A SSB CB Thrift Store Score!, by Tunnel Rabbit

My advice is to keep checking the thrift stores. I went to town to sell eggs, and turned some of the egg money into a single-sideband (SSB) Citizen’s Band (CB) radio ($5), and 100 feet of new 75-ohm coaxial cable ($2.50). I can now get on the air for only for only $8.50! If I land one more of these, then I will consider modifying my Kenwood 830S 10-meter rig to 11 meter. I would then have a 100-watt rig with SSB capability to talk to my mobile SSB CBs. Having SSB mode CB would give me yet another redundant communications system. I want a pile of at least three 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 they could become an ‘alternate’, and  are already a ‘contingency’. Some of my friends also have SSB-capable CB radios.

For almost a decade, I’ve been collecting old CBs to hand out to select neighbors to provide for a low power net. Because this a rare find, a CB with SSB 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 good operation, later. Perhaps decades later. However, in my experience, only about half the old dusty CBs that I run into actually work. This one had no dust on it.

CBs 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 CBs 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 12 vdc 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, then grab another one out of the box.

Even if only the P.A. works, if someone 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 Observation Post (OP). 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 deescalate 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 a rabbit.  Sometimes 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 area of operations (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 maximize 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. (Top-center is deal, but a bumper mount is poor.)

Base station antennas can also be mounted above the house, or on a tower — greatly increasing the range. A common man’s expedient ‘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 at least 4 coils, and 6 inches in diameter.

The range of an [effectively] 12-watt SSB CB mobile to a SSB CB base station can be as much as 15 to 20 miles. This is approximately twice the range of a standard 4-watt CBs 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 people would need.

If you are going to use CB, then pay the extra. Or haunt the thrift stores in the hope of ‘lucking out’. Get a CB with Single Side Band, and get twice the range, and 100 times less traffic. (Since there are 80 SSB channels, as there are few who own SSB CBs in this day and age.) If you really need more than 20 miles of range then build a higher tower, and a better antenna, or high gain yagi antennas can be used.

For every 5.5 dBi gain, the range might increase as much as 50%. The correlation between watts of radiated power, and range is not directly proportional. The antenna used can have more bearing on the effective range than the power of transmission. A quarter-wave antenna is usually a good choice. However, if it not sufficient, a yagi that offers 11 dBi of gain could double the range from 20 to up to 40 miles in some situations. In my case, I might use a powerful old Kenwood ham set. It would make one heck of a good CB.

The 10-meter band is basically dead during this solar minimum, and the ability to talk to local license-free mobile units would be of greater utility. ‘Ham Shacks in a Box’, such as the Yaesu FT-817, and other radios like it, can access CB frequencies, but my old boat anchor would require a bit of surgery to perform that trick. With the surgery, it could kick out 100 watts, and that is enough brute force power to push a signal into RF holes, or over hills and dales, and around obstacles such as trees. At the very least, the mobile station could copy the base station ‘in the blind’. They could hear the base station, even if they could not talk back to the base.

Imagine if that 100 watts was pumped through an 11-dBi yagi, and pushed out at 750 watts! Please do not tempt me! However, that would be foolish, as low power is our friend. We do not want intercept stations to take note of unusual signals and zero in on us. It is better to make do with lower power radios that just satisfy our communication needs. In my opinion, the SSB CB is that sensible balance between a useful range and a relatively low PEP (Peak Envelope Power) need to get the job done.

Fire It Up!

It’s time to drop the ‘smart’ phone, 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 attaching an antenna or dummy load and turning it on and seeing if it ‘keys up’ is only a preliminary test. If functions on the bench, then 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’. If 8 miles of range is all you need, then an inexpensive 4 watt CB on a quarter wavelength base station antenna that is 8’6” can talk to another base station CB up to 8 miles away.

My next homemade CB antenna will be made from 3/4″ diameter tent poles. Firestik KW7 is a 7-foot antenna, and only costs about $25. However, consider that most other CBs 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 nearby with a SSB-capable CB. It can still talk to standard CB too. Or buy 2 or 3 for the family. The added COMSEC that these radios provides with their SSB capabilities, in addition to their superior range, is well worth a $150 price tag. And they are very easy to use.

COMSEC (Communications Security)

The communications security (COMSEC) that SBB mode CB provides is hard to find elsewhere, and it comes in a familiar, easy to use package. Most scanners scan frequencies in the AM or FM modulation usually associated the radio service. CB typically uses AM, or amplitude modulation. Therefore, most scanners will not be able to hear SSB in an intelligible way. Most typical scanners cannot scan for SSB CB transmissions. Of course, high-end scanners and some modern SSB CB could scan SSB, yet these are not common. We can further improve COMSEC by using a horizontally polarized antenna with SSB. By doing so, we add yet another layer of security. The range of the radio using this method could be shortened versus vertically polarized antennas. In some circumstances, such as in pine forests, it may however be improved. Try it both ways. If the horizontal antenna, that is typically a dipole, still provides adequate range, then the increase in security is worth the trade-off. Vertical antennas that receive horizontally polarized signal have difficultly hear this kind of antenna most when the transmission is relatively nearby. This means that even if they can hear SSB, then you’ll sound weak and far away even if you are close by. [Editor’s Note:  Sun Tzu would approve!]

