What’s special about the 4m band? It’s been available here – in the UK, that is – for many years. But it’s not a mainstream band: no 4m allocation in USA or Japan. Consequently, very little commercial equipment for the 70.0 to 70.5MHz slot. In the UK FM is catered for by the mass of low-band ex-PMR equipment that has found its way onto the surplus market. (Phillips FM1000-series, shown right, is a popular choice.)The four metres web site, at www.70mhz.org is a wealth of interesting information about the band and operating at 70MHz.
Since about 2009 there’s been an influx of Chinese low-band FM radios covering 60ish to 80ish MHz and these are available direct from the Far East or through European dealers.
For SSB, CW and other modes it is mostly built-it-yourself. I’ve recently come across the Trio TR-700 4m conversion and there are many good transverter designs about. In the UK, Spectrum Communications supplies transverters and transmit amplifiers to good designs as kits or ready-built. The Spectrum equipment is (I think) good value and very reliable! What more could you want?
My own first exposure to the band was a long, long time ago while a SWL and living in Kent. I have warm and nostalgic memories of Pye equipment in an Austin A40. But, having recently returned to the band – picking up a Phillips ex-PMR radio for FM a couple of years back then a Wouxun handheld – I realised what a pleasure it is to be amongst polite enthusiasts. I now have a Spectrum Communications transverter, driven froma FT-817 now retired from hills, summits and wind-swept portable operations.
Using a Wouxun hand-held for mobile ops in the car, for a time I used a 35W transmit amplifier, also to Tony Naylor’s design, for a bit of an edge. I’ve now started using the Wouxun hand-held again in its original role and have an Anytone AT-5189 in the car. Quirky control and a rather stiff mike lead aside, it’s a useful FM-only radio on the move.
There’s a Wikipedia entry about the 4m band which mentions this low-band FM radio, here.