Survival Gear

CB Radios: Citizens Band Radios for Survival Communication

CB Radio Base Station

What are CB Radios?

Citizens Band Radio (CB Radio for Short) is primarily used for short-range radio communication. Using the 11 meter band with frequencies between 26.965 MHz and 27.405 MHz, this two-way voice communication service is a perfect medium for localized emergency communication during disasters, highway communication between truck drivers, and of course, good old-fashioned fun for radio hobbyists and enthusiasts.

Made popular during the 1970s, because of movies like Smokey and the Bandit, for decades C.B. Radio was one of the most popular forms of short distance communications. Although its popularity has faded during recent years, largely due to the development of mobile phones, the internet, and the Family Radio Service, it still remains a highly popular option for truckers, radio hobbyists, and survivalists.

Why is CB Radio good for Emergency Communications?

One reason these communication devices are still popular is because they are extremely reliable during emergencies. Unlike traditional phone lines and cell towers that can fail during inclement weather, Citizens Band Radio works even when other forms of communication have gone down.

Even during small scale disasters (earthquakes, seasonal storms, etc.) normal communications channels can become compromised quite easily. In fact, it doesn’t take much to bring down an entire cell network, making the ability to communicate during a disaster one of your top priorities. With little more than the power from your vehicle’s battery or even a couple of double AA batteries for the mobile versions of these radios, you can ensure your ability to communicate when things go bad.

While Ham radio is always my first line of emergency communications, a C.B. Radio is another important part of any good survival communications plan. One advantage these radios have over Ham Radios is they do not require a license to operate, making them a good option for kids or people who refuse to take the Ham Test.

CB Radio Range

Citizen’ Band radio (CB radio) is primarily intended for short-range communication, usually distances of 5 – 25 miles. But as most serious radio hobbyists know, there are ways to increase their distance and during certain atmospheric conditions, radio signals can be reflected in a way that makes it possible to communicate with people over 1,000 miles away.

But in general, with a properly tuned radio and antenna, you should be able to achieve communication distances ranging up to 25 miles.

How to Increase your Radio’s Distance

Now we are getting into a gray area of the law, because technically you aren’t supposed to use things like radio amplifiers, and there are some pretty strict rules dictating how much power you can legally use to transmit your signal.

On the keeping it totally legal front, the best suggestion I have is to focus on your antenna. A good antenna can make even a bad radio transmit better, but a good radio paired with a bad antenna is a recipe for disaster.

Cobra 29 LTD Classic

On my mobile rigs, I use a K40 Magnet Mount Antenna. Right out of the box you’re not going to find a much better mobile antenna, and with a few adjustments, you can easily tune this thing to optimize it for your needs. If you’re using a cheap Walmart style Antenna, I guarantee using something like the K40 will extend your range and significantly improve your signal.

Another way to slightly increase your range is to look for a radio with Single Side Band (SSB) mode, something like a Galaxy DX-959. Radios that offer SSB as an option will allow you to transmit a little bit further, but since most of the radios sold today are AM only, you will not be able to talk to as many people using SSB. That being said, for communications with other family members who have radios with that mode, there may be a benefit to buying a dual mode radio.

What about Amplifying the Signal?

As far as radio amplifiers go, they are illegal. That being said, most truck drivers have them and you can usually find them sold at Truck Stops throughout the country.


CB transmissions take place on 40 shared channels from 26.965 MHz to 27.405 MHz in either AM mode or Single Side Band (SSB) mode.

