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slowmover 07-20-2019 01:03 PM

CB Radio as FE Tool
 
I’ve had CB radios on & off for almost fifty years. Doesn’t mean I know much since Radio Theory is no small & easy subject (Antenna Theory worse). That said, it’s a fine gateway drug to two worlds parallel to the one you live in:

1). Commercial Truck Traffic

2). HAM radio

Over twenty years ago I obtained a CDL. And became truly fulltime in 2012 after divorce. My radio is on 10-12 hours daily.

How & Why on a CB to best utilize what’s right in front of you as you travel will follow this list. How I use mine to earn an income and what I find works best per operator comfort (if you will).

This first post is really just an equipment list so that it won’t be hard to find. . A minimum level of quality where spending more doesn’t (really) result in better performance. (Today’s cars are much harder to find a place to mount; not the subject here).

The goal is to hear, and to be heard. In that order of priority.

CB radio circuitry hasn’t changed (design) since Carter was President. What is different is fully digital transceivers (SMT) the last few years resulting in some low-priced, excellent-performing units.

I believe it wrong to not have available the full capabilities of RX/TX on 11-Meter. So to that end I would only recommend an AM/SSB unit. (AM is short range, and SSB is significantly farther).

(And, remember as you add things up: this equipment will last one, two, three decades)

1). UNIDEN 980 AM/SSB ($150) (Best brand is PRESIDENT. An upgrade to the $200 McKinley model is worth considering).

(There is ZERO need for a tech to open the radio. Leave it alone).

Couple this to a small amp that will run off the same circuit:

2). RM ITALY KL-203 ($75 shipped for 75W)

And bolstered by a mobile speaker featuring Variable Digital Signal Filtration; the type of noise reduction that otherwise ONLY $$$ HAM transceivers feature. Without you CANNOT hear MANY other units transmitting.

3) WEST MOUNTAIN RADIO CLEARSPEAKER ($220)

4). HARBOR FREIGHT Apache 3800 Transport Case for the above ($40). With pick/pluck foam for custom cushioned transport

12VDC should be accessed from the battery. A 15A or 20A fused lead on 10-ga Positive at the battery, and the Negative very close to the BATT frame ground (non-fused)

5). (See West Marine or WAYTEK for following):

ANCOR MARINE GRADE 10-gauge Duplex
ANCOR Heat Shrink Terminals
ANCOR Flame Resistant Split Loom Covering
BLUE SEA Fuse Holder & Fuse (plus spare)
ANCOR Adel Clamps to secure runs
ANCOR Flame Resistant ZIP Ties.

6). SIRIO 5000 Roof Mount Antenna ($75)

7). BREEDLOVE Machine Puck Mount ($50)

And the Guide for it all:

KØBG.COM

Alans guide will take you through the attendant (necessary) details for best performance even though it’s written for HAM operators. Pay special attention to vehicle bonding & grounding. Understand RF versus DC ground.

You youngsters can’t imagine travel without cell phones and GPS devices. So I’ll add that a copy of the RAND-McNALLY Commercial Vehicle Road Atlas is mandatory (at any chain truckstop).

The day cellphones and the all-too-fragile Internet go down plus the GPS satellite system glitches, you WILL want to know what’s going on. Without a CB you won’t. And separating yourselves from the mass of idiots may mean more than just relaxed blood pressure. If you plan to get home, that is. Understand that traveling by road makes you disposable. A genny-wine deplorable. So a mobile transceiver is also a tool to lessen risk.

Knowing what is out there on normal days, and how to use a CB to best advantage, is all about time & distance. Which is FE in a nutshell.

More later

.

MeteorGray 07-22-2019 04:34 PM

The CB has helped me many times through the years, and it's still doing so.

I've saved a lot of hours and quite a few gallons of fuel by avoiding stop-and-go traffic hold-ups because I was informed of the problems in my way via fellow drivers on the CB radio. Often, drivers using the CB will simultaneously give advice about which alternate roads can be taken to bypass the mayhem.

Yep, a shortwave CB radio is a tool that can not only save fuel, but also increase safety and sanity along the way.

Thanks to Slowmover for his litany of equipment advice obviously gleaned from a lifetime of experience out there on the highways of America.

slowmover 10-20-2019 02:07 PM

The basic fixed-mount minimum radio

Uniden 980 AM/SSB

Is on sale now at AMAZON at $99.
Limited quantity.

MSRP is $180 and normal retail about $140.

Get one for house and each car.

slowmover 10-20-2019 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MeteorGray (Post 602577)
The CB has helped me many times through the years, and it's still doing so.

I've saved a lot of hours and quite a few gallons of fuel by avoiding stop-and-go traffic hold-ups because I was informed of the problems in my way via fellow drivers on the CB radio. Often, drivers using the CB will simultaneously give advice about which alternate roads can be taken to bypass the mayhem.

Yep, a shortwave CB radio is a tool that can not only save fuel, but also increase safety and sanity along the way.

Thanks to Slowmover for his litany of equipment advice obviously gleaned from a lifetime of experience out there on the highways of America.

Thanks, MG.