The farther away the receiver is, the less the polarization is a facto, since radio waves will bounce off objects and tend to change orientation. If we are using 12 watts of power sent out of a horizontal antenna, then the receiver using the standard vertically polarized antenna will receive our signal as if we were transmitting with only 1.2 watts if they are nearby. Our 12-watt signal is attenuated by 20-dBi. That is significant reduction, and it make us hard to direction find (DF). Yet if the horizontally polarized antenna is ‘talking’ to a vertically-polarized antenna 10 miles away, it could still be heard. Ideally, a horizontally polarized antenna should be used by all who are on your local ‘circuit’. You’ll want to all be on the same wavelength if possible. Fortunately we can still talk to mobiles that by their application in a vehicle requires vertically-polarized antennas. The range could decrease by 20 percent or more. A horizontal dipole can also be a more stealthy antenna, great for attic installations. An attempt to DF will usually end with a visual confirmation by identifying the antenna on a rooftop or on a tower. They’ll be looking for a typical vertical antenna tower. They are less likely to spot the thin wires of a horizontally polarized dipole antenna.

Always remember that low power is our friend. Any way that we can obscure the signal reduces the likelihood of becoming intercepted and found. Weak signals are hard to hear and hence rard to ‘DF’. Ideally, we would wish to use only enough power to have reliable communications, and no more power than that.

Ideally, I would want to use 1-to-5 watts through a high gain yagi, or another directional antenna, polarize it horizontally, and keep transmission bursts to no longer than 5 seconds before making a ‘break’, and then resume transmitting again with another 5-second ‘burst’.

Even though the SSB CB may not offer variable power controls, we can use the aforementioned techniques to improve COMSEC. Brevity codes will reduce air time, but they will not prevent someone for DFing you. If the threat condition is high, then think carefully about if you should transmit at all, or how you can further reduce your RF footprint. There are many other techniques that can be employed to reduce the risk as well, but this is beyond the scope of this article.


  1. Would it be possible to use a CB to transmit packet radio data?

    Please answer in laymen’s terms. I know a little radio technology, but not the high tech stuff. I’m thinking that short bursts of text-like data that might be read on an iPad or smart phone device for portability. The shorter the burst the more difficult the DF.

    1. “For every 5.5 dBi gain, the range might increase as much as 50%.”

      No, not even close.

      Furthermore, if you don’t even understand the units, you shouldn’t be writing a technical article like this.

      dBi is a unit of absolute gain. Decibels are for statements of relative gain. dBi is decibels (10 x LOG10(ratio)) with respect to the gain of a theoretical isotropic antenna.

      The radio range equation (https://www.phys.hawaii.edu/~anita/new/papers/militaryHandbook/one-way.PDF)
      shows us that, all other factors being equal, doubling your power or antenna gain (3 dB increase) brings a 41% improvement in range. To double the range, the power or gain must be quadrupled (6 dB increase). 5.5 dBi has nothing to do with it.

      35-year radio / electronics engineer, BSEE. I do this for a living, and I’m also a ham radio operator.

      I won’t even comment on the absurd “for every foot you get a mile” claim.

      1. I invited you here….even though you were somewhat critical and boastful. I was gracious and tolerant.

        I am not an engineer and make no claims to be such. We are trying to keep it simple here, and help others get started. Your argument is not with myself. There are makers of antennas that use these terms interchangeably, and apparently by the strictest definitions you assert, and are perhaps incorrectly used, yet these metrics are often used, however incorrectly, and are prevalent in the industry, right or wrong. Some antenna makers argue with themselves, so be it. Generalizations, approximations, and educated guesses are accurate enough for us regular folk. The precision necessary for engineers is not helpful to us, and in fact can be counter productive. We are not here to become engineers.

        One of the most difficult things to do to help others who are attempting learn something new. I am not a teacher and have little experience. However, I do know that patience is virtue, and the lack of patience is an indicator of a lack of understanding. We would seek to help each other, and need not argue. In this forum, the spirit of Christ is present. I had hoped that this would be blessing to you. I guessed incorrectly, and I apologize to the blog.

        1. I apologize for not seeing the critical words of Backwoods Engineer. Sometimes I see technical stuff and assume that it was all up and up normal talk and just post it. I didn’t read it carefully enough to see the attack of which I would have edited out. Again, I apologize.

          Backwoods guy, you need to be kinder with your words and understand the spirit we all here operate in.



          1. Hi Lily,

            I wouldn’t judge Backwoods Engineer too harshly. He expressed only a bit of the frustration I felt while reading Tunnel Rabbit’s post. There are so many things said that are just wrong and misleading.

