The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => The HAM Radio Board => Topic started by: kid_couteau on January 03, 2018, 10:11:43 AM

Title: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: kid_couteau on January 03, 2018, 10:11:43 AM
Hi All

I was thinking of getting a CB rig to add to my comms just so I would have the added ability.

But CB is only allowed 4 watts? 12 watts for unmodulated so I am assuming SSB.

Ok now I dont want trouble but why would anyone do CB with HAM available? Ok so you have to take a test. Big deal the tech is not that hard if you know anything about electronics and you get so much more power for distance.

Side note: for you CB guys what do you like for a rig?

Thanks all
Kid Couteau
BTW the Kid thing is just a nic-name. Im actually 48 yrs old  ;D
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 03, 2018, 10:42:57 AM
Hi All

I was thinking of getting a CB rig to add to my comms just so I would have the added ability.

But CB is only allowed 4 watts? 12 watts for unmodulated so I am assuming SSB.

Ok now I dont want trouble but why would anyone do CB with HAM available? Ok so you have to take a test. Big deal the tech is not that hard if you know anything about electronics and you get so much more power for distance.

Side note: for you CB guys what do you like for a rig?

Thanks all
Kid Couteau
BTW the Kid thing is just a nic-name. Im actually 48 yrs old  ;D

If you already have an all band/mode HF amateur transceiver, you can likely receive the CB band(s), including SSB.  Likewise many traditional analog police scanners can receive CB.  I'm talking the < $50 kind.

For me, I have multiple ways to monitor CB should I ever care to.  There theoretically could be some intelligence value there, but I think there's a better chance of me being heard using one of the amateur bands. I suppose if your region has an active CB user community that could change things..
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Carl on January 03, 2018, 10:53:02 AM
  CB has many users as it is lower cost local communications and POWER adds little to Ham radio (about 2 "S" units on receive) .
I only trust a few that I know on CB band but it is a usable band for car to car 10-20 miles and car to home 25 miles and more ,depending on home antenna design and height. New mobile radios are available for less that $40 and the power level adds very little though SSB will double the rangs and maybe more for $150 or so each radio.

CB can have great usefulness and while many Ham's say nasty things about CB...most started with CB radio and many,like me, still find CB useful as a local intercom with friends who are unlicensed .
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: SCWolverine on January 03, 2018, 11:53:05 AM
CB = 1 of the Best Tools in Tool Box Most Hams Never Admit to Owning.

I'm a SSB fan. I'm also a Galaxy 959 Fan...have one on the shelf in the box ready to go if needed.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: DonC on January 03, 2018, 12:54:28 PM
Simply echoing everyone, I have a few CB rigs as well. Obviously, location plays into that. As here in SW Oklahoma, regular mobile rigs under $50 are used for local 4x4 clubs. Most truckers use some sort of SSB rig.

I grew up in an area and an era where CB was widely and heavily used. I've had the same handle since I was 3yrs old. I used to climb up on my Dad's lap and talk on his radio and drink his coffee. He didn't use anything but an old SBE Sidebander II and a really good antenna at about 50ft. But he talked to people from all over, (that could hear him and vis versa).

I maintain a few setups just in case. I see no disadvantage to maintaining one.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: kid_couteau on January 03, 2018, 01:53:42 PM
What are the rules for CB antennas? Like can you make your own dipole so you can really tune it in?
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Cedar on January 03, 2018, 02:06:38 PM
I use both. The CB let's me know if I need to hug the edge on the logging roads I often travel. Before I had one, I have been run off the road twice by loggers. One was nice and pulled me out with a chain. They run on CB, and it is usually posted what channel they are running on at the start of the road. I have not heard them here in the states, but where I was in Canada, I would call out "fourteen hundred road mile 8 empty pickup" if I was heading away from town into the bush on the 1400 road 8 miles in, as then the big trucks would be aware I was out there as well. Saying "fourteen hundred road full pickup" meant you were headed ng back towards town

CBs are cheap to get, and well worth the price if not getting run over by 80,000 pounds or pushed off the road.

Cedar
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Carl on January 03, 2018, 02:12:35 PM
What are the rules for CB antennas? Like can you make your own dipole so you can really tune it in?

As I recall:

Radio must be crystal controlled frequency and only 40 channels with upper and lower sideband (if SSB radio)
Antenna can be 20 feet above nearby obstruction (buildings ,trees etc.
Build your own...you bet!!  ( I would opt for an inverted "V" as it can have both vertical and horizontal polarization so talk to mobiles and talkies is more effective  because wrong polarity can cost 20 to 28 DB (3 to 5 "S" units)
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: kid_couteau on January 03, 2018, 02:19:15 PM
I got a feeling my wife is not going to be impressed with the back yard come summer.