Here is a complete list of the CB Channels with their corresponding Frequency:

CB ChannelFrequencyFrequency Use
Channel 126.965 MHz
Channel 226.975 MHz
Channel 326.985 MHzUnofficial Prepper CB Network (AM)
Channel 427.005 MHzUsed by many 4X4 clubs
Channel 527.015 MHz
Channel 627.025 MHzYou’ll hear many operators using illegal high-power amplifiers
Channel 727.035 MHz
Channel 827.055 MHz
Channel 927.065 MHzChannel 9 is the universal C.B. emergency channel
Channel 1027.075 MHz
Channel 1127.085 MHz
Channel 1227.105 MHz
Channel 1327.115 MHzOften used in some areas for marine use & recreational vehicles.
Channel 1427.125 MHzFrequency for many walkie-talkies. FCMA (Federal Motor Coach Assoc) heard here
Channel 1527.135 MHz
Channel 1627.155 MHzUsed by many 4X4 clubs
Channel 1727.165 MHzUsed by truckers on the east-west roads in California
Channel 1827.175 MHz
Channel 1927.185 MHzUnofficial Trucker channel (but probably where you will find most of them hanging out)
Channel 2027.205 MHz
Channel 2127.215 MHzUsed by truckers for North-South routes in some areas of the country
Channel 2227.225 MHz
Channel 2327.255 MHz
Channel 2427.235 MHz
Channel 2527.245 MHz
Channel 2627.265 MHz
Channel 2727.275 MHz
Channel 2827.285 MHz
Channel 2927.295 MHz
Channel 3027.305 MHz30 and up are often used for SSB operation
Channel 3127.315 MHz
Channel 3227.325 MHz
Channel 3327.335 MHz
Channel 3427.345 MHz
Channel 3527.355 MHz
Channel 3627.365 MHz
Channel 3727.375 MHzUnofficial Prepper 37 (USB)
Channel 3827.385 MHzUnofficial SSB calling channel, LSB mode
Channel 3927.395 MHz
Channel 4027.405 MHz

Additional CB Resources & Radio Suggestions

If you are just getting into communications, Ham Radio for Dummies is actually a really good book. Even if you don’t plan on taking the next step into Ham Radio, the book will give you a good general grasp of how radios work, how antennas work, and can help you increase the range and reliability of your equipment.

I’ve been asked a lot about what CB Radios are the best. While you could spend thousands of dollars at your local truck stop on a tricked out rig that goes far beyond what you really need, I suggest going with a brand like Cobra. I’ve been using Cobra Radios for as long as I can remember; I have a Cobra Electronics 29 LX as my base rig at home and a Cobra LTD 29 Classic as a mobile rig in my truck. My truck setup is over 20 years old, so I know these things last and I know they can take a beating.

69 Comments on CB Radios: Citizens Band Radios for Survival Communication

  1. CBs have become quite popular again. We use standard VHF while fishing though that is dying more and more as people now use cellphones to communicate, which often work pretty far offshore. Though it’s required to have by the coast guard in the charter industry, and always a good backup!

  2. Butch

    If one were to want to get their C.B. radio illegally tweaked
    how would they go about doing that?

    • Damian

      They would go about doing that illegally, however it’s only illegal if you get caught;)

    • Big Man

      CB Radio is ok for a few miles. Then you HAVE to lean on a Ham Radio Operator to get any kind of distant communications… Tweaking a CB won’t help as well as a decent antenna. DR-DIPOLE.COM makes a great survival antenna for the Ham Radios and for CB. Spend your money on a GREAT Antenna, not 20 or 30 more watts that won’t get you an extra couple of miles… Good luck.

      • Tom

        Those few miles are in the thousands with a decent radio and good antenna. I’ve worked almost every State from my truck, except Hawaii. Alaska, Ireland, England all from a pickup truck in Maine.

        • ashton harvey

          is it true that if you run enough power into a home base station that it can go as far as a ham radio?

          • dale

            yes.. I have a radio base with power and it don’t take much power for a base 200-300 watts is plenty.. I have talked from one end of the usa to the other.. even Cuba, so yes you can do a lot even with not so much power.

          • cliff

            what type of antenna are you using? I know I’mp a ham n3xim and you cber’s are more friendly then 99% of hams these repeaters they brag about talking here and there.

        • Jeffery Windercott

          I don’t know if it is your understanding of English or geography that is lacking, but FYI; Ireland and England are not part of the USA.

