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Anybody here use a CB, FM or HAM radio?

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posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 07:47 AM
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I have one in the truck, but haven't ever really used it. In researching handheld radios, I've learned that unless you are mountain top to mountain top, you're not going to get that 50 mile range they claim (more like 1 to 2 miles tops)!

With CB, I'm hearing more like 4 or 5 miles or so, so seeming like a better option for emergency communication with loved ones, while heading to a base. If nothing else, might be good just for learning about traffic jams, etc. Does anyone else here use this? I realize cell phones have largely negated their purpose, but I still feel many truckers likely use it for local group chatter. Any tips, tricks to be aware of?
edit on 9-8-2013 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 07:55 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 

I haven't used one since the 1970's.
It was a fad then.
I remember guys that were sending and receiving longer distances by illegally transmitting more than the power limit at the time ( 5 watts? I forget, it was 40 years ago.)
edit on 9-8-2013 by butcherguy because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:04 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 


I had one as recently as about 5 years ago, both in my truck (Firestick) and my home (halfwave groundplane). I ran a 100 watt linear amplifier to extend the range on both.

Compared to the '70s and '80s, it's really quiet out there now. It's a wonder the FCC hasn't gone back to the original 21 channels.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:05 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 


Mostly useless for 'emergency' communications. Being an SSB radio set to operate on one small part of a single band (11m or 27MHz band) it is at the mercy of band conditions which fluctuate significantly. Sure, sometimes you can get contacts of 50 miles or more but that doesn't mean that will be possible when you really need it.

If you're really serious about communication (and it seems a large percentage of 'survivalists' put comms way down on their prep lists) you should look into amateur radio. The morse code requirements have been dropped for a license and if you can't pass the simple tests required to get your license you shouldn't be on the radio anyway. An amateur license gives you that ability to operate on multiple bands, achieve a MUCH greater range and operate on a number of modes (not just SSB).



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:06 AM
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I used one over my trucking career and still have one on my pickup truck. You're about right with a couple mile range, and that is very relative to how much traffic is already on the channel. It's a great thing to pick up for the short in-town range of communication, although to be honest? GMRS (Family) radios I used during Occupy impressed me more than CB's.

I used a handheld CB when I was a trainer for talking to drivers inside the truck while standing outside to guide them and of course, at that range, all is well. However, if I went into a truck stop to eat and carried the handheld, I may or may not get a clear message from the truck at that short distance. It depended entirely on whether people in the parking lot were on with illegal power amplifiers (Linear Amps) to boost their own signal. That zapped something like handheld reception real quick.


BTW... 10 meter linear amplifiers are illegal to connect and use to CB Radio.. However..if SHTF, so to speak, it's a law largely unenforced in the country (complaints drive enforcement and always have) and amps aren't hard to get. 125 watt range gives you that in-town range with attitude, so to speak (you'll talk over everyone without one, at least in the range they'll be using their own). 500 watt gets into miles of distance and a whole new problem.....

You can get a 1.5kw and really give your neighbors a new television viewing experience (and talking toasters for that matter..
) but the ability to talk 50 miles or shoot skip conditions for 2,500 miles doesn't help much if the other side of that isn't equally powerful. No amp on their side and you're a radio show host, not having a conversation. Something to remember.
edit on 9-8-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: minor correction



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:10 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 


I wonder if these would get more reception if tied into say generator powered radio / cell / tv towers downed from extreme conditions..



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:16 AM
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reply to post by Ophiuchus 13
 


'Tied-in' is a pretty vague concept. Antennas and their feed lines have to be specifically designed for the frequencies they are intended to support. Non-optimum designs simply push a god portion of your transmitting power back to the radio or into the ground. More than one radio operator has been electrocuted as a result. Brute force will only get you so far. Another consideration is power. Sure, a 1.5kW amplifier sounds like a good idea but they suck a very large amount of power which, in a SHTF scenario, is going to be difficult to come by. Makes much more sense to be using more efficient equipment that can operate on a favorable band, with an optimal mode, rather than attempt to bulldoze your way through a band that isn't open.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:21 AM
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reply to post by jtma508
 


Guess I was more bypassing the equipment and attaching direct to the antenna cables from cb and using the cb as a broadcaster to other cb in further range... But I understand you point in trying to access the UGE UGT lines etc. Again this is an extreme condition shtf scenario power probably out or going out, so your listening for any clues related to what happened where to go or even re establish communication if it works on prototype towers...



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:22 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 




You can get a 1.5kw and really give your neighbors a new television viewing experience

Thanks for that memory.
I grew up in a rural area with crappy TV reception. During the 70's, during the period of high popularity of CB radios, I remember guys using those linear amps would break through into the television programs we were watching. They were truckers about a mile and a half away on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:44 AM
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Your experience with CB is about right, unless you get a base station, pump up the wattage with a linear, and set up a half-wave antenna way up yonder.

When I was trucking, CBs were considered a necessary part of the job. Some warehouses used them to communicate with drivers, and if you came across a traffic jam, someone local could usually direct you around it. Also, it let you know which weigh stations were open and where the bears be hiding.

But for idle chatter... cell phones have taken over. We would trade numbers at truck stops and terminals and then just call each other and talk, sometimes for several hours at a stretch. I saw several advantages cell phones had over CB, but the biggest were distance, voice quality, and you didn't have to put up with cow patooties on the cell. I got to where I just refused to turn the DB on when I went into a large city; it seemed every kid with an attitude had theirs on and you couldn't get a word of information for all the bravado and BS.

