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cb radios

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by j83soldier, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Oct 16, 2009 at 11:29 PM
    #1
    j83soldier

    j83soldier [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I am thinking about getting a CB of VHF radio for my tacoma for the purpose of being able to maintain contact with emergancy services, search and rescue ect. it the rural area of colorado. Are there designated emergancy freqs, what are the ranges on cb ve vhf and what are your suggestions. I spend alot of time in the mountains and am a few hours outta cell phone range annd my sat phone is ungodly exspensive.
     
  2. Oct 17, 2009 at 12:00 AM
    #2
    BakoTruck

    BakoTruck Well-Known Member

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    Mostly stock for now, I have added a cb radio, various cheap mods and I plan on adding aftermarket wheels and other items in the future.
    Emergency channel is channel 9, many radios that range in the $70 and up will have a quick "instant access switch" to that channel. And some will have the same kind of switch for the information channel, which is channel 19. Or you can change to emergency channel 9 without the switch and just turn to that channel.

    If you want a radio that will pick up all or most emergency channels, than you want to get a police scanner but you will not be able to talk to anyone.
    These scanners will pick up fire, police, some EMT, and so on and so fourth. They will also pick up weather channels and some cb radios will pick up Emergency Weather Alert radio channels on a quick switch too.

    I would suggest getting a nice $100-$150 or more of a cb radio in that range that will serve you very well. And I would suggest getting a long antenna or "whip" that is 5 foot or 6 foot.

    So if you have a emergency that you do not have a cell phone signal, your best bet is channel 9, but is not a guarantee. But it will be better with a long antenna and a good cb radio.

    Here is a good site for radios and information: www.rightchannelradios.com
     
  3. Oct 17, 2009 at 12:27 AM
    #3
    snowgod06

    snowgod06 UG legend wannabe

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    X2, a good cb that isnt a cheap-o is your best odds and getting a good sized, pre tuned attenna is your best option. I drive over the pass's here in oregon and on logging roads for wheeling and having a whip thats pretunned and a cb that isnt a walmart special are your best odds.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2009 at 1:04 AM
    #4
    DdayIsNear

    DdayIsNear Well-Known Member

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    you also need to get your cb "tuned"..when fyou buy a cb, it is not tuned and will not have a great a transmitting distance....are you in the denver area...i know a great bunch of wheelers out there that can provide you with answers to ANY question you may have about any yota....and going riding with them, would be great as they def know what they are doing..
     
  5. Oct 17, 2009 at 11:43 AM
    #5
    JKD

    JKD Well-Known Member

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    Shady CB "tune" shops will probably try to boost the power output to an illegal level, charge you a lot for it, and you won't see any significant gain in range.

    If you want long-range communications and you're out of cell range, you should get an amateur radio license. Then you can legally run enough power to talk to Australia from your mountainous Colorado location.
     
  6. Oct 17, 2009 at 7:40 PM
    #6
    DdayIsNear

    DdayIsNear Well-Known Member

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    i dont recommend a shady shop, but a good one will tune it to an illegal level
     
  7. Oct 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM
    #7
    kd8awe

    kd8awe Well-Known Member

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    Get your Amateur Radio ticket... Become a HAM. Talk around the world.
     
  8. Nov 21, 2009 at 7:18 AM
    #8
    gcwaterski

    gcwaterski Well-Known Member

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    What do you guys think about the handheld CB's with a place where you can plug in the wire from your mounted antenna? Are those any good if you want one for JUST emergency situations and trails?
     
  9. Nov 21, 2009 at 9:04 AM
    #9
    JKD

    JKD Well-Known Member

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    Since the legal limit for CB transmission is four watts, a quality handheld CB will likely perform as well as a permanently mounted type.

    You will want to use an SWR meter to adjust your antenna system to match your radio.
     
  10. Nov 21, 2009 at 11:14 AM
    #10
    sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    How come no one uses VHF or UHF? You don't need a license to operate them and they have much much higher range and power then a CB. Here thats all everyone uses, you being in the mountains, I would think a VHF would serve you much better. That is if anyone else has one to talk on?
     
  11. Nov 21, 2009 at 3:10 PM
    #11
    RicnDenver

    RicnDenver Stop talking and START wheeling

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    j83soldier.
    I think your getting CBs and HAM radios confused. a CB operates at different frequencies than a HAM radio.
    CB- by FCC rules can only operate at either 4 or 5 (i cant remember) watts max (legally) anything you buy here in the states, no matter what brand, will only have the 4 or 5 watts of power.
    HAM- some have 100s of watts, BUT you need a license to operate.
    a CB will not be able to make phone calls, have limited range, are inexpensive, no license needed.
    a HAM, can be expensive, has range that a cb cant come close to using repeaters, with a HAM, there are certain freq. that you can use to make a phone call.... Im not to up on HAM radios.

    With a CB, its not really the CB itself, you should get a quaility antenna, like a Firestick, Firefly or Wilson, but you must tune the antenna, the SWRs have to be set to get the best range out of a CB.

    SWRs- http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs/Setting_SWR.htm
    Yes you can have the CB itself "tuned and peaked" most CB shops will do this for about $50 it will boost the power up to about 6 watts.

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. Nov 21, 2009 at 5:12 PM
    #12
    JKD

    JKD Well-Known Member

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    There are a limited number of options for VHF and UHF. FRS is one, but it is heavily restricted and has a practical range of under a mile. GMRS is another, but it requires a license (one will cover a family, but costs $90/5yrs), and has a slightly better range and occasionally you find repeaters.

    MURS is an option, but the radios are not very common, there are only five channels, and you're limited to 2 watts.

    I'm not aware of any other VHF/UHF options for unlicensed use.
     
