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10 MHz Split vs. Filter Technology


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Poll: Which approach do you prefer? (3 member(s) have cast votes)

Finding more spectrum, or making cheaper, better solid-state filters?

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#21 WPXM352

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 09:31 PM

Transportable != mobile.  Compliance could be achieved by, for example, powering it from an external 120v circuit via extension cord, or a double-pole double-throw switch that disconnects the battery from the vehicle and prevents vehicle operation while the repeater is in operation.  Tapping the signal line to the "BRAKE (!)" light on the dash to enable the repeater controller is yet a third option.  This is an engineering problem, and it is fairly tractable.  I may not have the patience to hack together the fanciest options, but running the gear off an extension cord should be quite simple, and would in fact allow me to locate the whole kit 'n caboodle in a truck tool box that can be moved, removed, or carried up a freight elevator if a rooftop is available and convenient.

 

:lol:

 

Exactly the edge-case I have in mind.  Besides that, the balloon-lofted antenna in my hobby project simply cannot be deployed in motion, or you won't have a balloon-lofted antenna - or any antenna - very long.  I was planning on something to support a local festival like the Highland games, and people enjoying themselves there.  (PS, really don't use that thing around power lines, and especially high-tension lines.   ;) )

 

I'm working on it.  But mostly this stuff is already available to amateurs, and does me absolutely zero good 'cause nobody else I know has, or is willing to, get an amateur license.  If they give me a justification, it's either due to not being arsed to study, too much hassle, or perceived toxicity in the culture surrounding amateur radio.  "Pushing forward the state of the art" as used here is really about improving the products available to customers via retail channels.  Finding new handies that are repeater-capable is an exercise in scouring eBay for new old stock.  I think the only products available are the TERA TR-505 and the BTECH GMRS-V1; the former requires PC programming and won't cover all the channels in the service, the latter requires … actually the BaoFeng meets spec IMHO.

 

I mean, if nobody makes it yet, there's always Kickstarter…

 

Not that I'll be ready for that until I have a few more years' experience under my belt, but I still really like the idea of a combination satnav and 50 watt GMRS radio.

 I don't think you have to go to fancy extremes to be compliant. Just don't operate with a balloon tailing behind you on the 417!.

 

"perceived toxicity in the culture surrounding amateur radio"

 

I am a ham and have seen this time and again. Folks ask on the board how they can get reliable two way communications for family and the answer right away is to get a ham license for every member of the family. I know of a few families where that is the case, but they are unicorns. Then there are the FCC "Nazi's" who look for an infraction in every sort of activity not positively supported by the rules, or twist wording to favor their prohibition de jour. Fact is If it is not specifically prohibited it is probably OK, The FCC's GMRS infraction filing cabinet buried deep in warehouse 13 in Gettysburg is mostly an empty drawer. The few NAL's they write are commercial users on GMRS channels. Or GMRS operators that are jamming part 90, well one guy from California basically. The filing cabinet for Ham radio infractions takes up three floors.


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#22 Ian

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 06:46 AM

 I don't think you have to go to fancy extremes to be compliant. Just don't operate with a balloon tailing behind you on the 417!.

 

"perceived toxicity in the culture surrounding amateur radio"

 

I am a ham and have seen this time and again. Folks ask on the board how they can get reliable two way communications for family and the answer right away is to get a ham license for every member of the family. I know of a few families where that is the case, but they are unicorns. Then there are the FCC "Nazi's" who look for an infraction in every sort of activity not positively supported by the rules, or twist wording to favor their prohibition de jour. Fact is If it is not specifically prohibited it is probably OK, The FCC's GMRS infraction filing cabinet buried deep in warehouse 13 in Gettysburg is mostly an empty drawer. The few NAL's they write are commercial users on GMRS channels. Or GMRS operators that are jamming part 90, well one guy from California basically. The filing cabinet for Ham radio infractions takes up three floors.

:D

 

I'm reminded of this Reddit thread.

 

Also, regarding balloons tailing behind me on the 417…

missile-balloons-for-your-car-xl.jpg

 

Edited to add:  Thank you for building a repeater that can be used by your neighbors in a pinch!  Especially in a hurricane area, that's a potential lifeline.


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#23 RCM

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 11:04 AM

:lol: :lol: :lol:



#24 n4gix

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 02:26 PM

At my club's board meeting last evening, I made a motion that we as a club make it known that GMRS licensees are welcome to become auxiliary members. Discussions will be ongoing for the next few monthly BoD meetings. Hopefully my motion will be passed and then we can present the proposal to the general membership.


