CB Radio. No, really.

Posted by: MartinFocazio

CB Radio. No, really. - 02/17/21 11:04 PM

You know, CB radio still works really well for regional communications. It's cheaper - by a lot - than ham radio, and with even a modest setup, you can easily get 8 to 10 miles range without resorting to illegal amplifiers.

Anyone here finding their interest in CB picking up again?
Posted by: Blast

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 02/18/21 01:57 AM

I added a CB to my vehicle about four years ago to tap into the useful chatter from truckers as I drive around Houston. It’s great for finding out what’s causing a traffic jam and where it is. It was also useful for knowing where the few protests in Houston were taking place last summer.
-Blast
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 02/18/21 02:18 PM

I picked up a handheld CB transceiver. Sometimes itīs useful to avoid traffic jams or decide whether itīs worth to try and go around. There are just not enough CB users on the waves.
Gators are a bit of a problem. They tend to complain that noone answers when they use ";) range extenders" and ignore the advice to get a better antenna instead of a cheap amplifier that makes 100W when 4 W would be the legal limit. The gators occassionally get shut down when the harmonics of their amplifier interferes with traffic of entities who lack a sense of humor.
Posted by: pforeman

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 02/18/21 03:29 PM

Yup... not a "bad" idea. I had a CB way back in the day (KZW1282) and dropped it when the airwaves got crazy and I wasn't on the road as much. Fast forward to this century and I put one in our RV (when we had one) and it was really useful on the highway to have an idea of what was going on around you. CB radio then seemed to fade away.

Haven't had an RV for 15 years now and never saw it worth while to put a radio in the car what with cell phones being universal. However when I retired a couple of years ago I got into Ham radio and have added GMRS, FRS along with a CB radio to my 'tools' for communication. For what each one of those types of radio and with the phone I've got several ways to "keep in touch" when necessary and to hear what is going on around me.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 02/18/21 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: MartinFocazio
You know, CB radio still works really well for regional communications. It's cheaper - by a lot - than ham radio, and with even a modest setup, you can easily get 8 to 10 miles range without resorting to illegal amplifiers.


Generally speaking ham radio VHF and UHF work at around half of that or less for simplex (much further is possible when using repeaters or HF). Many years ago I gave up on CB due to having too little useful signal for the amount of activity. Thanks for this reminder -- I can listen to CB without investing in new equipment and use that to assess if I should get a CB radio.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 02/18/21 08:40 PM

I got my entire CB radio rig - radio, antenna, and Coax - for $6.00 at a yard sale. It took almost no effort to get it cleaned up, hooked up and working perfectly.

It's not that "noisy" around here, but you do hear the truckers with the bazillion watt illegal amplifiers shouting from the interstate - a 7 mile "as the crow flies" distance at its closest to my house. Based on the chatter I hear from noisy truckers the most, it's actually yammering from the OTHER interstate that's about 27 miles away.

For local channels, it's quiet and I've been able to reach others 5 miles away consistently with just 5 watts via 2 mobile rigs with ordinary everything, and with GREAT propagation into a valley - where the VHF FM simplex stuff just can not reach.
Posted by: unimogbert

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 02/20/21 08:29 PM

CB is still useful for vehicle convoys such as 4WD trips where everyone is line of sight.

I find a real police scanner used to be more useful to find out what's happening out there. But widespread encryption has negated much of that in the last 5 years around here.

I prefer ham radio if I were to want to talk to someone or needed help. Wider coverage and fewer idiots.
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 02/21/21 01:44 AM

I used to get a solid 10mi connection base station to base station with a Shakespeare Big Stick 1/2 wave vertical, on a short 20' mast... almost 1 to 1 SWR and I think that having a 4' ground rod connected to the mast was a big part of the success... the radio was just a Cobra 21 with a Radio Shack 12v power supply (a variable would have given a couple of more volts)
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 03/04/21 05:25 PM

I want to want Ham radio. But for normal people, it's just too complex.
Posted by: Blast

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 03/04/21 07:39 PM

Originally Posted By: MartinFocazio
I want to want Ham radio. But for normal people, it's just too complex.


It's actually not, especially since there's no longer a morse code requirement and you can pick up a shortwave transmitter/receiver for under $30. A smart guy like you wouldn't have any problems getting a license.
To better understand ham radio check out Blast's (Merriwether's) Intro to Ham Radio Video
-Blast
Posted by: rafowell

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 03/05/21 04:46 AM

> I want to want Ham radio. But for normal people, it's just too complex.

