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Can a Citizens Band Network Be Practical?

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posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 08:06 AM
a reply to: mysterioustranger

I've checked into that as well and there is a Ham radio club in the local college town. Otherwise there is nothing in my immediate area, esp for CB, at least not with a Google search.

Thanks for the info, I'll check out your leads. A communications network can have many ways to relay messages, even by foot if necessary, so involvement in SW groups is always a good thing in an emergency. Meeting new like minded people is normally a good thing anyways.
edit on 2-9-2014 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Typo

posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 08:56 AM
Great Idea!
I've always thought that when TSHF, phones, TV and pretty much all types of communication would be worthless. No one is going to be repairing or maintaining cell towers, so CB is the next best thing. We still have a base set and 3 car radios in the garage and it would be an easy install, if/when they're needed.

posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 09:35 AM
a reply to: DAVID64

Good to hear that.

Even if I can't personally start a CB network, I have a feeling that one will sprout up from all the old units in basements and garages. There are still enough drivers using them to be useful right now on a trip, so there is a loose network already.

If things go south I hope that is one of the first things people do is dust off the old CBs and start communicating.

posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 09:41 AM
Here is one of the articles I put up on the MCBRN (Michigan Citizens Band Radio Network) website I just put up.

Survival Communications – The C.B. Radio "Even during small scale disasters (earthquakes, seasonal storms, etc.) your normal communications channels can become compromised. In fact, it doesn’t take much to bring down an entire cell network, making the ability to communicate during a disaster one of your top priorities."

Here is another one.

Emergency Radios And Frequencies Guide "If your spouse and children are away from home when disaster strikes, would you be able to communicate with them and help guide them home? Many folks have become far to reliant upon cell phone and the Internet to communicate and reach loves ones quickly in our modern world. Purchasing at least one type of emergency communications device could help reunite and aid loves ones during either a short or long-term disaster."

posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 12:43 PM
a reply to: DAVID64

You mention repairs, something that should be easy for CB shops or others who are into CB, like at truck stops. I have 3 extra units that need minor repairs, some I can probably do myself. There are enough old units gathering dust, parts should be available from toasted radios.

posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 07:01 PM
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

LIsten...if you get hung up searching, I will put you in touch with one of the operators. This guy know whis stuff, is super smart on prepardness, on ham operators and this whole thing.

Let me know. If you do...U2U me and Ill get back.

posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:45 AM
a reply to: mysterioustranger

That would be a great hook-up, thanks. I'll try myself first, and if I don't get anywhere I'll be in contact.

posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 03:04 PM
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

Anytime. I know a few of these guys, and I think you'd fit the bill. This contact of mine is also a leader in one organization of ham ops.
Great guy, super intellegent, and wayway wayyy qualified in everything from Incident Command, Ham Emergency Ops, firearms training, disaster ops, computers...the whole deal. Just let me know.

PS We are all in Region 2 South, Wayne County Mi in the Dearborn area.

posted on Sep, 4 2014 @ 11:59 PM
I loved cb's, and just about any kind of radio, when I was a kid. My preferred Christmas and Birthday present was always some kind of 2-way radio. They were all pretty cheap and I'd take them apart anyway.

I got one mobile cb from my brother, that he had bought used. It was a tube-type unit, crystal controlled, 4 channel, dual powered. It had a built-in multi-vibrator to convert the DC to AC to feed the transformer primary. But, I'll admit that it was even antiquated before I had it.

I remember listening to the Scuttlebutt on the cb one winter when we missed a whole month of school because of snow. That's not a bad way to stay informed, especially if the 6:00 o'clock news isn't on. Which is most of the time. This was the 70's equivalent of social media.

Even just a few years ago, I used them quite a bit when I was travelling. The truck drivers still keep track of where the "gators" are. Most of the time they work better than a radar detector. But "Drivers", while I respect them for their extraordinary service, are some of the most racist, foul-mouthed, homophobic, sexist, just-plain-mean, people on the airwaves. So, I listen very seldom anymore.

I still carry a 40 channel walkie-talkie that I use when I come up to a traffic jam. These folks get serious and start relaying helpful information when their paychecks are on the line.