I dont suppose they make a super double pit bull Zepp that can tune in CB as well as HAM HF?
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 03, 2018, 02:24:20 PM
I use both. The CB let's me know if I need to hug the edge on the logging roads I often travel. Before I had one, I have been run off the road twice by loggers. One was nice and pulled me out with a chain. They run on CB, and it is usually posted what channel they are running on at the start of the road. I have not heard them here in the states, but where I was in Canada, I would call out "fourteen hundred road mile 8 empty pickup" if I was heading away from town into the bush on the 1400 road 8 miles in, as then the big trucks would be aware I was out there as well. Saying "fourteen hundred road full pickup" meant you were headed ng back towards town

CBs are cheap to get, and well worth the price if not getting run over by 80,000 pounds or pushed off the road.

Cedar

In Canada they'd use "miles" as a distance unit?

Your use case reminds me of Marine VHF channel 16.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Carl on January 03, 2018, 02:26:01 PM
  I just use my 10 meter antenna or my ANTRON 99 Vertical...Plenty of antenna plans for 'do it yourself' CB antennas that perform well.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Cedar on January 03, 2018, 02:38:28 PM
In Canada they'd use "miles" as a distance unit

Actually they do on the bush roads.. at least up where I was. Highways were kilometers.

Cedar
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Alan Georges on January 03, 2018, 05:54:46 PM
I'm a fan of CB, even though I hardly use it anymore.  Carl puts it best right here:
... many,like me, still find CB useful as a local intercom with friends who are unlicensed .
This is very useful to have in a disaster situation, like a hurricane.  You asked about gear, there are lots of $40 AM-only CBs that'll do fine.  I've got a couple of Cobra 128's, no longer made, for doing SSB also.  Some of my favorites though are Midland's 75-785 walkie-talkies.  They're still around $35 on Amazon and run on AA batteries.  They come with a crappy but functional rubber ducky antenna, but that's on a BNC connector.  Take it off and put it on a base antenna and it performs like any other CB.  Anyway, with just the rubber ducky antenna, my base antenna can reach them across town, making 75-785's great to hand to friends in need.

...Plenty of antenna plans for 'do it yourself' CB antennas that perform well.
Here's one: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=46816.0 (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=46816.0)  :)
It works well if you have a handy tree to hang it from.  The A99 antenna Carl mentioned works great for CB -- it's plug-and-play -- but it'll tune ham bands from 17 to 6 meters too.

CB = 1 of the Best Tools in Tool Box Most Hams Never Admit to Owning.
Yes, this, exactly.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: machinisttx on January 03, 2018, 08:47:38 PM
I've acquired a few CB rigs, mostly because:

A: they're cheap
B: most 4x4/offroad clubs require or recommend them for events...very few will have VHF/UHF
C: every 18 wheeler on the road has one and it's probably only turned off when they're sleeping

I see quite a few vehicles on the road with CB antennas..and very few with anything that resembles a VHF/UHF antenna. My cell phone doesn't work everywhere, and it's also voice/text only(no data). If I need to get in touch with someone, there's no guarantee my cell phone or my expensive VHF/UHF rig are going to do it, so the $100 or so for a used CB + antenna is a small investment for more options. If if it never gets used for anything else, listening on a road trip could save you getting stuck in a traffic jam or help avoid junk in the road.

Here's a question: How many hams actually monitor the VHF or UHF calling frequencies? I will confess that I rarely ever set the VFO to 146.52, and I don't think I've ever checked on the 70cm frequency.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 03, 2018, 09:34:47 PM
On road trips I'm pretty good about monitoring 146.520
For one thing my local repeaters are out of range.  I've made a handful of interesting QSOs this way, including one from an airborne plane.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Alan Georges on January 03, 2018, 10:05:17 PM
C: every 18 wheeler on the road has one and it's probably only turned off when they're sleeping

... If if it never gets used for anything else, listening on a road trip could save you getting stuck in a traffic jam or help avoid junk in the road.

Ooh, ooh, one more: I throw that Midland 75-785 handheld in the car when going on a road trip.  With that crappy duck antenna it doesn't get far, but when traffic backs up (usually at the Mobile I-10 tunnel...  >:() I can pull it out and hear what the truckers are saying.

