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  1. “O Lord,I have heard thy voice, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of thy people, in the midst of the years make it known: in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2. 1599 Geneva Bible Patriot’s Edition.

  2. A SSB CB Thrift Store Score!

    Keep checking the thrift stores. Went to town to sell eggs, and turned some of the egg money in to SSB CB, and 100 feet of new 75 ohm coaxial cable. I can now get on the air for only for only $8.50! If I land one more of these, I will consider modifying my Kenwood 830s 10 meter to 11 meter. I would then have 100 watts of SSB to talk to my SSB CB’s. SSB CB would give yet another redundant system. I want a pile of at least 3 of these before I do the ‘mod’, as 3 is 2, 2 is 1, and 1 is none. These old sets may not last in the field, but they are not my ‘primary’, but could become an ‘alternative’, and is already a ‘contingency’. Some of my friends also have SSB CB.

    For almost a decade, I’ve been collecting old CB’s to hand out to select neighbors for a low power net. Because this a rare find, a CB with SSB (Single Side Band), it is a keeper. This one was produced for Sears by Toshiba, or Sharp around 1972. It is a 23 channel crystal set. It is a high quality build. It’s exterior appearance is very good. It was stored in conditions, likely a cool, dry, and clean place that is conducive for latter good operation, decades latter perhaps. However, in my experience, only about half the old dusty CB’s I run into actually work. This one has zero dust on it. CB’s are usually stored poorly. The ‘dust of ages’ can sometimes be blown out, and corrosion from oxidation removed with a spray. This one would be worth that kind of attention, and work. Fortunately, initial bench testing indicates that it turns on, receives and transmits. That is a good start. Regardless of how it performs on the air, or doesn’t, as it might prove to be ‘off frequency’ on some or all channels, the price was right, $5, and the P.A. (Public Address) part of the CB may still work. Use one, or two CB’s with P.A.’s, and you’ve got a one way, or two way intercom-telephone system. Crude, but effective for shorter distances. The audio can be amplified with a 12vdc computer speaker amplifier if need be. We need the audio to be intelligible at the other end. Some CB P.A.’s are not as powerful as others, and an amplifier would be necessary. Or, if you happen to have a box of these, grab another one out of the box.

    Even if only the P.A. works, if some one shows up at the front gate and their intent is unclear, we can now ask them to leave, politely, without revealing the location of the O.P. (Observation Post). If all we had was a hammer, then everything would look like a nail. It would be good to have the means to be able to escalate the force needed to deter an enemy threat, and avoid the use of a hammer. A bull horn would giveaway your location. There is more than one way communicate, or to skin me (a rabbit). Some time it is better to speak softly before using the big stick.

    Why am I so excited about SSB CB?

    Is the old CB adequate for your commo needs? Will it provide adequate coverage of your AO? Here is a ‘rule of thumb’ to estimate the maximum range of CB radio.

    Typical vehicle mounted antennas are not long cumbersome 8 foot whips, but 4 feet in length, or shorter.

    For every 1 foot of antenna length, the 4 watt CB will have 1 mile of range.

    For every 1 foot of antenna length, the 12 watt SSB CB will have 2 miles of range.

    CB base station antennas can be about 8.6 feet in length, twice the length of most CB antennas mounted on vehicles. and also have a ground plane to match and mazimize it’s performance. The ground plane part of the antenna on a vehicle is barely adequate, or most likely would produce a radiation pattern that is semi-directional, because of their location on the vehicle. Base station antennas can also be mounted above the house, or on a tower greatly increasing the range. A common man’s expedite ‘tower’ could simply be a long 20 foot wooden post secured in the ground, anchored with 2 or 3 bags of pre-mixed concrete. It’s ground plane radials can then be full length. and at a 45 degree angle from the base of the antenna. This would create the best radiation pattern possible for a quarter wave antenna. We could also be tempted to build a high gain 5.5 Dbi J-pole, that might give us another 50 percent increase in range. The air-choke should be atleast 4 coils, and 6 inches in diameter.

