VHF Low Band 30-50 Mhz

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by WA4ILH, May 27, 2008.

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  1. WA4ILH

    WA4ILH Ham Member QRZ Page

    What's the deal with low band? Years ago, probably 25 years ago, the VHF low band 30-50 Mhz had a lot of activity. Now, I only hear stations around the 39 Mhz Public Safety band and 45 Mhz State Police. And, of course, baby monitors and older portable phones. I know we are at a low spot in the solar cycle but I can't believe that this band is not being used. I do hear some Military activity occasionally in the "government" portion of the band and some Spanish stations which I assume is TE from central or south America.
    Or, maybe my scanner just has low sensitivity down there...... I used to enjoy scanning this band.
    Tom WA4ILH
  2. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Haha baby monitors. My neighbors saw me futzing around in the yard with an antenna and thought I was "spying" on their baby monitor. I told them, really, I have better things to do and tried to explain, in 2 minutes or less, what ham radio was. I also let them know that, despite their beliefs otherwise, that it was perfectly legal for anyone to listen to their baby monitor and that a long antenna wasn't necessary. I then tried to explain the relationship between antenna size and frequency, but, well, I could tell that they weren't really getting it. They seemed somewhat satisfied with the idea that the point of the bigger antenna was not to be "more sensitive" to the baby monitor. I suspect, however, that they continued to harbor the belief that their baby monitor transmissions would remain inside the house and could only be picked up with "spy like" receiving equipment not available to the average person.

    Up until that point I hadn't bothered to "scan" low vhf, because, as you point out, it's pretty boring, but, well, this was an open invitation. Later that evening I found their baby monitor.

    Which leads me to some advice for married couples.

  3. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I enjoy listening to baby monitors and cordless phones.
  4. K8WPJ

    K8WPJ Banned QRZ Page

    Maybe it was a 'bedroom issue' that cuased them to need the baby's room in the first place... in which case, it's a perfect spot to discuss those issues... kinda like the criminal returning to the scene of the crime... :rolleyes:
  5. VA2GK

    VA2GK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup, me too, but today the old 49MHz phones are almost gone :(
  6. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Around here they aren't.

    The SteppIR tunes down to 49MHz quite nicely. With a yagi on 49MHz I hear quite far out.
  7. WA9CWX

    WA9CWX Ham Member QRZ Page

    As far as the use of the low VHF band, I suspect that a LOT of public service users have, or ARE going to the various cell phone type trunked systems.
    Many agencies on one system, with the flexibility to inter-communicate, etc. As far as I know almost ALL of that is 800 Mhz, not on VHF.
    The problems with skip, interference, and and the larger antennas required, especially for any handhelds, ALL make low VHF less attractive, and, since the licensing is for non-trunked systems, (as far as I know), all this is becoming a quickly obsolete group of frequencies.

    In areas with a lot of hills, like some rural counties in southern Illinois, I imagine low VHF will last a while, until the counties are sold on the idea of satellite comms.....


    SHAME on you people for listening in on your neighbors !!!! :D

    Did I mention I used to have a neighbor who had one of the ALWAYS ON Base units on their portable phone PLUS a baby monitor upstairs....Now THAT was intersting.
    The old systems (going back to late 70's, early 80's) used the high end of the bradcast band for the base, and the house wireing for the antenna.....
  8. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Probably the most active user of the band is the California Highway Patrol. Yep, Mister Smokey Bear himself!
    Mostly around 39 to 45 Mhz. I don't know which is the most active or which one is for what area, but it looks like 39.4, 39.6 and 39.8 are the base channels and 42.20. 42.66 and 42.80 are the mobiles. So, It might be nice to have a scanner in the car, just to hear Mister Smokey say to the dispatcher "We have a tan Lincoln Town car doing 90 plus, license number WA6MHZ. Request all aid and the spike strips to stop this rabbit!" Oh how they THIRST for a Kill!!!!
  9. K4KWH

