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Looking for a CB radio

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KE5TOY, Nov 12, 2012.

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  1. N5TEN

    N5TEN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back in the 80's I kept a CB on in my truck listening to trucker traffic while commuting up I-5 for work. One night I heard them talking about a wrong-way driver going south on the northbound side of the interstate. I pulled off the freeway and sure enough, there was a drunk driver, seconds later, going 100 mph right where I was before pulling off. The drunk screeched to a stop, got out and relieved himself on the highway in the middle lane. Those truckers and that CB probably saved my life. There is nothing wrong with keeping a CB in your mobile for keeping tabs on traffic. I currently don't have one in my truck, but if I had the room, I'd put one in there in a second. 73
  2. KD0BLS

    KD0BLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Justice, I would pay exactly ZERO attention to WD3D, for he seems to live for the idea of trying to humiliate his fellow HAMS. There's nothing wrong with having a CB radio in the vehicle...On our trip to Yellowstone 3 years ago, wife and I had a minor breakdown on the highway in a remote part of Wyoming some miles outside of Cheyenne. I couldn't raise anyone on my 2 meter Icom 70 watt transciever, but luckily we got ahold of a truck driver on our trusty little Cobra 19....He assisted me in repairing a radiator hose and followed me into Cheyenne to make sure we made it ok.....they are a must have in the vehicle, especially if you are traveling any distance...there are still multitudes of helpful, good folks who monitor the CB frequencies..If I thought the way WD3D thinks, I would still be by the side of the road in rural Wyoming...73.....KD0BLS
  3. KD0PEZ

    KD0PEZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    KE5TOY, I know I'm late to the party and I don't know if you ever received your answer, but since I have experience with CB's , and since radio is radio afterall (not to mention 11 meters/CB is a former amamteur band anyways, I feel compelled to answer.

    You asked "what's the most Ham like CB radio out there" followed by "looking for something fairly compact as there isn't a tonne of extra room in my truck".

    Well, truth be told, there really isn't any such thing: most CB's are chrome faced and channelized, something that ham radios are not.

    However, if I had to pick one radio that was remotely close to a ham radio and a CB radio, and was somewhat compact, the one that comes to my mind, is the Magnum 257HP.

    So why the 257HP? Well, for one it looks just like a Radioshack HTX-10. It's a 10 meter radio but it can work on 11 meters if you convert it. (not recommended) It has a charcoal face and black knobs. It has a digital frequency read out. It can do AM, FM, USB and LSB. However it can also read the CB channel numbers if you tell it to. The radio is smaller than a Cobra 29. Yes it is illegal to use on 11 meters, we all know that. 10 M shouldn't be a problem although I am aware the FCC tries to prevent folks from buying them even for 10 M use because they're easily modifiable.

    Someone also mentioned the RCI 2950. I don't have any expereience with one of those but I have read they can work on 11 meters, plus they'll do 10 and 12 meters. I know they'll do USB and LSB....I think they'll even do CW. (not real sure) But I think the 2950 is a little bigger than the 257HP...maybe closer to the Cobra 29. I have read the 2950 is very stable on SSB but kinda dull on AM...the 257HP is great on either.

    Now, I noticed you asked about SSB on CB radios...yes there's still some activity on SSB CB...mostly radio hobbyists...which include (surprise) some ham operators. You won't find many, if any truck drivers on SSB. And I know you're wanting to stay on the compact side of radios....the most compact legal FCC certified CB radio with SSB that I know of is the Uniden PC 122. They don't make these gems anymore, but I see them on eBay often, usually around $70 for a used one.

    Now, if you are really wanting to get compact, and don't mind losing a little bit of noise filtering on the receive side (you'll still have a noise blanker) then look into a Uniden Pro 510: you can get these things for next to nothing (I sold 2 of them on eBay a few weeks back, one was brand spanking new in the box, for $15 each) These are good little starter radios and they don't eat up much room either. They're full 40 channels but w/o any SSB.

    Someone mentioned that Cobras and Unidens are good radios....for the most part that is true on the Unidens: at one time (over 20 years ago) all Cobra radios had Uniden boards in them, then so the story goes, when Uniden decided to up their prices, Cobra started having Maxon build all their boards and have been ever since. The Maxon boards don't hold a candle to the Uniden boards. So figure any Cobra built after about 1992 are not as sturdy as the earlier Cobras or the later Unidens.

    And yes I concur there's nothing wrong with having a CB in your truck. Yes there's sometimes garbage on the CB. Yes CB's are still susceptible to electrical interference. (you'd think 50 years later they would have found a cure for this) But yes they can be a big help on the interstates keeping up with traffic. I know I have found out where the traffic jams are, where the speed traps are, etc. long in advance and could prepare myself and save myself time while traveling. You just have to weed out the good from the bad.

    Anyways I know I got a bit long winded but hopefully this helps you in making a decision. Let me know if you have any other questions.
  4. KG6UTS

    KG6UTS Ham Member QRZ Page


    I have a Cobra 25 Classic because it was cheap, $5, at a swapmeet. Its used to monitor off desert roaders. Several of the off road clubs require their members to have a CB radio when joining club activities. Our area of the desert does have great linked repeater coverage but not all drivers are Hams.The Cobra line seems decent.

