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My CB RADIO: getting it working
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epowell
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 4:24 am    Post subject: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

My van came with a CB radio installed... I guess that is not original VW stuff.

For years I have been wanting to get rid of it - but it definitely works perfectly.

Now today, I heard someone say that in the unlikely event that the Internet and cell phone coverage would for some reason go down for a while, CB radios might actually be extremely useful for communications.

Can anyone bring me up to speed about CBs? For example, if for some short 'crisis' period of time, CBs might be the only way to communicate - how would this work - would it be that with Internet and cellphones down, you could still communicate with people thru CB - BUT THEY WOULD OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO HAVE A CB THEMSELVES? ...how far can CB signals travel?

How can I test the functionality of mine?

I removed both my antennae from my van, I guess I should reinstall them.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:42 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

Hey good buddy. You got your ears on? Whatís your 20?

Citizen ban radio was really popular back in the 70s. You could have a base station at a fixed location with a decent antenna and talk pretty far. Mobile units had a normal range of a few miles. In order to talk both radios needed to be on the same channel. From memory truckers used channel 19. FCC required licenses to legally use a radio, but I donít believe many did when they were popular. I would use MDW33444 which was my initials and zip code. Most used ďhandlesĒ or nicknames. I went by Time Traveler. There was a language that you could pick up pretty quickly along with the 10 code. Example 10-20 would be your location.

Later radios got more channels and less power. I imagine some folks still use CB radios. Not sure if I moved mine. Ham radio is still popular and there are clubs. They talk all over the world. That would likely be a better choice for Armageddon.

Thanks for asking. I havenít thought about CBS forever. Lots of good memories. I recommend Smokey and the Bandit for a primer.
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epowell
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:48 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Hey good buddy. You got your ears on? Whatís your 20?

Citizen ban radio was really popular back in the 70s. You could have a base station at a fixed location with a decent antenna and talk pretty far. Mobile units had a normal range of a few miles. In order to talk both radios needed to be on the same channel. From memory truckers used channel 19. FCC required licenses to legally use a radio, but I donít believe many did when they were popular. I would use MDW33444 which was my initials and zip code. Most used ďhandlesĒ or nicknames. I went by Time Traveler. There was a language that you could pick up pretty quickly along with the 10 code. Example 10-20 would be your location.

Later radios got more channels and less power. I imagine some folks still use CB radios. Not sure if I moved mine. Ham radio is still popular and there are clubs. They talk all over the world. That would likely be a better choice for Armageddon.

Thanks for asking. I havenít thought about CBS forever. Lots of good memories. I recommend Smokey and the Bandit for a primer.


Thanks for the summary... so my CB won't really do me any good unless people I want to communicate with also have them Smile

HAM sounds interesting as most of my communication is actually international and intercontinental.
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kourt
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 5:50 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

Prolific amateur radio operator here.

CB (citizens band) radios use 40 channelized (predetermined, standardized) frequencies between 26.965 MHz and 27.405 MHz. This band is also referred to as the "11 meter band" because the signal wavelength is 11 meters long.

Many of these channels have designated uses. In the US, channel 9 is universally recognized as the "emergency channel" and channel 19 is the standard calling channel for truckers. There are some channels that are known as "north/south travel" or "east/west travel" channels, etc.

These standards are not worldwide. Each country that regulates its radio with a CB service does it a little differently.

Transmitter power in the US and Europe is limited to 4 watts, which provides about 20 miles maximum range depending on terrain, conditions, and equipment.

Modified radios with higher wattage are common and illegal in most CB regulated countries.

CB radios are extremely common, cheap, reliable, and good for car-to-car communications. They could be useful in an emergency situation, but yes, it would require "the other party" to also have a CB radio.

I keep old CB radios lying around the house in case they are needed, but realistically I don't expect to ever use them except for perhaps a large vehicle convoy.

I will say this: in the United States we still face a constant risk of natural disasters--mostly hurricanes on the Gulf of Mexico coast. The most recent major hurricane, named Harvey, hit the Houston area and dropped 40 to 60 inches of rain in a period of four days, with 130 MPH winds. In other words, a major storm hit the 4th largest city in the US, where around 4 million people live in the region, and the land is flat and at sea level.