      • Marcus Dean Adams

        I reliably communicate well over 100 miles to locals here in eastern Kentucky, with ground wave, not skip, and with a barebones factory condition radio. I’m not saying ham radios aren’t useful since they can ride off government owned repeaters, assuming those are operational when you need them, but CB radios are good for a heck of a lot more than just “a few miles” if you know what you’re doing when you erect your antenna.

        • Bee

          I would love to know more about erecting antennas for well over 100 miles!!

        • George

          So where do I find a government owned

          • Kc1echEnter your name...

            To my knowledge, 2m, 10m and 6m repeaters are club owned or privately owned. The government doesnt own shit

      • RC

        will any of this work if the power grid is down, and all tv, phone, cell service is off?

        I’m looking for communication with family & friends under abnormal conditions, and a range of between
        25-50 miles. Can anyone shed some light on this?



        • Mrs Rojas

          Did you find a radio for your family? I am looking for the same with up to 100 miles plus.
          Come back RC

      • Me

        CB Radio talking distance depends on how much money you want to spend or how much you are able to spend.

      • Tony

        Well on my ranger 2950 sec gen I get to speak as far as Italy and different places in home and in car great hobby….

    • mic

      Has a cb and a linear amp. Most truckers use linear amps to push the cb power up higher. Mine is 400 watts and is considered small by most truckers. I know of a guy who has 1,500 watts. On my 400 watt model I can talk approximately 50 miles consistently and further depending on weather, skip, propagation etcetc. Have talked all the way to California and Im in Georgia but thats not consistent.

      • John M

        The legal limit is 4 watts, right? Are you saying truckers pump out 100-300 times the legal power limit? Or am I misunderstanding how the numbers work

        • DanEnter your name...

          Yes, and noone ever knows it uless they happen to be driving close to me out in the desert somewhere. At that range it might override your speakers or other electronic devices but I don’t think it could cause damage. I had a Galaxy 99 converted 10 meter that operated at around 30 watts. Mounted on the floor of my truck I had a Texas Star “Sweet sixteen” 1600 watt linear amplifier. I could turn it off and on depending on where I was. I never ised it near heavily poulated areas.
          Illegal? Umm yeah, I guess. Used responsibly, it’s not harmful to anyone and as far as I know, noone ever seems to complain about it so…

    • Bobby

      Just go to any truck stop, get on ch 19 and ask where the nearest cb shop is. Go there and ask them to pump up your output and they will to as much as your radio can accomplish without a kicker. You can also ask them to install a kicker and they’ll give you the pros and cons of it. Decide on your own then at least you’ll have more information to make your decision.

    • Sasquatch08

      Here’s the deal.

      The FCC does not regulate CB frequencies any longer. You needed a license in years past but with the gas crisis and nationally imposed 55mph speed limits it became a fad to form convoys and run police speed checkpoints en masse or evade them. This caused tons of people to apply for CB licences so they could join the convoys. So many people applied for licenses that the FCC just gave up.

      HAM bands still require a license.

      It is illegal to modify your CB to broadcast at more than 4 watts, and is also illegal to broadcast using a HAM radio on CB frequencies. However, both of these things are common.

      The way the FCC goes about finding people who illegally operate a HAM radio is to get complaints and then use a truck with proper gear to find them. Yes, they do this. My old next door neighbor got busted by a truck like this a few years back for operating a HAM shack on CB frequencies.

      Now, if you want more than say nine miles out of your CB you’re SOL without making illegal modifications. With a good antenna, and a good transceiver that’s been peaked and tuned (set up to run to the absolute max legal wattage and tuned) by a pro you can get max 12 miles over open, level terrain. Usually more like seven to nine. If you “crossfire” the radio and use two good antennas you might be able to boost your max range by a few miles, but you’ll never see more than 15.

      IF you want to go further you have to illegally modify the setup to broadcast at more than 4 watts of power. This can be done and regularly is. The chances you’ll get caught doing it are very, very slim but I still wouldn’t recommend doing it due to the illegal nature of the activity.