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#25 Ian

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 12:54 AM

Well, I can help answer some of your questions....

 

The 452 MHz band is fully used by broadcasting, public safety, and general business radio service. (as is the entire 450-470 MHz band, except for our very generous slice)

The 472 MHz band is right in the middle of over-the-air television channel 14, which uses up everything between 470-476 MHz. 476-482 is channel 15, and it goes up every 6 MHz from there until you hit cellular telephone, which is currently 614-890 MHz, and expanding.

 

There is no such thing as an "underutilized slice of spectrum" in the UHF band, or anywhere else for that matter.

 

There is no problem with our current 5 MHz split.  It has been working just fine for decades.  There is already a filtering solution for this.  It is known as cavity filtering.  A set of UHF cavities made to handle 50 watts is about the same size as that little toy shoe-box repeater you linked to in your post, and the tuning on most are loose enough to be used on any 2 adjacent channels.  You seem to want an 8 channel repeater - I still don't know why you need this.  This thing you linked to is only 10 Watts anyway.  Just use Simplex.

 

Interesting note: That Retivis repeater seems to be built into a re-purposed cable TV line amp box.

 

Lastly, please refrain from using non-appropriate language on this site.

 

Fridge logic has struck me.  In how much of the country is channel 14 being used?

 

Microsoft is pursuing whitespace broadband designed to use under-utilized TV channels.  I can't help but wonder if that will herald a loosening up of these allocations -- or a clamping down on our guard bands.



#26 Jones

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 11:35 AM

...  In how much of the country is channel 14 being used?

 

 

A few hundred stations are currently on Channel 14, and will be more after the re-pack of TV channels is completed in a few more years.

Two different lists (with some overlap):

 

https://en.wikipedia...e_United_States

 

https://en.wikipedia...e_United_States



#27 berkinet

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 12:42 PM

...  In how much of the country is channel 14 being used?

 

In addition to @Jones comments. If the channel 14 frequency spectrum was used in even just one area of the country, the FCC would, with good reason, never allow the spectrum to be used for another service that did not have geographic restrictions in its licensing. Eg. GMRS.


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#28 WRAF213

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 03:08 AM

Adding T-Band spectrum to Part 90 use comes at a huge cost to broadcast services, which is why T-Band is only available where necessary. Broadcast spectrum won't be released unless the buyer can afford to give the FCC the money that spectrum's worth.

Whitespace devices are Part 15 and have several restrictions on their operation to reduce broadcast interference; they aren't high-power, fixed-frequency narrowband voice solutions. Lately the telecom industry has been leading a crusade against 'underutilized spectrum', eyeballing 9cm, 6cm, and 3cm Amateur bands along with the bottom of 70cm in hopes of getting free 'whitespace' spectrum (which is subject to the fundamental flaw of the hidden-node problem, particularly on duplex links). In October, 462.5375 and 462.7375 became available for allocation with a 4K00 mask or narrower per FCC-18-143.

Those licensees are paying far, far more money for that spectrum than we are, and our use case barely justifies what we have now (see FRS 22-channel expansion). We aren't going to get more than we already have.
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#29 Ian

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 03:18 AM

Okay, so it's time for some necromancy...  

 

The Retevis RT-97 that's motivated this thread is available now in eight different versions, and two of them are tuned to your spec (UHF and VHF versions)!

 

The boneheaded thing is that the split is backwards.  This thing can only be programmed with the Tx above the Rx.  So progress, perhaps, but the lunchbox repeater isn't ready for us yet.  Personally, it looks kinda nice, given that Kenwood 820s on eBay lately have all been broken, were missing buttons, or have occasionally had their controller boards removed and replaced with plugs for an external controller.  The GR1225s are routinely in better shape, but none of this has been in the budget for me lately, alas.  (I keep hoping I'll get lucky at an estate sale or something.)



#30 berkinet

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 06:44 AM

...The GR1225s are routinely in better shape, but none of this has been in the budget for me lately, alas.  (I keep hoping I'll get lucky at an estate sale or something.)

 

Well, from what I see on ebay for GR1225 UHF repeaters, there are several at or below the $399 price tag for the Retevis RT97. On a good (I.e. lucky) day you could even get an MTR2000 under $400.

