Heckington Radio Group

Based in/around Heckington and interested in CB, 11m or amateur radio?

We’re a friendly group of people, keen to support each other in the pursuit of our hobby and people joining or coming back to hobby radio.

What do we mean by 'hobby radio'?

Whether it’s Amateur Radio, Citizen’s Band Radio (‘CB’), or PMR446, as long as it’s radio we want to see more people on the air, especially locally in and around the Heckington area.

Even though some of us are licensed amateurs, we use CB radio for contact within the group because everyone can use it.

CB is inclusive, you don’t need to take a course, pass an exam or obtain a license to use it, and equipment is cheap and readily available. Some of you may even have an old CB rig that can be resurrected from the garage or loft, or know someone who has. If not, then equipment can be obtained relatively cheaply. You can even get on the air if you live in a flat by, for example, using a held held radio.

What is 'CB Radio?'

If you have never used CB radio, where were you in the 1970s and 80s? Back in the days before the internet and mobile phones, people used CB radios to chat and to stay in touch with their friends. CB radio transceivers or ‘rigs’ were small enough to fit in a car but many people also had them at home. With its origins in the United States, CB really was one of the early forms of social media!

So why use radio?

Because it’s more fun than modern social media. When you use voice radio, you’re actually talking to people! And radio is fascinating. There are many different branches to the hobby. If you want to chase more distant contacts (known as ‘DX’) then with a little know-how and patience it is entirely possible to make contact with people across the world.

What kind of activity is there on CB radio today?

Don’t expect CB to be as busy as it was. There are far fewer users now than there were in the 1980s. Turn on a CB nowadays and it may be a while before you hear anyone. However, many people do still use CB and many more have come back to it since lockdown when, let’s face it, we all realised the value of keeping in touch! So, if you are using the band for the first time or coming back after a long break, be patient – you’ll hear activity if you persevere. Listening on Channel 19 (the mobile calling channel) is a good place to start.

Unfortunately, you will occasionally hear people behaving badly. UKFM CB was known as “The Muppets”, even back in the 1980s and it is fair to say that today it still has its share of silent keyers, music players and other muppets. But it’s also a great introduction to hobby radio. Many licensed amateurs started out on CB. Others were happy to stay on CB or have come back to the band more recently.

Typically, FM CB enables local contact (around 10m radius depending on your set up), though conditions are expected to improve over the next few years, with longer distance openings becoming more common, so now is also a great time to get started or back into the hobby.

If you do get the bug, then 11m freeband radio (with slightly more expensive rigs) enables regular contact into Europe and beyond, and amateur radio (for which you need a licence) enables worldwide communication.

CB was arguably the original ‘social media’ and if text really isn’t your thing, then radio might be – it’s certainly a great way to keep in touch and chat in person.

I'm up for it - what do I do?

Get in touch! Here in Heckington, we’ve recently started a regular, main net on Channel 23 UKFM (27.86125Mhz) on Monday evenings at 7pm, with a secondary net on Wednesdays at the same time. So if you are already on the air, why not give us a call? Wherever you are, if you can hear us, you’re more than welcome to join us on either of these nets. Or if you need help to get back up and running, just get in touch!

You will find us on Facebook here (Heckington Radio Group): – https://www.facebook.com/groups/844046280413446/

Or email andy@radiohlr.com

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