    EdZ KG6UTS
  5. KD5TXX

    KD5TXX Ham Member QRZ Page

    First thing an Ohio State fan ever said that I find I almost agree with 100%. I like mobile HF still.
  6. K7SWS

    K7SWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well I'll put my 2 cents in...I own a bunch of CB's over the years...Uniden's seem to hold up the best...I've had the current one in my truck for 6 years and 600,000 miles.
    I don't use it a lot but it's handy when the weather is bad or I'm running with a co-worker.
    I have an Icom V8000 in the truck also......Hardy ever hear a peep on 146.52 or for that matter any of the repeaters I have programed .:cool:
  7. KB2NHW

    KB2NHW Ham Member QRZ Page

    You wont find truckers on SSB. The real cheap CB radios have no audio. You cant use a stock cb with the stock mic because theyre that bad, and youll find you have to turn the audio up inside, which is illegal but its needed because most cb radios with their stock mics only produce about 40% modulation which is totally unreasonable and useless. I dont know why the FCC restricted CBs to the point of being totally useless and wasted an entire band.
    If youre using it for beach riding, then get a Cobra 25 classic. The Cobra 29 is over kill for just an Am only radio if you just want a beach radio.
    Youll need an RF Gain control for overload, and the Cobra 25 has just enough features and a good receive and noise blanker. Just have the audio turned up and leave the rest stock, and if youre using the stock mic, you wont be an FCC magnet. The newer China made Cobras are not like the older Cobras, but for your use it will work fine.
    SSB is only used on channels 36-40 LSB. They used to also use ch 16 and 18 when the 23 ch radios were all they had, but no CBers remember using 16 and 18 for SSB any more.
    SSB is for local CBers to act like hams and also to call for DX.

    Most Hams know absolutely nothing about CB radio unless they were CBers before.
    They usually suggest Larsen antennas to CBers over 80% of the time , and for Cb work theyre junk.

    For the beach you wont need much distance, and there is no sense in spending Larsen prices, and theyre not tough enough for the beach.

    Get something by Wilson or FireStick.

    If you want an upgraded mic, look at the Astatic 636L for a good unamplified mic.
    The amplified mics available arent as good as they used to be and may pick up too much back round noise for beaching, and after turning up the audio in the rig you shouldnt need it for your use.

    As far as modding a ham rig for CB wont need the ham features for ch 19 trucking or for beaching. Most CB radios receive better than ham radios for AM CB use. Their noise blankers are better because they actually work, and they dont try to "blank out" the person youre trying to hear when theyre at close range. Any ham that tells you otherwise is just being stuck up and egotistical.

    The closest CBs to a ham type radio are the Magnum 257 , RCI 2950/2980 , and the old classic President HR 2510. There are a bunch of others, but unless you want to be a CBer, theyre not for your use.
    If you do want to be a CBer and the radio isnt only for beach and trucker use, then my recommendations may change and youll end up going illegal.

    The old stand by radios known as some of the best ever made for the mobile has always been the Cobra 29, Cobra 148gtl, and Uniden Grant XL, basically.

    Uniden 68 is also good. Same league really.

    Do not buy the Midland 1001z. I bought one because it was cheap at a truck stop and i thought it would be good for the long trip i was on, and the audio was so low that it was totally useless, and there was no way to turn it up at all.
  8. WA8LGM

    WA8LGM Ham Member QRZ Page

    OH COME OFF IT ALREADY!! The guy was looking for advice on getting a CB radio. He did not ask for the moral vituperation that he got from some of the hams on this topic.
    I thought the Ham radio operation cops were bad. I hate to tell you guys this, but some of the RADIO HAMS on board here came from the ranks of the CB band in the past.
    Are some of you still p****d off that the 11 meter band was a former UNDER-USED ham band?
    Well, get over it. Because that was a long time ago in a different world than this one.
    There are a lot of good CB radios out there. Probably the best of the lot is made with the Cobra badge on them, IMHO.
    He**, Even Motorola made a line of them years ago.
    So get off it.
  9. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I own at least a half dozen CB radios. For legal operation, a plain old Uniden is excellent. I wouldn't say they look like a ham radio, but they don't look like carnival toys either and they work. Also, you can get them anywhere so if there is a warranty issue there shouldn't be a problem.

    As for being dumbed down, I look at a CB radio like a utility. I don't have them for the same reason I have ham radios. Well, except that I have all sorts of radios...anyway, the need for supreme performance is not part of what I personally use CBs for. Mostly for driving on freeways. So, the fewer the number of things to control, the better.

    If patient, CBs can be had at yard sales on the cheap.

    I haven't used one in over ten years. About 12 years ago I had a 45 minute freeway drive each way to work. Having the CB kept me entertained. Once I talked to a trucker that had a ham license. He told me that companies would install CB radios in trucks but not allow personal (ham) radios, so some of the truckers I was hearing may have been hams.

    I have been meaning to turn on a CB again just to see what's going on. I'll bet cell phones pretty much cleared up the CB channels. CBs used to be popular with farmers (tractor to house), but along with FRS radios, cell phones are cutting into that user area, too.
  10. N8WWM

    N8WWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd like to see where such a radio is approved by the FCC for CB use. If it does more than 4 watts AM or 12 SSB, it aint legal. I see these Galaxy rigs come with FM mode and a bandswitch...if the switch can take it outside the legal 40 channels, if the radio has FM, if it can be easily modified for 11 meters, it aint legal in the USA, period.

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