Why you need a CB Radio.

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    • #97669
      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
      Moderator

        Those of us that are part of the pre-cellphone era are at least a little familiar with CB’s.

        CB’s were a regular part of my first vehicles and that of my friends allowing us to communicate very reliably at reasonable cost as teenagers.

        Then once in the military the various moves around the country were made easier by listening in to trucker’s warnings regarding everything from accident delays to speed traps.

        Using Channel 9 REACT (Radio Emergency Associated Communication Teams) was regular means of reporting accidents, crimes, and calls for roadservice.

        Many people have CB’s in their home, most sitting unused in the the garage, but for the most part ready for service in a emergency with little work. Admittedly most probably wouldn’t even think about it until asked.

        Because of the shear number of CB equipment out there and the relative ease of bringing them back into service, I suspect it will be very prevalent in a “Post-Event” situation, particularly those that are of a longer nature.

        Much of the fall of CB use is related to cellphones becoming virtually a must have item and RF interference in the AM CB spectrum particularly in urban areas. Remember much of this interference will disappear in many SHTF scenarios due to the being no electricity to power the devices that cause this interference.

        At the very least you will need a CB for monitoring this band. Secondary will be to actually communicate with these users.

        What reminded me to make this Thread was a yard sale I went to last weekend. I purchased a Cobra 25LTD Classic manufactured in JUL 89 in the Philippines (a good thing to those that aren’t aware).

        I paid $1 for CB, $1 for a magmount antenna, so for $2 I acquired a usable communication system that only lacks a source of 12VDC power!

        Since I already have several CB’s, why would I purchase this regardless of low price?

        Well for $2 I have a communication device I can give to a neighbor without such ability “Post-Event” who can add to my situational awareness.

        How will he/she power it?

        Well almost everyone has a vehicle with a 12VDC battery, add a 12VDC solar trickle charger $20 new (have bought many at yard sales for under $5) and you now have a minimalist radio station.

        I have a SSB CB radio (actually several), the SSB allows more power, increased range, and some privacy (though certainly not secure).

        Typical range for a properly tuned mobile CB with a quality antenna is around 5-10 miles (maybe double that in SSB). Ranges in the 50 mile range with an amplifier and groundwave (keeping it simple) conditions.

        NOTE: Using a amplifier is illegal, though common. Having an amplifier for emergency use and “Post-Event” use would not be a terrible idea. Owning a amplifier is not illegal for CB, just transmitting with one. Remembering for life and property emergency you can do what is needed.

        For example, you can see that going from 4 watts to 100 watts yields about 335% more distance, or a total of 67 miles.

        I have kept this basic (off the top of my head) with little technical proof. This is meant to point out a forgotten system worth at the minimum a $2 investment! ;-)

        CBRadioMagazine.com has all the information you will ever need as a novice. If your more knowledgeable you don’t need my advice anyway.

        If your a HAM with a bias against CB radio (quite common) get over your ego and remember I am not talking about a hobby, but practical SHTF situations with no room for such bias.

        This certainly isn’t an argument that CB is better, CB is just prevalent enough to not ignore it for our purposes.

      • #97670
        Corvette
        Participant

          I just bought a new Cobra CB for one of the cabins on the trap-line. When I lived on Lake Clark (in Western Alaska) everyone had “MARINE” CB Radios in their cabin, they were the only way to communicate around a 50 mile long lake.

        • #97671
          First Sergeant
          Moderator

            I have one in my truck. Cobra 148 GTL SSB.

            People see the antenna and ask me if it’s a HAM. They are surprised when I tell them it’s a CB.

            FILO
            Signal Out, Can You Identify
            Je ne regrette rien
            In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

          • #97672
            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
            Moderator

              Cobra 148 GTL SSB.

              Good radio, many are surprised at how popular CB still is, not like the late 70’s and 80’s, but still used by many.

              I still wouldn’t drive far without one.

            • #97673
              Virgil Kane
              Participant

                I’m a HAM, but know nothing about CB protocol. I heard it’s no longer regulated. How do call signs work?

              • #97674
                jmj
                Participant

                  No call signs and it works by people just talking (or not talking as I mostly find around here). Also, some good practice for your Spanish, diez-cuatro, bueno amigo. ;-)

                • #97675
                  wesmc
                  Participant

                    Hey, good buddies. What’s your handles? :-)

                  • #97676
                    BrigandActual
                    Participant

                      Radio is one of the things I want to get into in the next year or two. I was planning on HAM, with a Yaesu base unit (either Ft-817ND or 857D). Would that cover the CB bands as well, or is that a separate radio?

                    • #97677
                      trailman
                      Participant

                        I get the article. I have a galaxy for the truck with a mag mount that I throw on for it. Also have an old base station. MY issue is that other than just having it everyone I hear sounds like cajun on meth. Part of the reason why I got my Tech license, at least most of those guys speak english. I read somewhere that when you sound like you are in a steel drum its from an over-amped rig. I wouldn’t doubt it considering some of the guys I hear are from Louisiana.

                      • #97678
                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                        Moderator

                          …but know nothing about CB protocol.

                          Here is a article:
                          10 codes, Q codes – where do they come from and why do we use them?

                          Basically there are a handful of 10 codes in use with CB and a handful of Q codes used SSB CB. Best option is to monitor your local CB traffic to learn local lingo.

                          I heard it’s no longer regulated.

                          Originally, CB required a purchased license ($20 in the early 1970s, reduced to $4 on March 1, 1975) and the use of a callsign. This is no longer the case.

                          How do call signs work?

