CB back up?

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by Marco Montana, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Marco Montana

    Marco Montana Monkey+

    Hi I was looking into HAM radio but the license seems cumbersome to get and I only want it for emergency use not for weekly chats in Russia. I'm looking for something I can prepare in a bag for my girl and my son to have in a bag in their trunk, I'm a Technician so preparing everything electrically will be no problem. I want something strong enough they can plug into a car lighter/ power pack and run an antenae to a tree and be able to communicate with each other...

    Is there such a radio? Or is HAM the only way?
  2. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    I have a walkie-talkie style CB that has a way to hook up either an antennae or a cord to an antennae.


    The thing is pretty useless without an external antennae (using it like a walkie-talkie). With the external mount it's OK.

    So, I've got one of those magnet mounted antennas and there's a cord that I run through a grommet in the floor-board of my truck. You'll also need to tune the antennae, which was a PITA (finding a wide open spot free of interference).

    There are lots of YouTube videos showing you how to do this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    There is nothing "Wrong" with CB, for use by anyone.... as long as you understand the limitations of that radio system.

    1. Limited Power Output: 5 watts AM or 12 watts SSB
    2. Limited Bandwidth: 40 channels AM or 80 channels SSB
    3. Interference: From stations that are far from your local area, when the Band is Open.
    4. Limited Range: 25 miles is about the Maximum for Direct Ground Wave Comms.
    5. No OPSec: DF-able, and Scannable by ANYONE, and everyone. MonkeyNet can mitigate this.

    Within these limitations,CB is a very common way to communicate, and cheap to implement.

    Marco Montana: The Ham Test is not really that hard. If you are an Electronics Tech already, you should be able to memorize the Test Questions and Answers, in a week or two of study, a couple of hours each evening. Start out easy with the Tech License, and then upgrade to the General License for HF Privileges later. If 10 year Olds can do it I am sure it is not beyond any Monkeys capability. There are plenty of Study Guides available on the Internet, and ALL the Test questions are Published and available. ..... YMMV....
  4. Marco Montana

    Marco Montana Monkey+

    Thanks Fishn, that's hilarious I was just looking at the reviews at that very radio on amazon... WHat would you say the range is in a wooded area or park?
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

  6. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Judging from what I can hear on a highway without having an external antennae, not very far. You'd be better having a Walkie-Talkie in that situation. At least you'd have some modicum of privacy with one of those.

    In my mind, the reason to have one of these is to get information in an emergency (phone lines down) or to request help. I don't think I would use one for communication...unless you are a Navajo or Sri Lankan.

    Plus, with the battery pack, that thing is heavy.

    In SHTF, you can also use a VHF radio if you're inland. Many won't have one and those things are more powerful than a walkie talkie and you won't have to worry about the FCC. If you're near water, you should have one anyway for informational purposes. Mine is water proof and floats....and has an SOS beacon.

    And, as always...these are just my opinions. I don't know what the hell I'm doing most of the time.
    BTPost likes this.
  7. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    If and when I cut a diode my Ham rig is a CB radio. :D
    BTPost likes this.
  8. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    The HAM license process isn't that tedious and costs all of $15 for the test. It makes you legal to operate and the technician license isn't for talking to Russia if you don't want to. I made my antenna (additional antenna that is) for about $35 and it increased my 5 watt range on my handheld to about 30 miles.

    It's worth the investment and the HAM community is where the emergency information is going to be broadcast from as they are they are the ones that are organized. Get involved with your local RACES and/or ARES group and find out what frequencies they use and you and e family should be all set.

    You can get handheld units for $100 or less each and by that I mean multiple batteries, car adapters, AA battery packs and usually a desk charger.

    Your range on an amateur radio is going to be FAR greater than a CB and you have a LOT more than 41 channels to choose from.

  9. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Very simply said my rig does the same thing as a CB but in a whole bunch more places.

    If there isn't an active local ARES or RACES group try to find like minded hams and start one. Plus there are many civilian emergency services groups who would love having a Ham around.
  10. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    I have a Galaxy DX 95T I bought off a trucker who was getting out of the Biz...AM/FM/LSB/USB variable output power from 50 to 150 ... This one was tweaked to go as high as 250... Technically it's a 10 meter mobile, tuned to work on CB freqs... but this type of rig are pretty common in most big truck-stops and CB stores that cater to Over the road truckers...

    BTW I dont think they still make 95... they have a newer mod out... but for whatever reason they went from a 6 to a 5 Digit Frequency Counter... go fig???

    Edit to add
    STANGF150 likes this.
  11. Suerto

    Suerto Monkey+

    I've always had a cobra 29 LTD upped to 25watts in my truck, with a Wilson 1000, could be heard clearly up to 10 miles down the interstate in wooded areas..

    Got the wife one of those $35 handheld "walkie-talkie" style CB's for her on jeeping trips, without an external antenna on the interstate, it's output range is like 50yds or less.

    It received ok, so you could use it to get info..

    In the woods, jeeping, it was virtually useless for transmitting, and only good up to 25 or so yards for receiving a typical 4watt setup.