And no, I'm not too good about monitoring 146.52 either.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Soladaddy on January 05, 2018, 09:12:30 AM
I look at "what radio service to use" type questions with the question of; who do you want to talk to? I toss in a 30 year old Cobra 19 CB for long road trips as there is good traffic info especially in the boonies. Sometimes the trucker chatter is entertaining. CB is more active on the road than 2 meters, but I still monitor 520 most of the time. The Cobra 19 is still in truck 6 months after the last road trip. Thinking about replacing it with a Cobra 29. Then again I'm toying with the idea of a GMRS setup for family mobile use. Can see a mobile antenna farm in the future.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Cedar on January 05, 2018, 12:12:47 PM
Sometimes the trucker chatter is entertaining.


Lol... No.kidding. at 2am, as a woman, just say a single word, any word, and then hear all the banter to try to get you to speak again. They often get creative...

But yeah, traffic and road conditions reports are good. I don't often drive at night, it's better for everyone that way, but road conditions at any time are good.

Cedar
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 05, 2018, 01:29:56 PM
For normal circumstances, this is a great app for traffic and road conditions:

https://www.waze.com/

Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: mootz on January 05, 2018, 08:40:02 PM
Cedar- now that's funny... but has to be true. I'd like to hear that banter.... (laughing)
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: machinisttx on January 06, 2018, 06:55:41 PM
For normal circumstances, this is a great app for traffic and road conditions:

https://www.waze.com/

Data required? Can't find that info on the google play store. Now that I've thought about it...I know quite a few people who don't have data service on their cell phones.

CH19 would have been handy tonight... Highway was shut down, all traffic diverted to the access road...which was then shut down to one lane so the wrecker could get to the ONE car. No cars on the highway, wrecked car was beside the access road, good 100 feet from the highway. No way to get to the car from the highway. Miles of traffic backed up for no reason.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Alan Georges on January 07, 2018, 08:00:54 AM
For normal circumstances, this is a great app for traffic and road conditions:

https://www.waze.com/

Yes, emphasis on the "normal."  I use a couple of mapping & traffic apps on my iPhone and they're great.  And now you can hear the "but" coming... wait for it...

When traffic's backed up for miles on an outback stretch of I-10 between Mobile and Pensacola, forget data, the cell net is slammed.  At least, it's impossible to load up a map.  Texts seem to get through OK, but that's orders of magnitude less data.  Maybe the situation will improve with time and more infrastructure.  In the meantime, Ch 19 is the best and surest source of information.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 08, 2018, 08:26:22 AM
Data required? Can't find that info on the google play store. Now that I've thought about it...I know quite a few people who don't have data service on their cell phones.

I take a fairly hardline on technology neophytes.  It's anyone's choice to use or not use any device or service, but don't ask for sympathy.  Having a smart phone with a data plan is like the library of congress in your pocket.  I'm not suggesting we bet our lives on it, but it's a tremendous resource to have available.

I'm a board member at a regional gun range, and a large amount of the members are 70+ years old, many refuse to use email, pay dues in cash, etc.  Why we allow them to continue their quaint ways, the rest of us can make online range reservations, sign up for training or competition events from smart phones.  The oldsters grumble, but us youngsters (I'm 41) are living better because of technology.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Carl on January 08, 2018, 09:09:24 AM
  Whipper Snappers!
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: kid_couteau on January 08, 2018, 09:56:32 AM
48 years old here  ;D
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Soladaddy on January 11, 2018, 01:28:37 PM
I take a fairly hardline on technology neophytes.  It's anyone's choice to use or not use any device or service, but don't ask for sympathy.  Having a smart phone with a data plan is like the library of congress in your pocket.  I'm not suggesting we bet our lives on it, but it's a tremendous resource to have available.

I'm a board member at a regional gun range, and a large amount of the members are 70+ years old, many refuse to use email, pay dues in cash, etc.  Why we allow them to continue their quaint ways, the rest of us can make online range reservations, sign up for training or competition events from smart phones.  The oldsters grumble, but us youngsters (I'm 41) are living better because of technology.

My Dad made it to 80 last year and he was quite content to have avoided the internet; no computer, tablet, smart phone or email address. He did have a burner phone for travel after my sister insisted and set it up for him. When he wanted to make a call, he would pull it out of the glove box, turn it on, make the call, hang up, turn if off and put it back in the glove box. It was a portable pay phone.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: machinisttx on January 13, 2018, 06:21:30 PM
I take a fairly hardline on technology neophytes.  It's anyone's choice to use or not use any device or service, but don't ask for sympathy.  Having a smart phone with a data plan is like the library of congress in your pocket.  I'm not suggesting we bet our lives on it, but it's a tremendous resource to have available.

