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View Full Version : Breaker Breaker....CB Radio?



LauraA
06-15-2006, 05:59 PM
Can anyone suggest a decent CB radio to have installed in our Jeep? Right now we don't have any means of communication if we should run into a problem somewhere out in the back country. Do you think we'd have any luck raising someone on the CB if there was a problem?
We don't want a cell phone, we tried one several months back, but found we were too isolated to get a signal, even here at our house.

GaryB
06-15-2006, 08:31 PM
CB's can be very limited as well, especially in hilly country. If you are really out and about in desolate places, maybe a HAM radio would be better? You'd have to ask someone about that though, we have any users around here? Myself, I'd like to get a satellite phone, but they are still pretty hefty for monthly service. If they'd go to a pay per use deal, I'd be all over it.


But back to the topic. Most all CB's do the same thing, just some have niftier doo dads to play with. They are regulated by law for their power output, so unless you get an illegally hopped up one, find one you like and go with that. When it comes to CB's, spending the money on high quality cable and good antennas is the key. Even those two items are cheap by comparison. Only doo dad I have is a weather band. I also upgraded to a powered mic and external speaker so I don't have to yell and can hear others while driving down rough roads. Other than that, I like Uniden and Cobra myself, others might have a favorite as well.

Look here for all you'd ever want to know, plus they are in your neck of the woods: http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs.htm

Most major truck stops carry all you need to do it yourself and they have pretty reasonable prices as well. Look for the nearest Petrol or Flying J.

Biggest issue is you need to have it tuned, which involves finding a suitable location on your jeep that the system likes.

LauraA
06-15-2006, 09:11 PM
Thanks for the good information Gary. I looked at that site you posted, they've got some really good information, I'll read more of it tomorrow and then pass the techno-gauntlet to my Hubby, it's too complicated for me. We'll want to keep it as simple as possible both for ease of use and $$ (retired-fixed-income) :eek: but, we do want it to be effective. Some of the areas we Jeep to are pretty remote and mountainous, if there's a problem, we don't want to wind up being buzzard bait somewhere out in the Arizona boonies.

CRs
06-20-2006, 09:10 AM
you can get a good CB for around 50 bux. We as in my friends and i use them all the time when where wheeling. If you get a good quality name brand such as cobra or uniden (sp) you will do fine. Thay are 4 watt stock and can be peaked and tweeked but thats not legal you can usualy find some one in range durring the day un less your way out there.

good luck with the shoping

P.S. the antenna is as important as the radio it self if not more so

High Desert Drifter
06-24-2006, 10:22 PM
You know I seem to be running in to more and more people in the backcountry using Marine Band radios. They seem to have more range than a CB and a way of getting around the Ham radio License. Of course I am not sure what the FCC would have to say about this. Not to hard to miss however, most of them come with white antenna masts.

utah-ghost
06-25-2006, 02:23 PM
I got into Ham radio for this very reason.

CB's and cell phones are mostly useless in remote areas. Ham radios can use repeaters that can easily cover large areas, and even multiple states in some cases.

I have found very few places where I wasn't within range of at least one repeater, no mater how far off the beaten path I was. I've even been able to talk to my family back home when I was 200-300 miles away in some cases.

It takes a lot more to be a Ham than a CBer, but it's the only way (other than satellite phones) to be able to get help and stay in communication when you're out there.

LauraA
06-25-2006, 06:25 PM
hmmmm it sounds complicated and expensive, maybe we'll have to learn to either yodel or use smoke signals.

235

GaryB
06-25-2006, 07:53 PM
You know I seem to be running in to more and more people in the backcountry using Marine Band radios. They seem to have more range than a CB and a way of getting around the Ham radio License. Of course I am not sure what the FCC would have to say about this. Not to hard to miss however, most of them come with white antenna masts.


I was wondering about those after seeing some at the Bass Pro Shop. I wasn't sure they'd work on land, figured they used some wacky frequency that was only set up for coastal or something similarly restrictive.

xplor'npaul
06-26-2006, 06:48 AM
Hi guys,...just wanted to add my 2 cents.....well, maybe it's only worth 1 cent..... :) you can rent a sat phone here http://www.satellitephonesource.com/phone-rentals.html I've never tried one, but think about it often, their about 39 bucks a week,..... but might be worth looking into ........

