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Old 03-01-2010, 12:53 PM   #1
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The relevance of CB as a technology

I have a CB radio that I picked up at a garage sale sitting loose in my TV and I'm trying to decide whether to install it or not. I've mainly found it handy for communications with a leading or following car when traveling together.

Found myself wondering about broader issues and whether this is still a relevant technology given FRS GMRS and cell phones. So, I haven't installed it.

Any opinions?
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:00 PM   #2
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CB vs FRS and Cell Phones

CB will have a greater range than FRS but you need a good antenna for the CB and most units will run off a cigar lighter outlet. CB works well for communications when on a caravan with a bunch of other trailers. 2 Meter ham radio is much better than CB, however, but you do need an entry level (Technician) license, a moderately expensive radio and work best when wired directly to the vehicle's battery. Morse code is no longer necessary and the exam for Technician is not very trying. Cell phones are subject to coverage and dropped calls and do not work well for group communications on a caravan.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:12 PM   #3
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I still run a cb,the truckers are traveling traffic reports,everything from wrecks,construction sites,and where Smokey is hiding.Breaker Breaker. Dave
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:32 PM   #4
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2 Meter ham radio is much better than CB, however, but you do need an entry level (Technician) license, a moderately expensive radio and work best when wired directly to the vehicle's battery.
I have the ticket but my friends don't.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
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I still run a cb,the truckers are traveling traffic reports,everything from wrecks,construction sites,and where Smokey is hiding.Breaker Breaker. Dave
+1...got me out of a 12 mile backup on a highway in Virginia, near Luray Caverns, due to an accident.
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:24 PM   #6
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Stingray is right. You can get info and road directions from the truck drivers. Sometimes they know a lot of good shortcuts. Also, nearly every town has a CB nut with a high powered unit who monitors the airways 24/7. I could never figure how they stay up around the clock.These guys are good sources for local info
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:27 PM   #7
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I've had a CB since obtaining a CDL some years ago. I'm used to the "noise" (objectionable stuff), but for real time info on traffic problems there is no substitute. Many times have I saved more than one half-hour due to being able to exit and take an alternate route. While this is necessary for business, it may not be so for recreational travel.

On the other hand, for practical purposes, I tend to note locations of truck stops as they are a port in a storm: C-store, restaurant, fuel, other services. I lived a half-century in Tornado Alley, and the help of a CB was comforting IF I DID NOT KNOW where to go. I may not be able to outrun a tornado, but I WILL HAVE SOME CHANCE OF KNOWING IT'S WHEREABOUTS due to trucker reports. One may travel in other parts of the country that feature freakish high winds, severe fog, patchy ice, etc.

CB is pretty much a trucker phenomenon. A good CB rig will cost a few hundred dollars to set up correctly. The following is a basic good "business" rig; it will go above $300 once done.

COBRA 29 or UNIDEN 78 (internally identical, I'm told; I prefer Uniden) Best to have a reputable tech tune and verify performance.
TELEX-TURNER "RoadKing" #56 Microphone
WILSON 5000 or COWTOWN "Predator 10K" Antenna
(The best is still the 108" whip, mounted center of vehicle)
(Or, for a fiberglass vehicle, investigate a No Ground Plane Antenna)
BELDEN Coaxial Cable with pro install of PL259 connectors (or better)
Triple Magnet Antenna Mount (roof center), or, permanent installation

The radio should have a secure, permanent mount, and the microphone should be easily accessible, but not block vision; should not come loose and fall; should be mounted that the hand using it still allows the other to "drive" (in all its permutations). I tend to mount mine near or from the ceiling with a GEARKEEPER attached to a ring, away from drivers head.

(I only use rig on road trips, and store it in a sturdy zip bag otherwise; with spare fuses, etc)

Power should be drawn from the battery, and proper grounds (bonding) installed.

http://dodgeram.info/tsb/2005/08-024...R INSTALLATION

"Receive" trumps "transmit" so the extra work involved for installation is about clean, clear power without interference. A low Standing Wave Ratio must be established.