    Basically useless unless you have an external antenna setup in the woods.
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Very typical of CB Style rubber antennas, that use the operators hand, as the AC Coupled, RF Ground. Put a REAL Antenna on that and it will do just as well as any other basic CB Radio. When dealing with unBalanced Antenna Systems, it is the RF Ground, that makes, or breaks the antenna efficiency, in most cases. ..... YMMV....
  13. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    True I put a 5/8 wave on a 2 Mtr HT which easily doubled plus the range.

    The secret to "getting out" is the antenna.
  14. Idahoser

    Idahoser Monkey+++ Founding Member

    "Antennae" is plural. It's the correct way to say "more than one antenna". "Antennas" is not a word but we use it anyway.

    You're not going to learn what you want to know from a thread on the internet. Being able to communicate with who you choose, when you choose, takes more than something you can buy and stash for a rainy day, it takes knowledge. ANYTHING you buy and never learn to use is not going to get the job done when the time comes. You have to LEARN it.

    You only need a license if you want to transmit. If you want to buy radios that are CAPABLE of transmitting, but use them only for learning, for listening, and to have them ready in case licenses are no longer enforced, you can do that. It's going to be a lot more difficult if you choose not to transmit, however. The best way to get where you want to be is to get your license and learn the way countless hams have since the turn of the (last) century, and quit trying to figure out a way to game the system.

    You can take practice tests for free on the internet. The test isn't that hard. Take tests by the dozens. When you're getting 90% right ten tests in a row, go take the test.

    Citizen's Band is 11m, 27MHz and limited to 5 watts.

    Here's what comes in a typical modern mobile-capable ham radio

    general coverage receive (DC to daylight- that means any frequency).
    Any mode (AM, FM, CW, digital, SSB) including ham and commercial shortwave freqs.
    usually 100W transmit built in, use an amp up to 1,500W legally.

    HF High Frequency (Shortwave refers to the same thing) Depending on a lot of factors, one or more of these will work to talk where you want to talk.
    160m - 1.8 MHz pretty large antennas, stick with wire. Just above the AM band on your car radio, which is MW, Medium Wave. (see how your AM radio goes up to 1600? that's "kiloHertz", or 1.6 MegaHertz)
    80m - 3.5 MHz predictable, good NVIS and distance at night with different antennae
    60m - "WARC" band added in the '80s. channelized, like CB, and upper sideband only. Some new changes are about to take effect on this band.
    40m - 7 MHz predictable, good NVIS in daytime, distance at night
    30m - 10 MHz "WARC" band added in the '80s. 200w limit.
    20m - 14 MHz predictable, good distance all day and night when the sun is active
    17m - 18 MHz "WARC" band added in the '80s
    15m - 21 MHz
    12m - 25 MHz "WARC" band added in the '80s
    10m - 28 MHz takes some real sun activity for this to be open with any kind of predictability
    6m - 50 MHz actually this is VHF, but most modern HF transceivers include it. called "the Magic band", like any VHF and above, not reliable for over-the-horizon comms without repeaters

    Below are reliable in line-of-sight only. Using repeaters, can be extended over the horizon, but each station-to-station link is line of sight. There are repeaters on low-earth-orbit satellites that come overhead with regularity, and they can be used to make long distance contacts in the up to 15-minute time frame when they're visible to both parties. These freqs can be bounced off meteor trails and atmospheric tricks will sometimes open them for distance, but it's not practical for useful comms. They use this to get distant stations in the log for purpose of awards and contests. You can't plan on it.

    VHF Very High Frequency
    2m - 147 MHz a few all-in-one machines will include but common in handhelds and mobiles. They can be 2m only, or dual- or tri-banders with higher freqs and/or perhaps include 6m. Uplink for satellites, usually.
    1.25m - 220 MHz is sort of a bastard, not included in most multi-band rigs. I only know of a couple of H/T's (handy-talky) that include 220, usually in mobiles it's by itself.

    UHF Ultra High Frequency
    70cm - 440 MHz. It's common in dual-banders with 2m. Downlink for many satellites.

    higher bands- handhelds, mobiles, repeaters are around, usually single band. Interesting for some specialty uses, like moonbounce.

    So yes, you can buy an Icom 706MkIIg and put it in the bottom of the closet and wait for doomsday, but will you know how to talk where and when you want to when that time comes? No. You will have years of study in front of you, WITHOUT the benefit of a worldwide network of people to talk to and build your knowledge.
  15. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    I have a cb in my truck with a good antenna. I can switch the power cord to my 2 meter and change antennas to use the same set up for ham. There is a little loss on the coax but it is convenient.

    Having said that I like CB in the truck or car for convoy type road trips easy to use and does not travel that far. I layered my total coms to include Ham, cb, and frs/grms
    ColtCarbine and BTPost like this.
  16. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Spell checkers say either antennas or antennae are correct which earned a huh from me.

    Antenna | Define Antenna at Dictionary.com

    Antenna has two definitions; a conductor for electromagnetic waves and a sensory appendage for a bug. Hams have antennas, bugs have antennae and I always said the bug's antennas..
  17. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    "antennas" are what you mount to your pickup truck....
    "antennae" are what the little gray space aliens got sticking up out of the tops of their heads...

    source an old book I have on how to write SF stories...
    BTPost likes this.
  18. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Actually, my source was reading QST and antenna books as no one can see them; I provided a link.
    Back in the day when antennas were new technology; antennae was used for both.
    British Hams: http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/?q=4040677
    As always we are separated by a common language. LOL
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