Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CB Radio and/or HAM?

Every four-wheeler should have a CB radio, especially for organized runs and events. A HAM radio is even better for long-range commo and emergencies.

But I get asked often about CB, so here’s the deal. Get a good one and an even BETTER antenna. Cobra is tops for circuitry and long-lasting use. Radio Shack makes a pretty good cheaper one. But if you want the best , and the one with the most gadgets, get a Cobra. $150 – $200 range. A Radio Shack (RS) simple one that will last a while and do pretty good is about $80. And the RS version is pretty gadget free (if you don’t need buttons like RF gain and built-in SWR, and mic volume.

I’ve had good luck with both. But whatever you do, get a good antenna. That is where most CB’s fall apart. Spend the money on a good one and mount it RIGHT (proper ground). Have it calibrated with a SWR meter. You will not be sorry. K40 is a great antenna, but even a good fire stick that is SWR calibrated will do the trick just fine.

If you find you can receive but not transmit; you have antenna problems. If people tell you your CB is garbled and squeaking, you have antenna problems. It’s nearly never the CB itself. Keep that in mind.

AVOID one-hander CB’s – the kind with everything in the microphone. If one thing goes bad; the whole thing is kaput. Also, in ALL my off-roading experience, I’ve never met anyone who could use a one-hander without inadvertently changing channels and losing touch with everyone in the middle of convoy ride. Get a real CB with a real microphone (that you can replace if needed). And yes, mics do go out and can easily be replaced (especially if you do Cobra or Radio Shack where they are easy to find.)

Here is some more info on my website if you’re interested.

1 comment:

  1. I love the pitch, to many are showing up at rides without a radio, A ride is 20 times more fun when everyone is talking back and forth, plus it makes keeping the ride together. I am also a avid ham operator and will tell you that for keeping in touch long range FM ham is the way to go, but seeing as a license is involved, many will not go for the process to use one.