GaryB
06-26-2006, 04:30 PM
That's okay Laura, just remember you can't roller skate through a buffalo herd and all will be fine :)

LauraA
06-26-2006, 08:19 PM
That's okay Laura, just remember you can't roller skate through a buffalo herd and all will be fine :)

Why not?? :D

bad bob
06-26-2006, 08:25 PM
I think it's because fast movement startles the herd, and they begin flapping their wings. If too frightened, they take flight. You know what's next.....consider bird droppings, then......
bb.

LauraA
06-26-2006, 08:40 PM
Kewl...now I know for sure where buffalo wings come from. Thanks BB for answering a question that's kept me awake at night...pondering......

bad bob
06-26-2006, 09:50 PM
Glad to be of some help anyway.
bb

High Desert Drifter
06-26-2006, 11:08 PM
Gary B,

Actually the Marine radio system is a simplex VHF system (radio to radio w/o repeater) and because of the distance at sea between ships they were made to carry a far signal. Technology now has them as strong as 30 watts.

In fact a high end system will have scanning capeability, gps, distress gps, weather channels w/ alert; all in a weather proof housing. Again, I don't believe the FCC appreciates the fact that more and more off roaders are adding this technology to their rigs... and they are not to hard to spot since the boating industry is infactuated with the white colored antenna masts.

GaryB
06-27-2006, 05:48 PM
consider bird droppings, then......
bb.

Exactly, ever tried to roller skate through a field of fresh cow pies?

GaryB
06-27-2006, 05:52 PM
Gary B,

Actually the Marine radio system is a simplex VHF system (radio to radio w/o repeater) and because of the distance at sea between ships they were made to carry a far signal. Technology now has them as strong as 30 watts.



Do you know, are they as susceptible to terrain as CB's tend to be? Curvature of the Earth is one thing, but a freaking big mountain is another :eek:

I only wonder for kicks. Likely will stay with my CB if I ever get my weird interference issue figured out.

High Desert Drifter
06-27-2006, 08:18 PM
Unknown how they work over our type of terrain. I would probably guess pretty well packing all that power and being that a lot of off roaders are adding them to their rigs. No experience here with them however.

Bob
06-28-2006, 06:01 AM
It doesn't matter how well your radio works unless there is someone with a similar radio within range. I usually carry three radios and have been in places where two of them were worthless. The third is Amateur Radio (Ham) and I can always find someone if I need help. Today, unless you want to take the time to get a Ham License, consider one of those Satellite Cell Phones.

The advantage of some VHF and UHF radios is there are repeaters placed on mountain tops. Also, Frequency Modulation (FM) is clearer than CB with either Amplitude Modulation (AM) or Single Side Band (SSB). While any Radio Frequency (RF) will bend a little, some like Ultra High Frequency will bounce off mountains, around concrete walls in buildings and that is where Cell phones operate. The other extreme is AM Radio which follows the ground over mountains. Other than Amateur Radio there is no one FCC licensed service that covers the complete spectrum.

That said, your decision to purchase a radio should be driven by what your traveling buddies have for a radio.

coolguy0621
06-28-2006, 07:19 AM
Actually UHF is almost strictly line of sight ( used mostly for ground to air comm.), VHF can bounce and bend a little more but no more than 10 miles within pretty good line of sight ( with no huge mountains in the way) unless you have a serious amplified antenna. HF ( high freq.) which is 2-29.999MHZ for the most part, is very bendable, because it goes all the way to the ionosphere or however you spell it, and bounces back to earth, it also bounces off of mountains or any large structure. On a good day with ideal solar and weather conditions I have talked from Texas to Southern Cali, and I've heard of longer over water. The only down fall is the antennas you need to set up, there is alot of math involved, plus take off angles and the antenna's are pretty big and definatly not mobile. I have played with mobile ones but they have way less copper and therefore less range but still better than the other freq. ranges with time and the correct antenna. I used HF alot in the good ole USMC for long range Comm. but I'm sure that is used differently in the civ. world.

One thing I'm not clear on is even if you have the ability to set up something nice, who exactly would you call for help and what is there freq's, and are your radios even able to meet their freq. range? (with Hf the freq range will change your antenna alot)

I know there is a list or guide, I just havent bothered to see if it's online, I'm sure it is somewhere, any input on this??

Ps. this field has always interested me, and I am always wanting learn more about radio's and different comm. toys and abilitys, but I haven't had a chance to explore HAM yet.

And thanks for your post Bob, you got me going over here!