      You can always put a mobile HAM in your car, but be prepared to pay through the nose to do it compared to a CB. Also, to legally use the radio you will need a HAM operators license which will require a book, some studying and taking a test. If you pass the test, you cannot use that radio to broadcast on CB frequencies. If you choose to do such a thing, while still slim, the chances of getting caught are greater than the chances of getting caught boosting your CB signal simply because the FCC still cares enough to pay attention to HAM radios and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb with an antenna farm on top of your vehicle.

      If you want the simplicity of a CB but a much greater range, your options are all illegal, but as other further down have pointed out a truck stop is the place to find what you need in terms of parts, services and information.

      • Marcus Dean Adams

        You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. I run a bare bones factory CB radio on an Antron A-99 antenna and I talk all over the eastern end of Kentucky, including to people on the river in West Virginia, all with ground wave, no skip, and this is mountainous terrain. Given, there are dead spots because of the mountains, but from base station to base station my range is anywhere between 50 and 150 miles, depending on what direction the other person is in (I have mountains blocking me on one side).

        • DeadEd

          Just wondering if that’s a CB made to be sold in the USA. Are there better ranges to be had by buying overseas? and does cloud-cover affect the range like it does with FM radio stations. Also:

          I know the power of a linear amp can cause the signal to slam so hard into nearby speaker wires that the audio (although unclear, inverted?) will blast out of the speakers (with the stereo on or off) so; in light of a new problem I have with an inconsiderate neighbor I would like to know if anyone knows of a way to affect someones speakers similarly without paying top dollar for a cb, linear amplifier, etc. I mean I don’t need broadcast quality transmissions, just enough interference to render a system useless… or at least their subwoofer, which I can hear as I type this.

    • Enter your name...Tom

      Find a CB radio shop located at or near a truck stop. Realistically, it makes more sense to invest in a linear amplifier. At about $1 a watt, you can get more bang for your buck. I mean, since both are illegal anyway.
      A good 102″ stainless steel whip antenna, properly matched to a well grounded radio with an amplified microphone is the best starting point. After that, I advise a linear amplifier.

  3. Richard

    Go to any decent size Truckstop ,Many have a CB shop, Take your radio in and tell the guy what You want to do. Any good radio tech can do the work, works best with the better quality radios,if Your in an area with several truckstops there may be several shops in the area, get on the radio and ask the Drivers who does the best work, if You listen to channel 19 You can hear the difference between the stock radios and the ones that work real good

  4. meives

    do you need a licence for a cb radio?

    • DJKulp

      during the 70’s, a license was required … that changed mid 80’s. For Citizen’s Band Radios. HAM radio still requires a license.

  5. Badger359

    You may consider applying the survival triangle or triad concept to the situation of “comms” or communications. 1/3 of your comms would be spread out this way. a)Ham radio “long range”, b)CB or SSB for mid-range and c) GMR’s for short range. Just a thought friends.

  6. Viktor Zimmerman

    Can you also transmit the CB frequencies on your ham radio and eliminating your CB radio?

    • Paul

      You can but its illegal if the FCC checks your equipment. AM Transmitions sounds bad using a ham radio.

      • CBER

        Not true I run a galaxy dx66v and it is a 10 meter ham set to cb frequencies and it is crisp and clear the nasty sounding ones usually happen when someone sets modulation too high cber

        • Michael

          A 10 meter Ham set to CB frequencies is strictly illegal. I studied for a week on and within a week I went and got a 100% on my Technician Class exam. I run a Kenwood mobile 281A mono band 2 meter radio and have a daily simplex range of 75+ miles. With the local linked repeater system I have a 200 mile range. Why cheat when being legal is so easy? My radio cost $135.00 and the 1/4 wave antenna ran me $18.00. That’s it. I hooked it to a power switching unit and use it as a base radio in my tiny apartment. 2 meter antennas are small, are easy to make should you desire to do so and can be made stealthy. (easy to hide.)It’s well worth the time to just become an Amateur operator, licensed and legal.

  7. Brian

    “Tweaking” a CB radio is illegal if it allows the unit to transmit with more power and/or transmit outside of the defined channels.