 

BTW, should you decide to go for the GR1225, make sure you get a guarantee that the final PA is good. These radios have a nasty habit of either blowing or desoldering the final if run at too high a duty cycle, or too high power output. You should also ask to have the duplexer tuned for you.

 

However, if you run a GR1225 at 50% duty cycle and 1/2 power, it will give you excellent service and is small enough to be portable.


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#31 Corey

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 11:28 AM

Well, from what I see on ebay for GR1225 UHF repeaters, there are several at or below the $399 price tag for the Retevis RT97. On a good (I.e. lucky) day you could even get an MTR2000 under $400.

 

BTW, should you decide to go for the GR1225, make sure you get a guarantee that the final PA is good. These radios have a nasty habit of either blowing or desoldering the final if run at too high a duty cycle, or too high power output. You should also ask to have the duplexer tuned for you.

 

However, if you run a GR1225 at 50% duty cycle and 1/2 power, it will give you excellent service and is small enough to be portable.

 

You cant go wrong with an MRT2000, this lunchbox repeater idea has been beat to death and tried with mostly poor results by many. I have not seen a single lunchbox or ammo can repeater outperform simplex. I currently own many MTR2000's with 5 of them in GMRS service at this time. I have also built and sold several others as turn key repeaters for people without a single complaint. I looked into this retevis RT97 and it has no FCC certification, its intended market is HAM or out of the country use.


Just My $.02

 

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#32 Ian

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 06:30 PM

Oh, I'm well aware it's a ham repeater at the moment.  I'm just pleased that someone's working on something that could be adapted to legal, off-the-shelf GMRS use for under a grand, new.

 

Emphasis new.

 

Sooner or later, the surplus will either run out, or get priced out of affordability as it gets scarce.

 

Hopefully this sort of thing will be available before that happens.



#33 Logan5

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 01:02 PM

Since VHF low has been freed up from TV broadcast, I had hoped the FCC would get aggressive and force some movement. Even if they did there would be little to no consideration for GMRS/FRS/CB expansion. Only commercial use. wonder what they are going to do with 54mhz to 88mhz?



#34 Corey

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 04:44 PM

Oh, I'm well aware it's a ham repeater at the moment.  I'm just pleased that someone's working on something that could be adapted to legal, off-the-shelf GMRS use for under a grand, new.

 

Emphasis new.

 

Sooner or later, the surplus will either run out, or get priced out of affordability as it gets scarce.

 

Hopefully this sort of thing will be available before that happens.

 

I have to know, why are you so set on a repeater like this? Unless a Manufacture knows its going to sell 100's of units its not going to put the time and money into this. Even construction sites that only need a repeater for a few blocks install full size repeaters simply for the duty cycle and reliability. Now in the part 90 world you can have your self a Motorola SLR1000 these do analog or DMR and are made to be tower mounted. This is all deal breakers for your wish list, its not part 95 and it will set you back $1900 but hey it is "new". I have state of the art SLR5700's in use on a business system and many 15 year old MTR 2000's in use on GMRS. For the record the SLR5700's I own (2 @ $2200 each) have given me more issues in 2 years than 10 USED MTR2000 have in 4 years. In fact one needs to go back to the depot for repair again! NEW is not always better, the list price on a NEW MTR2000 was upward of $8000 so I am more then happy to run a USED $8000 repeater I got for $800 bucks or less vs a NEW machine I paid $800 to $1000 for.

 

In your price point and requirement of off the shelf and legal I envision this big lunch box size FRS/GMRS radio with a 4' telescopic center loaded antenna and a rechargeable battery inside. I'm sure adding a solar panel and maybe a dynamo crank to charge the battery, a local mic, weather channels, maybe even a flashlight and an AM/FM radio will help sell more to the masses. This all sounds good (ha ha) but an off the shelf turn key repeater marketed as part 95 for GMRS is just a bad idea. Last thing we need is 100's of unlicensed repeaters all over the place with kids on them causing interference to real repeaters that people invested time and money into. If you need an example just look at all the FRS/GMRS combo radios that never got a licence and the FCC just made them licence by rule, again not good for GMRS. This unicorn you have been hunting will work about as good as simplex without an antenna at significant height above ground. 


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Just My $.02

 

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#35 Jones

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 09:49 AM

Since VHF low has been freed up from TV broadcast, I had hoped the FCC would get aggressive and force some movement. Even if they did there would be little to no consideration for GMRS/FRS/CB expansion. Only commercial use. wonder what they are going to do with 54mhz to 88mhz?

