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Old 01-23-2021, 01:31 PM   #1
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CB Radio Question

I have been informed that I need a "good working CB" while on a caravan this summer due to limited cell phone service. I looked over some on Amazon and now have questions:

1. Some models come with a receiver box (or whatever) that looks like it should be mounted inside the truck. I would rather not install anything in the truck. In that case, which CB would you recommend? Which model works well in this situation?
2. Some models show magnetized antennas that stick to the top of the truck. I own a 2017 F-150. Ford started building their trucks out of aluminum that year so these magnetized antennas won't stick, right?
3. Is having an antenna on outside of vehicle essential/helpful to the CB transmitting?
4. I've seen that the higher the wattage, the farther a CB will transmit. What wattage would be best?
5. Can you speak in plain English on a CB or must you adopt the jargon of the long hauler?
Thank you.
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Old 01-23-2021, 02:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
I have been informed that I need a "good working CB" while on a caravan this summer due to limited cell phone service. I looked over some on Amazon and now have questions:

1. Some models come with a receiver box (or whatever) that looks like it should be mounted inside the truck. I would rather not install anything in the truck. In that case, which CB would you recommend? Which model works well in this situation?
2. Some models show magnetized antennas that stick to the top of the truck. I own a 2017 F-150. Ford started building their trucks out of aluminum that year so these magnetized antennas won't stick, right?
3. Is having an antenna on outside of vehicle essential/helpful to the CB transmitting?
4. I've seen that the higher the wattage, the farther a CB will transmit. What wattage would be best?
5. Can you speak in plain English on a CB or must you adopt the jargon of the long hauler?
Thank you.
I learned to hate CB because of all the rude users. However, as you state, it's handy for communications between vehicles, and it's cheap.
1. I wouldn't install anything permanently. Even if it's intended to mount all you need is an antenna connection and 12 v.power cord, cigarette lighter end? Depending on how far you are from your co-travellers, a handheld might work.
2. Yes mag mounts are easy and efficient. Aluminum? There are lots of options, window clip, mirror mounts, clamps, etc.
3.Yes.
4. CB is legally limited to 5 watts.
5. Please use plain English. It'd okay to say, "Over" when you're done talking. Find a channel unused by truckers and make it "yours". (or the caravan leader will.)

Cringeworthy: When I had my boat, I'd hear idiots calling on the marine radio's ch. 16, "Breaker, breaker, Coast Guard, you got your ears on?" Often the Coast Guard didn't answer.
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Old 01-23-2021, 02:08 PM   #3
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For what you want it for I would consider a handheld. Check out the Cobra handheld CBs. I believe Cabalaís carries them. No install, no antenna mount, and no wires.
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Old 01-23-2021, 03:06 PM   #4
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I have a handheld and it wasnít worth a darn until I put a real mount and antenna on the truck. I just screw the antenna on when taking a trip.
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Old 01-23-2021, 03:32 PM   #5
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I tried several different CB rigs along the way. Let me say right up front that I am hard of hearing and that I hate CB. But some of the caravans we went on really used it and in a good way. I tried the handhelds. No battery life at all and no way to use it when driving. And no transmitting power. And no listening clarity. I kept trying them and have thrown away 4 different brands of hand held over the years. I tried one of the neat Cobra units that is all in the mike. Poor sound for me. (I have one I will give to somebody if they want to try it}. I settled on a Cobra unit that is supposed to be mounted to the truck. I made a little wooden holder for it and it sits on edge on the transmission tunnel. Does not bother me at all there and the dials are pointed up where you can see and reach them. You could just set the rig there for the trip and take it out when done. I made a little wood block that fits in a recess in the dash with double sided tape so that I did not need to drill to mount the mike. I went to one of the 30" or so stiff fiberglas antennas and permanently mounted it (drilled and screwed) alone aside the hood in the usual place. Ran the wire though the firewall and it terminates under the dash on the tunnel. You do not need a special antenna to receive. You do need not to transmit. I also bought one of the $25 (at that time) meters to tune the antenna. Being able to listen is more important than transmitting range.

As to power, they are all the same. Legal limit of 5 watts. (all the 100 watt linear amplifiers the trucker use are illegal) What is important is the clarity and the squelch adjustments. Just because they are the same power does not mean they all work well. Go to a well equipped truck stop and just buy one of the better ones. Everything needs to be crystal controlled. They know what works better than Amazon does.
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Old 01-23-2021, 04:15 PM   #6
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FYI there are a variety of "CB radio" threads/posts all over the place:

https://www.google.com/search?q=cb+r...=airforums.com

. . . and a CB Radio etc. sub-forum:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f452/

FYI
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Old 01-23-2021, 05:06 PM   #7
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I have a small uniden cb I use when we convoy to the racetrack. Itís mounted under the seat of my truck with Velcro and plugs in to the cigarette lighter.
I keep the mic in the cup holder when driving.
I use a cheap magnet mount antenna.