    Unless it’s a life, limb, or property emergency, transmitting outside of licensed ham bands is illegal when using ham equipment.

    Also, avoid expecting GMRS (or FRS) radios to be able to attain their advertised distances unless you and the other person are on mountain tops. Average range for a “bubble pack” radio is probably 1 mile in the city, possibly 2 miles in a suburb barring any significant obstructions (hills, tree, buildings, etc). If you add an external antenna to the device (licensed GMRS only), you can extend that a bit further. Also, Motorola 355R (I think) can access repeaters and thereby extend their range significantly (like tens of miles). We ham radio operators use repeaters quite often to talk distances in the VHF/UHF ham bands. You can also purchase old commericial hand helds and mobil units that can be reprogrammed to operate in the GMRS bands and also use external antennas.

  8. Desmond

    Well I do know this about RADIOS’s
    Using a modified CB (Citizen Band radio) is against the law
    transmitting on CB with a HAM radio is against the law (it is Evan on the test for HAM)
    fmrs/gmrs I forget witch one is the licenced one but most who have them don’t have a license for them.

    The other thing is in an emergency ALL RADIO COMMUNICATION is legal (Property and life)

    FYI KF7KIP (Ham operator)

  9. sniper

    FYI adding a linear amplifer to a CB dramatically increases the radio range… but yes it is illegal…

    items can be purchased at radio shack… or ham radio dealers

    also check ebay and amazon

  10. Kevin

    Better than CB radio is HAM radio. its the same thing but on a wider scale

  11. Pamela

    Go to…. CB radios for way less then the cost of “radioshack….the dudes that work there are so young they dont even know what CB is …lol… i go to for all my CB needs … as in being prepared for the possible end of the world …LOL..i guess !!

  12. jimbillybob

    Im gona get mah radio strong so i can get drunk and broadcast my stupidity to as many people as i can. This is mah neat toy. Who cares if it interferes with folks using other technologies like da internet. Da goverment cant tell me what to day out ta get meh. Go Wallmart!

    • Scott

      Hey Bimjillyboob…stick to your hillbilly inbreeding partys and leave the surviving to those of us that matter

  13. Mike

    Two-way radios are good and depending on your needs will determine which type to get.

    Citizen Band (CB) radios are legally limited to 4 watts output power.
    The newer General Mobil Radio Service / Family Radio Service (GMRS/FRS) radios need to have a license for the 5-watt GMRS channels; technically the FRS channels have a lower power output limited to 500 milliwatts (half a watt) even on the same GMRS radio so if you only use the FRS channels, you do not need a license; but they are included in the same GMRS radio… so to ‘legally’ communicate on all of the channels you will still need a license from the FCC, currently costing $80 for five-years, no test.

    Even the HAM hand held radios are mostly 5-watt power output, but they get to go further by going through local repeaters with increased power. Also, with the license, the HAM operator can legally increase the output of their hand held radio based on the frequency range the operate within.
    The HAM radios in cars and home base stations will typically have the higher output and longer range on their own.

    Since the FCC no longer requires the Morse Code for the HAM license, if you are technically savvy in electronics, there are practice tests and study services you can find online, so it might be worth your efforts to study and get your HAM license, if only to be the ‘communications expert’ in your extended family.

  14. David

    In my area, Chanel 15 @ 27.135 MHz is where mud ducks like to hang out ( people trying to make the most of running legal power ). If You are frustrated about not being heard without running a linear, this is the channel to listen to. Perhaps you could add a “legal power” comment to channel 15 on your list of channels, it would be nice if we could spread the word through out the country that there is a place where 4 watts can be heard. thanks, David aka KG2LI

  15. peter nielsen

    can some one tell me can we transmitte on 27 mzh the oz channel

  16. Rattler

    I have been into CB for many years over 20. I have used it to contact mexico, CA,PA,Fl and many others this is done on SSB/LSB and bare foot. SSB/LSB use AM 10 meter spectrum there are a number of off spectrum channels that are open and unregulated just need to tune them in. you can even scramble and de-scramble for security vary easy.