    K4KWH Guest

    And He's Using A Scanner To Evade Capture! Git 'em!!!! :d :d :d

  10. N4AUD

    N4AUD Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I started as a police officer, we had low band VHF radios and the skip was terrible at times. Moving up above 150mhz was a tremendous improvement. I don't believe any of the local departments are on UHF frequencies yet, and there is probably no reason to do so since the VHF frequencies they use now are doing the job.
  11. KI4WCA

    KI4WCA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cordless phones

    Having a receiver like the R-8500 is fun.I thought that monitoring cordless phones was outlawed.Baby monitors are fine, but the phones are off limits.Before the evil ECPA you could listen to anything.Not anymore.
    Of course, unless you are using a poorly shielded scanner that radiates the local oscillator, it might be hard to catch you.Unless you post it on the internet.DOOH!!
  12. N7WR

    N7WR Subscriber QRZ Page

    More and more public safety is migrating away not only from 30-50 but 150-170 and activity there is becomming less and less. Homeland Security $$$ and the manufacturers (often false) promises of great things on 700, 800 and 900 have caused many to abandon systems that actually work in favor of those that may or may not. In my state there was a concerted effort to migrate the entire state to 700 Mhz even though here in rugged and rural Eastern Oregon VHF is the best choice. When they found out that to cover the same land area the VHF system does with 10 repeater sites on 700 it would take nearly 40 (unavailable) sites they re-thought the issue.

    BTW, the migration to UHF (and above) digital is causing all kinds of problems. Not a week goes by that I don't get messages from my public safety communications cohorts about problems with digital voice systems. Some agencies are refusing to use their new systems based on officer/firefighter safety concerns. Last night I was listening to streaming audio via the web from San Diego County (CA) becuase my cop son was working a major incident and I wanted to listen. The dispatcher repeatedly was telling officers he couldn't understand them because "you went digital". What he meant was that with their new digital radio system they (officers) were frequently dropping off the air mid sentence. With digital it's either there or gone.
  13. VA2GK

    VA2GK Ham Member QRZ Page

    With an analog system, it's really easy even for a non radio savvy person to position the antenna, HT or oneself to get a better reception, it's instinctive, just as moving the rabbit ears on the old TV set. With digital it's not anymore, and a slight movement can result in a complete loss. Moreso with the inherent delay of digital systems, one can quickly pass over a sweet spot and never notice it.
  14. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, I'm quite sure that everyone discussing said monitoring means that they were doing it BEFORE the ECPA, right fellas?
  15. WA4ILH

    WA4ILH Ham Member QRZ Page

    It may be illegal to monitor telephone calls but, to the best of my knowledge, it is still perfectly legal to monitor public safety (provided they are not encrypted). It is, however, illegal to "Repeat" what you have heard.
    "Twenty-One-Fifty to Headquarters"
    Tom WA4ILH
  16. VA2GK

    VA2GK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is it really illegal to listen to wireless phones? I mean, really? :eek:
  17. N4CD

    N4CD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Many suburban police departments have moved to 800 MHz systems....

    Most state wide systems are at 150 MHz and UHF - to get coverage, but a few still use low band 30-50 MHz.

    Low band does have major skip problems at times, and the FCC tried to coordinate so the assignments were not in the optimum skip distance on the same freq.

    There are still hundreds and hundreds of assignments on channels in 30-50 MHz.
  18. WA4ILH

    WA4ILH Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the U.S. it is since about 1995. Or is your point, "it's not enforceable?"
    Tom WA4ILH
  19. VA2GK

    VA2GK Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, it was serious, I didn't know. I heard about the cell phones but I didn't know about the cordless phones.

    About the enforcement, it's stupid of course.

    I heard somebody say once "if you don't want me to listen to you, keep your airwaves out of my property"
    I thought it made sense :p
  20. WA4ILH

    WA4ILH Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Electronic Communications Enforcement Act of 1995 (or whatever it was called) was the stupidest monitoring law passed in the last 20 years! And, it was mostly redundant. It has been illegal to "repeat" intercepted communications in the U.S. (and I expect elsewhere) since 1932.
    It is also illegal to monitor Remote broadcast feeds. Why would anyone make it illegal to monitor a broadcast feed? The whole restriction on listening to cell phones is now probably a mute point as there are no more analog cell systems left in the US.
    Tom WA4ILH
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