I'm a board member at a regional gun range, and a large amount of the members are 70+ years old, many refuse to use email, pay dues in cash, etc.  Why we allow them to continue their quaint ways, the rest of us can make online range reservations, sign up for training or competition events from smart phones.  The oldsters grumble, but us youngsters (I'm 41) are living better because of technology.

I pay $100 per year for a cell phone....a $100 card is 1,000 minutes and doesn't expire for a year. A month or so ago I got a notice on my phone that my minutes were about to expire. I still had $33 worth of minutes left. Now, why would I pay $600+ a year for something I use that little? I have a phone because I might need it for an emergency, not to have my life revolve around it. Data on my phone is a luxury I don't require.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Carl on January 13, 2018, 06:31:22 PM
  When I drove truck for a living,I carried a NET10 phone...10 cents a minute...$20 a month (paid for 200 minutes)and minutes rolled over as long as you paid each month.
But all is became was a remote control for a girlfriend who felt I should answer every time she called ,day and night...I got rid of my problem as I just gave the phone to a guy I worked with at the terminal...he made me take the girl back but I felt so free without my leash ,I just kept it that way.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: wiseguy on January 16, 2018, 07:47:28 AM
I was thinking of getting a CB rig to add to my comms just so I would have the added ability.

I am a newbie here, so hold back the flames please. :-) 

If you are looking to add ability for emergencies and you already own a Ham HF radio, look to see if your radio supports a MARS modification.  Some HF Ham radios can be modified to add frequencies that are outside the normal frequency ranges.  Remember the frequencies used here in the United States are different than the ones used in other countries.  The manufactures use things like extra diodes or open connections (that can be soldered) to prevent transmissions on bands outside the ones legal in the United States.  In an emergency, you are given allowances to use any method to get a signal out.  There is no restriction from monitoring.

Here is one modification for the Yaesu 857d for example.  http://ku4by.com/yaesu-857d-mars-mod/

Just a thought.

73
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: kid_couteau on January 16, 2018, 07:55:24 AM
I have read about these mods you can do but I think I will just keep a Baofeng around as most of them allow it already.
I really dont want to mess with an expensive radio in this way. Not telling others to not do it, I just choose not to.
 :D
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 16, 2018, 10:09:14 AM
I have read about these mods you can do but I think I will just keep a Baofeng around as most of them allow it already.
I really dont want to mess with an expensive radio in this way. Not telling others to not do it, I just choose not to.
 :D

MARS mod to a dual band VHF/UHF is obviously different than a MARS mod on an HF transceiver.

You are correct that a baofeng functionally is similar to a modded dual bander (not necessarily legal).

Many retailers will modify a newly purchased transceiver for around $50.  Though most will ask for some credentials or evidence of your participation in appropriate groups.  e.g. Civil Air Patrol
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: kid_couteau on January 16, 2018, 10:25:47 AM
MARS mod to a dual band VHF/UHF is obviously different than a MARS mod on an HF transceiver.

You are correct that a baofeng functionally is similar to a modded dual bander (not necessarily legal).

Many retailers will modify a newly purchased transceiver for around $50.  Though most will ask for some credentials or evidence of your participation in appropriate groups.  e.g. Civil Air Patrol

Im on the local ARES team but I dont think that counts for MARS. Oh yeah, I was just talking about VHF and UHF for mods and using a Baofeng.
See ya
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Skyliner on February 14, 2018, 09:14:24 AM
The MARS mod for most HF radios is very simple.  Typically removing a diode.

In the pre-Internet days, information on how to open up transmit outside of the ham bands was a closely guarded secret, but now it is out there for anyone, including step by step instructions with pictures.

There are some purists who believe it is some kind of sin if you are not using the radio for MARS, CAP, etc. 
In my opinion, the radio was built for that capability, and I would rather have it than not.

Not advocating to run a 100 watt rig on CB, but you would be glad to have that capability in a pinch.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Smurf Hunter on February 14, 2018, 09:59:21 AM
The MARS mod for most HF radios is very simple.  Typically removing a diode.

In the pre-Internet days, information on how to open up transmit outside of the ham bands was a closely guarded secret, but now it is out there for anyone, including step by step instructions with pictures.

There are some purists who believe it is some kind of sin if you are not using the radio for MARS, CAP, etc. 
In my opinion, the radio was built for that capability, and I would rather have it than not.

Not advocating to run a 100 watt rig on CB, but you would be glad to have that capability in a pinch.