Radio toys (noisemakers) are irritants, avoid them.

A well-sorted rig will transmit/receive more than 3-miles during the day, above 5-miles at night or in rural areas. (I have done, and do, much better than this).

You'll note that truckers "speak" in terms of Exit Numbers; the "hammer lane" is Lane One (inside lane, fast lane); "chicken coops" are state inspection stations,, etc, etc.

There won't be a lot of talk in rural areas where the speed limit is 70 mph, except for the prevalence of police, construction zones or very bad accidents. Bad weather will bring out more info.

Understand that the radio is one place where a truck driver can vent frustration and be able to expect understanding (though, with only some relative support). There are fools and worse on the radio. This is not a "PC" zone.

Metro areas make them (CB's) about worthless, BUT the approaches to metro areas are another matter as one CAN plan to use an alternative route if an accident has shut one or more lanes.

I find that the time and trouble are worthwhile. I use an earbud that my wife is not disturbed. An external speaker mounted on the dash, firing off the windshield, will make most drivers intelligible. (I think there are about [7] truck drivers out there: personality, dialect, etc. It's uncanny at times).

I would no more be without a properly equipped, installed and operating Citizens Band Radio than I would be without a quality flashlight. When you need it, you need it. And when you don't, you'll appreciate much of what you hear on several levels.

CB SLANG

CB Slang Dictionary

Late night driving can bring out all kinds of stuff . .

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Old 03-01-2010, 03:58 PM   #8
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Cell phone towers are not necessarily ubiquitous

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I have a CB radio ... I've mainly found it handy for communications with a leading or following car when traveling together.

Found myself wondering [if this is] still a relevant technology given FRS GMRS and cell phones...
I bought a hand-held CB radio in the early nineties to keep up with my buddies on river cruises in my boat.

My Airstream has a state-of-the-art, mounted CB radio because the previous owner installed a phenomenal CB antenna, and the CB purchased for the effort had a Weather Band that appreciated his effort.

To be honest, it would simply stupefy me if I were to ever TX on the Airstream's base station. Since we have small children, I quit carrying the hand-held in the Suburban because of too much trash talk in general.

But the CB radio is another means of requesting emergency help.

Tom
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:32 PM   #9
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There are still places with poor-to-none cell phone coverage. Do a turn-around in Laredo, headin' north on US-83 towards Wyoming and one will wish two things:

That I had installed a WILSON CELL PHONE Repeater/Amplifier with Antenna;

And a first rate CB installation.

'cause this ol' bockety air-ride seat and diesel whine ain't enough company, not late at night when -- as a tagged member of the aboveground legal economy I'm bein' passed by vehicles likely from the grey and black economy . . and AM 960 out of San Angelo is fadin' fast on 277 before I hit Sweetwater. I'm glad to hear the commercial CB traffic on Interstate 20.

Granted, the HAM setups are best. But there's a learning curve to gettin' there. All of them (FMRS, CB, Cellular, 2-Meter) are the way to go. Communications trumps the flat screen TV.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:49 AM   #10
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.... and AM 960 out of San Angelo is fadin' fast on 277 before I hit Sweetwater. I'm glad to hear the commercial CB traffic on Interstate 20...
Ain't that the truth!

One of the best CB shops I've been to is Clay's Radio Shop, previously off of I-20, going towards Dallas, from Abilene...they are now at 220 Ft. Worth Hwy. Suite 200A, in Weatherford. They installed CBs in my 1972 Suburban, 2000 Blazer, 2005 2500 Ram and, when I get the time to get up there, I'm going to have them tweak the system on our King Ranch....we have dual Firestiks hooked up to a Cobra 29WXNWST and they're not tuned right.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:37 PM   #11
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Ain't that the truth!

