CB Radio - How it can help you - by Eddie Runner (NU5K)
CB Radio is a lot of fun. It is super cheap and it allows you
to have fairly reliable mobile (or base) communications without having to get a radio
operators license. CB radio was BIG BIG BIG in the 70s, it seemed like every car had a CB
in it and many homes also. It provided a fun way to keep in touch with your friends and
family. I used to radio home when I was leaving work so that dinner would be ready when I
walked in the door. In the 70s we met a lot of friends on the air and had great fun. I
started my mobile electronics career by installing CB radios in 1974. I also met
my wife and actually got Married on the CB radio in 1976. (still married!)
But besides all that mushy stuff, CBs are coming back strong
and are dirt cheap. Most CBs nowadays have 40 channels, so it is pretty easy to find a
clear channel to talk on. Many mobile CBs also have a PA (public Address) system built in
so that with the simple addition of a speaker you can talk to folks around your car, or
holler at the idiot to get outa your way, or make MOOing sounds as you pass a heard of
cattle in the country..
There are many CBs on the market but many are very close to
identical on the inside, nowadays there aren't many BAD ones, and also not many really
outstanding ones. They are mostly all good.
You can get;
A handheld CB, many times these have less power and an
AWFUL antenna. But they are very very popular with some of
the offroaders, they get very good results with handheld CBs. A big plus is that
you can leave the car and still use them.
A Car powered CB with all the controls on the Mic, these work
good but because of their small size they lack some cool features like PA or SSB. They are
quite easy to mount though.
A normal mobile CB, the most common cb radio, most have 4
watts of output (the max legal) and 40 channels and PA capabilities.
An SSB CB, the "high end" of CB radios. Most CBs
use AM (amplitude Modulation), but SSB CBs have both AM and SSB (single side band) modes
for all 40 channels. AM which is normal for CBs is susceptible
to all kinds of nasty interference, SSB makes a more efficient use of power and doesn't have as much problems
with static.. But to use SSB you must be communicating with another CBer that also has
Base Station, base stations are available in AM and SSB
and require an antenna on the roof. Usually have much better range because of the higher
Being a lover of radio I
eventually got into HAM radio, most folks regard it as a step up from CB radio
because you must have a license, but for radio lovers like myself, Ham radio
really has a lot to offer over CB radio, many more bands channels and
frequencies, alot more technical stuff from moonbounce to satellite, to digital
and daily worldwide communications...