 

This is a myth. There are still a LOT of TV stations using low band with ATSC digital transmisions, and there will continue to be.  What was freed up is everything above UHF channel 36.  All of that area has been re-assigned - mostly to cellular services.  TV channels 2-6, 7-13, and 14-36 remain unchanged in frequency allocation.


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#36 Corey

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 04:00 PM

Saw this on YouTube.... 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=0EBJasGAymY


Just My $.02

 

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#37 BoxCar

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 05:59 PM

I purchased Mr. Marten's GMRS J-Pole and it's working great.


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#38 Ian

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:40 PM

I have to know, why are you so set on a repeater like this? Unless a Manufacture knows its going to sell 100's of units its not going to put the time and money into this. Even construction sites that only need a repeater for a few blocks install full size repeaters simply for the duty cycle and reliability. Now in the part 90 world you can have your self a Motorola SLR1000 these do analog or DMR and are made to be tower mounted. This is all deal breakers for your wish list, its not part 95 and it will set you back $1900 but hey it is "new". I have state of the art SLR5700's in use on a business system and many 15 year old MTR 2000's in use on GMRS. For the record the SLR5700's I own (2 @ $2200 each) have given me more issues in 2 years than 10 USED MTR2000 have in 4 years. In fact one needs to go back to the depot for repair again! NEW is not always better, the list price on a NEW MTR2000 was upward of $8000 so I am more then happy to run a USED $8000 repeater I got for $800 bucks or less vs a NEW machine I paid $800 to $1000 for.

 

In your price point and requirement of off the shelf and legal I envision this big lunch box size FRS/GMRS radio with a 4' telescopic center loaded antenna and a rechargeable battery inside. I'm sure adding a solar panel and maybe a dynamo crank to charge the battery, a local mic, weather channels, maybe even a flashlight and an AM/FM radio will help sell more to the masses. This all sounds good (ha ha) but an off the shelf turn key repeater marketed as part 95 for GMRS is just a bad idea. Last thing we need is 100's of unlicensed repeaters all over the place with kids on them causing interference to real repeaters that people invested time and money into. If you need an example just look at all the FRS/GMRS combo radios that never got a licence and the FCC just made them licence by rule, again not good for GMRS. This unicorn you have been hunting will work about as good as simplex without an antenna at significant height above ground. 

 

If this is a hobby, I can't afford it.  If this is a utility, I can't justify those prices.  Based on my personal cash flow, occasional capital expenses are more tolerable than subscriptions, but scraping up $400 to buy a Drobo was a feat.

 

I graduated into a ruined economy with a degree that isn't worth nearly so much as my college advice said it should be - would have been, if not for 2008 and the incredible vanishing prosperity.

 

Combine that with the utter lack of chatter on the radio in Florida, and lowering the barrier to entry starts to seem reasonable to me.  There are no repeaters reliably in range of my home, though atmospherics can do interesting things -- last week I opened a Jacksonville repeater from Cape Canaveral pretty reliably.  Still, I'm elated when I hear a 5 year old talking to her grandmother on channel 3, because it's the only traffic I've heard on the airwaves that I didn't put there in six months or more.

 

The purpose of GMRS is to talk to people on the same license.  The purpose of CB is to talk to people on different licenses.  They both stink, for one reason or another, at doing that down here.  (Last thing I heard on CB was a year ago, a random contact imploring all listeners to "smoke weed every day".  They didn't reply when I tried to respond.)

 

The service is dead down here, and frankly so are all the other ones.  Puerto Rico may see the point of off-grid comms, and K4SAT may see the point, but central Florida is generally a wasteland, both on simplex channels and repeater, too.

 

Edit:  Just in time to make me a liar, the CB finally lights up.  Contact, but completely un-understandable.


Edited by Ian, 11 July 2019 - 11:10 PM.


#39 marcspaz

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 01:21 AM

Please keep in mind, this is not meant to be belittling or to start an argument, but more to help you find something that will help with a hobby.

 

 

If this is a hobby, I can't afford it.  If this is a utility, I can't justify those prices.  Based on my personal cash flow, occasional capital expenses are more tolerable than subscriptions, but scraping up $400 to buy a Drobo was a feat.

 

I graduated into a ruined economy with a degree that isn't worth nearly so much as my college advice said it should be - would have been, if not for 2008 and the incredible vanishing prosperity.