One of the best CB shops I've been to is Clay's Radio Shop, previously off of I-20, going towards Dallas, from Abilene...they are now at 220 Ft. Worth Hwy. Suite 200A, in Weatherford. They installed CBs in my 1972 Suburban, 2000 Blazer, 2005 2500 Ram and, when I get the time to get up there, I'm going to have them tweak the system on our King Ranch....we have dual Firestiks hooked up to a Cobra 29WXNWST and they're not tuned right.

I called them about a month ago and they told me they don't do installs anymore. You might want to check before heading to their shop. If you find out different, please let me know, because I want to have one professionally installed and tweeked.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I have a CB radio that I picked up at a garage sale sitting loose in my TV and I'm trying to decide whether to install it or not. I've mainly found it handy for communications with a leading or following car when traveling together.
Found myself wondering about broader issues and whether this is still a relevant technology given FRS GMRS and cell phones. So, I haven't installed it.
Any opinions?
Cell phones are great if you want to talk to "a person" and have a signal. However a CB is best for talking to the neighborhood for local info, traffic reports, keep awake joke telling etc. CB radios are better than FMS or GMRS for 2 reasons, they accept external antennas which are needed for getting a signal back past your own Airstream to talk to anyone behind you and secondly they frequently have a power cable to plug into your cigarette lighter socket for extended operations.
Ham radios are more capable for those that have them. APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) has nice capabilities for groups similarly equipped.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:28 PM   #13
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Some old CB ramblings...

Out of high school in the early 60's, several buddies & I had portable CB rigs in our cars - CB was in it's infancy in those 'early' days, and we all had tube-type transceivers.

I had a Ratheon CB with five selectable channels using separate crystals tuned to the five separate frequencies - mounted in my 61 Austin Healy, bug-eyed Sprite English sports car - hot stuff in those days...

In those early CB days, there were very few radios and fewer regular users 'on-the-air' so there was virtually no 'noise' or interference during most transmissions - you could usually pick up your buddy's broadcast's (line-of-sight) without any problems...

In December of probably 62', one of my buddies and I went up to Yosemite to camp for a few days in the valley - burrrrrrr - but we were young and 'crazy' in those days....

We'd set up a couple of QSL times to try and talk to our friends back in the SF Bay area, up in the hills above San Carlos - One night, I drove up to Glacier Point to get as high as possible, attached my 108" whip, cranked up the Ratheon, and made contact about 150 air miles away!!

Like I said, the 'air' was quiet in those days, and I suspect you couldn't do that today with a 'legal' CB radio, with all the background 'noise' one has to try and cut through these days...

I've had a CB around in several of my vehicles since those days...they are great, as others have said, when on the road to get local info and assistance...

Ray
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:11 AM   #14
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Ain't that the truth!

One of the best CB shops I've been to is Clay's Radio Shop, previously off of I-20, going towards Dallas, from Abilene...they are now at 220 Ft. Worth Hwy. Suite 200A, in Weatherford. They installed CBs in my 1972 Suburban, 2000 Blazer, 2005 2500 Ram and, when I get the time to get up there, I'm going to have them tweak the system on our King Ranch....we have dual Firestiks hooked up to a Cobra 29WXNWST and they're not tuned right.
Yeah, I started using them in the '90's, but (a big one) Clay got away from doing the bench work . . . and some of his tech's moved farther out to another location. I quit using Clay's after 2004. Next time, I'll head to the other guys:

" . . Danny and a couple others are [the techs] "WHO PUT CLAYS ON THE MAP"
Clay got a bit greedy and the end result was Ranger Hill CB Shop!
Great guys to do buisness with at a fair price.
I/20 West, exit #349 behind Loves".


As to the antennas, lose 'em. Go for a single, properly mounted. Duals need 108" between them to function.

A stakebed mount, behind passenger side, is best easy spot for a single (unless you want the best to center: BREEDLOVE; bed mount, q-disconnect; foldover)

PRODUCTS

2/3 of antenna needs to be above cab. I'd go with a PREDATOR 10K optimized for length if performance really counts.

http://www.predatorantennas.com/

http://www.radioactiveradios.com/pro...xpertscoax.php

.
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