It’s difficult to put into perspective what long distance driving is like versus being a commuter. It winds up sounding like isolated interesting incidents.

How about:

Interstates 40 & 70 from AZ to OK are being abandoned as fast as drivers can divert south to IH10. Winter storm Aeolus a few years ago.

And now, 70-miles east of El Paso we have multi-truck pile-ups due to nothing more than the (legally true) border-line retarded “drivers” in big trucks. The storm is still hours away.

But it’s getting dark. Exits (many, many miles apart) are such that the next is beyond the first wreck. The shoulder and median won’t support SUVs, much less semis.

So, now what? Will WAZE or googly maps get you out of this? (Ha!)

As the cops and EMS are at the NEXT wreck with injuries reported (gee, how did we learn that?) the hundreds stalled here are on their own.

How did we get past?

Truck to truck made it possible for most of us.

Then the majority of the retards raced to the next wreck. Some returned to El Paso.

I made it a fair distance that night and parked near a pretty good Mexican restaurant. This was after a “sightseeing detour” around the next two wrecks. Didn’t run out of hours (most of those guys did).

At 0400 I drove the last hundred miles into Fort Stockton. Total sheet of ice. Frozen waves. One slow walk. Barely got out of the low side of the transmission.

Texas DPS and the New Mexico Highway Patrol shut IH10 from Fort Stockton back past Las Cruces right as I arrived. The retards had so badly blocked the truck stops we can thank God there was no reason to call the fire department. Or utility services.

I had another breakfast and resumed my way to Houston.

Later I learned there were guys lost two-three days of paying work that week. It’s tve rare company truly lives up to paying you from their own pockets you had to sit. No truck revenue = negative cash flow.

1). Where, in the above, did I specifically use the radio? To what ends (information)?

2). As distances in the West are no laughing matter, fuel, lodging and repairs always play a part in route planning.

3). The retards are bad enough on the Interstates. On the two-lanes they can get you killed. Won’t matter if they have a radio or not. You need to be able to reach drivers and base station operators with authoritative knowledge. Atlas and expanded state map at hand. Dash compass. Notebook.

Which leads to experience.

4). On an otherwise normal trip, learn to listen to the truck driver word flow. Plan to get off the Interstate. And plan how to get back on after a detour. “Is that a good road” means good for a big truck. So your Atlas needs to be the Commercial Motor Carriers version. Those routes are marked and feature the design, the shoulders and signage, to accommodate that commercial traffic.

It may be slower than you like. Thus, consider the obstacles implied just above before diverting g to a lesser road. And think of sub-standard bridges or rail crossings that you won’t be able to traverse. By accident or because the state has authorized the county to close those routes. Emergencies allow trains to just flat stop (is how to think of it).

An excellent radio system is like having been raised in a good home. It’s the manners necessary to get across a crowded room of strangers — a situation where lack of clear signals makes it a mine field — versus being disabled and stopped before execution of the trip plan is complete.

As California is now going after HAM repeaters . . wake up.

A radio alone isn’t enough. It needs a secure mount. A magnetic mount antenna won’t cut it.

The antenna needs to be dialed in by an expert with an analyzer. Chassis & body grounds. Etc. The details in Alan’s website.

KØBG.COM

Start reading. Get the radio. Make a list.



.

slowmover 10-20-2019 02:57 PM

The next post I’ll get into specifics of how to use a radio on an ordinary day to best effect. The type of radio system worth having. As I hope you’ll understand from the above.

You and your family on an innocent vacation that suddenly turns deadly, the cheap almost non-existent system that is the experience of most wont get the job done.

Understand that in the event of life-threatening situations most people freeze. The airliner crash landing where most survive. But fail to exit the fuselage (happens all the time and all over the world; in my family no one is allowed to wear other than sturdy footwear on an airline flight. Should the above happen, WE ARE exiting) and by failing to act, die.

The tools matter. Their quality. In this instance, the installation of a system that works properly.

The install is labor. That’s the only real cost of paying someone else. And you needn’t. As DIY goes, it isn’t that hard.

.

slowmover 10-27-2019 12:01 AM

Gear pics
 
1 Attachment(s)
Prior to use specifics, some images of gear mentioned:

1). The APACHE 3800 Transport Case. Can be found on sale at $29.99 at Harbor Freight. A comparable Pelican will be over $100. Damage to radio gear is in moving it to & from vehicle. This type/size case bought first.

slowmover 10-27-2019 12:03 AM

1 Attachment(s)
The Uniden 980 AM/SSB shown with the RM Italy KL203. The former from Amazon the latter from DNJ Radio or eBay.

slowmover 10-27-2019 12:06 AM

1 Attachment(s)
The WEST MOUNTAIN RADIO CLEARSPEAKER

slowmover 10-27-2019 12:10 AM

1 Attachment(s)
A recent view from my truck.

slowmover 10-27-2019 12:16 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Microphone upgrades. Either Astatic mike can work. The power one is a little harder to use, and the battery is a failure point. But you CAN have that booming voice, ha! An adaptor is included with the Uniden radios to facilitate this.


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