Active Sun impacts of HF communications

As I saved up money from after-school work, repairing/selling dumpster-dive electronics, and general buy/repair/sell profits, I knew from the 11 year solar cycle that a day of reckoning was coming w.r.t. investment in CB radio. Every midday, skip was rising up–but I’m in school then so I didn’t care. Lately, it’s getting more towards my drive hours–thankfully the short winter days will give some respite. But sometimes, I even hear skip when the sun is below the horizon. A sure sign of increased ionization supporting increased MUF up into the 27 MHz CB radio range.

It doesn’t impact my shortwave listening as much, since I’m listening in the 5-10 MHz range–sure some parameters shift but it’s not as dramatic for high power shortwave stations vis-à-vis SNR. It’s getting time to dive into ham radio, to take advantage of clearer frequencies and a diversity of frequencies. If more people used SSB on CB, frequency sharing would be much more efficient. Without the capture effect of FM, the typical AM mode leads to loud annoying heterodynes. Of course, with narrowband FM on 27 MHz CB radio, the capture effect wouldn’t be nearly as effective and it could lead to completely missing that someone local is trying to reach me.

GMRS vs. 27 MHz CB Radio

GMRS is an option if I can only convince locals to adopt it. It doesn’t have quite the appeal of 27 MHz CB since the user base on 462 MHz is split between

  1. incumbent businesses who are in no mood to chat (and may even be paying for a repeater)
  2. kiddies with FRS
  3. lack of enthusiasts.

Of course there would hopefully be the escape from some bad behavior on 27 MHz CB on GMRS, but we’ll have to see how this plays out when I suggest it. I don’t think they realize about eBay and that you can take advantage of a distant city trading up from crystal controlled radios. Even the crystal radios are often two or four channel. We could setup a common calling frequency for chit-chat and then have a second channel for each family group. It’s technically feasible, but can I convince the status quo to change?