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Crash Course in CB Radios

Ted Jenkins

Ted Jenkins

Firewood by TJ
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I just kinda looked for base radios, seems there are not a lot made anymore. I still have most of my old stuff in the attic. I had a 750 watt linear which was illegal back then. i sold it years ago.
A 750 watt should literally break the ice with or without side bands. I have one 100 watt that I have not looked at in years and I believe a 200 watt also. Where I live near the top of a 6,000 foot mountain talking all over the US and some times farther can be interesting. I think I still have 3 or 4 AM units and 1 or 2 sidebands. I also have some marine stuff and a couple 25 watt SW. I am already too busy with wood and houses so do not want to even look at getting into Ham. Thanks
 
sonny580

sonny580

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Illinois
I used to run a Pace 113 set to 10 wats driving a 351 bi-linear with an astro-beam on 30" tower and did good for having fun back in the mid 80's.
Back then you had to have power to talk over the garbage on the air.
several of us also had "business channels" ( 50, 52, and 55 on one of my crystals) --- dont have the stuff anymore ----not worth the hassle plus no range!--2 miles at best on the road in my truck. I only used them when close to my jobsite for instructions from the paver guy or the other drivers in my group.
 

Yarz

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Tarentum, PA
What kind of home/base station would you recommend?
Whether using CB or HAM radios, you don't necessarily have to use a "base station" radio. You could get a 12 volt power supply and run any vehicle based radio in the home. That is my plan.. one day.

As has been said, 4 watts (the FCC's limit for CB power) will not reach out super far, but there are things you can do to make sure you are getting as far as possible. First is to tune your antenna (using an SWR meter) and the second is to get your antenna UP as high as you can. That way your signal is clear of as many cars, houses, trees, hills, etc. as possible.

I got my technician class amateur radio license, and the test was not difficult to pass. If you are interested to go that route, there are lists of questions and plenty of study guides online.
 
TNTreeHugger

TNTreeHugger

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Whether using CB or HAM radios, you don't necessarily have to use a "base station" radio. You could get a 12 volt power supply and run any vehicle based radio in the home. That is my plan.. one day.

As has been said, 4 watts (the FCC's limit for CB power) will not reach out super far, but there are things you can do to make sure you are getting as far as possible. First is to tune your antenna (using an SWR meter) and the second is to get your antenna UP as high as you can. That way your signal is clear of as many cars, houses, trees, hills, etc. as possible.

I got my technician class amateur radio license, and the test was not difficult to pass. If you are interested to go that route, there are lists of questions and plenty of study guides online.
Thanks for the info.
I may have a problem with the antenna - I live in a valley.
As it is, I haven't listened to a radio station in the house in years because I could only get about three stations. same with a t.v. antenna.
Exactly what kind of antenna is required for a home ham/CB radio?
 
TNTreeHugger

TNTreeHugger

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Start here, this guy is worth every second



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I dozed off towards the end, but the part I watched was like Chinese to me - no idea what he was talking about.
I woke up and this one was on
I'm familiar with Mike Glover since I watched some of his videos about guns.
This is why I want to learn about radios - emergency/survival purposes, not just a hobby. I already have too many hobbies.

Interesting path I'm traveling here lately.... first with the guns for survival/self defense purposes and now radios for similar reasons.
I need to watch those videos again, until they make some sense.
 

sb47

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I had them in my trucks and at home with a base station. The problem is when you get an ask hole with an amplifier that keys up and squashes everyone else out. With a base station you can use a directional antenna that may help if the ask hole is on the back side from the direction you are talking.
Cold clear nights when the weather is just right you can catch a skip and talk to people hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Radio is mostly line of sight unless you catch a skip where the signal bounces off the atmosphere and the ground. The higher your antenna the better. There are many types of antennas and they all have there pro's and con's but generally there only good for about 10 miles but conditions may very. A good radio is the key along with a good antenna. Get you a radio with extra crystals installed and a slider where you can go in between channels where most can't go. You have the choice of AM, FM, UHF, VHF and side band. They are fun though.
 

Yarz

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Exactly what kind of antenna is required for a home ham/CB radio?
The type of antenna will depend on what direction you're trying to transmit/receive. The size will depend on what is your target wavelength, aka "band".