            I am a former Army SIGINT analyst. My last duty assignment was at the NSA. I am also an extra class ham, an FCC licensed General Radiotelephone operator, and taught electronics (including RF communications) at the secondary and post-secondary levels. I am an expert in the field of RF communications.

            I’ve begun writing an article on RF comunications several times for publication here, but, each time I decided not to continue. The problem is always the same, i. e., the understanding of RF communications is very technical, and requires a deep understanding if you are going to make reasonable choices of radios and techniques.

            The ‘prepper press’ is filled with articles giving advice on the best radios, the best antennas, and, sure-fire techniques to save your bacon during a WROL situation. Unfortunately, nearly all of them are incomplete, show an obvious lack of knowledge and experience, and/or are generally filled with ‘common knowledge’ and ‘rules of thumb’ that are wrong.

            The truth of the matter is that designing a radio communications system is highly dependant on what exactly you want to accomplish, the nature of your terrain, limitations imposed by nature (sunspot cycle, season, time of day, solar geomagnetic state, and more), by the skill and experience of operating under various conditions and on various frequencies (LF, MF, HF, VHF, UHF, etc.), and much more.

            A good example from Tunnel Rabbit’s post is the references to COMSEC. Almost none of what is said about COMSEC is true. If you key your CB radio, whether in AM or SSB mode, for any length of time, finding your transmitter is a trivial matter, especially for a governent actor. The apparent unintelligiblity of a SSB signal when heard on an AM receiver can be rendered intelligent simply by having another AM receiver nearby and tuning near the transmit frequency. The second receiver acts as a BFO and re-inserts the missing carrier needed for detecting the SSB signal.

            Enhancing COMSEC would be to use the least amount of power necessary to make a needed communication. COMSEC would be better preserved by running field wire from your OP to your gate speaker through a clear field of fire rather than use a PA. You can improve your COMSEC by locating your HF system remotely and communicating with it via low power UHF. Putting your radio gear in your car and using it away from your home from different locations and different times will enhance COMSEC.

            I could go on and on – and that is the problem I always run into when thinking about writing an article. I always come to the same conclusion. My best advice for those who truly want to add radio communication to their operation is to either make friends with someone who has the years of experience and the knowledge necessary and ask for their help, or, get your amateur radio license, study, learn, and gain communications experience, knowing ahead of time that it will take you many years to really become knowledgable and proficient enough to make these decisions. I’m sure Tunnel Rabbit, and all the other authors trying to make it simple for the masses, have the best of intentions, however, radio communication is not a simple subject. I would certainly hesitate and think long and hard about any recommendations made in a ‘simple’ article or use any ‘rules of thumb’ without thoroughly understanding the ramifications for your safety and survival.

            Concerned Communicator

  2. You said there are 80 sub channels. I thought it was three times the number of regular channels you have, as each channel has a lower and upper sideband component ( i e. Channel 4, channel 4 lower sideband, and channel 4 upper sideband). So a 23 channel ssb would have 69, and a 40 channel would have 120?

    1. Anonymous, It seems, the ‘number’ of subchannels depends on whether or not someone is using the main channel. Maybe, TunnelRabbit will elucidate.
      Here’s what Wikipedia says:

      “Single-sideband (SSB) operation involves the selection of either the Lower Side Band (LSB) or the Upper Side Band (USB) mode for transmit and receive. SSB radios also have the standard AM mode for communicating with standard CB radio models. With the original 23 CB channels SSB stations commonly used channel 16, to avoid interference to those using AM (SSB stations are authorized to use 12 watts, as opposed to 4 watts for AM stations) and to more easily locate other SSB stations.
      … With the FCC authorization of 40 channels, SSB operation shifted to channels 36–40. Channel 36 (or 38 for LSB) became the unofficial SSB “calling channels” for stations seeking contacts, with the subsequent conversation moving to channels 37–40. CBers with AM-only radios are asked to not use channels 36 through 40. In return, SSB stations stay off the remaining 35 channels so they could be used by AM stations.
      ……~~>This agreement provides interference-free operation for all operators by separating the far more powerful SSB stations from the AM stations. This solution also resolves the confusion created by the false advertising that SSB radios have 120 channels compared to only 40 for AM radios.

      While a SSB radio has three possible “modes” (AM, LSB, USB) it can operate in, operation is still limited to the same 40 channels. Some manufacturers tried to sell more radios by claiming that with three different modes possible for each channel, it was the equivalent to 120 channels.[citation needed]
      ~~~~~>Reality is far different: Attempting an SSB conversation while an AM conversation is in progress results in jammed communications for everyone. In general, each channel can only support one AM conversation and no others; if no AM conversation is in progress, two SSB conversations can share one channel without interference if one is in LSB and the other in USB mode. For a particular conversation, everyone must be tuned to the same channel and same mode in order to talk with each other.”
      I have a handheld CB radio, that I use to take along on road-trips. The truckers still use CB radios, even though the have the ‘modern’ technologies available. … With CB radio, all the truckers could/can talk or listen to everyone else, within the reception/broadcast range. …. “BigRabbit, = I-40 is covered with big alligators West of Albuquerque.”

