Letter Re: Recommendations on CB Radios?

I am new to the blog.  Just got your book “Patriots” and realized I am nowhere near ready.  Question is:  What are the best Citizen’s Band (CB) radios for both base and mobile use.  Can you give me a few brands and models? I am interested in long range. I am a ham so am familiar with the terminology, but not familiar with CB. I think when the crunch comes there are going to be more CB people out there than hams. Thanks. – R.I.P.

JWR Replies: I tend toward either:

  • Pre-1980 crystal-tuned 23 channel SSB-capable CBs with a full five watt output, or
  • Late-1980s or early-1990s synthesized 40 channel SSB-capable CBs that have multiple IC designs.

The advantage of the radios in both of there eras is that in an emergency they can easily be modified for out-of-band (“free band“) transmission by someone with basic electronics skills. In the case of the crystal-tuned radios, by simply substituting special out-of-band “bastard” crystals, and in the case of the later synthesized radios by clipping wires and adding resistors, jumper wires, and/or switches.) See the SurvivalBlog Archives for some specific maker/model recommendations and web site links for free band modification details. (Posted on Sept. 14, 2005, under the title “Marine Band and Out of Band (“Free band”) CB Radio Modifications.”) Note that I do not encourage any illegal modification or operation of CB radios out of band, and that any information on such modifications is for scientific/educational purposes only.