Bob
06-28-2006, 10:45 AM
Like I say, the best radio in the world isn’t any good if ther3e isn’t another radio on the other end. To that advice, except for the Amateur Radio Service, you can’t solve all your problems with one license and/or one radio. I am a ham, I have a little 200 watt radio the size of an older CB which works on LF, HF, and VHF, I have the wire and the ability to tune the wire that I can string through the trees, plus a couple mobile antennas cut for various HF frequencies (80, 40, 20 Meters), and enough tools and knowledge to modify my radio (illegal except in an emergency) to transmit anywhere (Not just the Ham Bands) and there is never the case when with about 5 minutes effort I can’t talk to someone somewhere who will be willing to make a call to the local sheriff, AAA or government agencies, however, I studied hard, built radios, amplifiers from scratch, have played with all sorts of antennas and that route is not for everyone or even most people. BTW: I can sit in my office in Las Vegas with a 5 watt handheld VHF and talk via a ham repeater near Kingman Arizona almost all the way to Flagstaff or Phoenix. I can also have a fine conversation with another Ham in England or Australia or New York as I drive down the road. I regularly do communication (Both Ham and Commercial) for Best in the Desert (BITD) and have no problem talking 30/40 miles to a racer in trouble or 100 miles to another BITD radio person on VHF.

For emergencies, I think a satellite Cell Phone is as good or better than all my radio equipment and knowledge. If your exploring buddies have CB’s use a CB to communicate, they work and are inexpensive and with luck someone else may pick you up if you need help.

coolguy0621
06-28-2006, 01:02 PM
Cool Bob sounds like you have alot of knowldge in this area. The VHF ranges I was talking about were un-repeated and were running at I think 20watts max. I only dabbled from reading some of what you had to say.

So cool to find someone else who plays with HF, what is the exact freq. range for that?? The mil. was using 2-29.999mhz, is that just for mil. use??? I have a couple books on antenna con. and prop. of waves, from the USMC if you want to check them out. Most of the stuff is over my head.

coolguy0621
06-28-2006, 01:15 PM
:D And just a side note: alot of the newer HF radios that the recon is playing with actually freq. hop, so getting one ant. tuned up just right is out the window. We just use one ant. now for a bunch of freq., as before it was all about getting that one perfictly cut, perfictly constructed antenna for that one freq. and at night another for when F1 and F2 combine.

Cool beans Bob, I'll probably be asking you more questions here and there.:D

GaryB
06-28-2006, 08:38 PM
Hi guys,...just wanted to add my 2 cents.....well, maybe it's only worth 1 cent..... :) you can rent a sat phone here http://www.satellitephonesource.com/phone-rentals.html I've never tried one, but think about it often, their about 39 bucks a week,..... but might be worth looking into ........

That price is better than the one I found last time I looked. They are getting cheaper all the time as cell phone technology advances. Soon, there'll be enough repeaters and satellites to get you some sort of coverage everywhere.

I've been lucky with my tri-mode cell phone. Find a big hill, usually can get at least ****og. My uncle even uses the old car phones as they carry more wattage and can find weaker signals.

Nevada might be weird though, seems we have coverage in some of the most unlikely places. Must be because of the aliens ;)

Bob
06-29-2006, 04:40 AM
Cool Bob sounds like you have alot of knowldge in this area. The VHF ranges I was talking about were un-repeated and were running at I think 20watts max. I only dabbled from reading some of what you had to say.

So cool to find someone else who plays with HF, what is the exact freq. range for that?? The mil. was using 2-29.999mhz, is that just for mil. use??? I have a couple books on antenna con. and prop. of waves, from the USMC if you want to check them out. Most of the stuff is over my head.

Hi Coolguy.

Actually the High Frequency (HF) spectrum is from 3..0 to 30.0 megacycles or Megahertz (MHZ) or in other terms using the length of the Radio wave from 100 Meters (3.0 MHZ) down to 10 Meters (30 MHZ). Within that spectrum there are chunks assigned to different services including the military, broadcast (Like British Broadcasting Company, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe), the Amateur Radio Service and other uses (Like ultra accurate time information provided at exactly 5 MHZ, 10 MHZ, etc..) Depending on the frequency and time of day communication is possible most anywhere. The Military and Amateur Service have segments within the HF spectrum to facilitate communication everywhere. Dating back to the days of crystal control most segments are multiples of lower frequencies. As an example, Amateur Radio has a shared slot just above AM Broadcasting and below the military above 1,8 MHZ (160 Metes), a segment between 3.5 (80 Meters) and 4.0 MHZ (75 Meters), a segment of a couple hundred Kilohertz )KHZ) starting at 7.0 MHZ (40 Meters), the size depending on what part of the world your in . Here in North America it is from 7.0 to 7.3 MHZ or 300 KHZ .There are also frequencies near 10 MHZ, 14 MHZ (20 Meters), 18 MHZ, 21 MHZ (15 Meters), 24 MHZ and 29 MHZ (10 Meters). It takes maybe 2 KHZ to transmit voice over Single Side Band (SSB) and a few hundred cycles to transmit Continuos Wave (CW - Morse Code). It takes more bandwidth to transmit Frequency Modulation (FM) and very little of that is done in the HF region.