      This is a good idea about CB radios, from TunnelRabbit, as it’s an idea for a local group to create their ~own Telephone System, that allows everyone on the same channel to listen in, to the conversations.
      [Anyone can listen in. It’s NOT a private system of communication. But for a neighborhood watch or public warning system; it would work perfectly] …… People could develop a ‘code’ as a signal, to switch over and use a more private system of communication.

      A CB is left on stand-by (low power use). The radio receives and makes noise, when someone speaks. You hear the conversation.
      Transformers are available for home-power usage.
      …….. The radios can also be hooked up to use just a 12v car battery, during emergencies when the house electricity is out.
      ……… This is a ‘stand alone’ system for a very large in area, group of people to talk and listen. They have to be in ‘range’ of the transmission. [TunnelRabbit writes about ‘range’ or the distance possible with the type of antenna system.]
      ……… Stand-Alone means, a system NOT dependent on the electricity provided by the local utility company.
      Some of the old CB radios are suppose to have a ‘police scanner’ built into the radio. People can listen but not broadcast.

      I was listening to the ~On my Computer System for Police Scanners in my town. All of sudden, someone said on the Police Scanner broadcast, “Mike, call me on my cellphone.”
      Apparently, someone wanted a private conversation.

      People can look on the Internet for a site that retransmits the local police scanner and other emergency channels. A home computer can be used as a ‘police scanner’ in some areas.

      If they’re retired with plenty of extra time, ‘It’s possible to stay up late at night, with a map of the area, following all the broadcasts.’
      The “crème de la crème” would also be, = Having little peewee models of Police Cars, Ambulances, and Fire Trucks to move around on the map.

      1. It can be difficult to explain technical things with out the terminology in an attempt to explain it in ‘laymen’s’ terms. I used ”channels” instead of ‘modes’. The article makes the distinction, but does not go far enough to explain that SSB can be heard, but it cannot be understood. SSB is unintelligible to CB’s receiving in the AM mode. It just a buncha annoying noise. And that is one of the benefits of using SSB, as we have in effect a built in ‘scrambler’.

        The article is also in error in that SSB is not more powerful in term of actual watts. It is essentially still only 4 watts, but because of mode, the side band only transmission, it is the equivalent of about 12 watts at maximum. This is a fine point that would take entire article to explain in layman’s terms.

        It is hard not to go into ‘nerd mode’ when talking about this stuff, cause it is so much easier when the correct terminology is used. It is however another language, and like SSB, is also unintelligible to those who don’t know the lingo. Generally speaking, I gots three, or more modes myself, basic mid-west hic vernacular, Standard American, and Nerd. It is a real mess when it gets all mixed up.

  3. It’s early morning. There is not to my knowledge a CB of any kind that offers ‘packet radio’ in the usual definition. Fortunately we can use a Raspberry Pi and tablets to send digital modes using any transmitter in including a Boafeng (gasp!). I started experimenting with this about 10 years ago, but never fully explored it as at the time. I found no one else who was interested. I was too early. Fldigi over a Boafeng is certainly possible. Some modes will work better than others. The computer on the receiving end can have trouble ‘de-coding’. I also never had the money to buy experimental equipment, but now this idea has be developed in recent years, and has been proven to work.

    You’ll also need a directional antenna, 5 or more element yagi. I prefer 6 element OWA (Optimized Wideband Antenna) yagi’s. The more clubs we have in the bag, the better we can learn what works best. These are easier to build and repair as they do not require a gamma match. and provide a much broader bandwidth. Of course it would be cheaper, and less hassle just to buy a yagi, but you have to buy 2 or more for every one OWA yagi on hand.

    If the terrain in the AO is suitable, I would use a 5+ element UHF OWA yagi and one watt. This way the ‘splash’ from the yagi is reduced, and the signal, voice, or digital would reach the target station will just enough power to make the communication. If available, we can also use the terrain to attenuated, or to bounce the signal like a que ball. 3 second transmission times are safest. A quick burst with the weakest signal we can manage is the safest. If the signal is weak enough, it may not even registrar S1 on the receiving meter, and they cannot use the meter for comparative measurements. And if using brevity codes, we can keep voice communication no more than 3 seconds, then ‘break’, and then another 3 second transmission. This way it is impossible to get even a rough bearing on us, even if we are more than S1 on the intercept station’s signal strength meter. We should strive to keep the beam pointed away from possible intercept locations, and can do so if we have a map and good bearing. We can use a side lobe from the beam, and put the rest of the pattern that the yagi radiates (an RF footprint) into a mountain side perhaps. Unless one actually knows what they are doing, transmitting on a battlefield would be risky business. If in doubt, transmit and immediately move at least 500 meters in any direction, and transmit only when many miles from home.