 

At one point, I was homeless.  I spent years on welfare with a young family.  I can relate to being tight on cash and don't look down on or judge people based on their income.  However and unfortunately, hobbies are for people with expendable cash and free time.   Your career options based on your degree and the state of the economy are not really relevant to that fact. We have to adjust our spare time and entertainment into what we can afford.  If getting $400 together is tough for you, I would recommend staying away from anything beyond an inexpensive radio that operates on a spectrum that is in use around you.

 


Combine that with the utter lack of chatter on the radio in Florida...

 

The purpose of GMRS is to talk to people on the same license.  The purpose of CB is to talk to people on different licenses.  They both stink... 

 

The service is dead down here, and frankly so are all the other ones...

 

Florida is generally a wasteland, both on simplex channels and repeater, too...

 

I have to disagree with a good portion of this.  Especially about the "purpose" of CB and GMRS.  Depending on what service you are talking about, the purpose is non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, "radio sport", contesting, and emergency communication.  Meaning, these services are provided for users to incorporate a common communications platform into your life and life activities, such as the aforementioned.

 

If lack of radio contact is truly your experience, its not the bands or the service you are using.  There is a very high likelihood that there are some significant flaws in your radio and/or antenna setup, and I will explain why.

 

I live in Virginia most of the year, but I own a home in Hollywood and have family all over all over Florida, including Jacksonville, Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Winter Springs, Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater.  CB and amateur radio are alive and well.  I can't speak to GMRS yet, as I haven't been down there since I got my license, but I will be there to check on my house and visit family very soon... so we'll see.

 

In fact, CB is doing so well in Florida that, while I am in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, I talk to guys all over Florida.  (one skip hop is about 1,200 miles)  When I am local, there is no shortage of people to chew the rag with while cruising down i-95, RT 301, i-4, etc.

 

My best recommendation would be to get online and join local clubs.  Find people who are close to you and are in the hobby.  This will give you a new group of friends with like interests and likely introduce you folks that are technically skilled and able to help you get the most out of your equipment.

 

Also, many radio clubs in and around each other have events that are like flea-markets, but its all two-way radio related.  You can find great deals on some equipment that will run fine.  I flip radios all the time because I get board with them or they don't have some feature I thought they did when I bought it.

 

Just my humble opinion.  Hopefully some of the things I mentioned will help you find the camaraderie with some local folks and help you enjoy the hobby.   


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#40 berkinet

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 02:14 AM

...The purpose of GMRS is to talk to people on the same license. The purpose of CB is to talk to people on different licenses. They both stink, for one reason or another, at doing that down here. (Last thing I heard on CB was a year ago, a random contact imploring all listeners to "smoke weed every day". They didn't reply when I tried to respond.)

The service is dead down here, and frankly so are all the other ones. Puerto Rico may see the point of off-grid comms, and K4SAT may see the point, but central Florida is generally a wasteland, both on simplex channels and repeater, too.


I will limit my comments since @marcspaz has for the most part already said what I would have said.

Assuming, for discussion's sake, your assessment of GMRS and CB is correct, it seems the real issue is your expectations and understanding of the radio services available to hobbyists. By your own definition, if GMRS is for talking to people on the same license, and nobody in your area has that need, what is the issue? If you have that need, then go ahead and setup those on your license with appropriate equipment to meet that need. But, don't claim GMRS stinks just because others aren't using GMRS in your area. (With the caveat, as @marcspaz notes, that you do not have some equipment issues). BTW, even if there were GMRS users in your area with the desire to talk to people on the same license, what makes you think they would or should want to talk to you?

As for CB. Again assuming you are correct in stating the purpose of CB is to talk to people on different licenses, while CB has the ability to skip and allow communications over fairly large distances, it is generally intended for communications with others in the local vicinity and is particularly adapted for mobile communications. If you are in an area where there is no CB traffic, then that's just how it is. That is not, per-se, a problem, it is a fact.

But, there is another option: Amateur Radio. This service would seem to check all of your boxes - in particular, a very active community and lots of options to join in. Depending on your choice of equipment, you can communicate around the block or around the world. The technicians license is not at all hard to get, and would give you a wide range of local communications options. The general license is a bit harder, but would, literaly, open up the world to you.

My suggestion, stop bemoaning the way things are and asking the world to change and go find a way to change yourself (and maybe your expectations).
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