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CB Comm's For Your Rig

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by Yard Dart, May 21, 2014.

  1. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    Setting up the new truck and was curious to ask the Monkey tribe what CB radio's you may be using and why. Also if you have any antenna recommendations for great range/performance. I have a couple of old Midlands boxed for future use but looking around since there are many new models.... with features that I do not have. I know there are many forms of comm's available including ham and so on.... but focused on CB for this particular project. One can not have enough types of comm's available to stay aware of your AO's situation if the SHTF....

    This is one of the units I was looking at:
    Amazon.com : Uniden BEARCAT CB Radio With Sideband And WeatherBand (980SSB) : Fixed Mount Cb Radios : Car Electronics
  2. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    The Uniden is a great choice. I used a Galaxy 949 myself as well as Cobras 29 and 148 series. Consider the ability to pull into about any cb shop and the tech having parts on the shelf. Also at the risk of ticking off uncle charley, any of these are more than capable of reliably being "tweaked" internally or with add ons. As for antennas I used "beer cans" both single and co-phased but the CJ used only an 8" whip always. Forty years ago barefoot was fine but nowdays depending on location and traffic might limit you greatly in range. Clarity is IMPORTANT.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I have had a lot of experience with the Cobra 148 Series SSB CB Radios. Solidly built and work very well, after one who knows how to tune them up, does their thing. Just about ANY SSB CB Radio will usually be competitive, in Operational Characteristics, and just like any OTHER Radio, you can spend BIG Bucks on accessories, that really doesn't change the "Bang for the Buck" ratio....
    Antennas are considered Accessories in my book. Nothing like a Good 108" Fiberglass whip on a BallMount, for a basic Mobile Antenna. Most of the CoPhase Antennas, that you see on 18 Wheelers, are no better than the Standard 108" Whip, as they are NOT Setup properly during Installation, as the distance between the Antennas is CRITICAL (+/- 1/8") to get any added efficiency, and the Phasing Lines built into the coax, are usually off by a few inches, and that kills the Phasing, completely. Mostly the CoPhase Antennas, for CB, are a Marketing Gimmick....
    A better route for Mobile Comms, is to get yourself a Ham License. If 10 Year Olds can do it, anyone can, and there is NO LONGER a Morse Code Requirement, for a Ham License...... .......
    Yard Dart, Tevin and oldawg like this.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I have (long ago) good experience with Cobra units. Hardy things, hard to hurt. Started with a 23 channel unit, later went to a 40 ch SSB rig that served well in three different vehicles over about 10 years. Would not hesitate to get a new one if CB was the choice. CB has a huge advantage over any other means of getting really fresh road condition reports from ahead of you. The disadvantage is the crude (less than family friendly) behavior that is all too common these days.

    Both CB and ham radios can supply you with weather reports that might affect travel plans, especially in snowy areas.

    The problem with BT's post recommending ham is that there are far fewer hams out there than CBs. Ham is a better way to conduct comms IF you have a nest of hams in the area or can find them on your travel routes. There are 2 Meter repeaters spread around rather densely, it's a matter of hunting them up on line before you hit the road. Using 2M repeaters will get you range far beyond what CB can do.
    Yard Dart, Tevin and BTPost like this.
  5. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+

    Most CBs are the same as far as construction quality goes, with the exception of the old President units, particularly the base stations. They were and still are in a class by themselves: Great looking, made with a lot of pride, and designed to last decades. That's why they still fetch hundreds of dollars on the used market.

    I have a few CBs of various brands (AM only no SSB) I picked up used at swap meets. I did not pay more than $5 for any one of them and they were all clean and tested good. I don't take CB too seriously, but for the money they are worth having around. Mine are in storage for SHTF deployment. I do not use CB for every day comms.

    I suggest instead of buying a CB based on serviceability as @oldawg mentioned, simply buy a second unit as a spare. CBs are not that expensive and it makes more sense to replace it than pay to fix it. Do you really want to screw around with a radio you can buy brand new for less than a hundred bucks? And you might have trouble getting a CB serviced anyway.

    For antennas, @BTPost is right. A 108" whip placed as close to center of the vehicle as possible will give best omnidirectional performance. Anything smaller has coils which trade efficiency for smaller physical size, and those dually antennas are a gimmick unless set up by someone who really knows what they are doing. It's important to have a good antenna & feedline because you have only a few watts to work with and can't afford to waste any of it.
    BTPost and Yard Dart like this.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Now you mention Presidents, I remember the Washington base unit we had that the ex got. (Found out way later that President and Cobra were like Chevy and Pontiac, made by the same outfit, just badged differently. Can't say if they were always badge brothers, but were later on.) Excellent performance on a 5/8 wave ground plane on the roof.
    Tevin likes this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    So far as mobile antenna performance went, the best I had was a Firestik mounted dead center on top of a Pinto wagon, attached to the roof rack. Second best was a K40 on a trunk lip mount. Both are available today. (Both can be tuned for 10M, but I don't know about power handling.)
  8. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I have a Cobra still in the box. However it is my understanding that you can add a amp booster and key the mic next to these cats with boom boom music and blow there crap up. Is this true or an urban legend ?
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Mostly Urban Legend..... It is possible to overload a Tuned Input to a Radio Receiver that is designed to operated on the Same Frequency, as the Transmitter. HOWEVER, RF Radiation follows the Inverse Square Law in Physics, and to get significant Power Transfer into a Non-Tuned Circuit, requires MASSIVE Transmit Power, and Close Coupling distance, between the Tx and Rx Systems.

    A 108" whip can handle 500 Watts of RF with ease if the Ground to the vehicle frame is "Good and Solid"......
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
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