Friday, November 28, 2008

11 meter repeater

I got a hit the other day on a search referral for "11 meter repeater".  Of course, "11 meters" is the common name for Citizens Band radio, more commonly known as CB.  CB is part of the so-called "personal radio services", a group of allocations made by the FCC that allow unlicensed persons to use radio communications for "personal" purposes.  CB is the best known of these, popularized in the 1970s as part of "trucker culture" by movies like Smokey and the Bandit, TV shows like BJ and the Bear, and songs like "Convoy".  CB has a well-earned reputation for extremely poor operating practice, overpower operation, noisemakers, and all sorts of other frankly antisocial behaviors that make CB less than maximally useful for the purpose for which it was originally envisoned.

Repeater stations are stations that receive and automatically retransmit communications typically in order to extend the usable range over which people can communicate.  Repeater stations are widely used by amateurs (who are permitted to use them on all bands 10 meters and shorter, with some restrictions in 10 meters, 6 meters, and 2 meters); there are thousands of them out there.  Repeater stations are also used in many of the private fixed & mobile services (i.e. business and public safety uses), and in the General Mobile Radio Service, another personal radio service that requires only very minimal licensing.  However, the regulations that control CB radio in the United States do not allow repeater stations.

Now, there's another type of "11 meter repeater", though.  It seems that there's a small number of low-power stations that use channels between 25.87 and 26.47 MHz for "broadcast remote pickup stations".  These are small stations used by broadcasters for remote operations, and may be used as repeaters with a 2.5 watt emission limit.   It's possible that a unit such as one of these might be called an "11 meter repeater", although I rather doubt it.

11 meters is, or at least was, also used by various federal agencies, although most of these uses have moved to other bands due to heavy interference from CB users; the cheap illegal linears that many of them use to get "MO POWA" causes them to splatter all over the place and renders much of the adjoining frequencies useless much of the time.

This particular search hit came from an IP owned by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.  It seems unlikely that this particular governmental unit would have a broadcast license.  I've checked ULS for licenses issued in Louisiana for the range of 26 to 28 MHz (which covers all of 11 meters) and there are a few, but all of them are either broadcast stations (broadcast remote pickup stations) or radio repair or sales shops.  So I have to wonder just what our dear friends in the State of Louisana are interested in 11 meter repeaters for…