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  1. #1

    Default Thoughts On CB Radio

    Been thinking about finding an old/cheap cb radio to throw in the car before our next trip and was curious what some of the more seasoned folks thought about this. Worth it? Downsides? Besides truckers does anyone still use cb?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default I like them, except for the antenna

    I used to have a CB radio in my old '86 Mercury Sable last decade. It was fun and I liked talking with the truckers and their 10-4 lingo.

    The only downside is that big honkin' antenna that you have to plop on the top of your car and then find a way to run the wire so it attaches to your unit. It's not the most inconspicuous thing in the world, inside or out. You can either buy an antenna with a magnetic base (but I wouldn't go faster than 70MPH without potentially losing it) or you could mount it to the car somehow.

    If you have an older car and you don't listen to the radio, you may be able to use your built-in car antenna and attach it to the unit. It doesn't have quite the range as a true CB antenna, but it's better than nothing at all. You'll get a few miles range out of it.

    Garage sales are a haven for CBs. That's where I found mine, and it was brand new for like $10. I wish I kept it, haha.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Years ago, I had an adapter box that you connected the standard vehicle AM/FM antenna to that had 2 pigtails - one to reconnect to the radio and one to connect to the CB. I don't have a clue where to find one of these today. It worked okay but not great - you did have to tune the SWR with an adjustment on the box. You can't just connect the car antenna to a CB, the SWR will be way off and you could blow the CB.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Resources

    There are several articles about CB radios that you should check out on this site:

    CB Radios for Road Trips is a good starting point, and there are several more links at the bottom of that page.



  5. #5

    Default

    Yeah I forgot to mention I came across those right after I posted the question. Guess I'm mainly looking for real-world experience and perceived usefulness of taking one with me or not.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I never leave home without one....

    It's funny, I thought by writing and publishing those articles that my comments therein would be sufficient. But, for the record, I never leave our office without one in the car....

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default

    While the articles are technically useful and I do admit learning quite a bit from them I am interested in more empirical content from folks to help me decide whether I want to spend the time installing or not. While I'm leaning towards doing it (because you can never have too many gadgets with you) I usually like to gleen as much as I can from as many folks as I can in a given subject before I do.

    I do have a question though....as someone who has the cb with them, from what I gather, all the time do you keep it on all the time? on but volume low? just turn it on when you feel the need? or off but keep it available "just in case"?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default No harm in "Always On"

    I always kept mine on with the volume half-way up. There's really no harm in it. Of course, you don't want to be hearing static all the time, so you turn the squelch knob just enough so it cuts the static and only kicks in if someone is broadcasting on that channel.

    I had 23 channels on mine (I think Channel 9 or 11 was reserved for emergency only) but usually only 6 or 7 had a bunch of voice traffic. I never did figure out how you determine what channels you should be on and where.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It depends on several factors

    Quote Originally Posted by avaag View Post
    all the time do you keep it on all the time? on but volume low? just turn it on when you feel the need? or off but keep it available "just in case"?
    If I am on a solo trip, I have the CB radio on all of the time, with the volume up, but the squelch adjustment set pretty high. If the weather is threatening, (ice, snow or tornadoes) I have the CB on -- on the major highway channel (Ch.19) and monitor it for road reports. Same if I hit unexpected traffic congestion.

    If I am traveling with Megan or someone else, the radio is usually off -- but ready to go if I need it.

    The major reason I still carry a CB is for quick access to the national weather service alerts.

    Most days that I am monitoring the radio -- I don't even speak anymore. I used to -- but generally there are too many requirements for my time (besides the task of driving, of course,) and so it is in stand-by mode.

    If you want to listen in to more of the fleet truck traffic you will need a single side band radio -- most of the fleet operators do not use the 40-channels of the standard CB radios. This is an excellent overview of the basic equipment you can expect on CB radios.

    Mark

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