OFCOM have been running a consultation on legalising AM and SSB CB for a little while. The consultation closed last month, and they've published their findings:
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consul ... statement/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
AM CB has been a sore point with certain factions within the CB community since FM CB was legalised in 1981, but what does this mean for the general user?OFCOM wrote:Statement Publication date: 10 December 2013
1.1 This Statement sets out Ofcom’s decision to proceed with proposals made in our Consultation “Citizens’ Band (CB) radio – Authorising Amplitude Modulation (AM) modes of operation”(-1-) (the ‘Consultation') which was published on 7 October 2013 and closed on 8 November 2013.
1.2 The Consultation proposed to amend current arrangements for Citizens’ Band (CB) Radio in the UK to allow the use of Amplitude Modulation (AM) Double-sideband (DSB) and Single-sideband (SSB) transmission on CB radio.
1.3 Ofcom specifically proposed to:
- Authorise the use of AM emissions on European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) harmonised channels in line with European Communication Committee (ECC) Decision (11)03(-2-); and
- Authorise such use on a licence exempt basis (in line with our authorisation approach for other modes of operation for CB).
1.4 These proposals followed on from work carried out in Europe. In June 2011 the ECC, part of CEPT, published a Decision, ECC/DEC/ (11)03 (the ‘Decision’) on the harmonised use of frequencies for CB radio equipment. The Decision sought to harmonise the technical standards and usage conditions relating to the use of frequencies for CB radio equipment in CEPT administrations. Our proposals were consistent with the Decision.
1.5 The response to the Consultation was overwhelmingly in favour of our proposals. There were 275 responses to the Consultation, 64 of which were confidential, 210 were non-confidential and 1 was confidential in part. Out of the responses 260 agreed with the authorisation of AM/DSB and AM/SSB use on CB.
1.6 The main concerns expressed by respondents related to the need for effective enforcement, the knowledge and behaviour of CB users and questions surrounding the proposed technical parameters. These issues are explored in more detail in Section 3.
1.7 Given the positive response to the consultation we will proceed to implement the proposals as set out in the Consultation. We will include these changes in the next update of the licence exemption regulations which we expect to come into force by July 2014.
Given the huge installed base of FM-only CB rigs within the UK, I don't see AM or SSB "taking over" any time soon. What will happen is that dual-mode AM-FM sets will become the norm for new purchases (most are already AM-capable if you press the right buttons, for use in other EU countries where it's always been legal). Currently SSB rigs command a significant premium, and if it follows the US market experience SSB will remain a value-added feature.
What it *will* help is with transatlantic communications on those occasions when the atmospheric conditions are right. The US doesn't permit FM so at the moment if you want to talk to the States one end of the conversation needs to do something illegal. Once AM and SSB are legal in the UK and rigs that do one or both of these modes are commonplace it'll be a lot simpler to talk to the US when conditions allow.
Finally, if you're in the market for a brand-new CB it makes little sense to buy one of the last FM-only models unless you're absolutely certain you'll not want to talk to anyone on AM with it, ever.