I am ne here but I´ve been reading these forums since quite a while. With this topic here I want to give you an overview how Radio hobby is done in Germany. The informations I am posting here might not be a hundret percent correct, but I am really into radio hobby and I´ve been gathering informations and other stuff about radio for quite some time now.
Let´s start with CB radio:
As far as I know in part 15 CB Radio is only allowed SSB and AM. Also there´s some kind of weird law that you are not permitted to broadcast over a certain distance (something 250+ miles or so). Here in Germany we started with 0.1W handheld CB Radio with 1 channel i think in the 70s and now we have
80 Channels AM FM and new: SSB. SSB Also is allowed with 12W but that is a problem because we have a law that if you have a transmitter + antenna that goes over 10W radiated power you have to send to "our" FCC (which is called BNETZA) a letter with measurements in which stands that your system (CB + antenna) does not get over the allowed field strengths. This is due to protection - protecting people from the electric fields. On the other hand we can in theory broadcast as far as we want. No radio like music broadcasting thou, but no limits like "not more than 250 miles"
Earlier we had 40 Channels FM 12 Channels AM (AM 1W) for a long time then came 80 channels where you had to register for and then they became free. Then came 4W Am on 40 channels and 4W with SSB - then SSB 12W...
We are allowed to use gateways and relay stations but they are only allowed on certain channels. At least thats what I know. Lately they allowed to make radio like broadcasts - like you read a text book into the microphone - but the thing is you are only allowed to do that... broadcast continously voice for
example for 30 minutes - you are only allowed to do that if after your messages people will reply and there will be a discussion about what has been read... so... yeah odd law - kinda.
Different countries use different channel steps. Germany for example Channel 4 is 27.005 and theres no channel that´s 27.000 but Poland has channels that are 27.000. In UK they are using completely (higher) frequenceis. CB Radio here goes from 26.565 to 27,405 (expanded 80 Channels) so even its all in EU they
have their different channel steps.
FRS - Family Radio Service --- here called PMR: Pocket Mobile Radio:
Is basically the same as Family Radio Service. 500mW on UHF but the
frequencies are different. I think FRS is in the 460Mhz range (466Mhz..)
PMR is 446.0 to 446.1 with 8 channels but they lately allowed it to be
combined with DPMR which is a digital version of PMR - the ´talkies therefore
are very expensive and work above the analouge PMR channels. But now they
allowed the analouge PMR to go on digital channels and allowed digital PMR
to go on analouge channels. So I think you now have 16 channels and its like
446.0 to 446.2 now. But I am not absolutely sure. Have been using PMR for my
radio hobby quite often. With good ´talkies you get 30 miles / 50km range
from a mountain line of sight no problem. But the same talkie does not go 3
miles in a town with big buildings.
A german only thing. As industry asked for a licence free / cheap radio that
they can use for their workers - in the job (because PMR seemed to be like to
much of a toy for them) they got a special thing. It´s called freenet and uses
semi professionall Radios and the frequency is 149.0 to 149.1 Mhz.
Like on PMR you are not allowed to change the fixed antenna on the radio otherwise it would loose its licence free useability. I´ve also had one
of these. 100km Range with S9 signals is no problem from a mountain. Devices
for Freenet are very expensive compared to PMR and have a bigger antenna but
they seem to provide the best range.
Amateur Radio / Ham Radio:
German Amateur Radio operators have their (rent) 100kW shortwave station where they make some kind of "legal wannabe pirate radio" program every sunday. They want to make a show like old pirate radio but its legal. In their show they play old music and also have lots of technical details. For example they inform if there were changes in law of amateur radio or have reports from Ham fests or other Radio related topics. Also lots of advertising and attempting to
get people into amateur radio is transmitted there. Its on 6070 Khz every sunday at 11:00 (day) German time.
Getting the amateur radio licence here is far more expensive than in US. As far as I´ve read you pay less than 20 bucks for a licence and then you have to "re pay" every 10 years to be still allowed to use ham radio frequencies. Here you pay lets say more than 100 bucks to even get the licence and then you have monthly costs. They are not high. Like 2...4 bucks or so a month but the problem is if you don´t pay them you will get in trouble with the state because you owe this money to the state. Also you dont pay every month. After 3 years or so they send you a bill over like ~ 90 to 100 bucks to "re pay" for the last 3 years.
Amateur radio operators have an "OK" Ham spirit here. Once there was a small village where the people (IIRC even the major) were all aggainst the local amateur radio operator. He used big antennas and people claimed to get headache just from the antennas. They were kindy bullyig him.
Then amateur radio operators co worked with the BNETZA and prooved various times that his station is ok and far below the allowed maximum radiation levels. It even was in the news (and forums and probably also magazines) of the told above amateur radio shortwave radio transmitter.
Oh by the way we have 2 magazines here. If you are into "the club" which is called DARC - and as you can imagine is not for free - then you get a magacine called "CQ DL" every month. Also there´s another magacine called "Funkamateur". These magacines are about DIY projects, information about relays... projects and also offering things to buy for your amateur radio hobby.
Lots of frequencies and bands are allowed but we are NOT permitted to use AM - on the HF bands except 10 meters. So no AM on 160m 80m or 40m.
We have local amateur radio communitys and I am in some kind of lucky situation because I live in a village - which has even thou its small a very active amateur radio community. The members meet every month and have a local 70cm relay. Also they´re doin "fox hunt" (I took part on that a few times).
But thats pure luck you can also live in a city and have to drive far away to get amateur radio people around.
There are 2 different amateur radio licences. Class E is for beginners and allows nearly everything as class A does. It only is like instead of goin´ up to 750Watts on the HF bands you are limited to 100Watts and with class E you aren´t allowed to use 40m.
Class E and A are having the same test except class A has a much deeper technical test.
Oh by the way I don´t have an amateur radio licence. I´ve passed the easy online test a few times without problems and even the different one here and there but I personally do not yet see any advantages for me in taking the test and get the amateur radio licence.
On my location CB PMR and Freenet are poorely crowded. But as soon as I go on top of a mountain on PMR I hear 3 different stations overlaying each other on one channel. On Freenet I could reach someone in the past on a more or less reliable basis (I currently dont have anymore Freenet radio) and CB is also relatively crowded. Some "lets use it as a phone" people here but many "technically interested know their stuff" people their who use it as "ham radio light". Amateur Radio 2 meters and 6 meters not much going on. Some stations here and there on 70cm and LOTS of stations on shortwave.
I hope this short text gave you at least an rough, unsharp picture about our situation here. I could´ve written more but often had problems in other forums that my messages were just way to long and didn´t get posted. In the next post(s?) I will talk about radio transmitters and others