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Old 08-19-2008, 05:34 AM   #1
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Default Handheld CB radios

The following is from a Q&A between Bobbi and myself regarding handheld CB radios. The same "Cobra" is available at CTC for about $110+tax in Ontario. I did a bit of research on CBs before asking, and it does look like a pretty good radio, if your cell phone isn't fiscally responsible on the road.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:16 pm Post subject: CB in Roadtrek Reply with quote
Bobbi,
Don't know how often you check old threads (like this one), but was wondering if you could recommend a good (or the best?) hand
held CB available. I don't want to mount a permanent CB in the rig just yet. I'm new to the forum and was thinking about getting one as I can't be bothered dealing with getting my cell phone provider to allow me to use my pre-paid in the US of A (have to secure the account with a credit card prior to using it int he States, a real pain since I've been their customer for over 20 years).
Any thoughts? I would like to pick it up in the USA, so a recommendation for the best place to get it would be helpful too.

Thanks,
Mike.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:09 pm Post subject: CB - IN ROADTREK Reply with quote
Hi Mike,
COBRA makes a hand held CB and it has 10 weather channels on it. You can buy it from Camping World. They do have stores all over the USA. You can also go online at www.Camping World.com and look for it there. If you join their club, they do give you a discount.
If I can be of anymore help you can also email me at: Hotbobbi@aol.com.
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:16 AM   #2
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Down here in the US, CB's can be had new for as little as 40 dollars. Cobra and Uniden are both good brands, made for decades and reliable.

A properly tuned antenna is more important than the radio choice. Most truck stops have a guy with a SWR (Signal/Wave Ratio) meter that can match your set and antenna for you.

Now, that said, don't expect much in the way of reliable communication in Citizens Band. The channels are clogged up with endless-yakking yahoos, the reception distance with a "legal" CB outside of direct line-of-sight is dodgy at best. (NOT legal is using a linear amplifier, which can boost the transmission output to 1000 watts or more).

You'll learn about "skip" and how some nights, especially, you can talk to someone halfway across the Earth, but most times you'll have trouble getting a reply from just up the road.

Used to be, the Highway Patrol monitored channel 9, but with the coming of cellphones and EPRB's that's becoming a thing of the past.

CB's are still handy for trucker yak, but if you have Virgin Ears, be warned.

Using GMRS radio is a better choice if you just want car to car comms.

Chip
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Old 08-22-2008, 02:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info Chip. I'm still thinking about getting one when we cross the border, just as a backup to my cell (which I've decided to make cross border friendly after all) if we ever had a problem out of range of a cell phone tower. I figure (and I may be wrong here) that if I can't get a cell signal because there aren't any nearby towers, I should be able to ask for help on the CB as traffic passes by with their "mobile towers". I've heard good things about the trucking industry as far as relaying messages to emergency services, when you can't do it yourself. I understand the CB has a limited range, but it's probably better than nothing.
BTW, I used to have a CB in my car when I did a 50 mile trek to work years ago, and the language was definitely colourful at times, so I know what to expect.

Mike.
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:06 PM   #4
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My experience is that most major highways have cell phone coverage. It is when you get in remote locations is where you might have problems and in those locations your odds of raising a trucker or anyone on a CB radio drops as well. With cell phones, CB radios no longer have the popularity they use to. But I guess if you can get one for $50 it might be worth having. I'd never considered it.
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:37 PM   #5
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I still have a CB in my vehicle when I go on trips. I find it useful to monitor channel 19 and listen to truckers. They will let you know of any traffic problems ahead long before you will ever hear it on the radio.
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:28 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. When I had one a while ago, one of the reasons I got it was for the trucker's traffic updates, as renrut says. As for the major highways/tower issue, I'm sure there are plenty, as you say. I guess there's no real advantage to the CB except it's essentially free comms, once you pay the initial cost of getting it, and as I recall, can be good entertainment (the CB Comedy Network on channel 19 ), depending on who's on the air at any given time.
I still think I'll get one for that reason alone.

Mike.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:40 AM   #7
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I've got the Midland micro mobile 75-822. With the external magnetic antenna it works very well. I've been doing Forest Service and 4x4 trail trips thru the mountains with the guys all summer long and its a great way to keep the group together. However, without the magnetic antenna and just using the little antenna that hooks right to the mobile unit, the radio is about useless.

I've since put a GTRV pop top in the van, so I lost the huge magnetic field (for good antenna reception) and had to get a fender mount antenna.

In the Owyhee River Canyon we had ten rigs in dusty conditions so we got spread out over about two miles and still had good reception.

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Old 11-03-2008, 02:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: Handheld CB radios

Just got back a couple of weeks ago from a trip to the US southwest and on the way back, picked up a Cobra handheld in Iowa, the one without the external magnetic antenna, for around $79+tax. Seemed a good deal even with the collapse of our C$. The price plus the exchange was still cheaper than the base price up here and the PST/GST. Saved about $30.
Works well just sitting on or near the dash/windshield of the van. I'd forgotten how funny the truckers are, when in the talkative mood. Quite colorful language, as expected.
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