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Convert 10m ham for LEGAL CB power level use?

Discussion in 'General CB Services Discussion' started by urbex, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. urbex

    urbex Member

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    I know, I know...converting ham radios to CB radios has been covered so much it's like beating an entire barn's worth of horses.



    Problem is that I can't seem to find anything that applies to what I'm looking to do. Looking on CB forums, it's all about guys wanting to run big power CB radios, and on ham forums everyone seems to assume that I'm a CB pirate/freebander in hiding, lol.

    My situation is that I enjoy off road 4x4s, and the usual communication of choice is the CB radio. A few of them are hams (including myself, I've been licensed for several years, and much prefer to whip out my dual band HT over the CB), but 90%+ are CB only guys and have zero desire to become hams. Inexpensive CB radios...well, they hold true to "you get what you pay for". I've seen plenty of older, quality, 10m radios up for sale fairly cheap over the years (less than $50).

    What I'm wondering is, legal issues aside, are there technical merits for converting these radios for use on CB freqs? I am aware that FCC regulations prohibit using non type accepted radios on the CB band, regardless of power output. I have ZERO desire to become a freebander, or run anything more than the legal 4 watts on CB. The only time my CB ever gets turned on is on a trail run, well away from any type of civilization. Even if I had the urge to "play around" a bit on the road, it would be pointless as I can't hear squat from the radio above exhaust and tire noise on the pavement, lol. Even on the trail, considering the close range of most of us, pumping out high wattage would be a waste, and hitting someone miles away would also be a waste since they don't have the power to transmit that far back to me (although I could see the potential advantage in an emergency situation, even to have 1 way communications).

    I've been reading a bunch of threads about pumping 20-50 watts out, and reading about how these radios don't stand up well to these power levels on AM, and signal quality suffers. But what about 4-5 watts? Will I end up with better signal quality at these levels, or will be on par with the typical $50 CB radio?

    That said, I've also been looking at some of the "higher end" CB radios, but frankly, I don't know if I'm really looking at quality radios, vs paying for the name or a bunch of silly features I'll never use (like echos and bluetooth).
     

  2. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    Persoanlly I would just get a Uniden 520xl with a good noise cancelling mic. You don't need all that power and the lil bugger is resilent as well. Possibly pick up a magnum 257 (older models) as they are small footprint and work good as well.
     
    #2 binrat, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  3. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    I see no merit in "coverting" a 10m/export, other than some models are worthy for operation for 10 meters, like an uniden hr2510, magnum 257 or rci2980 and a select few of the radios with lots of knobs on the front.

    for your purposes, get a good, CB radio with loud RX audio, an external speaker, or a quieter exhaust.
    maybe consider VHF murs operation. You will find that over the next few years sometimes all 40 channels are jammed with QRM via ionospheric propagation.

    during times like these you really should consider joining the dark side.
    imagine your own private channel, just 10 khz up from ch.19.
    imagine, crystal clear audio with no static or noise, running FM, and nobody else can understand what you are saying unless they got FM capability (or are up really close to you)
    or talking 50 miles to base running several hundred watts in the alaskan tundra..............

    sound tempting? yes it all starts with uniden 520 or a cobra 19, next thing ya know you'll be running your yaesu on 27.555 with a 5kw amp.
     
  4. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    urbex? urban exploration?
     
  5. Wiskey Delta-40

    Wiskey Delta-40 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Just get a used cobra 29 and call it good... Or that matter any CB radio, it is just for trails anyways and your buds wont know the difference between a converted ham or a rat shack walkie talkie :eek:
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Needle Bender

    Needle Bender ...he thinks it's funny that I stepped in it

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    My vote is for the early Taiwan or Philippines made 148GTL with the 5-pin mic jack on the left side of the rig. Has great SSB but also has an excellent AM receiver so it won't easily overload with someone real close. Best noise blanker there is, too.
     
  7. Rb30

    Rb30 43WR30

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    A converted 10m rig is not type approved for cb use so just run the power it is designed for with a good swr and you will be right as long as you don't thrash the duty cycle of the rig. If you are a rag chewer then get yourself something with adjustable output and knock it back a notch or two to increase the duty cycle and keep heat down. Two killers of radio equipment is heat and a bad swr
     
  8. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    urbex,
    Can that sort of conversion be done? I'm sure it can, but in your particular situation, what would be the point? You appear to be looking for good short range communication, and there are more options than just CB or ham radio.
    - 'Doc
     
  9. office888

    office888 Active Member

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    Bang for the buck, I'd just cash out for an FT857D or FT100D.

    My unofficial advice, with the amount of exports on the road today, nobody is going to kill you if you key up an 857D on Ch19. Turn the power down, don't be an asshat, and nobody will be able to tell the difference.
     