    Using these and other techniques, even a low tech ‘hick in the sticks’ like myself can get the job done without the fancy equipment. I would love to have a Yeasu FT817 and other stuff, but it ain’t in the foreseeable future. Perhaps a One Time Pad generator like Ready Made resources sells would be a better to have than a digital capability. Your counter part on the other end must also have digital capability, and likely will not. I just gave up a perfectly good linear amplifier I had a use for to get much needed AR mags. Hated to do it, but gotta keep it real, and prioritize sensibly.
    A ‘one time pad’ could be priceless. I could then use a CB, or any other transmitter to good effect if using one.

    A well balanced approach to anything, especially prepping can keep us from over investing time and resources, but if you have the ‘bank’ and time, then $300.00 for tuition, and more for travel, could be well spent at one of NC Scout’s classes. I’m doing my best to give away watt could get the job done, and keep you alive for free, but a person can sometimes learn so much faster in person. As a radio nut myself, it is easy to spend too much money on one’s passions, or specialty. Be sure to also put time and effort into learning tactics and stuff that ain’t so fun, but gets it done. Staying alive will be job one.

    To learn more go to brushbeater.org https://radiocontra.podbean.com/

  4. Great find TR! We have recently gotten CBs up n running to compliment our comms. Much to my shock there’s almost no traffic. I left the CB in the 80s because it was impossible to even have a decent conversation.
    A side band is awesome and rare.

    1. War gaming the future in radio communications, especially out side of prepper circles, CB will be the common man’s choice, and for good reason. And because there are so many stuffed away in dusty boxes. They are familiar, and apart of our lore. I may say more on this in the future.

      Standard CB, SSB CB, ‘modified’ CB will likely be as useful, and as important as 2 Meter Ham radio. The Ham’s would be the core that tie communities together using primarily 2 meter, and hopefully NVIS, but the CB’ers will be the force that gets the job done. For CB’ers to be more effective, there will be a need for a more powerful CB radio. Hams could easily go there. Modern Chicom, open banded and internationally marketed radios, can also transmit on U.S. CB frequencies, and beyond. These can go where CB has never been before. These are ‘all mode’, and do free banding, all the international CB frequencies, that are found in Germany, Poland, Russia etc, and 10 Meter. Look up the Anytone AT-6666, am, fm and SSB, 26 to 30Mhz. The Anytone Smart is AM/FM only, 26 to 30Mhz, only 4 watts unaltered, but it is only $60.00! 4 watts and no more should be the input to an inexpensive $150.00, relatively low power linear amplifier (100 watts)found on Amazon or Ebay, a 12vdc battery, and the Anytone Smart gets smarter, because it can relay messages to the ubiquitous (big word warning ), and the low powered CB nets in other communities, and still talk to Hams on 10 Meter FM. It can also have it own low power net in the European CB bands in FM. This is a low cost option that can tie a network of low powered CB’s and Hams together.

      SSB, because is out there, but not in huge numbers. On an amp, it would be similar to 10 Meter SSB. As I can afford it, my humble radio shack will be improved over time, and have a capable CB section. I’ll start with a linear amp. I already have of boxes of used CB’s. This way I can completely bridge the gap between the Ham bands, and America’s radio of choice, the CB, the mobile radio that will be along side the Boafeng and FRS/GMRS hand held’s.

      The Anytone Smart can be an 8 to 20 watt freebanded CB/10 Meter Am/ FM with 5 minutes of work with a soldering iron, and all for only $60.00. I could get 4 of these and create a network of off the beaten path frequencies, inside and outside the CB frequency band that can also talk to Hams on 10 meter, and that have extra range.

      For those who wonder, I do not recommend that CB’s are ‘peak and tuned’, that is modified, or adjusted without the use of a spectrum analyzer. You many sound louder, but also your signal can bleed over to other channels, reduce your COMSEC, and distort voice communication in away that makes understanding a weak signal on the receiving end unintelligible. Best thing to do to let a CB shop set you up on an amp. Do not use an altered CB on an amp. It’ll just make thing worse and may fry the amp. Use an an antenna that can handle 300 watts, and has a very low SWR across the CB band. SWR meters are cheap, easy to use, and you’ll need it in the future. The antenna is the other part of the raydio. The most cost effective way to set up is using a low cost radio, and the best antenna you can afford. You can always up grade to a nicer radio, or a power mic latter.

  5. That was a great find! I have several garage sale CB’s just sitting in a faraday cage / can.
    A few years ago, (I travel for work) was shopping at one of the many thrift stores I have marked on my regular haunts and they had two (older, easily converted) Cobra 29’s but they wanted $45 a piece for them. Had to pass, way too much, so your $5 purchase was great.