While this storm did wipe out a small portion of the existing cell phone and internet structure to parts of the region for days, resources had been pre-staged to account for this: portable cell towers, generators, and all the necessary temporary infrastructure were already in place and activated. Teams of people with fuel and knowledge to make it all work were activated.

The result was a nearly uninterrupted cell phone service, which in turn resulted in an ad-hoc cell phone network for coordinating resources and overcoming flooded roads, using a 2-way cell phone app called Zello. It was fascinating to listen to the Zello radio traffic in Austin of the Cajun Navy (private citizens in small boats) coming to Houston to help rescue people. This network was necessary because so much of the road infrastructure was underwater.

Twenty years ago this would have been done by radio, but common citizens wouldn't have had universal access to radios or the knowledge to make them work. Instead, during the Harvey rescue effort, listening to the amateur radio and CB bands revealed very little emergency traffic. The radio equipment was not relevant. The cell phone had won the day.

In summary, in that year (2017) the two-way radio played a relatively insignificant part in the emergency recovery efforts of private citizens, while cell phone provider companies responded admirably with extra resources to support their networks, and cell phone users adopted a common platform (Zello) which proved to be the legitimate and accepted way for people to communicate during the emergency.

I hope this helps.

kourt
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epowell
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 6:11 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

kourt wrote:
Prolific amateur radio operator here.

CB (citizens band) radios use 40 channelized (predetermined, standardized) frequencies between 26.965 MHz and 27.405 MHz. This band is also referred to as the "11 meter band" because the signal wavelength is 11 meters long.

Many of these channels have designated uses. In the US, channel 9 is universally recognized as the "emergency channel" and channel 19 is the standard calling channel for truckers. There are some channels that are known as "north/south travel" or "east/west travel" channels, etc.

These standards are not worldwide. Each country that regulates its radio with a CB service does it a little differently.

Transmitter power in the US and Europe is limited to 4 watts, which provides about 20 miles maximum range depending on terrain, conditions, and equipment.

Modified radios with higher wattage are common and illegal in most CB regulated countries.

CB radios are extremely common, cheap, reliable, and good for car-to-car communications. They could be useful in an emergency situation, but yes, it would require "the other party" to also have a CB radio.

I keep old CB radios lying around the house in case they are needed, but realistically I don't expect to ever use them except for perhaps a large vehicle convoy.

I will say this: in the United States we still face a constant risk of natural disasters--mostly hurricanes on the Gulf of Mexico coast. The most recent major hurricane, named Harvey, hit the Houston area and dropped 40 to 60 inches of rain in a period of four days, with 130 MPH winds. In other words, a major storm hit the 4th largest city in the US, where around 4 million people live in the region, and the land is flat and at sea level.

While this storm did wipe out a small portion of the existing cell phone and internet structure to parts of the region for days, resources had been pre-staged to account for this: portable cell towers, generators, and all the necessary temporary infrastructure were already in place and activated. Teams of people with fuel and knowledge to make it all work were activated.

The result was a nearly uninterrupted cell phone service, which in turn resulted in an ad-hoc cell phone network for coordinating resources and overcoming flooded roads, using a 2-way cell phone app called Zello. It was fascinating to listen to the Zello radio traffic in Austin of the Cajun Navy (private citizens in small boats) coming to Houston to help rescue people. This network was necessary because so much of the road infrastructure was underwater.

Twenty years ago this would have been done by radio, but common citizens wouldn't have had universal access to radios or the knowledge to make them work. Instead, during the Harvey rescue effort, listening to the amateur radio and CB bands revealed very little emergency traffic. The radio equipment was not relevant. The cell phone had won the day.

In summary, in that year (2017) the two-way radio played a relatively insignificant part in the emergency recovery efforts of private citizens, while cell phone provider companies responded admirably with extra resources to support their networks, and cell phone users adopted a common platform (Zello) which proved to be the legitimate and accepted way for people to communicate during the emergency.

I hope this helps.

kourt


Thanks Kourt, this is very informative.

Those were the days ! You can even spot a red baybus in this clip... almost brand new!

