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CB RADIO DO WE NEED ONE?

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WE ARE SIGNED UP FOR 4 RALLIES THIS SUMMER/FALL AND ONE OF THEM IS A ROLLING RALLY TO FARMINGTON, NM.  IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT WE HAVE A CB RADIO SINCE CELL SERVICE IS SPOTTY.  ANY ADVICE ON WHAT KIND TO GET?  ANY ADVICE IS APPRECIATED!

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I think that the most important thing isn't really which radio to get but rather to make sure to match it to a good antenna and to tune the antenna. The goal is to get the SWR (standing wave ratio) as close to 1:1 as possible. This is done by adjusting the length of the antenna, using an SWR meter to take readings. Some radios have a meter built in. If not, an external SWR meter is cheap and worth the money.

We were heading back to the Milwaukee area from upstate Wisconsin on Memorial Day. There is great cell reception and great GPS signal strength. Neither of them were any good at all letting us know when the road ahead was coming to a sudden stop due to traffic or accidents. However, the truckers made sure to announce the problems each time they came up on channel 19 on the CB.

We wouldn't travel without one. It's often said that the airwaves on CB are dead. This is often the case. That is, until there is a problem on the road which gives truckers need to communicate. At one point during the backup, I heard over and over a warning about a slow moving 'old bus' in the right lane. It was us. I think that the actual verbiage was slightly more coarse. It was fun to joke with them about peddling as fast as we could. Nice to see that they still take care to warn each other of upcoming situations.

The radio we use is a Galaxy 959. Our antenna is mounted to a magnetic base which happily sticks to the roof over the driver's seat. Possibly more radio than we need but I like the bells and whistles.

If you do get a hand held, a roof mounted antenna is a necessity. We use the Cobra hand held in the car with a magnetic base antenna. They sell an adapter to allow the hand held to be used with a roof antenna and a 12v outlet.

 

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A CB radio may seem like a good way to stay in touch with others in a rolling rally, but can become rather expensive with an antenna to be installed, and properly tuned so that the SWR (standing wave ratio) is acceptable for communications to work very well. Also they will not do much for communications for emergency purposes, if you are out of cell phone range, not much monitoring of the CB band anymore anyway. A good walkie talkie system, either GMRS (general mobile radio service) or FRS (family radio service) for members of the rally will work pretty well, some of them will work for a mile or so, and are rather inexpensive. You can Google the two services and find several brands that might serve your needs for this purpose. Five was typing while I was, and yes Walmart is a good source for CB's, but will be good to look into the services that I mentioned also.

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It is not hard to get a Ham licence and support your local club 

there is repeaters all across the USA and Canada

they work where nothing else will 

VA7HYS

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7 hours ago, bm02tj said:

It is not hard to get a Ham licence and support your local club 

there is repeaters all across the USA and Canada

they work where nothing else will 

VA7HYS

Really depends on the purpose of getting the radio when deciding ham radio vs CB.

I've got both and usually carry them in the bus when we travel. Yes, the ham radio can be helpful in an emergency - much longer distance communications are possible using a repeater. Ham radio is also a great way to be part of another community.

However, for practical vehicle-to-vehicle communications while on the highway the CB is really much better, IMHO. First, not everyone traveling with you is likely to have a ham radio license. Secondly, for communication with (or just listening to) truckers on the road you'll need a CB. When traffic or road conditions fall apart truck drivers reach for the CB and it is really helpful to be able to tap into those warnings.

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I forgot how it easy it is these days yo get a HAM license. I had to learn the Morse code for novice then tech for repeater use, then 13 WPM for general, then 20 for advanced, wow, now it's easy.

-.  ….-  .- - -.--  .--.

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We use a Cobra, under a $100.  12V plug into power plug by radio....works for us! :)

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I keep a low end Cobra running with anything but nearby conversation squelched out. That way truckers can give me a heads up if something doesn't look good. Backup? I join the conversation with no squelch..

A Galaxy?😎?   10 meter band easily modified to chat on 19.  200 watts available on some. Richard/ you rascal you!!

As a trucker, I used an early Cobra 148 GTL SSB (1979) They were really good then. Local shop, if they knew you, could peak a unit like mine using an oscilloscope to 8 watts dead key . Used a base loaded K40  steel  whip with a magnetic mount stuck on the top of my steel cab. Pair that set up with a Road King noise cancelling mike and I got all kinds of compliments. Many said that I sounded like I was talking on a Base Station. 

Heading west on I-64 out of Richmond, I started a conversation with another trucker headed east. We finally figured out that we were at least 25 miles from each other when we started the talk with no static at all. I loved that radio. Still have it in the basement.  

 

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I always turn ours on when traveling, just in case.....this last trip it was useless, entertaining, but useless. Today's truckers don't use it often, only the older seasoned road veterans will use it. I truly believe this is why so many large pileups occur today, no advanced warning, back up 20 years there would have been all kinds of discussions if a accident was blocking a road up ahead, now all you hear is foreign languages.

For a traveling group I believe it will be a good tool. 

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