  13. Nov 21, 2009 at 5:37 PM
    #13
    xodeuce

    xodeuce mmmmmmbourbon.

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    I'd say find out what people out there use. If everyone is on CB, a ham radio on VHF frequencies that gets you out 50 miles won't do you a lick of good because nobody is there to listen. That said, if there are a fair number of ham operators in your area that are out wheeling, then I'd prefer that to CB any day. The technician license exam is really easy given about a week - 10 days of study. I studied at www.hamtestonline.com and passed my tech and general class exams in one sitting, and I only spent about 3 weeks studying. It's $25 for a 2 year subscription. You can get the question pool for free from a variety of websites, but I liked the online tests that reinforce the questions that I missed. CB legal output is 4w, but with a 2M ham radio transceiver you can get up to 75w output in a mobile rig. With amateur radio, you can also use repeaters that increase your range. Lots of people are scared away by the licensing exams, but I assure you it's not difficult to pass.

    Another incidental benefit is that the radios are physically smaller than most CB's and depending on model can have removable face plates. I haven't mounted my radio in the Taco yet, but in my old car I had the main unit under the passenger seat, and the faceplate in the lower din pocket under the radio. I'm planning on putting the unit behind the back seat in my DC and putting the faceplate behind the cup holders under the AC controls.

    The phone call feature is called autopatch, and can be useful in a pinch. Repeaters can have autopatch systems, and you basically press a button sequence on the radio that produces DTMF tones (like you hear on a touchtone phone). That unlocks the autopatch and you can dial out. With cellphones' ubiquity these days though, there aren't as many autopatches as there used to be. At least according to some of the other hams around here. I've only had my ticket since March '09.

    To the "can be expensive" part, buy a used rig and it won't set you back too much. Check the for sale forum at www.qrz.com. Something like this would be a good first radio: http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZKW-TM-271A

    I go back to the first statement though. Find out what people are using in your area. You can have the biggest baddest rig out there, but if you can't talk to anyone it's functionally a paperweight.
     
  14. Nov 21, 2009 at 6:12 PM
    #14
    mountainwolfpup

    mountainwolfpup Ford Guy (Formerly known as a Toyota Guy)

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    OK, a legal CB radio has a 4-6 watt transmitter. That means in clear open flat terrain you can hit maybe 9 miles. Since CB is basically almost line of sight it is adversely affected by varied terrain.

    So, what is commonly done (THIS IS ILLEGAL) is to boost the transmission power with an amplifier. A 100watt amp will send the signal about 70 miles.

    Also, as others have pointed out you need a long antenna. Mounted as high on the vehicle as possible to ins=crease range.

    Beyond that CBs are pretty much the same. It helps to have multiple controls for controlling gain, squelch, etc..

    Most search and rescue organizations and 4x4 clubs require members to have a CB. And also as pointed out channel 9 is the emergency channel. Also try 19 if near a main roadway as that is the "truckers channel".

    As for VHF. That is for marine use. I have never heard of a radio that did both CB band and VHF. So, you'd need two radios most likely. I wouldn't think the VHF would be useful unless you were along a lakeshore or something?
     
  15. Nov 21, 2009 at 6:17 PM
    #15
    NoWayOut

    NoWayOut Well-Known Member

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    I recently picked this http://www.midlandradio.com/CB-Radio.WYQ/75-822 handheld up with a Wilson Antenna and love it. I got it for the exact same reasons you listed.

    You can get the handheld for $70 and the antenna that I got was $36.
     
  16. Nov 21, 2009 at 6:43 PM
    #16
    mookie

    mookie Member

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    :) VHF isn't only marine. It covers the 30mhz to 300 mhz band. Ham Radio, aviation, FM radio, tv broadcast, emergency, etc, etc, and other communication is in the VHF band. :D
     
  17. Nov 21, 2009 at 6:47 PM
    #17
    MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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    a few of my buddies and myself are running modded 2meter amateur radios..they are modded to receive and transmit on the MURS frequency band which is license free..modding the radios is against FCC rules. we're able to transmit and receive 50-60 plus miles no problem just on the MURS frequencies alone..you'll be lucky to push past 3-4 miles with a CB!

    and, if we needed to, we can jump on a repeater or simplex frequency in the amateur band and call for help in emergency conditions..no license is needed for emergency transmissions..plus with our radios..if say a local PD or FD frequency falls with in the receive range on the radio we can program that frequency in the radio and monitor it as if it's a scanner ;)

    these radios are fairly cheap giving the range, features, and benefits thats offered...125 bucks for the radio, and depending on the antenna option the price can be anywhere from 20-50 bucks
     
  18. Nov 21, 2009 at 7:42 PM
    #18
    yhiki

    yhiki Active Member

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    There is one other illegal action in that statment that you may not be aware of. In most stats it is illegal to have a radio capible of PD or FD frequencies. If you get a HAM licence, you will be exempt form this role.
     
  19. Nov 21, 2009 at 7:51 PM
    #19
    MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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    did not know that, thanks for the info. i shall look that up...

    so, even tho i ahem, cough cough may have a PD or FD frequency programmed into my radio..even tho i cannot transmit to them, but can receive only..that's still illegal? prolly is cuz it's still an actual radio, not a scanner..i think i just answered my own question lol hahaha
     
  20. Nov 21, 2009 at 8:13 PM
    #20
    JKD

    JKD Well-Known Member

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    For people who don't know this, you can study for and take the basic amateur radio test for about seven to nine dollars. It's good for ten years.

    The test is really not hard. The average person could probably study for a couple of hours a week for a month and have a good chance of passing on the first try.

    It is so cheap and easy to get a license--why bother operating illegally?
     
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