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CB/HAM communications

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by 2015whitetaco, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. Dec 9, 2015 at 5:03 PM
    #1
    2015whitetaco

    2015whitetaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2015whitetacos-overlanding-bs-build.462921/#post-13774791
    So I know nothing about radios. I want a radio in my truck Im leaning toward a CB because the majority of the guys Ive gone with have CBs. Now I want to know the pros and cons of both. I would like to also know basically any information on this topic. Please discuss!
     
    nova423 likes this.
  2. Dec 9, 2015 at 5:29 PM
    #2
    2015whitetaco

    2015whitetaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2015whitetacos-overlanding-bs-build.462921/#post-13774791
    Also hand held vs mounted pros cons
     
  3. Dec 9, 2015 at 5:39 PM
    #3
    Doc.SS

    Doc.SS ︻╦╤─

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    I have a handheld race radio. It has an ear piece too. I like that I can get out of the truck and still communicate if I need to.
     
  4. Dec 9, 2015 at 5:59 PM
    #4
    2015whitetaco

    2015whitetaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2015whitetacos-overlanding-bs-build.462921/#post-13774791
    Like I said I know nothing about radios so how does the race radio work because I want to be able to connect to the guys with CBs or HAMs
     
  5. Dec 9, 2015 at 8:56 PM
    #5
    Doc.SS

    Doc.SS ︻╦╤─

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  6. Dec 9, 2015 at 8:58 PM
    #6
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 Not A Well-Known Member

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    interested as well also
     
  7. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:06 PM
    #7
    Doc.SS

    Doc.SS ︻╦╤─

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    Hopefully someone else will chime in. I bought these on suggestions from other members local to me. I am far from the expert.
    I do know that race radios can run $1500+, so my $30 purchase was a deal.
     
    2015whitetaco [OP] likes this.
  8. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:06 PM
    #8
    2015whitetaco

    2015whitetaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2015whitetacos-overlanding-bs-build.462921/#post-13774791
    @Doc.SS how do you like the set up you have
     
  9. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:07 PM
    #9
    SixthSnail

    SixthSnail I have no idea what I'm doing

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    Just ordered all my pets for my CB setup.

    BAMF tail light antenna mount, uniden radio, 18 feet of coax and an antenna and spring
     
  10. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:08 PM
    #10
    TacoDan723

    TacoDan723 Well-Known Member

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    Funny, I was just researching HAM radios yesterday. I know you need a license to operate one. Looking into it.
     
  11. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:11 PM
    #11
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 Not A Well-Known Member

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    @Lars is a HAM operator. Maybe he can chime in
     
  12. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:20 PM
    #12
    iK0NiK

    iK0NiK Insert custom title here.

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    I've never heard of the term "race radio" but that Baofeng is actually a ham radio that requires a license to transmit on. Those things can actually get you into a lot of trouble, because there is no limit on which frequencies you can/cannot transmit on. If that radio is capable of receiving a frequency, it can also transmit on it... Which can cause malicious interference with law enforcement, public services, amateur radio etc. They can transmit on the FRS/GMRS frequencies but are not licensed devices to do so. Basically if you're using that radio without a ham license, the FCC could bust you up real quick, however, the likelihood of that happening is very small unless your're jamming allocated frequencies.

    In order to use any ham equipment you need at least a technician class license. Really easy to get with a fairly simple test. CB will actually be more logical for most off-roading applications because you don't need a license to use them, they're cheap and readily available, and have a decent transmit range.

    Getting into ham radio takes you down a wormhole just as deep as getting into truck modifications, but it can be an invaluable asset to have in an emergency situation. I've been a ham for about 10 years now so if you need any help getting pointed in the right direction I would be happy to assist.
     
    2015whitetaco [OP] likes this.
  13. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:22 PM
    #13
    2015whitetaco

    2015whitetaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2015whitetacos-overlanding-bs-build.462921/#post-13774791
    @iK0NiK do you have a set up and if so what set up do you use?
     
  14. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:22 PM
    #14
    Chipskip

    Chipskip N7MCS

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    Seeing you asked for some pros and cons, lets see if I can help.
    FYI- there are tons of threads on this topic on TW.

    Like someone already said, it's best to run what everyone else you run with. But that doesn't mean you can't start with one and upgrade to the other.

    CB
    Pro-
    Don't require a license
    You can get one of the best units for cheap (everything is relative).

    Cons-
    Not regulated, so anyone can get on and do what every they want
    Power limitations (think range)(4watts handheld or mobile)
    Channel limits
    Limited only to those in immediate range

    Ham
    Pro-
    So many options for so many aspects of it. (GPS tracking sent to the internet, with the right equipment)
    Licensed, so you limit who is on and have avenues to go after a malaise station
    Repeaters, giving you greater range (In some cases across states; There is an Arizona to Idaho link)
    Power (Handhelds do 5 watts and mobile does up to 50w)
    If you can get a repeater and it supports it, you can make local phone calls (great when you are out of cell range, saved my butt last week)

    Cons-
    Requires a license (Tech is all most ever need, takes about 14 hrs worth of study and $35 fee to take the test)
    Cost, ham is usually a little more expensive, but you can get in to it for cheap and upgrade as you use it more.
    Not everyone is a ham, but you can turn them away from the dark side (CB)

    Handhelds
    Pros-
    Portability
    cheap(er)
    Can be connected to a vehicle mounted antenna for better ground plane and range
    Can be connected to 12v for extended usage

    Cons-
    Power limitations (5w in ham)
    small antenna
    Battery power limits time of use.