Link

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 6:26 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

nowadays, there's a whole bigger base of FRS or GMRS radios out there and will have about the same range as a CB and take far less room. remove the CB and put a can of potted meat in its place and it will be far more useful come Armageddon.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:38 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

CB is terrible for most things, great for picking up lot lizards.

if you are in a situation that requires being rescued, getting a Technician class amateur radio license will increase your odds if you 1. know how to use the radio 2. understand the limits of the frequencies 3. know where you are.

if you are in a deep valley with steep walls, your 2M FM radio or 4watt CB will be useless. you need something that will get out, and that is not always an easy thing to do. a 40M "ham stick" and a 50w transceiver would be the best option for a few reason...

kourt wrote:
Prolific amateur radio operator here.


when i was actively contesting, i won the division SS CW using K3LID. good times.

de WM3O
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:08 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

FYI - I am installing one in my van, specifically for use during future trips into Baja California. GMRS/FMRS radios are low-power and only good for line-of sight, approximatly 1 mile distance.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

Now I need to go look for my CB. I still have an SWF meter for adjusting antennas in my bottom tool box drawer. This thread has had me smiling all morning. My life was so simple in my late teens and early 20s. Good times.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:22 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

I'm quite disappointed with the range of my CB. I'm talking less than a mile range.

I used SWR meter to tune it. I have a 2ft fire stick on a Vangon Life MPV vent.

Looks cool Confused
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:25 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

shagginwagon83 wrote:
I'm quite disappointed with the range of my CB. I'm talking less than a mile range.

I used SWR meter to tune it. I have a 2ft fire stick on a Vangon Life MPV vent.

Looks cool Confused


Something's wrong with your setup. the logging truck in the PNW are getting 15 miles . . .
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

Quote:
I have a 2ft fire stick on a Vangon Life MPV vent.


Not sure what that is, but the CB antenna needs a good ground plane to work well. Being grounded is not enough to get a decent signal wave.

I had I believe a 1/4 wave 9 foot antenna mounted to the center of the roof on my 122 volvo. It had a really good range. It probably looked silly, but I was young.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

I'll try improving the ground. I do have the antenna grounded locally but I can do better.

Maybe the wire I ran isn't good quality. I do plan on looking into it more.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

buying one of the the cheap tuners is helpful too, to adjust the antenna tip and get that dialed in after install
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Now I need to go look for my CB. I still have an SWF meter for adjusting antennas in my bottom tool box drawer. This thread has had me smiling all morning. My life was so simple in my late teens and early 20s. Good times.


That's good to hear Very Happy Nice how some happiness and joy can come from something dark. I was motivated to ask about CBs here because the other day some US Colonel is recommending keeping 10 days supply of food/water and CB radios etc. Predicting some mayhem in the US within the next couple of months....
....yeah, the trick to happiness is a SIMPLE LIFE. Life is generally not so simple these days, isn't it?

I would love to get my CB working, however my Czech speaking is pretty bad so wouldn't be much use for chatting.... I wonder if anyone actually uses them anymore around here.

Anyway, this thread had inspired me NOT to remove and get rid of my CB. You never know when I might be useful >>> crazy times!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

You'll need the antenna connected. Turn it on with the squelch set so you just don't hear the static. Then one by one change the channel and listen for chatter.

Back in the day, it was common to pick a channel and ask "for a radio check". Seemed someone would always answer back. If not, pick the next channel and ask again.

I remember being nervous at first. I had the same problem using the radio in the airplane. My dad was a flying instructor and taught us all to fly. Working the radio was the scariest part as a teen.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

We use CB's frequently when going in the woods with others. We often find ourselves with out cell service. We use them for communication between drivers. alerting for oncoming traffic and road hazards. I have a 4' Fire stick mounted to my roof rack. I am content with the distance I use it for. They work out great when driving with multiple vehicles. We usually run them on channel 2. They are fun. Mine also gives me the NOAA weather. That is useful for chasing storms.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:57 pm    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

Yeah- copy that. I had one as a teen in my '64 Dart. That old Midland CB had good range because the magnetic mount antenna worked great in the middle of all those acres of sheet metal that was the roof. Good "ground plane" I think is the term. They are a lot of fun!
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 4:28 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

Iíll never forget my first CQ and talking to someone in Sweden, back when you had to know Morse!

Now the only ham in my life is Channakuh Hams I distribute to my neighbors who donít put upChristmas lights for some reason
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:59 am    Post subject: Re: My CB RADIO: getting it working Reply with quote

Found my Cobra 29 in a drawer in a living room. Itís circa late 70s. 23 channel manual switches and tuner. I was fairly sure I didnít toss it when we moved.
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