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Old 11-14-2003, 02:00 AM   #1
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Is a CB radio a Necessity?


Being that I am new to the RVing world, I was wondering if a CB radio is something I should have or just a toy that would take up space in my truck.

With pretty much everyone having a mobile phone and many of the people having those walkie talkies, is a CB a good thing to have or a thing of the past?

All comments are appreciated.

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Old 11-14-2003, 06:01 AM   #2
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I've had one for years in my truck. They are great for getting directions or finding out what the traffic conditions ahead are. They are also fun to just chat for free with different people as you travel through new areas. Some colorful characters out on the road, and it makes the time go faster.

Many times I have been stuck in bumper to bumper on the interstate, and I just monitor the truckers channel (19) and find out what lane the accident or breakdown is in long before I get close, or even have a chance to turn off. Very handy.

I also have a Cobra hand held for when I get to the campsite. It is good to use when backing up with someone guiding on the hand held. A lot of people use those two ways which are nice also, but they won't be as much fun when you are traveling.

The hand held can be given to someone following you to communicate with. When I bought my trailer, since I was unsure of how the trip would go for the 60 miles I had to move it, I had a buddy of mine following me with my hand held CB letting me know how the tires were doing, or if things were falling off the trailer! Peace of mind.

I highly recommend one.

My 77 Sovereign Renovation
Out in the woods, or in the city, It's all the same to me.
When I'm drivin' free, the world's my home....When I'm mobile.

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Old 11-14-2003, 06:34 AM   #3
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I am of the opposite school, I pulled mine out years ago, got tired of the foul language and bad manners from a lot of people on the CB. Used to use it for emergencies, one of the last times I used it was in an attempt to call for assistance at the scene of an accident, some idiot was running a linear and we couldn't get thru on the 3 designated channels. Ended up sending someone up the road to a pay phone to call 911. This was before cell phones became readily available. The new units are pretty compact so I guess if you wanted to try one in the truck it wouldn't hurt. As far as backing up, we have used the FRS but unfortunately they are going the way of the CB. We have a pre arranged set of hand signals, that pretty well work for us

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Old 11-14-2003, 06:53 AM   #4
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Is a CB radio a Necessity?

Greetings Joshua!

I pulled the CBs out of my vehicles in 1992 when I purchased my first Cellular telephone and never looked back - - - until I began traveling with the WBCCI in 1998. I now have a "portable" CB that comes out whenever I am participating in a WBCCI or VAC Caravan or for use at the larger Rallys where much of the "latest" information is broadcast via the CB. On most WBCCI Caravans that I have participated in, the communications while traveling is facilitated by the CB. Other than those two times, the CB sits on a shelf in the garage gathering dust. (I do have a CB semi-permanently installed in my Overlander as it had a factory installed whip antenna that works perfectly with the CB - - it greatly helps in receiving the daily announcements at the larger Rallys.)

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 11-14-2003, 08:44 AM   #5
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In my opinion, yes, a CB is necessary. If you attend WBCCI rallys, it's good to have one in the trailer to pick up daily announcements. They are also used on caravans and on side trips from the rally. I also use them on the highway for non-Airstream trips, and when towing the boat. They're still good for Smokey reports and traffic conditions, as well as interesting diversion.

However, I did NOT wish to have one permanently mounted in my new truck, nor have a CB antenna to deal with at car washes. For that reason, I ordered a handheld CB/WeatherRadio from Cobra, and use it with a Wilson Little Wil magnetic mount antenna. The rubber ducky antennas just plain suck. I reach through the rear window to place or remove the antenna on the truck roof, then run the cable down between the rear of the cab and the bed, and into the bottom of the rear door.

HH 38 WX ST Radio

It comes with a cigarette lighter power adapter, but without batteries. To date, I have not purchased NiMH rechargable batteries for it. It can scan two channels simultaneously, 14 for WBCCI and 19 for the highway.

AC Charger

BNC to SO-239 antenna adapter

Required to connect a CB antenna's PL-259 connector to the BNC antenna connector on a handheld.

Wilson Little Wil antenna

Sold at truck stops and CB radio shops. Highly rated, and performs very well out on the road. Makes a 7' tall truck slightly higher than the airconditioner on an Airstream. Good for testing overhead obstacles.

I have not put a CB antenna on the Airstream as many WBCCI members have. It seems to be popular to mount it on the fin between the airconditioner and refrigerator exhaust, and run the cabling down the latter to inside the trailer.

Hope this helps,
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Old 11-14-2003, 09:33 AM   #6
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Necessary - no, Useful - yes

I'm on the pro side.

For the reasons most of the "pro" members have posted.

Truckers have a great knowledge of directions, route alternatives, desirable fuel depots, and upcoming highway conditions.

Also, have found it very helpful whenever traveling with someone and in tight parking situations (we carry a handheld to communicate with the permanent mounted unit when parking).
Not absolutely required, but adds another level of "comfort factor".