    And yes, as a former military radio operator and current hobbyist, http://www.brushbeater.org is excellent. Another highly recommended site is http://www.offgridham.com

  6. Just picked up 3 cb’s and 2 linear amplifiers yesterday for $20, one of the radios is a Superstar 3900,looks to be in good shape,haven’t tested it yet,should I do anything before powering it up? Anybody know anything about this radio? Is it one of the good ones?

    1. You probably already know this, but: Be sure to have an antenna connected before you key the microphone. Failure to do so can destroy the transmitter’s “finals”.

    2. Now that is worth crowing about!

      Be sure to get a SWR meter/ watt meter. Test those CB’s for 4 watts or lower before connecting them to the amp. Also make sure to check the SWR to make sure it is the lowest you can get it, preferably 1.5 to 1 on channels 1 and 40. Make sure the antenna is rated for the power that the amp can put out.

      1. Thank you for the replies,I’m in the process of installing an icom ic2730a 2m/70cm in the truck,will need a SWR meter for that also,..what would you recommend? Will the SWR meter be able to do both CB and the 2m/70cm radios? Not really looking for the cheapest, I would pay a little more and maybe get something of better quality. Sorry for the questions, I’ve had my tech ticket for 6 years,but have only been perusing it for a couple months, don’t know much, but I’m trying to learn,lol

  7. [ from somebody with zero-zero-zero experience fussing with home-cobbled radio systems ]

    I will be 69 in a few weeks.
    For my remaining shelf-life, the youngsters would probably volunteer me to sit in the porch-rocker baby-sitting the radios instead of listening to me gasping/bellyaching while running mountains with a 60# pack and a 12# rifle.

    * during a conversation, how do I talk on one channel while listening to your response on a different channel?
    My intent is limiting an eavesdropper to half of our conversation.

    * how do I modify the range of a conversation during that conversation?
    My intent is reducing power to the minimum to give the ‘Italian chin-flip’ to eavesdroppers.

    * during a recommended three-second half-chat, how do you and I reliably rotate channels?
    My intent is to talk on one channel, you respond on a second channel, I switch to a third channel to talk while you respond on a fourth channel.
    End of chat.

    In my perfect imaginary world of super-secret radio half-chats of three-seconds each, all those creepy eavesdroppers would be frustrated-to-no-end by our skipping around the dial.
    Also in my perfect world, does a pair of channel-skippers automatically draw attention from evil eavesdroppers… as in ‘hey, these two are messing with me so I am going to give them all my eavesdropping focus’?

    * how do I narrow-cast?
    Instead of broad-casting, my intent is reducing eavesdroppers to the left of you, to the right of you, and behind me.

    And how do I rotate a narrow-cast so I can chat with one responder while eliminating other responders from our chat?

    * how do I limit vertical radiation?
    If you knocked down a bear across the canyon but don’t particularly care to have every drone in tarnation loitering a few thousand feet above our deplorable heads to know about me coming to help pack it onto the mules, how do we chat horizontally only?

    Speaking of radiation:
    * how do I protect my tender sensitive flesh from radio-waves cooking me alive?
    I remember rumors about LawEnforcementOfficials on motorcycles getting spine tumors allegedly from aerials mounted inches from their backside.

    How far from my radio can I mount my aerial without cable length degrading the incoming-outgoing chat?
    How do I use my radio to transmit to a receiver at the aerial… eliminating a cable between the two?

    [ that uses up my whole three seconds. “Over…” ]

    1. Happy Birthday, Marge! Always look forward to your posts.

      I addressed channel selection with tac frequencies alternating between Ham VHF and UHF programmed in to the radios. Not only change channels, but bands as well. This too comes with some issues of range and terrain for the different bands, but it could provide a simple solution to changing frequencies. Additionally, each radio has a freq chart in the pouch.
      A 7 element Yagi antenna horizontally polarized will limit the side lobes, but will still have a back lobe. I would also expect it to have a reduced elevated signal as opposed to a vertically polarized antenna.
      With cable length comes attenuation or loss of signal. Height is good, but at what point is there diminishing return? Best to purchase a quality antenna and quality low loss 50 ohm cable.
      Transmitting to an antenna to be rebroadcast is what a “repeater” is for.
      It seems the more one gets in to wireless comm the more questions it generates.
      Best of luck to ya!

    2. well in smokey and the bandit they used even numbered channels and switched every transmission, but several new CBs have the ability to scan all the channels, all the time and lock on one when there is traffic.

  8. I have found that the Achille’s heel in the older CBs are the microphones. Many of them have a crystal element that absorbs moisture over the years, rendering them unintelligible even if the the rest of the radio is fine. If you can, check them for transmit audio quality before you buy. If you do get one that the mic is shot, you can probably retrofit another mic or mic element. There used to be a web site with all kinds of replacement mic elements that I used to buy from when I would repair CBs for people but it seems to be gone now. Tractorguy

    1. CB World and other outfits sell replacement mics. They also offer ‘high gain’, or ‘power’ mics, and noise cancelling mics. These microphones can greatly improve your old cb. The tend to be less than $20.00. Their least expensive Uniden might be only $40.00.