I don't think there's any downside to a MARS mod beyond the cost or small risk to DIY.
That said, emergency agencies have their respective interoperability plans. It's not just us amateurs, but how will state police talk to the city fire department?
If you work as an emergency communications volunteer long enough, you will likely use 800mhz public safety and other .gov bands/frequencies that are completely different from amateur.
Especially when you get into digital talk groups (trunking). None of our ham gear will be any help.

A big part of emergency communications is... well, being able to communicate effectively.  That could mean talking on a land line telephone and taking notes with a pencil.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: markl32 on March 02, 2018, 11:47:33 PM

The CB is the "lowest common denominator" for disparate party communications; the tow truck, log truck or other 4x4 groups in the woods is likely going to have one.  Years ago having a CB kept a bad day from turning into a bad week (or worse) for me.  Growing up in the 70's and 80's my friends and I used them daily. 

Once you communicate on 2m or 70cm FM you will never want to go back to the harsh AM CB.  You only will if you have to.  Getting a technician class (entry level) HAM license and using the plethora of quality gear available to the Tech class if far, FAR better than CB.   

With that said I still have a small CB and magnet antenna for when needed and I usually take it with me when I am in the woods.  I never use it unless I have too.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Alan Georges on March 03, 2018, 06:42:24 AM
That said, emergency agencies have their respective interoperability plans. It's not just us amateurs, but how will state police talk to the city fire department?
A lot of the last-ditch interoperability plans seem to revolve around VHF/UHF analog FM.  These frequencies are in the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG): https://www.dhs.gov/publication/fog-documents (https://www.dhs.gov/publication/fog-documents)  Most of these are on bands that an old-school analog scanner or a Baofeng can receive.

Also interesting is the Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide (AUXFOG), at the same link.  Still flipping through that one.  Both of these manuals are sort of dumping grounds for all kinds of frequency tables, plug wire-up guides, cell phone-email gateways, etc.  And boilerplate wording.  Lots of that.

The CB is the "lowest common denominator" for disparate party communications; the tow truck, log truck or other 4x4 groups in the woods is likely going to have one. 
Redneck Interoperability Backup Communications Plan (RIBCP)?  It's cheap and it works.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: Carl on March 03, 2018, 07:03:40 AM
  When I worked with the local Marshals office and the Communications Link Dispatch (local 911) ,we had  an inter-operation unit that would allow us to put each of our local and state service radios together....a Windows based patch system...NOW they use 700 MHZ and have manual capability to communicate with any services PLUS they have 'common' channels that they can SHARE...In the past they depended on dispatch to tell any needed service what and where. Most of this change happened when Homeland Defense organized and set up a center nearby.
Title: Re: CB vs HAM [OK please play nice]
Post by: FreeThinker on March 03, 2018, 07:36:55 AM

I was thinking of getting a CB rig to add to my comms just so I would have the added ability.

Just recently added an Anytone 10/11m radio (https://www.amazon.com/AnyTone-Smart-Meter-convert-Channel/dp/B0140QP3VU) to our primary vehicle for essentially the same reason, not so much for use but more for monitoring.  Had a unused antenna mount on the rear bumper (I know, poor location choice) and the RG-8X already run for a 2m whip I had mounted there in the past so the install was quick.  It got its first real road test on a 4-hour trip I took last week.  After monitoring channel 19 for about 30 mins and hearing nothing (on an interstate), I started scanning and caught a couple local 2-party conversations, but it was mostly dead air except for the kilo-wattage DX'ers on channel 6.  Was monitoring 146.52 as well, and heard not even a single CQ the entire trip. 

Was a bit surprised at the lack of CB traffic, and did note that almost all the semis I saw did have what appeared to be CB antennas, but it was a day trip with no bad weather or traffic backups so maybe that explains the lack of activity.  Our home is too far from an interstate to pick up CB activity from there, but for the rare times I do turn on the CB in the shack I don't hear much except the DX'ers either, and we're in an area popular with off-roaders.  MURS and GMRS/FRS however is fairly active.  Anyway, just my observations - maybe it's popular in other regions but CB seems dead here.

Side note: for you CB guys what do you like for a rig?

If you don't need SSB but may want FM, and especially if space and cost are concerns, might check out that Anytone model.  On request that Amazon vendor will email the instructions for the 3 mods (US CB, 10m, and 25.615-30.105 MHz full band mode) and a pdf doc with a list of the frequencies for each channel in each of the 10 bands when configured for 'full band' mode.  The thing really is tiny, I mounted mine inside the center console compartment so it was easy to reach (and be out of sight when the console lid is closed), but it would fit inside a glovebox with room to spare too.