If omnidirectional (and I assume this is the case), a vertical dipole of some sort is usually the simplest.
If you're a DIY type person, it can be as simple as a vertical wire with a few wires added for a groundplane, or another simple one is a J-pole.
If not, there are several commercially made ones. The Solarcon Antron A-99 is just one example.

If there is a particular direction you'd like to aim, then you get into yagi's and beam antennas. I know nothing about these.

I like watching Farpoint Farms for some basics.
I am still learning many of these things as well.

I live in a valley.
How deep of a valley? Would a basic antenna tower be enough height?
 
AFMoulton

AFMoulton

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If you want a radio to get out of your valley, get a Dual-band HAM radio, then you only have to talk to the repeater on top of the mountain near by


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TNTreeHugger

TNTreeHugger

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The type of antenna will depend on what direction you're trying to transmit/receive. The size will depend on what is your target wavelength, aka "band".

If omnidirectional (and I assume this is the case), a vertical dipole of some sort is usually the simplest.
If you're a DIY type person, it can be as simple as a vertical wire with a few wires added for a groundplane, or another simple one is a J-pole.
If not, there are several commercially made ones. The Solarcon Antron A-99 is just one example.

If there is a particular direction you'd like to aim, then you get into yagi's and beam antennas. I know nothing about these.

I like watching Farpoint Farms for some basics.
I am still learning many of these things as well.


How deep of a valley? Would a basic antenna tower be enough height?
Appreciate the links... too complicated for me.

My Cobra arrived today.... trying to figure out what to do with it now. :oops:
 
TNTreeHugger

TNTreeHugger

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If you want a radio to get out of your valley, get a Dual-band HAM radio, then you only have to talk to the repeater on top of the mountain near by


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
I'm in the valley below the Cumberland Plateau

 
AFMoulton

AFMoulton

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I'm in the valley below the Cumberland Plateau


Contact these guys, they will get you squared away and pointed in the right direction.



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sb47

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You need several things to be half way successful on a radio.
A good radio with a good power mic and a good foot warmer ( power amp) with a good antenna as high as you can get it.
It all depends on what your goals are. If you want to communicate privetly or talk to everyone. If you want to just talk to a few on a privet channel you can set up your radio on a channel far away from channel 19 or anywhere on the top 40 where most are. If your radios have a slider where you can slide in between channels you can stay away from most people.
But that half the fun with radios, is learning about them. How they work and what works for your needs.
My voice is still traveling through space after all these years when I use to use them many years ago.

I had a Yasu base station with a 100 foot 5/8's wave antenna over 100 feet tall crank up tower and a power mic and a 1000 watt power amp in an area that was very flat. On a cold clear night when the weather was just right, I could talk to people all over the world when the skip was rolling. The bad thing about the skip is it rolls in and out and you only get a few min to talk before the signal slips away.
It was a lot of fun.
 
TNTreeHugger

TNTreeHugger

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You need several things to be half way successful on a radio.
A good radio with a good power mic and a good foot warmer ( power amp) with a good antenna as high as you can get it.
It all depends on what your goals are. If you want to communicate privetly or talk to everyone. If you want to just talk to a few on a privet channel you can set up your radio on a channel far away from channel 19 or anywhere on the top 40 where most are. If your radios have a slider where you can slide in between channels you can stay away from most people.
But that half the fun with radios, is learning about them. How they work and what works for your needs.
My voice is still traveling through space after all these years when I use to use them many years ago.

I had a Yasu base station with a 100 foot 5/8's wave antenna over 100 feet tall crank up tower and a power mic and a 1000 watt power amp in an area that was very flat. On a cold clear night when the weather was just right, I could talk to people all over the world when the skip was rolling. The bad thing about the skip is it rolls in and out and you only get a few min to talk before the signal slips away.
It was a lot of fun.
What do you mean your voice is still traveling through space?
I know nothing about how a radio works... guess that's going to change. :drinkingcoffee:
 

sb47

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What do you mean your voice is still traveling through space?
I know nothing about how a radio works... guess that's going to change. :drinkingcoffee:
Yep, all radio signals from every radio transmission are still traveling through space, although the farther out they go the weaker they get, but they are still going.
 
AFMoulton

AFMoulton

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I would be very careful about putting an amplifier on a CB radio, as it is illegal and carries hefty fines.

FCC is cracking down because the bands close to the CB band are being used for military work, and CB’s with amps encroach on the militaries communications.




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