  10. urbex

    urbex Member

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    Funny thing...this is exactly the kind of thing that basically got me banished as a heretic from the QRZ forums when I said I had absolutely zero interest in HF work, lol. I see the radios as tools, not entertainment. I get that some people derive great entertainment from "working the airwaves", or making contacts with people on the other side of the world (a couple of my ham radio buddies think the greatest thing they could possibly be doing on the weekend is seeing how many QSOs they can collect from distant lands), but it just doesn't do it for me. I'm not out to stop other people from doing it, it just doesn't attract me.

    As I told them, it's a communication tool for me. Nothing more, nothing less. For most of us, if we could communicate via cell phone in these areas, we likely would all ditch the CBs, and go that way. Part of the reason I got my ham ticket was so that I would have better ability to get communications with "the outside world" so to speak in some of these remote areas in case of emergency, vehicle breakdown, etc where the terrain does a dandy job of stopping CB signal. In these cases, a VHF/UHF mobile setup has all the power we need to hit one of several repeaters or relay information back and forth between someone well off the trail and within cell phone coverage.


    Yes, there are, and I know of several groups that use FRS/GMRS radios in these situations, and one group of about half a dozen guys that use UHF business band stuff. However, it kind of comes down to a "when in Rome" situation, in that the vast majority of guys have a CB radio in their truck on these trail runs. Very few of them have any other radios, nor do they have any interest in getting anything different. While there are many good reasons for getting away from CB altogether, when it's the accepted standard, it comes down to it being just not worth the fight to get people to change and just conform,lol.

    That said, my whole thinking of converting a 10m ham rig was just to get into higher quality radios at a certain price point, not for higher power or DXing stuff. There seems to be an assumption that even if I'm not into it now, I will be once I have access to the equipment. I've had access to the equipment in the past, and it always just sat dormant in the garage after playing with it for five or ten minutes and quickly getting bored with it. As it is, the CBs I do have now have all been tuned for best performance on channel 4 (the unofficial trail channel for 4x4ing), and the only time I ever tune to 19 is upon initial installation just for a quick check that the radio is working if I don't have someone nearby with a radio. Otherwise it just gets annoying to listen to for more 20 seconds or so (I could probably be grouped into the "up-tight" ham operators group, lol)

    If there's no performance/clarity gain to be had with a 10m rig retuned to CB freqs and turned down to 5 watts, then I'll just keep using standard CB gear.
     
  11. Needle Bender

    Needle Bender ...he thinks it's funny that I stepped in it

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    The FT857D is decent, though $600+, but the FT-100D is a $500-$600 radio USED, and nearly impossible to find a ($100+!) detachable head cable for, plus the AM side sounds like sh*t unless you add the $150 6Kc AM filter. :bored:
     
  12. mr_fx

    mr_fx Sr. Member

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    no matter what you turn the power down to an export radio is always illegal in the USA so just don't bother turning it down and just run it

    Considering most CB radios come from the factory running a little more juice than they should be anyway

    most people will not even be able to tell you are running an export unless you go telling them
     
  13. urbex

    urbex Member

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    There may be a bit of confusion as to what I'm trying to do here, and that probably has a lot to do with how I'm explaining things.

    What I'm looking at doing is picking up something like the Realistic HTX-100 10 meter ham radio (intended for US market) for about $50 on the used market and opening up the TX/RX to get into the 27MHz range. The reason I would be turning the power down is that we're often within a few feet of the vehicles around us, and would be concerned about overloading the front ends of radios near me (of course, this could prove to be a complete non issue).
     
  14. KM3F

    KM3F Active Member

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    Respectfully, what your doing is trying to get others to agree with your 'justifications' for illegal use of equipment.
    This is like trying to get a judge to agree why you done something illegal. He won't agree.
    Even a Ham rig won't hear the other radios any better than your CB will so there is no gain in being able to get to 'them' with higher power you would sooner or later use by some other justification.
    What will happen sooner or later is you will be asked about the radio.
    You will tell about it and others may begin to want to do the same, and on it goes.
    You can't answer for what someone else may want to do if they change their mind.
    You would be illegal with a Ham ticket, other would just be illegal without one. Not much different.
    As far as equipment quality, a Ford will go the same place a Lincoln will go.
    It's all in the head's motivation and misplaced reasoning!
    I'm sorry it's not what you want to hear but many are telling you the same.
    Good luck.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    With the HTX-100 that aint happening. Not unless you are willing to track down a CPU from one of its more flexible cousins, and track down someone with the skills and equipment to solder a surface mount IC chip.
    The magnum 257 is basically the same radio, but will work on CB as well as ham. The only other difference is the SSB filters on it, the HTX-100 uses a narrower filter. There was a few more variants of this chassis, such as the Optima Yeticom everybody's raving about.
    There was also a FCC accepted version of this radio made by midland, expandable to operate all the way to the top of 10 meters, but without the FM mode. Those are rare, and cost just as much as an export.
    The reason the HTX-100 can be had for as little as $50 is Radio Shack had a policy where they would impose major penalties if one of their vendors supplied them with a radio that could be converted for CB use.
    Believe me, I looked into converting the HTX-100, even found a supplier of chips, but the cost to have them burned was well, more than you could just buy a Magnum 257.
     

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