  9. Hi Marge,

    In keeping with your self imposed time limit, I’ll try to give you a 3 second answer interspersed with your questions.

    * during a conversation, how do I talk on one channel while listening to your response on a different channel?
    My intent is limiting an eavesdropper to half of our conversation.,

    – Using one frequency to talk, and one to listen is a great way to increase COMSEC, yet in practice, without practice, it can be cumbersome for participants. Using this method, for an interception station to catch both sides of the conversation, if we use frequencies from one radio service to talk and one from another radio service, to listenand catch both sides of the conversations, the intercept station might need 20 high speed scanners to sweep the bands attempting to find both sides of the conversation, because the number possible combination of frequencies used in this circuit are in the 10’s of thousands if we used the entire UHF/VHF spectrum. Folks in the neighborhood are not going to have that many scanners. It is a great idea, but when just starting out, it is best just to stick with one frequency until we get the hang of it all. I am still having trouble getting folks to just turn on the radio…

    * how do I modify the range of a conversation during that conversation?
    My intent is reducing power to the minimum to give the ‘Italian chin-flip’ to eavesdroppers.

    – The chin-flip idea is good idea, but the various techniques to accomplish the move are more numerous to list in only 3 seconds. Use your own brevity code, like old school CB’er used the 10-code. 10-4? Or speak Italian, or maybe Navajo. Make up you own brevity code based upon the old 10 code, but assign a different code to the activity normally associated with the 10 code. 10-4, does not have to mean 10-4. It is very effective. If I say 23 for a 10-13 prior 19 your A. What did I just say?
    Use SSB CB that standard CB’s can hear, yet cannot understand the conversation as it is on another mode, or use a radio with a scrambler such as the early Midland GMRS once offered, and hope they do not have these radios. Or use the lowest power setting, or a directional antenna….

    * during a recommended three-second half-chat, how do you and I reliably rotate channels?
    My intent is to talk on one channel, you respond on a second channel, I switch to a third channel to talk while you respond on a fourth channel.
    End of chat.

    – I would use one of the other techniques listed first, or keep the split frequency idea as part of the other techniques mentioned, and avoid changing channels in the middle of a communication. Use any or all and other technique together, use a commo window, a One Time Pad, Book code, and even if they hear you, they will not understand you. But just because they can not understand you, doesn’t mean they could not DF you. Directional antennas are must for a base station.

    In my perfect imaginary world of super-secret radio half-chats of three-seconds each, all those creepy eavesdroppers would be frustrated-to-no-end by our skipping around the dial.
    Also in my perfect world, does a pair of channel-skippers automatically draw attention from evil eavesdroppers… as in ‘hey, these two are messing with me so I am going to give them all my eavesdropping focus’?

    * how do I narrow-cast?
    Instead of broad-casting, my intent is reducing eavesdroppers to the left of you, to the right of you, and behind me.

    – you might be referring to narrow band? Newer radios will give the option of selecting narrow or wide band. Select narrow band. Except the Ham bands, most radio services must use the narrow band settings.

    And how do I rotate a narrow-cast so I can chat with one responder while eliminating other responders from our chat?

    -With radio, this is not possible. Choose and use the other techniques that will improve COMSEC.

    * how do I limit vertical radiation?
    If you knocked down a bear across the canyon but don’t particularly care to have every drone in tarnation loitering a few thousand feet above our deplorable heads to know about me coming to help pack it onto the mules, how do we chat horizontally only?

    – Use a yagi, or shoot the drone.

    Speaking of radiation:
    * how do I protect my tender sensitive flesh from radio-waves cooking me alive?
    I remember rumors about LawEnforcementOfficials on motorcycles getting spine tumors allegedly from aerials mounted inches from their backside.

    They are suffering because of daily and prolonged exposure to high frequency RF in the 800 to 900mhz range. Anything RF has potential to do some damage if used in this way, yet we need not worry if using low powered hand held’s, or high powered radios that have antennas that are located outside and overhead.

    How far from my radio can I mount my aerial without cable length degrading the incoming-outgoing chat?
    How do I use my radio to transmit to a receiver at the aerial… eliminating a cable between the two?

    Good question. Depending on the frequency, and length of the run to the antenna, there are many choices that are also influenced by our bank account. Knowing nothing about your radios, to prevent excessive loss of RF, if the frequency is VHF,, and the cable need to be 25 feet long RG213 is good enough, if 50 feet, use LMR400. if you can. I’ve already submitted an article that get deep into this. It might be out in about 3 weeks or so.

    Use this very low loss cable. This is ideal for cable runs beyond 25 feet, for UHF/VHF
    Browning BR-400 Coax Cable Custom Length ( price per foot) $1.09 x 50 feet = $54.50
    Select desired length in one box, and two PL259 connectors in the other box.