The point is that the military or a Ham picks a authorised frequency which depending on time of day (which effects atmospheric conditions) will allow communication where he/she wants to communicate with.. Simply put the sun as it rises and shines influences the ionosphere and its ability to bend radio waves back to earth. So if you want to talk from Bagdad to Kuwait at 07:00 you would probably use a military freq around 4.0 MHZ and at 15:00 Hours around 8.0 MHZ. As a ham at night I can talk most anywhere in the states including Alaska and Hawaii on 3.5 MHZ and depending on where that transition from night to day is in the world most anywhere in the world on 14 MHZ or 21 MHZ. As the sun rises in the sky I lose the ability to communicate on 3.5 and at noon I would use 7.0 MHZ to talk to people in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California and 14 MHZ to talk to the rest of the states, perhaps Europe, Africa, and Asia.

This is far afield from the need for solid communication between vehicles and getting assistance that started this thread. CB by the way is in the HF spectrum around 28 MHZ sometimes called 11 Meters and when conditions are right will bend back to earth (Called Skip by the CB enthusiasts) messing with local communication. FM on VHF (Marine Band, Commercial, Amateur) is typically around 2 meters is less prone to interference and more solid and pleasant to listen to.

coolguy0621
06-30-2006, 06:21 AM
...........yeah Sun up freq. up, sun down freq. down. Those layers of the ionosphere are called F1 and F2, they combine at night to form the F layer. I rember talking from Bridgeport, Ca to Camp Pendelton, Ca on I think it was around a 10meg and at night we had to roll to 3-4meg. For shots like that I was setting all kinds of wire every where, dipoles, sloping V's, square loops, long wires, and my own creations too, that was so much fun once you hit your comm. shot. As I rember in the usmc we had from 2mhz to i think like 12 or 13mhz was the highest, but we could do just about anything with that range.

......and you were refuring MHZ to meters???? is that for Antenna cutting???

Bob
06-30-2006, 07:05 AM
........... and you were refuring MHZ to meters???? is that for Antenna cutting???

Yes, Just two ways of looking at the same thing. 3.5 MHZ is about 75 Meters. The lower the MHZ the longer the wave and therefore the longer the effective length of the antenna needs to be. Since a 1/4 wave is the minimum effective length, coupled with a ground an antenna in a Humvee or my Bronco could get pretty large. The trick is to use loading coils to make the length electronically appear longer than it is. You mention F1 and F2 layers and how and when they form which goes beyond a simple explanation. Just listening can give good insight into what is happening by who you here. I would say you would be a good candidate to get a Amateur Radio License and would really enjoy it.

Actually it all relates to the speed of light which is why the major segments are magnitudes like 3 to 30 MHZ for HF. You can start at speed of light and reduce by magnitudes until you get to UHF (Cell phones) which is from 300 MHZ to 3 Gigahertz (GHZ), VHF (Television Channels 2 - 13, Marine Band, Commercial, most Aviation) which is from 30 MHZ to 300 MHZ, etc...

This has gone far from the original theme of the thread but has been interesting. I think you might be surprised how many of us on Ghosttowns are also hams. It is a bit of work to get the license but comes with a lot of privileges. Like I said with a Satellite Cell Phone or HF Ham rig, your never alone in the desert.

coolguy0621
06-30-2006, 11:57 AM
Yeah this did get a little off subject, but thanks for the info. always interesting to hear about this subect for me. And how should I find out info. on the Amateur Radio License................oh wait...........google it right............that's back on the subject a little

GaryB
06-30-2006, 10:35 PM
I think you might be surprised how many of us on Ghosttowns are also hams.


Hey, Hey, Bad Bob might be funny in the head, but he ain't no ham. Now Brian, he's a ham :D