I still have a CB of course, a pretty nice one, but I almost never use it. There's no one around here within decent range to talk to any more.

In case of an emergency, the ham radio would be a better alternative. They have stricter licensing requirements and cost more, but the also give a substantial range and have better voice quality. Those license requirements are a pain in the butt, but they also mean whoever you just picked up probably has enough sense to be worth being heard.

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 08:51 AM
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I was into it during the 70s and 80s and you can get distance legally by using a directional antenna and peaking your equipment. Mostly I used it to meet girls and harass drivers. It was too much fun causing trouble on the CB in my hometown as there was major freeways nearby and lots of home bases as well.

I recently bought a pair of handheld CBs at a garage sale. I figure with the lack of chatter on the air these days it would be effective enough. Also, it is the citizen's band, it's our to use so why no use it?

Low power communications could be very useful on unused frequencies, the handhelds I bought have high-mid-low power settings.

I also have a base antenna and three or four mobile units rated at 5 watts output, two are sidebands that allow 10 watts of FM transmission (a big improvement on distance communication).

Pump up the modulation, peak your transmitter and communicate on an unused channel. If you need to send messages further than you can transmit, then form a CB relay club with people just inside your range.

ETA: If you want your messages to be private, it would be easy to develop a code language. It is probably possible to send computer transmissions with encryption, but I believe only vocal communications are allowed.
edit on 9-8-2013 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Included last statements
edit on 9-8-2013 by MichiganSwampBuck because: typos



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 09:21 AM
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I do actually plan to get a HAM radio for the ranch, but this is more for me being about 50 miles from home, at work, when the SHTF.... I saw handheld Motorola radios with a 50 mile range, but then came to find out that realistically, it's more like 1 or 2 miles. That's a HUGE difference. I currently have Motorola 30 mile range radios (we use them during paintball), but likely the same 1 or 2 miles range realistically.

Since I already have a CB in the truck, I was thinking about picking up one for her truck too (or a handheld for the ranch), and then we could talk to each other once I got close enough to home (assuming that cell phones would be out). During 911, the lines were jammed, for example. Either way, at around $30 or less, picking up a CB for her likely isn't a bad idea, even if we only ever use it in an emergency, and around the area.

I've been doing a lot of research on HAM, and post SHTF, that will definitely be the way to communicate. I just have other more priority preps and projects to put the money towards first, but it is an item on the to do list.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 09:57 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 


Probably a better approach would be to go the FM route. That enables you to take advantage of an enormous network of privately owned and maintained repeaters that allow you to communicate over a pretty impressive range. They are especially useful for people 'on-the-road' and can be pre-programmed into most handhelds, mobiles and base rigs. The primary advantages are greater efficiency, clearer signals, and less susceptible to interference and band issues. I have, for example, 3 HT's that operate on 6m, 2m and 70cm. They cover the Wx freqs, broadcast stations, etc. and have the ability to have frequencies programmed into the radio. They also have band or frequency scanning built-in. Older models are not very expensive.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
I've learned that unless you are mountain top to mountain top, you're not going to get that 50 mile range they claim (more like 1 to 2 miles tops)!
Depends on the model and the dedicated wattage output of the antenna.


With CB, I'm hearing more like 4 or 5 miles or so, so seeming like a better option for emergency communication with loved ones, while heading to a base. If nothing else, might be good just for learning about traffic jams, etc. Does anyone else here use this? I realize cell phones have largely negated their purpose, but I still feel many truckers likely use it for local group chatter. Any tips, tricks to be aware of?
Thats about right during good weather and no obstruction in the signals. I had a cheap radioshack one which I sold it along with the vehicle 2 years ago. I never used a GPS when I had the CB radio. I always asked the truckers for directions when needed. Ofcourse a CB radio is still a integral part of a trucker.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 10:24 AM
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Hmm...seems there are pretty small, but good versions of HAM radios that can easily be adapted to mobile use...

www.amazon.com...

This may be more up my alley, still researching, but never even knew something like this existed before checking into it.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 10:30 AM
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I used to have a CB radio in my bedroom when I was a teenager in the 80's. Would talk to truckers as they went thru my city. Had the handle of Joker, and would share all sorts of jokes with them...lol

Was going to go for a ham operators license but never did.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 10:33 AM
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reply to post by Darkblade71
 


My buddies and I used CBs in our cars in the late 80's, early 90's. Mostly just around town, or for road trips to communicate car to car. I remember how useful that was, so that's what made me think about it for emergency communication. But, these handheld HAMs really seem to be the way to go (especially since I do want me and the wife to get licensed anyhow).



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok

I like the reviews... good front end, good reception, etc. At long range you might need to tweak the tone squelch, but that's something you will just have to play with to get it right; the channel separation is apparently not the greatest.

For the price, it sounds like a decent deal. I have had some experience with Chinese electronics, and while they can make excellent equipment (I have a Chinese WiFi adapter that is literally amazing!) their instructions are typically very lacking. There seems to be a major translation issue from Chinese to English, not just in the words but in the concepts themselves.

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 10:51 AM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 


Those are pretty cool ham radios!

Technology has come a looooong ways since the 80's!
Used to have to have the big antenna and a room filled with equipment.

I didn't realize they are now so compact.


I mivght have to look into getting a ham license again just for something as cool as that. It could come in handy up in Alaska.



posted on Aug, 9 2013 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


There's a Yahoo user group for these that most of the reviews mention as being a godsend, so that seems to be the way around crappy instructions.






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