    The range of 12 watt SSB CB mobile to a SSB CB base station can be as much as 15 to 20 miles. This is approximate twice the range of a standard 4 watt CB’s using the same antennas. The range of two SSB CB base stations could easily be greater than 20 miles, especially if one of the base station antennas is located 50 feet or more above surrounding obstacles. IMHO, covering an AO of 20 miles in diameter is all most persons would need.

    Conclusion. If you are going to use CB, pay the extra, or haunt the the thrift stores, and get a CB with Single Side Band, and get twice the range, and 10 times less traffic as there are 80 SSB channels, and few own SSB CB’s in this day and age. And if you really need more than 20 miles of range, a higher tower, and better antennas can be used. In my case, I might use a powerful old Kenwood Ham set. It would make one heck of a good CB. 10 meters is basically dead during this solar minimum, and the ability to talk to local mobile units would be of greater utility.

    It’s time to drop the ‘smart’ phone, and fire up your dusty CB to see if it works.
    If 8 miles of range is all you need, then an inexpensive 4 watt CB on a full quarter wave length base station antenna that is 8’6” can talk to another base station CB up to 8 miles away. However, consider that most other CB you may talk to will only be using 4 foot antennas. Most conversations could then be had at a maximum of 4 to 6 miles. I therefore highly recommend a CB with SSB if you have others near by with SSB CB. The added COMSEC these radios provide given their SSB capabilities, in addition to their superior range, is well worth a $150 price tag. And they are so easy to use.

    1. On our boat, we use marine ssb.
      The output is user-variable at (I seem to recall…) 150/60/20 Watts.
      Our radios include weatherfax and a boat-load of associated gizmos and gadgets.

      In other than emergency situations, transmitting may require licensing/registering/taxes and all the usual fussiness of OfficialsAndAuthorities.
      I suggest you get mentored from old-timers about not making a mess of your blatherings…
      * a) work from a script,
      * b) rehearse,
      * c) edit ruthlessly.
      And save the “ah…” for the dentist.

      1. Because you are a boater, you inspired me to put together an article that is a bit tongue in cheek. Here is sneak peak of the partial rough draft.

        Pirate Radio for Pirates at Sea

        Boat owners could at some point just sail away. They could, in WROL situation, use their VHF and HF Marine transceiver sets to similar good effect as Amateur Radio operators can use their equipment. The advantage of VHF Marine band radio is that they already come programmed and channelized, and are generally easy to use. Note that there are repeaters used on some channels, and these channels cannot be used to talk directly to other radios. Choose channels designated for ship to ship, inter-ship, non commercial that are simplex frequencies in the 156.000 to 157.000mhz range. Marine repeaters talk back to VHF Marine radios in the 160 to 161.000 mhz range. Do not use these frequencies unless near a port. However as we might now be priates at sea, we should endeavor to use off the beaten path techniques and frequencies to avoid capture.

        Stealth by Sea.

        MURS (Multi User Radio Service)

        These are license free frequencies that can be used just like the CB. These have a similar range as 2 Meter handheld, or Marine handheld. A Boafeng on a good external antenna can have triple the range over a ‘rubber ducky’ type or standard handheld antenna. Any of these frequencies can be entered into the Boafeng UV5R by using the orange colored button labeled VFO. It is not programming the radio, but can be use by the radio as it it were programmed.
        Put a label on the backside of the battery with the frequency chosen and cover it will clear packing tape to make it water resistant. However, the first 3 channels should not be used on antenna that is used for VHF Marine Band radio. The range is would be severely limited and the radio would be come increasingly damaged with repeated use.

        CH1 151.820 MHz (11.25 kHz)
        CH2 151.880 MHz (11.25 kHz)
        CH3 151.940 MHz (11.25 kHz)
        CH4 154.570 MHz (20.00 kHz)
        CH5 154.600 MHz (20.00 kHz)

        https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/multi-use-radio-service-murs

        MURS is a set of frequencies well known in the patriot community, and likely is already programmed in their radios. Having a common frequencies means better coordination. These frequencies can be used as ‘calling’ frequency, a place to meet up on the air, and then we would switch to a tactical channel. We can to a limited extent, also use frequencies in the Business band. These frequencies are often used by contractors building roadways, or on a temporary basis by businesses. This set of frequencies is set aside, and not licensed on permanent basis. No one owns these frequencies. In our part of the country no one cares if you use them even if on a semi-permanent basis. It is best, however, to monitor these frequencies before using them. For example, our local town police, and a logging outfit uses one of these frequencies on a regular basis, and illegally. Because radio traffic is so low in this part of the country, no one cares. In the big city where radio traffic could be crowded, this kind of abuse may not be tolerated. However, even in the big city, we can also use these frequencies if only intermittently, as a back channel, or tactical channel, and blend in with the city radio traffic noise, or as an alternate in case one of the MURS frequencies is compromised in some way.

