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Letter Re: Advice on CB Radios

My husband and I have been studying and implementing many of your recommendations in your book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” [1] and I have a question about the Cobra 148 GTL 40-channel CB [2] radio. Does it work on DC power only, or can it be used in our safe room on AC power? The shortwave receiver you recommended also includes CB, so why do we need another CB radio? Although these are old technologies, they are new to us, so we would appreciate more info. Thanks. – Linda G.

JWR Replies: Like most other CB radios, the Cobra 148 GTL was designed for vehicular mounting and hence needs a 12 VDC [3] power source. So for use inside a house, you’d typically need to have a large 12 VDC power supply that transforms 120 VAC [4] to 12 VDC. This is something larger than a typical little wall power cube. You’ll need something like an Astron 3 Amp (or larger)12 VDC power supply [5]. These can often be found used at ham radio swap meets or on eBay. But the good news is that you can operate a 12 VDC radio with power directly from an alternative energy battery bank. (The batteries linked to your photovoltaic, wind, or microhydro system.)

I specifically recommended the Cobra 148 GTL 40-channel CB because its design allows a fairly simple modifications it can be operated “out of band” in the so-called “free band [6].” (See “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” [1] and the SurvivalBlog archives for details, including some important legal disclaimers on transceiver modification and out-of-band operation.