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Call Sign : 2-CT-238 Posts : 4 Times Thanked : 0 Join date : 2023-04-27 QTH or Location : Salt Lake City, Utah, USA Equipment Used : KPO DX-5000 PLUS (no extra watts). Sigma Venom 1/2 Wave 18' Silver Rod Antenna. Age : 54
Subject: Guide to Freebanding for beginners. Sat Oct 28, 2023 8:56 pm
Freebanding - Welcome to the world of expanded (converted) 10 meter radios to 11 meter radios.
I know what you're asking: What is Freebanding and how the heck does one get into this, and is it legal?
Short answer; Freebanding is not legal, it uses 10 meter adapted radios to 11 meter, and I do not condone, approve or encourage it in any way shape or form. That being said....If you still want to proceed to what is known as "Freebanding" or "The Dark Side", I am posting this only as a guide so you don't interfere with the HAM radio hobby, which incidentally some of the Freeband channels overlap into, and in my frequency list it show you exactly which frequencies are HAM frequencies which you should not transmit on: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eU9MiLwNIli-jcQB4twREmiuabj9VLob?usp=sharing
Freebanding: Is usually obtained (but not always) by basically doing a simple modification to a 10 meter radio (usually a sequence of button pushes), so it then operates on the 11 meter frequency, so you can then have access to illegally use the bands below (which are bands A/B/C) and bands above (which are bands E/F) the legal 40 channels (which is band D). So basically on the 11 meter instead of just 40 channels (band D) you now have access to a total of 960 channels on the 11 meter to Freeband on. This comprises of 40 channels on each of the separate Modes; AM/FM/USB/LSB, and each of these Modes separately on the 6 x different Bands; A/B/C/D/E/F.............Totaling 960 channels!!
Most 10 meter radios come with Bands A/B/C/D/E/F, and Modes CW/AM/FM/USB/LSB, which you are going to do a simple conversion to 11 meter so you can Freeband. Basically if you're Freebanding don't use; Mode: CW - it's for Morse code transmissions only. Band: F - Channels 12 to 40 (28.005 to 28.305) those specific channels are for licensed HAM Radio operators only - respect the hobby.
For newcomers Freebanding may be very confusing, especially if you were old school in the 80's and were used to just a basic 40 channel display, which didn't display the frequencies. I'm 80's old school too so this lead me to do this post for a lot of newcomers to Freebanding explaining in plain English exactly how it works, as it initially seems very confusing (but it's really not), it's just a bit different to the old way.
It sounds hard but it's really not.
Bare bones simple explanation on how to Freeband;
1) Buy either a; KPO DX-5000 Plus, or a CRT SS 6900V (V7), or an Anytone AT-5555 Plus, they are basically all the same 10 meter Radios. (just some have more/less watts, that's the only difference). For all three of these 10 meter radios you just do a simple button press sequence and it changes it from 10 meter to 11 meter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCp1ILjcovs&list=WL&index=15 Then look at my frequency List (excel document) which explains bands A-F and the modes: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eU9MiLwNIli-jcQB4twREmiuabj9VLob?usp=sharing I would advise against getting a 10 meter radio that only has the "channels display" (radios like the Anytone Ares II, or Radioddity QT40), as these types of 10 meter radios don't have the frequency display, so you would have to constantly refer back to a printed out frequency chart to see which channel you are on, as most people refer to the frequency and not always the channel number. For example the Freeband USB call up channel is 27.555 (nicknamed "the triple nickel"), and if you don't have a frequency display you won't know this, you would only see "Channel 12" on your radio.
2) Buy an antenna and put it on your house, either a; Solarcon A-99 (used to be called Antron A-99) fiberglass, won't bend in the wind, or if you want something cheaper then go for a Sigma Venom 1/2 wave silver rod. Remember to SWR it in before you start transmitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_od3QmrUSw
I would suggest Knights https://www.kcb.co.uk/ I am no way connected to this shop, it's just I've used them before and found them to be outstanding. When you buy a 10 meter radio from them they will do the button presses for you to convert it to the 11 meter, and they will also add the UK 27/81 channels to Band F for you if you want those channels as well. The reason they add the UK 27/81 FM channels to Band F, and over write those channels is because most of "band F" are HAM channels which you definitely should not be transmitting on; channels 12 to 40 (28.005 to 28.305).
3) Watch a ton of "Fred in the Shed" YouTube videos, this guy is a freebander and from my past experience he knows his stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHZtk89Srgg&list=WL&index=1
4) Now, you're going to want some information. You don't need a ton of useless information, just the bare basics useful to you. I've got you covered. All you need is: a). A frequency chart (to see what band your on and what the call up channels are). b). A list of Q Codes (as freebanders all use the Q codes to talk). c). If you're using an amp etc. (which order to connect them together). See my documents, they are all listed here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eU9MiLwNIli-jcQB4twREmiuabj9VLob?usp=sharing
5) Request a Charlie Tango "call sign" from this website were on. It's not strictly 100% necessary, but it really helps, as Freebanders in general don't use 'handles" like "Rubber Duck" and "Big Bear". I find people take you more seriously if you have a call sign on the Freeband.