        With all this mind, we can now explore off the beaten path set of frequencies that can work with your existing Marine band antennas. You have already have an outstanding antenna on your boat for a low or high powered network using Boafeng, Marine Band, or other inexpensive open banded VHF radios. 4 or 5 watts on any decent antenna that could be a boat mast, that is as high, or higher than 50 feet above flat unobstructed terrain could be expected to travel up to 10 miles or more. We can also use a directional antenna to boost our 4 watts to 20 watts giving us 30 miles of range, and an ability to some what conceal our signal. With the use of a 5 element yagi we can reduce our radio or RF footprint to as little ash as 75%. We could also connect an inexpensive and open banded Chinese 25 to 50 watt mobile to our boat’s antenna. Program it with all the VHF Marine band channels and add MURS, Business Band in the 154 to 158 mhz range, and all of the allocation in the Transportation band that is in the 158 to 160Mhz range (for licensed users of commercial buses, and truckers). Use an SWR meter to confirm that your VHF Marine Band antenna has a low SWR on these frequencies. 2.1 to 1 and lower is perfectly acceptable. Being a builder of antennas, I know that the antenna on your boat should be usable, or resonant on frequencies between 154.00mhz to 160.000mhz. We can connect Boafeng radios to this antenna by using an SMA Female to UHF (aka,SO-239) adapter. Pickup extra of these adapters for each of your Boafengs, or for others you may meet up with latter, and transmit to other pirates on boats in the Caribbean, and where ever you sail. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YWG6ZJK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

        This is a very inexpensive and easy to use SWR meter that can test your boat’s antenna for VHF, and UHF frequencies. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D86IKIQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  3. The CB radios are still handy to have around. The Truckers still use them. I use to take a handheld CB along on some trips in case of emergencies. (Little magnetic antennae for the truck; a temporary set up.) A CB is still useful on trips right now. [They do crackle a bit, plus, usually just the talk of lonely men away from their families.]
    I had the long whip antennae, but I mounted it up on top of a basketball hoop at home. I could NOT broadcast with the whip antennae; it would burn up my little handheld. I could receive though.

    The CB radio can be powered by the car battery. Sometimes people need to caravan along together too. CB radios, like the little Walkie Talkies can be useful. I went on car caravan once. This one couple had a stash of Walkie Talkies; every car got one. They were all tuned to the same channel. (Everyone knew when and where to stop together for burgers and/or bathrooms.)

    Good comment, and reminder, Tunnel Rabbit.

  4. Yes, it’s time to dig it out and fire up your dusty CB to see if it still works. Without the test equipment, the only way to check for good and reliable operation is to get out there and use it. Simply turning it on and seeing if it ‘keys up’ is only a preliminary test. If functions on the bench, it’s time to see how far she’ll transmit, and how it sounds on the air. We are also testing the antenna and cable, and the connection at the battery. The old cable should be replaced, and all connections inspected, and corrosion and debris removed. Use a SWR meter to verify that the antenna, cable and connections are good, before doing a ‘field test’.
    My next home made CB antenna will be made from 3/4 inch diameter tent polls. Firestik KW7 is a 7 foot antenna, and only costs about $25.00. However, consider that most other CB’s you may talk to will only be using 4 foot antennas. Most conversations could then be had at a maximum of 4 to 6 miles. I therefore highly recommend a CB with SSB if you have others near by with SSB CB. It can still talk to standard CB too. Or buy 2 or 3 for the family. The added COMSEC these radios provides with their SSB capabilities, in addition to their superior range, is well worth a $150 price tag for a companion radio to be used as the base or mobile. And they are so easy to use.

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