To plagarize a phrase: "if you are smarter than a 6 year old", you can get your amateur radio license.

Here are some six year olds (and one 5-yr old) who did so:

5 Year old girl, 1991
https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-07-21-hl-502-story.html

6 Year old girl, 2002
https://www.deseret.com/2002/4/4/19647162/utah-girl-talks-her-way-to-ham-radio-license

6 Year old girl, 2003 - made first and second level (Technician, General ham licences, as a 7-yr old, she made Extra (highest level)
https://web.archive.org/web/20030211011541/http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/01/31/4/
https://www.eham.net/article/7566

6 yr old boy (K2CLH) (2nd level when he as a 7-yr old)
https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/youngest-ham.324518/

Admittedly, in my case, I was a lot older (and had a Ph.D in Engineering ),
when I got my Technician (lowest level, no Morse Code) license,
and have not progressed beyond that.

But really, a Ph.D. in Engineering is not a requirement for an Amateur radio license.

Passing the current license test requires only rote memorization to a list of questions,
and both the questions and the answers are provided for your study.

There are lots of websites and apps that will drill
you on the questions, too - flashcard style.
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 03/05/21 06:49 AM

Originally Posted By: rafowell
>
To plagarize a phrase: "if you are smarter than a 6 year old", you can get your amateur radio license.


Kids at that age are information sponges. They learn quick and easy. You just need to spark interest.
With that out of the way, itīs really not that hard to get an entry level license. The range of complexity is huge. You can go with a simple hand held tranceiver or all the way up to developing your own transceiver with a spectrum in between. Everyone can find the level that suites the own interest.
Apart from that the ham community has great people who like to help. The social contacts alone are worth the effort. It got me an invitation on board of a mine sweeper boat. Those hams also man a ham station dedicated to a vintage U boat (the U boat is driven by hand cranks and on exhibition in a museum).
Posted by: RayW

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 04/14/21 09:57 PM

Thanks for the video Blast. I studied the hamexam.org technician practice tests for a few weeks and passed the real test this last weekend. I'm now KO4PHQ. If anyone is on the fence about this the FCC is about to start charging $ for the license, right now it's still free and at most $15 to take the test.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 04/15/21 12:48 AM

Welcome to the hobby RayW!


73 de chaosmagnet
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 04/22/21 01:30 AM

No, but I am looking into VHF for the boat and hand held ham units ( Baofeng)
Posted by: Blast

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 04/26/21 04:07 PM

Originally Posted By: RayW
I'm now KO4PHQ. If anyone is on the fence about this the FCC is about to start charging $ for the license, right now it's still free and at most $15 to take the test.


Congratulations! I really find it's a useful way of gathering local intelligence. smile
-Blast
Posted by: Blast

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 04/26/21 04:10 PM

Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
No, but I am looking into VHF for the boat and hand held ham units ( Baofeng)


I like Baofeng radios enough to now have four of them. The Baofeng UV-5R is a great radio to accessorize and experiment with. The Radioddity versions are perhaps a step up (barely) in quality but they have fewer accessories available.
My two cents,
-Blast
Posted by: haertig

Re: CB Radio. No, really. - 05/10/21 10:30 PM

I have two ham radio handhelds: a Baofeng UV-5R (about $25) and a Yaesu FT-60R (about $150)

While the Baofeng is cheap, that's about the only thing it has going for it. It would probably make for a reasonable communications device for very short range simplex work. Or it would probably work if you have unobstructed line of sight to a close repeater.

In my case, my club's repeaters are 18 miles from my house. The Baofeng cannot hear them or trigger them, even when hooked up to a nice outdoor J-Pole antenna. The Yaesu can easily converse both ways with great signal reports using only a small whip antenna. Also, the Baofeng's audio output is very low - I have to leave mine on full volume and even then it's very hard to hear anything, even in a quiet environment. Not so with the Yaesu.

The Baofeng's do have their place though. Because of their price, they make good "just in case I ever need one" radios, as long as you remember their limitations. You may not get far (range-wise) on a Baofeng compared to other higher end radios. A lot of this may have to do with quality of manufacture. If you buy a second identical Baofeng, it's performance may be quite different than your first Baofeng. I'm assuming that my particular Baofeng was plucked off the bottom of the quality stack of radios built by new trainee employees on a Friday before a 3 day holiday weekend, after a beer drinking lunch.