  17. KG4RYT

    CB is a great survival radio. When the grid goes down CB will be king. I know i’m a HAM radio operator endorsing CB radio, but CB radio is best just because of the numbers they make a much better emergency radio. They are cheap, easy to use, and widely available. SSB is the best mode, but AM CB will do very well. Highway CB Channel 19 is king, try contacting someone on 2M 146.520 simplex about road conditions or any other traffic matter, When the grid goes down so do the repeaters. For off road CB is king, if you guys go off road in a 4×4 a CB radio is almost a must. Most amatuer rigs can not handle the abuse. FRS, GMSR useless.

    • chiefcrash

      That may have been true before, but these days it’s swinging back to ham radio. No morse code test + $30 chinese ham radios = explosion of new hams (and preppers playing with radios)

  18. Emily Taylor

    I have a galaxy 10 meter CB that putts out around 200 watts. Though I’ll lower it to around 40 (maximum driver watter for my linear) or so watts when using an amp to run it at 600-800.

    Running a wire dipole or 24 foot Imax veritcal I can talk all over the state pretty good on AM, when I switch to using USB I can go all over the country. Any further and I use a Moonraker 4 which I was lucky enough to find new in box on ebay. I’ve talked on 27.555 to the bottom of chile, australia, and china still 5-9.

    Local and statewide ragchews are great.

    • Jason

      10 meter is HAM. 11 meter is CB.

      • VE1CED

        I think he may have just been referring to the 10m import radios easily converted to cb. Like Mind numbingly simple conversion as they are made to be converted but cannot cross the border as a cb that puts out 200w and is not channelized so they market it as 10m ham.

  19. SNIPER

    what about marine radios, since they use differant freqs, and everyone else is using cbs jamming up the airwaves and you need to talk is this a better option?

  20. Monty

    Is a cobra still a good CB set

    • Gurnis

      Cobra & Uniden are both great brands. The Cobra is a bit easier to modify (or so I hear). If you want a handheld then the Magnum 1012 is another good choice.

  21. msj

    I work about 40 miles from where I live. I work in a military industrial complex. I want to be able to communicate with home given another 9/11 type incident (my cell phone was useless). What do you recommend?

  22. Tom A

    I am working to establish procedures for militia groups to communicate after any event where the need for militias to become active occurs. Realistically, a national network of committed CB operators who are already in possession of mobile cb radios with SSB (Single Sideband) capability and small amplifiers that will enable them to reach out from 50 miles up to 250 miles or more. Certainly, after any event where life and property are in danger, many of us will risk upsetting the FCC. More to the point, if the SHTF and anarchy breaks out, the FCC will not even be a consideration.
    I am a licensed Ham Radio operator and I have a mobile 10 Meter band radio as well as a decent CB Radio with SSB and a few small linear amplifiers ( 200 watt, 300 watt and 450 watt). In an emergency situation, these radios become my lifeline. In my bug out bag I carry a Hummingbird Marine VHF HANDHELD and four small personal radios with range of about 2 miles. The marine radio is because I live in Florida and that radio could be a wealth of information in emergency. The personal radios are for squad movements
    I will be putting together my findings and presenting them to the militias for review very soon. I am always interested in hearing opposing points of view, additional plans, criticism etc., as long as it is constructive. The goal is to establish a ready network capable of disseminating information across the country in the event the grid goes down or another event occurs and normal channels are shut down.

