03:21   #6
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With respect if you cant afford a VHF then I think your boating days are numbered, they can be had for well under $200 australian, I wouldnt "put to sea" in lake burley griffin without a VHF let alone Sydney harbour.
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Old 18-05-2008, 04:33   #7
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Marine CB, or more rightly 27 meg has different channels to the old "trucking" CB. It is a useful thing to have as most small recreational boats (think half cab /power fishing) have them. Most of these boats dont have vhf simply because they havnt got a license. I would get both. The 27 meg is less than a 100 bucks. The vhf license can be done with an upgrade to marine HF. DO IT . it cost almost nothing more and then allows you to run a limited HF rig.

Having vhf only will limit your communications to a lot of close shore craft in OZ.

VHF is a line of sight communication. Serious repeater systems are in operation to assist this on the east coast of OZ, down to Tas.
27 is prone to local anomaly's. I have quite happily talked to boats in the Gold Coast due to skip. This is the bouncing of the signal. The problem is it dosnt make for reliable transmission. Within the length of the lakes (140 km at its max) I can be a few killometers away and have problems with 27 (but still have a chat with indonesia !)

My honest suggestion is do all 3. 27/vhf/hf. There are plenty of times that it will be far better to have a local (boat to boat) chat on 27 , and not clog up the vhf network. Use vhf for more serious communications. HF for offshore.
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Old 18-05-2008, 11:14   #8
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Regarding working channels... You can not blab freely about anything, legally. It must be ship/boat needs related.

---

9(fn6), 68, 69, 71, 72, 78,
79(fn4), 80(fn4), 67(fn7).

NONCOMMERCIAL - Working channels for voluntary boats. Messages must be about the needs of the ship. Typical uses include fishing reports, rendezvous,scheduling repairs and berthing information.

Use Channels 67 and 72 only for ship-to-ship messages.


---
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Old 18-05-2008, 11:49   #9
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Actually, you can blab away for as long as you want on 68, 69, 71 and one more channel that I like using because few know it is available. It would be rude and annoying to others, but it is legal.
Technically, it is not legal in the U.S.: FCC rule 80.89(a) Stations must not engage in superfluous communication.

However, most people don't know about many of the part 80 rules and the FCC doesn't care about enforcement anymore. On the Chesapeake bay in Maryland, you can hear the watermen ragchewing all the time, even on unauthorized channels, with all the 4-letter words you can think of on a routine basis and nothing ever comes of it.

Eric
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Old 19-05-2008, 03:09   #10
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The no blab rule is the same in OZ ...these days , I have not heard of the 27 meg channels being policed (unless you are being a bloody nuisance) in which case any number of people (police coast/ guard/ yacht clubs) may track you down. VHF here is taken a little more seriously to the extent that you have to do a written exam to get a license to operate.
Important for OZ operators....It is quite legal to have the radio on board but you must be licensed to operate it BUT it clearly stipulates that in an emergency, for emergency use only ANYBODY can operate the radio.......


HF is taken very seriously and the penalty's are rather large. This is just good common sense give the long distance capabilities and life line that it provides.


So for a preci to OZ newcomers...use 27 for local information and talk (remember its not a mobile phone even if it is 27...somebody may only have this radio on board and be trying to send a mayday while you are discussing the type of bait you used) VHF for greater distance, with the benefit of some auto repeaters and weather skeds. Follow the sign on sign off rules and other protocols. HF .........as before but remember, your transmission may block someone many miles out to sea...keep it real...
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Old 19-05-2008, 09:28   #11
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Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
Technically, it is not legal in the U.S.: FCC rule 80.89(a) Stations must not engage in superfluous communication.

However, most people don't know about many of the part 80 rules and the FCC doesn't care about enforcement anymore. On the Chesapeake bay in Maryland, you can hear the watermen ragchewing all the time, even on unauthorized channels, with all the 4-letter words you can think of on a routine basis and nothing ever comes of it.

Eric
Ok, I should have been more specific. You can blab away all day long so long as it relates to boats in some way. I think the FCC would have a real hard time prosecuting that.
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Old 19-05-2008, 17:33   #12
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Bill-
"CB radios ...U.S. waters, ... operate on 27mHz"
Used to be. But the folks at the FCC now refer to a whole mess of things as "Citizen's Band" including MURS, FRS, and GMRS not just traditional CB. What they call CB in Oz could easily be one of the UHF services, I'm fairly sure they use something similar to our FRS for the same purposes.
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Old 19-05-2008, 19:25   #13
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Bill-
What they call CB in Oz could easily be one of the UHF services, I'm fairly sure they use something similar to our FRS for the same purposes.
In Oz, we have two CB services.
A land based 40 channel UHF CB service operating between 476.425 and 477.400 MHz, FM. and 27 MHz AM service comprising of 40 "CB" channels and 10 "marine" channels.
It is the 10 channel marine CB service (26.965 to 27.980) that is commonly referred to as 27MHz marine radio (the 40 channels of 27MHz is not really used by anyone other than some enthusiasts).
I believe the 10 channels on the 27 MHz band is now unique to Australian waters.
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