So, for all you old-timers out there, allow me to part from you with the following bit of prose:

I gotta hit this cotton-pickin road.
So, y'all keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down.
We'll catch ya on the flip-flop
We're gone


posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 07:51 AM
a reply to: DexterRiley

Truck drivers are famous for their colorful language and sardonic wit. Just remember, that if it wasn't for truck drivers, we would have never had CBs to begin with, or groceries, or gasoline, or air, or the sun, or the moon, or . . .
ETA: That old radio sounds fantastic! Truly amazing. Thanks for that story.

edit on 5-9-2014 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Typo

edit on 5-9-2014 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Added comment

posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 12:07 PM
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

I completely agree about truck drivers. I learned a long time ago to stay out of the way of the "working man." Give them plenty of room, don't tailgate, and give them all of the courtesy and respect that you can. When we're on the road driving our little cars and trucks, we're just trying to get from place to place. On the other hand, when they're driving, they are making their living and doing us the service of delivering virtually every product that we need to live. Not to mention the fact that they are at the controls of a vehicle the size of a house carrying 40,000 pounds of cargo. I do have a great deal of respect for them and their profession. And not listening to their inane chatter helps me to maintain that respect.

Actually the brother that I mentioned in my previous post became an over-the-road long-haul truck driver as a second career after he retired from his first job. He used a 10 meter ham radio rig that was modified for 11 meter cb. I think it had about 250 watts out. That's actually pretty typical for professional drivers these days. I guess when your daily bread depends on efficient communications, you can push the limits a little bit.

That same brother also got me into Amateur Radio when I was a kid. And that's where I think some of the Ham Radio techniques would come in handy for what you proposed in your initial post.

Hams have scheds and nets. At pre-arranged times a group of operators will get together on a pre-arranged frequency, or radio repeater, and relay traffic. There's a protocol for relaying messages from a sender to a recipient. A message can originate at one location and the radio operators relay the message from station to station until someone near the recipient writes it down and delivers it to them. I can imagine a situation where hams could take care of long distance message transfer, and then local cb operators could be instrumental in doing local delivery.

For the "leave a message" scenario, a series of net operators could take turns manning their stations and act as receptionists. So when a message needs to be left for someone, the operator could record the message. When the recipient came online, they can call the operator for a message check and get the recorded message. That would take some cooperation, but in an SHTF situation the only way we could survive is by cooperating.

CB's are still quite ubiquitous, even if they are not widely used. I have at least 2 functional mobile rigs and a couple of walkie-talkies. Not to mention a whole box full of mobile rigs that are in need of a "little repair." I was in my neighbor's basement last week when he stumbled across his rig from many years ago. It was neatly packed in a box, ready to fire up if he needed it.

CB's are nice because they are simple to operate, consume little power, and are relatively easy to repair. They also work quite well for local communication. I had actually been thinking along the same lines as you with respect to their usage in an SHTF type situation. That's what caught my eye when I saw your thread title.

I'll have to go back to get the URL for your website and see what you have posted. But it seems completely reasonable to have a an already defined protocol for use in a real SHTF situation. I think in this case, a protocol that is tailored to a long-term societal breakdown might be somewhat different than one that is defined for a short-term emergency. For instance, part of the initialization phase might be to collect spare and unused radios and distribute them to strategic points to enable better network coverage. People with more knowledge and experience could assist in getting those stations set up and train the new operators. Then you can define operating methodologies that borrow from existing emergency radio service protocols, while taking into account that the establishment of this network would be much longer term.

Very cool thread and a great idea. I'm surprised that it hadn't been discussed before. Thanks!


posted on Sep, 7 2014 @ 12:03 AM
a reply to: DexterRiley

Wow, yeah!

We're on the same frequency and I'm reading your signal loud and clear.

Using a CB network in conjunction with a Ham network should work pretty well. It would be a good way for the general population to locally acquire and relay messages for the larger Ham operator's network. Side band is a good choice for a cross-over frequency to communicate with the Ham operators.

On my website, I propose that network cells should be 50 square miles. That area could be covered with nine CB base stations, each with an average of two mobiles. One shortwave station could cover four CB cells and eight would cover all the cells in the state.

That would be with even coverage of course, reality would be more like a bunch of loose threads that need to be woven into a network.

Anyway, I can see we are thinking along the same lines.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 12:42 AM
Concerning the use of shortwave radios, there are some frequencies that can be used without a license. There is the Family Radio Service from 463.5625MHZ to 463.7125MHZ and from 467.5625MHZ to 467.7125MHZ giving 14 channels of free use and 5 more on the Multi-Use Radio Service that ranges from 151.820MHZ to 154.600MHZ. That is a total of 19 channels on the VHF and UHF bands that are license free. Even though Ham operators usually have a CB, they don't ever use them, so the bridge between Ham operators and unlicensed CB radio operators could be the FRS and the MURS frequencies. Of course it would mean the added cost of having a whole other radio and antenna set-up.