    • Gus

      can I run 500 w from car with one battery ? what do I need ? thanks

    • James

      Yours is the 1st intelligent post in this thread! But I would caution the reliance on those kickers you’ve got. In SHTF you may not have the power to run them. I think SSB in the 10m & 11m bands is the most likely solution. You can talk a great distance on 11m SSB with 12-30 watts. I’d opt for the President Lincoln II or the YetiCom Optima as both have very stable SSB. And since CB will be the most common radio out there, you can still talk short range on those channels also. Your squad movement radios should be highest quality FRS/GMRS with upgraded antennas and lots of code words for stealthy communication within your group. You must also have a backup plan for radio silence should the need arise. Radio signals are very easy to detect and track. Regardless of who your enemy is, whether it be government, terrorist, or just another group after your supplies, you must be able to go “Code Zebra” to avoid detection. There’s a reason why red lens flashlights and small signal mirrors are still around. But they aren’t much good unless you know Morse Code or some kind of code to flash messages to group members. So it really depends on how prepared you & your group want to be. But getting back on topic, the mode of communication with the best chance for success will be CB for local area and SSB for extended range. Your next issue will be powering your electronics. I recommend a homebrew solar panel made from taking the solar cells out of several solar landscape lights and wiring them together on a piece of fabric that can be folded up and stuck in your pack. You only need enough of these tiny panels to generate 6 volts for most handheld devices. Make one for each group member’s pack. You can make a larger solar array for the SSB radio or just combine the group’s already made panels together to get the voltage/amps you need. As for a power supply, you can toy around with R/C car batteries to get the voltage you need from 2 of these batteries wired together. Cordless drill batteries might also work. I saw a guy wire two 7.2v R/C batteries together to get 14.4 volts for his SSB radio. But he had to charge the separately. I have two 12v cordless drill batteries wired together to double the amps instead of the volts. I use a 7amp charge controller between the landscape solar cells and the batteries. It was the smallest charge controller I could find, and not an MPPT, but it works and I can keep the batteries wired together at all times. Ideally you want a 13.8v battery pack with 14v to 16v of solar charge current going into the charge controller. This setup will power your SSB rig 4-10 hrs a day depending on power output and not using a kicker with the radio. Your radio cannot be tracked when your are listening, only when you are transmitting. So even during Code Zebra you can still listen for any talk on the airwaves to hear whats going on around you/your group. One way communication is better than no communication at all. For antenna I recommend a thin wire half-wave dipole strung between 2 trees. It works great, lightweight,rolls up very compact, easy to setup. A better setup might be a dipole made with aluminum tubing as it won’t require a Balun or a antenna tuner, so less things to carry.

  23. citizen band

    A CB radio or “citizens band” radio is the perfect medium range communications tool. The average store bought 2 way radio usually operates on GRMS or FRS frequencies. These frequencies are limited to a few miles and are limited even further by buildings, tress, mountains and all obstacles. CB radios can obtain ranges up to 150 miles, sometimes more. CB’s operate on a different frequency than traditional consumer radios which allows them to obtain these extended ranges and makes them a preferable communications tools.
    Many people thought that CB Radios are extinct, but they’re still here and widely used to date. They are very useful and the cost to buy one is quite cheap as compared to the price of cellular phones. There usually used in business, industries, personal use and many more other applications.

    • KG4RYT

      You can pick up old CB’s for around $10.00 at flea markets, and yard sales. Best just to buy a one new for about $40.00 – $55.00. Get a magnet antenna and keep it for emergency and or road use.
      For the highway, no other radio comes close to it.

  24. Gurnis

    The antenna is the most important thing with a CB. With a SolarCon A-99 mounted atop a 20′ tall roof peak, you will get out about 25 miles with no added power. Ideally you want the tip of the antenna about 65′ off the ground for maximum range using stock power. If you live in a mountainous area then ideally you want the antenna mounted on top of a ridge or mountain peak. No amount of mods or added power can overcome a poor antenna. But even a cheap CB can talk a long way on stock power with a good antenna setup. So put your money into the antenna, not the radio. If you feel that you just have to run more power then I recommend installing a RM Italy PCN 60 Stinger Board. This will increase power output to 25-35 watts. If you need more power then try the RM Italy AD 203 Stinger Board, which has an output of 150 watts PEP.