Also, a lot of camping and travel situations are not within range of cellular towers.

Mine also has the national weather broadcast channels. This is s feature I would recommend.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 11-14-2003, 03:59 PM   #7
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Consider Amateur Radio

Mary (KD4WFA) and I (KR4K) are both ham radio operators. Our son Gus (kf6jdc) and daughter Melissa (kg6hzx) are also ham operators. You can now get your ham license with only a 50 question test, no morse code requirement. Exams are given in most areas at least monthly with many metro areas every weekend.

We use our ham radio gear when backing the trailer, checking lights, while traveling, and during emergencies. The country is blanketed with amateur radio repeaters, some of which allow you to talk from a handheld into many states. We've run into many truckers who are now hams.

We have a handheld CB/WX radio ONLY for rallies or caravans, but we rarely turn it on.

You can always find someone when you need help, and there are many, many benefits you won't find on CB, FRS, or GMRS. When in San Diego several weeks ago, we counted 5 vehicles in the KOA with amateur radio license tags. we also listened into the amateur radio emergency operations supporting the fire fighting efforts.

You won't hear the foul language and improper operations.

We've run into many Airstreamers who also enjoy ham radio. There's a WBCCI amateur radio organization:

For more information, drop me a line, or check out

Gus - KR4K : Mary - K5MCL
2004 30ft. Classic dinette
2003 GMC Sierra 2500HD CrewCab/Shortbed diesel
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Old 11-14-2003, 07:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of your comments. I am going to pick up a portable unit and use it in conjunction with my cell when traveling. From your comments, I realized that although it is not a complete necessity, it can definitely be a very valuable tool

Once again, I appreciate all of your input.
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Old 11-15-2003, 12:29 AM   #9
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When I bought my MH in August, the CB was working but couldn't get good reception. Heard alot of static and only two people talking alot of crap (this was in WA) on one channel. I tried to talk on it by copying Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, and they wouldn't return my calls. I was hoping to get someone as attractive as Sally Field (yes I think she's hot) to reply. Nothing!
So, now it's on the blink and I don't think I will replace it (YET), because I never really needed it. But I think I may later just for emergencies, although the ham license seems to be a good idea. IO have a cell, but the charges are high on my plan so that is for EXTREME situations.
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Old 11-15-2003, 05:38 PM   #10
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Well, you can't have too many toys to distract you when you're driving, that's what I always say. That way, when you crash into a tree, you'll have something to blame besides your own stupidity!!

Just got back from a five-hour trip to Mexcio with some friends - the cell phones don't work reliably in the boonies, and not at all in Mexico. FRS might work, but probably not out of a vehicle, and you can get separated a fair distance pretty quick when you're moving.

If you're gonna get a CB, for goodness' sake, do some research first. The Little Wil antenna mentioned above is the best removable antenna you can get. Get an SWR meter somewhere for ten bucks and use it. Learn about antenna placement and ground planes. This stuff is just not that complicated - all you need to do is read and follow the instructions.

Make sure your radio sounds good, and you're not just trashing up the air with unintelligible static. If you wanna see some good radios, go to a truck stop! I stopped at a "Loves" and they had a killer selection. Please do not buy the cheapest one you can get - it may be me having to listen to you some day!!!

Me, I'm running an "export" radio by Galaxy, puts out maybe 4-5 watts more than the usual CB, not enough to blow your ears off, but enough to be heard.

The linears usually stay home, unless I'm really headed for the boonies in Mexico all by myself. Then I take all the power I can get.

"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
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Old 11-15-2003, 06:54 PM   #11
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For all the "Good Buddies" out there w/o CB radio === you are the RV'ers I try to talk to as you fly down the hiway with your TV antenna up, stairs out, etc.

Cell phones are great (wife and I each have one) - but how can we contact you on the road?

Sure, there are some foul mouth dummies - but I turn them off for a few minutes as they soon pass --- I have talked to a lot of good folks as we travel, and as has been mentioned the safety issues are enough for me to have my radio on.

Just my $.02

Don in E Texas
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Old 11-16-2003, 08:44 AM   #12
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Don in E Texas


Just wondering, how many kilowatts is the Orange Behemoth capable of putting out?

Don't want you to put yourself in harm's way with a reply.....just click the mike once for one, twice for two, etc.......

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
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Old 11-16-2003, 08:57 AM   #13
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CB nessessity

Help me! I'm broke down in Gilmer Texas, and the CB won't work because someone is clicking their mike continuously for the last half hour.
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Old 11-16-2003, 07:59 PM   #14
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Recently returned from a 4000 mile trip thru Wisc, Ill,Ind,Oh,WV,Vi & had our CB on all the time. Usually have it along on all road trips & won't go with-out it, as it has saved us many times from road back-ups, etc. While there are MANY foul mouths etc, we just turn it down, till they pass thru. Also sometimes we're lucky enough to make contact with other AS passing thru. What we find is that the language seems to be much better during the day, than late at night, then it's atrocious.

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