    Mobile (vehicle mounted)
    Cons-
    not portable
    costs more

    Pros-
    Vehicle power gives you max power
    More antenna options and better ground plane
    You don't have to go looking for all the parts overtime you want to use it


    Some people will say you can use a power amp on CB to give you greater range. Yes, you physically can, however it is illegal to exceed 4w power on a CB (Unless you are using SSB, which is a hole different ballgame). No one is going to really know unless you are operating near an FCC facility (there are only a couple in the US) or you are interfering with some major communications system (very unlikely and wouldn't happen on the trails). But it's important to know if you are breaking the rules or not (Some things and sometimes it is worth it).

    I hope this helps. As you said, most people around you run CB, so if I were you, get a vehicle mounted CB setup. Then get your ham license and get a cheap HT (aka handheld). Then you are in both worlds and can build on the ham, maybe get some people to get licenses as they see what it can really do.
     
  15. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:29 PM
    #15
    2015whitetaco

    2015whitetaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/2015whitetacos-overlanding-bs-build.462921/#post-13774791
    @Chipskip Very helpful I've been leaning to getting a vehicle mounted CB and that post makes me a whole lot more in favor of it
    what set up do you run (if you do)
     
  16. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:30 PM
    #16
    iK0NiK

    iK0NiK Insert custom title here.

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    I actually use the same Baofeng radio @Doc.SS linked, but I have a license to operate it. Honestly it's a you get what you pay for type radio. Difficult to program and doesn't do anything fancy but it'll get you on the air with other hams without breaking the bank. If there's a repeater nearby, your talk range is just as far as the repeaters (may be 5 miles, may be 75 miles). Radio to radio or "simplex" range inst going to be much better than 5 miles or so.

    Honestly the best set up if you're intending to operate in a mobile setting for any period of time, you'd want a mobile amateur radio with an antenna mounted externally on your vehicle. A basic setup would likely run around $250 for bare necessities. I don't operate mobile much, I do most of my transmitting from a base station so I've never really took the time to invest in a proper mobile setup.

    But like I said if you're just wanting a rig to talk to other people on the road or trail, CB will be the way to go and will also be cheaper.
     
  17. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:30 PM
    #17
    Chipskip

    Chipskip N7MCS

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    Race Radios run on FM (same as ham). Race teams pay (or they should) for a team license, this allows them to talk without using a call sign every 10 mins or each member being required to have a call. I am not judging, but I have seen a lot of people pick them up recently and use them without that team license. Chances of getting caught.... one percent.... but you are still breaking the rules. If you happen to stumble across a volunteer monitor (ham is self regulated) than they could forward a complaint to the FCC. Which could get you fined. It's important to know what you are getting into and what you are using.

    I have FRS/GRMS freqs programmed into my ham radios, and if someone is on the trail with us that only has one, I will talk to them. I am a rule breaker, but I do it on the lowest possible power setting to limit my exposure. I am also prepared to pay a fine if it ever happens... I doubt it ever will.

    FYI- If a life or death situation, anyone is allowed to transmit on any radio/frequency to get help.

    Those cheap Chinese radios are cool to get people into ham. But as someone said, its easy to get into trouble with them if you don't know what you are doing. Earlier this year, two kids made national headlines because they were transmitting on a police band and didn't even know it. They just thought they were high tech walkie-talkies.
     
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  18. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:35 PM
    #18
    Chipskip

    Chipskip N7MCS

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    Glad I could help.

    I want to get a Cobra 75 for CB, just to have it when I run with none hams.

    For ham, I have a Yaesu FT-8800R dual band mobile radio. I can listen to two different freqs at the same time. That one is now on a BAMF tailgate antenna mount. I also have a CBI hood antenna mount with a Kenwood TH-d72a handheld radio connected for APRS. APRS sends your GPS location out: to others with the right radio monitoring that freq and to the internet (if in range of a station that supports that). My wife can see were I am on the trails or can can put a small tracker on my dog and if she gets away from me out int the dessert I know were to start looking.

    I have some pics of my original configuration in my build thread.

    Check out 4x4ham.com, there might be a group running in your area. Good guys and tons of people willing to help. We call a mentor an Elmer in ham. They are mainly in AZ, but I know there are a few chapters in other states.
     
  19. Dec 9, 2015 at 9:46 PM
    #19
    MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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    Here in the Southern California area I would say that about 95% of the off roading community all have "Race Radios" or HAM radios. I haven't used my CB radio in well over 4 years while on the trail. Nobody uses CB's anymore due to the horrible transmit/receive that they produce. If you live in a region that still relies more on CB radio rather than the HAM or Race Radios then there isn't a real need for you to get one unfortunately. But I would still insist that you look into HAM radio as a hobby.

    Check out this cool thread, so much info that it will make your head spin ....
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/amateur-ham-radio-bs-and-callsign-thread.260643/
     
    2015whitetaco [OP] and Chipskip like this.
  20. Dec 10, 2015 at 6:14 AM
    #20
    Doc.SS

    Doc.SS ︻╦╤─

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    @2015whitetaco I really like what I have. I haven't used the CB often.
     

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