    But before increasing output power just remember that higher output means more drain on your battery. There are 1500 watt amps out there but that won’t be much help in a SHTF situation unless you have a huge 12v battery bank. And if you have to flee on foot, you won’t be able to carry much of a power supply. My base station is a mobile radio, connected to a SolarConn A-99 base antenna. But I also have a compact dipole tuned for the 11m CB band that weighs nothing and fits in a pocket. For a great “on foot” power supply I have two 13.2v cordless drill batteries that weigh 1 lb 6 oz each. and fit in a backpack. To recharge those batteries I have a compact homemade “flexible” solar panel made from solar landscape lights, with a small 7 amp charge controller. Each battery provides up to 5 hrs of CB listening and easily provides 1 hour of transmitting because my power output is only about 9 watts. So both batteries give me 10 hrs listening and 2 hrs talking per day. And I can recharge batteries while hiking unless I’m in a wooded area. And I can be on air in 10 minutes with my system.

  25. Bobby

    Just thinking back to the late 70’s, early 80’s when I drove semi’s otr and used a 100 to 300 watt kicker. The problem I had and never resolved was while I could step all over the other traffic on 19, I did so at the cost of replacing expensive antennas quite frequently as they were not designed for that power output.

  26. RJ

    ok im fairly new to the home base CB Radio,i found an old Teaberry Model T in my basement and fogured id hook it up and see what happens, i made an home made antenna approx stands 13′ off the ground and i ran copper wire at the top in the shape of an “O” and turned the cb on went to 19 and just talked to someone 37 miles out from me very very clear, i have no amps no tweaks so is something going on that i should know about bc supposidly if i understand right im not suppose to b able to reach out that far…any input would be helpful thanks

  27. walter

    Im hearing voices in my speakers vents and windows
    Very specific to me and my kids

    Just move in the hood bout 6m ago its been happening since week one

    Thought i was going nuts

    Cb and a linear amp and a small ant could do that ive heard

    Ive narrowed the voices to nieghbors
    Very simiular
    In fact exsact
    Advice on recording or proving

    My kids are 9 & 8
    They say horrible things to them
    Asside from hurting someone which i think is a goal for them any advice

  28. Power Amps

    Just wondering what kind of range increase is typical by adding a 100 watt amp on a base station with 1/2 wave antenna compared to what the range would be with out the amp running at about 8 watts. Just asking.

  29. Max

    That is a ok for amount a mile or two if lucky. Get a texas ranger rci 936fc4. About 400 watts Or a icom. Dont waist money on low Watts.
    You have to in stall it “correctly” . no tweaked back yard wire job.

  30. Michael….. Look it up. In a week you can test for the Technician Class license and get a real radio. CB’s are limited to 4 watts legally. My 2 meter band Kenwood puts out 65 watts. CB antennas are big. My 1/4 wave magnetic mount is short. The repeaters in my area are owned by the local radio clubs and all have emergency backup power. With our linked system I can transmit outwards of 200+ miles clear as a bell. With internet based programs like echolink I can transmit to participating repeaters worldwide. In Southern Arizona I hear Echolink transmissions from England and New Zealand. Try that with an 11 meter band CB. It is so simple and cheap to get licensed to operate VHF/UHF. For Gods sake people get licensed and get a real radio. Mono band units are cheap.

  31. dynamocity

    If you are mounting an antenna on a mountain top, it should be mounted upside down with radials on top of you want do not want the valleys below in a dead zone. A 5/8 or .644 wave antenna will get out farther in azimuth than a 1/4 wave.

  32. Mandy

    My husband an I work about 4 miles apart and about 10-15 miles from our home in an urban (near work) and more suburban (near home) setting. What would be our best grid-down communication option(s)? Priority one would be the shorter 4 mile communication so I could meet up with the husband. Is there an option that would allow us to communicate with the kids at home from 15 miles out?

    I’ve looked on amazon and most reviews of portable CB radios are saying less than a mile on open road with full LOS. That doesn’t seem very useful.

    If you have specific products that you know would work I would LOVE the name/link to purchase. Also resource information (websites/books) on where to get started learning the BASICS about emergency communication would all be appreciated. I have been trying get the basics but when you don’t know the first thing about watts, frequencies and waves it all gets really confusing, really fast.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • Chris

      Mandy, go ham….just do it. Will get you started. Email if you want. Ku3hn. 73

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.