The FRS channels are supposed to be for 1/2 watt walkie talkies, but the first 7 are shared with the General Mobile Radio Service, with a licensed use of up to 50 watts. The Multi-Use Radio Service allows 2 watts unlicensed.

The FRS is used by everyone these days for hunting, security, home use, etc., but the MURS, I'm not sure who uses that. I imagine that unless you're harassing others on those frequencies, I doubt that anyone will be bothered by some extra power (like 50 watts). A handheld VHF/UHF transceiver rated at 4 watts could be used without a problem I would think, but that would be about as good as a CB at 4 watts.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 01:39 AM
Excellent idea, CB signals aren't very strong but most would probably like local info anyway. It wouldn't hurt to keep a Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio of Amazon locked in the tin box for $30 either.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 01:50 PM
a reply to: glend

I borrowed a Baofeng VHF/UHF Transceiver from my buddy and programmed the FRS and MURS frequencies and tested it against my Motorola Talkabouts and it worked great. The Baofeng has 4 watts high and 1 watt low transmitting power and can be hooked up to an external antenna. $30 or $40 on Amazon sounds pretty good, however, a mobile VHF/UHF radio that runs 10 + watts goes new for around $100, 50 watts or more goes into the $200 - $300 range. Can't forget a good antenna, a Radioshack mobile goes for around $40.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 07:42 PM
Here are some prices. Not included are things like an antenna mast, coax, etc. $500 would cover pretty much all this equipment, $300 would get you on the CB, all new stuff.

SSB CB Radio around $150

Solarcon A-99 CB Base Station Antenna

Sirio SY 27-3 3 elements Yagi Beam CB Antenna

Baofeng VHF/UHF Transceiver around $40

VHF 118-174MHz Yagi Antennas
Tram/Browning BR-6333

UHF 406-512MHz Yagi Antennnas
Tram/Browning BR-6353
edit on 10-9-2014 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Typo

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 10:38 PM
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

Yes a good antenna is critical. I once achieved a 1700km skip on a cb but was standing on top a massive flat metal roof at the time (we exchanged postcards). With dual band high gain antenna you can even use the little Baofeng UV5RA to communicate long distance via satellites.

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 04:37 PM
For around $150, I can get the Baofeng VHF/UHF Transceiver, and both the Tram/Browning BR-6333 VHF 118-174MHz Yagi Antenna and Tram/Browning BR-6353 UHF 406-512MHz Yagi Antenna (7db and 9db forward gain). I can put those up with the rotating T.V. antenna and have line of sight communications with my buddies, or the local Ham operators, on the FRS or MURS freqs.

I'll probably do that in a month or two.

ETA: The Baofeng has 4 Watts and based on what my CB will do at 4 Watts from the omni-directional base antenna, I'd guess it could talk base to base better than 10 miles. However, since 6 dBi in gain will double the range of an antenna, those Yagis should increase that to around 25 miles, esp. if the receiving station has a Yagi antenna too.
edit on 11-9-2014 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Added comments

edit on 11-9-2014 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Typo

posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 12:55 AM
Something else about VHF and UHF frequencies, the background noise and interference caused by sunspots and solar storms, like we've been having lately, don't have as much effect as they do on CB frequencies. I've been monitoring both 11 meter band and UHF during peak skip these last few days and the noise level on UHF hasn't changed, while the CB is over run with Mexican and US skip interference.

A solar EMP event would make CBs hard to use during the day for a long period of time. A nuclear EMP only effects the ionosphere for a few hours before normal CB operation is possible. However, local communications could be uninterrupted during these events by using UHF and VHF frequencies.
edit on 14-9-2014 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Typo

posted on Oct, 5 2014 @ 12:09 PM

originally posted by: VictorVonDoom

Anyway, the two biggest drawbacks to CB that I can think of are limited range and the inability to leave a message. Unless you are both at your radios, you can't communicate.

If you hook up a computer to your radio, use can use niffy freeware programs like a VOX Actuated Recorder to record message signals above a threshold level and Morse coder/decoder (CW) programs. There are simplex repeater programs, as well as directional antennas that will increase range over two fold.

A multi-element beam antenna for CB is large and expensive, esp. if you buy a 50 foot tower and rotator.
A BoaFeng VHF/UHF transceiver with a 9db gain directional antenna will probably give you a 30 mile range for a little over $100. Those VHF/UHF antennas can legally be 20 feet from the ground or a building, so a mast should be cheap.

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