                          CFR

                          §95.417 (CB Rule 17) Do I identify my CB communications?

                          (a) You need not identify your CB communications.

                          (b) [You are encouraged to identify your CB communications by any of the following means:

                          (1) Previously assigned CB call sign;

                          (2) K prefix followed by operator initials and residence zip code;

                          (3) Name; or

                          (4) Organizational description including name and any applicable operator unit number.]

                          (c) [You are encouraged to use your “handle” only in conjuction with the methods of identification listed in paragraph (b) of this section.]

                          This isn’t enforced.

                          Would that cover the CB bands as well, or is that a separate radio?

                          CB radio consists of 40 channels within the 27 MHz (11m) band.

                          Use of Amateur Radio license equipment to transmit on CB is not legal, though it happens and CB’s aren’t supposed to transmit on HAM bands, but it happens.

                          Radio is one of the things I want to get into in the next year or two.

                          I encourage getting into HAM, but anyone not currently a HAM should go ahead and at least get a used CB setup and a pair of FRS radios.

                          Better to have something now than just a plan for latter. As noted above it is possible to get a CB system for under $10 with some diligence. A basic new CB setup could be had for around $50.

                          MY issue is that other than just having it everyone I hear sounds like cajun on meth.

                          This will vary with AO, CB can be frustrating for those used to HAM, but the need to have the capability and need to monitor this band “Post-Event.”

                          Again as stated despite it’s limitations. My yard sale example demonstrates where can you get more bang for the buck?

                        • #97679
                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                          Moderator

                            To reiterate, I am not discouraging getting a amateur license and equipment.

                            Those that do not have a amateur license, need to have an alternative communications capability.

                            CB and FRS radio will provide some capability, even with it’s limitations.

                            Additionally you need a radio scanner and a shortwave radio.

                            If you don’t have any current capability; regardless of future plans, you should seriously consider this low cost option immediately IMHO.

                            You do not want to be without any capability in an emergency.

                          • #97680
                            BrigandActual
                            Participant

                              Speaking of shortwave radios, what do you think of the one offered by county comm?

                              CountyComm GP-5 SSB ( GEN 3 ) General Purpose Radio – Organic Gray

                            • #97681
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                              Moderator

                                Speaking of shortwave radios, what do you think of the one offered by county comm?

                                Excellent choice and perfect to have with you at all times. I would consider a case such as Pelican 1030 Micro Case for hard field transport, just $13.29 at Amazon.

                                I discuss this GP-5 SSB in this Thread Do you have a Shortwave SSB Radio?

                              • #97682
                                trailman
                                Participant

                                  Speaking of shortwave radios, what do you think of the one offered by county comm?

                                  CountyComm GP-5 SSB ( GEN 3 ) General Purpose Radio 2017

                                  I have two, they do the job but the controls are a PITA. Very small for my bad eyes and big fingers. Tuneing seems to run in micro increments. I get good reception on it but getting there takes time.

                                • #97683
                                  SeanT
                                  Keymaster

                                    In before the first Chicken Band comment….

                                    Good score Joe. CB can be very useful for little $$$

                                    My CB was KJM5537 way back when I was a little radio nerd.

                                    @Brigand, those Yaesu radios are HAM only from the factory. there are modifications that can be made to extend the segmented frequencies but modifying a radio like that is contrary to FCC regulations.

                                  • #97684
                                    Corvette
                                    Participant

                                      Still have mine. I was an OTR trucker and it was essential. Had a goobermint issued call sign from way back then, KBG0104.

                                      Note: those are not my initials or my SSN last four following the “K” just a number given when the license was purchased.

                                    • #97685
                                      Virgil Kane
                                      Participant

                                        Get your HAM license. The Tech exam is easy. Learn everything on the Tech exam and most of the General exam. Read the questions and correct answers the day before taking the Extra. I used hamtestonline.com for the first 2 and passed both on the same day and then just studied the answers for the Extra. The Extra is EE masters level stuff.

                                        Brigand, I have both radios you mentioned and of the 2 I would recommend the 857 first. It has more transmit power. The Icom IC 7200 is comparable to the 857 and you can get a new one for about the same price as a used 857, which is discontinued. However, for a first radio, I would recommend a handheld to get on the air with local folks.

                                      • #97686
                                        SeanT
                                        Keymaster

                                          Also to transmit with full power ( 100 Watts) you will need at least 22 AMPs of 13.8VDC

                                          Get an adequate power supply or a substantial battery.

                                        • #97687
                                          D Close
                                          Moderator

                                            I bought several Uniden CBs over the past couple years for the very reasons Joe mentions.

                                            I own the 880 and the 980 models. The 980 has SSB capability.

                                            I also have a Midland that has a portable battery module as well, meaning you can use as an HT. I have found them very useful for multi vehicle road trips.
                                            I would recommend that once you purchase them, if you choose to set up a base station as depicted in the attachment (lower unit) that you test your mobile units to see what range is realistic. In urban terrain, it can be rather less than advertised. You should also consider putting up a better antenna. The A-99 is strapped to a brick chimney above my roof line.

                                          • #97688
                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                            Moderator

                                              Good advice D Close. :good:

                                              I also have a Midland that has a portable battery module as well, meaning you can use as an HT.

                                              I just got a Maxon CB Handheld for $3 at a Thrift Shop!

                                              Which proves the point of frugal Comms, not the best option, but certainly usable. Affordable enough to pass around liberally “Post-Event” to useful neighbors.

                                            • #97689
                                              SeanT
                                              Keymaster
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