6) How to talk on Freeband; on the Freeband it's not like your normal 40 channel Muppet legal stations, on Freeband its a bit more professional they use Q Codes just like the HAM radio hobbyists. I would suggest reading this short webpage, as this guy describes how to do it really well; https://rsgb.org/main/get-started-in-amateur-radio/operating-your-new-station/making-your-first-qso/#:~:text=A%20CQ%20is%20simply%20a,occupied%20by%20any%20other%20station.[/url][/url] Also, I have a list of the Q Codes for you in my documents; https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eU9MiLwNIli-jcQB4twREmiuabj9VLob?usp=sharing
7). DX'ing & Skip; DX'ng is basically talking to other people over a long distance, and this is obtained using skip. Skip in a nutshell is basically when the conditions are right your signal bounces off the atmosphere and comes down hopefully in another country, for example if your in the USA and you can talk to someone in the UK! Not to bore you with how this works, basically it is determined by the suns 11 x year solar cycle, so every 11 x years is when you get the ultimate best skip for DX'ing, meaning the conditions are at their very best for transmitting and receiving crazy distances. The solar cycle is going to peak in July 2025 so it's really good even now for DX'ing. just look at this simple chart, and you cansimply see where we currently are in the suns 11 x year cycle conditions for DX'ing: https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression
Now I hear you say; I've done all that Darren, now tell me the call up channels because I want to talk to someone!!; Primary Call-Up Channels; AM, Band D, 27.185 MHz, Channel 19 FM, Band D, 27.185 MHz, Channel 19 LSB, Band D, 27.385 MHz, Channel 38 USB, Band E, 27.555 MHz, Channel 12 FM, 27/81, 27.78125 MHz, Channel 19 FM, 27/81, 27.73125 MHz, Channel 14 There is also what's known as the "305 good ole boys club", who usually hangout on Band D, USB 27.305, channel 30. The best time to hear them are around 4:00pm (GMT), and if you're really lucky you may even get to chat with the godfather of Freebanding himself "Fred in the shed"!
UK 27/81 40 FM Channels: For the UK I believe the 40 FM 27/81 channels 27.60125 to 27.99125 This is a unique set of channels not set up 10 meter radios, even if you expand the radio to 11 meters, you still wont get the 27/81 UK FM channels, they have to be programmed in separately. On my chart you will see I have two Band F columns. Band F is what you get standard if you expand a 10 meter radio to 11 meters. Band F (alternative) is what a reputable CB Radio shop like Knights https://www.kcb.co.uk/ will assign to Band F if you ask them when you buy a 10 meter radio from them. They assign it to Band F because most of the channels on Band F (11 meter) are HAM frequencies (channel 12 to 40), and as they are not Freebands and hence useless to you as you are not allowed to use them, they will reprogram Band F to the UK 27/81 for you.
Now, If you want to stay legal and not Freeband, then discard all what I said above and buy a legal CB Radio for the country you live in;
Legal channels in the UK: For the UK I believe the 40 FM channels (27/81), are on frequencies 27.60125 to 27.99125 This is a unique set of channels to the UK only. Totally beyond any logic or rhyme or reason why the UK picked these obscure frequencies, but nevertheless these are apparently the UK legal FM channels.
I believe you also have in the UK what's known as "The Mids", which are the 40 AM, 40 USB and 40 LSB channels on Band D. All these channels use 26.965 to 27.405, so if your using a 10 meter radio converted (expanded) to 11 meters, these channels would all be located on Band D, and simply switch between AM, LSB and USB. These incidentally ae the exact same as the legal USA 40 AM, 40 LSB, 40 USB channels.
Legal channels in the USA: In the USA we have what's known as "The Mids", which are the 40 AM, 40FM, 40 LSB and 40 USB channels on Band D. All these channels use 26.965 to 27.405, so if your using a 10 meter radio converted (expanded) to 11 meters, these channels would all be located on Band D, and simply switch between AM, LSB and USB.
Finally - Do not use 10 meter converted (expanded) to 11 meter radios - if you want to be legal, as these radios mostly produce more than the legal permitted 4 watts AM/FM, 12 watts LSB/USB.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by darren.johnson on Sun Oct 29, 2023 3:52 pm; edited 14 times in total
Les-1, Alan Pilot, oddsnends, Miura, Coyote and TamGlasgow like this post
Sharpshooter Major contributor
Call Sign : 163-CT-329 Posts : 470 Times Thanked : 13 Join date : 2022-04-05 QTH or Location : Flintshire Equipment Used : A growing list
Subject: Re: Guide to Freebanding for beginners. Sat Oct 28, 2023 11:40 pm
Nice one Darren and helloooo USA
darren.johnson likes this post
Coyote New Member
Call Sign : 2-CT-216 Posts : 36 Times Thanked : 1 Join date : 2022-01-25 QTH or Location : Palmdale California Equipment Used : RCI2950 MIRAGE with a Antron 99 base station antenna, Cobra 29 LTD Classic and Wilson 1000 Mag Mount in the mobile.
Subject: Freebanding Sat Nov 11, 2023 7:26 pm
You forgot to put one radio on your list.
RCI (Ranger) 2950 which is a 10 and 12 meter radio which can easily be converted to 11 meters, its a FM/AM/CW/SSB radio, 10 watts on FM/AM/CW and 25 watts PEP on Side-Band.