It works well for my purposes.
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:24 AM   #8
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Bill M - thank you for describing your experiences about trying to find a CB that satisfies. Even when young, I always had difficulty in understanding radio transmissions, or the words in songs being sung while everyone else around me seemed to understand what was said. I dread that happening to me with a CB when I need it most - or not understanding what is being said by the caravan leader as I drive - which turns the CB into junk as far as I'm concerned. I like your suggestion to stop in a truck stop; they probably do have the best recommendations.
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:31 AM   #9
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To Bill M's post: I have an unused, handy-dandy recessed area in middle of my dash in F-150. I usually toss my TireMinder monitor or rear view camera monitor in it so, just maybe. . . . Also - I will be traveling through Walcott, IA in June where Iowa 80 or the "world's largest truck stop" is located. I bet they've got some good CB gear there. Maybe I can even listen to the voice quality of units before buying. I bet they could also install it for me. Ah! The way forward!!
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:42 AM   #10
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Pat, I have a unit that I have owned for years and the last time I used it was on the Viking caravan last year. I don't normally use it when I'm on trips anyway.

I'd be glad to lend it to you. If you want me to ship it, or you can come get it. I'm about a hundred miles southeast.

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Old 01-24-2021, 11:33 AM   #11
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Maximum legal wattage on a CB radio is 4 watts, not 5 and they come standard with 4 or less watts. Hand helds are usually about 3 watts. But, over many years of CB use in the 70s and 80s I never knew anyone in our CB club to ever get charged with going over the wattage limit.

If you have a good antenna even a cheap radio will get you what you need for sending/receiving. You can get an inexpensive SWR meter, easy to use and will tell you if your antenna mount is good or is reflecting your signal back to your vehicle (not for most hand helds). The center of your vehicle is the best place for an antenna. If you can't get to the center, understand that the vehicle is part of the antenna configuration. Antenna in the back will send/receive more towards the front than the back.

Amazon or just about any Pilot/Flying J/TA/Loves etc. travel center will have a good selection of CBs, antennas and accessories.
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:24 PM   #12
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Maximum legal wattage on a CB radio is 4 watts, not 5
You are correct. I spoke from memory and was mistaken.
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:11 AM   #13
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pmclemore - thank you for your generous offer but will pass for now. I want to see this thread spin out with more recommendations before committing to anything. Question for you though - what happens to someone who shows up without a CB? What are the consequences? Does not having one negatively impact others on the caravan?
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:46 AM   #14
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I havenít been on an airstream caravan, but when we convoy to the racetrack if you donít have a CB you get put in the middle of the pack and if you stop for a bathroom break and get lost your on your own LOL
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:48 AM   #15
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How the CB radio is used in the caravan depends entirely upon the caravan leaders. Some use it well and a lot. Some do not. You might contact the leaders directly to ask about the caravan you are going on. If the leaders do make use of it then you will need one. On one caravan George told people who asked at the first meeting "there is a truck stop 10 miles up the road. go buy one." It is not a really big deal to buy and carry a CB. There is no real selection to be made and you can get a radio shop to install the antenna if you do not want to do it yourself. Or find some sort of detachable mount that will work with your truck. You probably need to be able to listen more than to talk.
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
I have been informed that I need a "good working CB" while on a caravan this summer due to limited cell phone service.
. . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
. . .
. . . what happens to someone who shows up without a CB? What are the consequences? Does not having one negatively impact others on the caravan?
If the rally asks you to have one . . . . . . why not just buy a basic CB and be done with it? A great tool for future emergencies also -- in areas where cell phones don't work BTW. Avoid analysis paralysis IMO.

"Over and out."

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Old 01-25-2021, 11:23 AM   #17
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When you are on the road during a caravan you will be in smaller groups traveling to your next destination. In Alaska and Newfoundland there were many locations with zero cell phone coverage. The CB is a great tool for communicating with others in your group. If you are traveling in a small group and need to stop for any reason, you can communicate in an instant with the others you at=re traveling with.

We have also had drivers meeting via cb when the weather did not permit us to meet as a group outside.

As far as showing up without any of the required items, it would be up to the caravan leader to decide how to handle the situation.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:20 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=JDG;2452871]For what you want it for I would consider a handheld. Check out the Cobra handheld CBs. I believe Cabalaís carries them. No install, no antenna mount, and no wires.

^
X2

We've always carried a handheld CB with a portable remote antenna, 8yrs since it was last used.

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Old 01-25-2021, 06:28 PM   #19
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I am in Jeep clubs in Georgia. Iíve used a handheld one for as long as theyíve made them. Not as good for long range trucker talk but perfect for caravans.

10-4 good buddy
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Old 01-25-2021, 06:44 PM   #20
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I bought my antenna mount from Right Channel Radios. The mount sticks out from the side of the hood. It utilizes a bolt under the hood so no holes were drilled. I just unscrew the antenna when we’re not using it.

http://https://www.rightchannelradio...ns/cb-antennas


F150 antenna mount
http://https://www.rightchannelradio...cb-antenna-kit
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