    Coaxial cable loss calculator

    1. So…

      On Mondays, a simple innocent “Lily, tell me about your indoor bathroom greenhouse” could be the secret ‘shoot the drones’ order to my many millions of mystery minions?

      But Wednesdays, “Lily, tell me about your indoor bathroom greenhouse” might be the order to vote MARXIST to warp the results so the goofballs get a false(r) sense of superiority so they fall flater on their smug mugs?

      You are one devious Rabbit, roger!

  10. SurvivalBlog has a wealth of CB Radio knowledge… and we’re losing more of it each year!

    Right now, CB is still basically ignored. So, that is an untapped resource that can fill a need, especially for preppers.

    There have been several CB related articles in SurvivalBlog, and it seems they are more important now than ever!

    If I may, I’d like to suggest including a CB Radio link in Resources.

    Over the last few years I’ve noticed a growing, somewhat SurvivalBlog underground, group with CB interests, but they’re too young to remember or have any knowledge of it.

    For so many who are “prepping on pennies” it feels like CB could very well be the untapped powder keg!

    Let’s give the old guys a designated place to leave their knowledge, so the next generation can have a foundation to build on!

    If it’s not passed on, It’s Lost!

    1. Good points all. Agree and it is the reason I’ve doing these articles. There is already a much more extensive article in the pipe that attempts to cover all the available choices for those who need simple to use radios. Pre-programmed, and no test licenses, or licenses free. Provided are options for longer ranges, and for every pocket book. It is an attempt to put 2 pounds in a one pound sack.

      CB is covered not exclusively, or in comprehensive way, but hopefully in a way that get folks into a radio ASAP, and gets them on the air. There is indeed much more to CB than previously recognized as we were focused in large part on Ham radio. The next article will also help reintroduce the use of the old tried and true, and the cutting edge of currently available equipment, and what possibly might be done with CB frequencies. There is some interesting in this for even the Hams.

      We can get into a new CB with antenna for less than a hundred bucks, and we should have a CB to listen with. Odds are it will dominate that basic level of radio communication that is used by most folks. Gotta have a CB as part of our radio shack. If nothing else, our mobile could be a CB, and any other widely available, and popular hand held’s. The CB will be needed to talk to the greater community that is within a 5 miles radius, and handheld to talk to the neighbors while we are out and about on foot.

      Because it is the easiest to use, inexpensive, and still in the inventory, it will be very important. That is what it is. It is not however, many other things, and not secure, but it is a radio. Brevity codes and other techniques can improve our COMSEC with whatever radio we do choose. And we should first choose a radio service that can be use by the least capable in our family and group. If we can move to more sophisticated and longer range radios latter, that would be a good thing, but if we do not already know how operate it, then it is not a good thing. If we have Boafengs, and they are not already programmed and good to go now, I suggest moving on to something easier to use, that you will use. Your life could depend upon it.

      Radio communication is the weakest part of what the Patriot Community needs most, because without it, we cannot put up a strong defense. All the guns are no good, it we cannot coordinate a defense. CB’s are a ‘no brainer’ to use, and that is why they will be used, if not by you, it will be a neighbor who can only use a CB.

  11. I agree with Tunnel Rabbit. If you want to talk farther with a more efficient signal, Single Side Band (SSB) is the way to go! It also gives you a ‘poor man’s encryption’ on the CB band, since an AM-only CB radio cannot decipher a SSB signal. It just sounds like Donald Duck talking. The AM-only CB radio lacks the “clarifier” control found on SSB models that allows you to fine tune the received signal.

    But to take advantage of the greater range and power of SSB, both stations must have SSB CB radios. Both stations must be on the same channel and have the same sideband selected, either Upper Sideband (USB) or Lower Sideband (LSB). All SSB CB radios also have AM capability. You can still select ‘AM’ mode if you want to listen or talk to the truckers on CB Channel 19.

    The only trade-off with Single Sideband (SSB) transmissions is reduced voice fidelity due to the narrower bandwidth. A SSB signal sounds “tinny” to many folks. Others describe the received signals as sounding like the person on the other end is using helium. Fine tuning of the clarifier control on the front panel of the SSB CB radio is necessary to obtain an understandable signal out of the radio’s speaker.

    Beware of the false advertising claims for AM/SSB CB radios that say the radios have “120-channels”. This is marketing hype and is based upon the fact that for each of the 40 CB channels you have three transmission modes to choose from: AM, USB, or LSB. But the practical reality is far different. There are still only 40 channels, and in order to be understood, you must use the same channel and mode as the station you are talking to. AM is used on most channels, including the unofficial truckers channel (CH 19) and the FCC mandated emergency channel (CH 9).

    Everyone must share the 40 available CB channels. Simultaneous conversations on the same channel in AM, USB, and LSB will create such a garbled mess that no one will be able to understand anything. In a case of two AM stations and two SSB stations talking, the higher power of the SSB radios will usually “talk over” the weaker AM signals.

    It would also be difficult for two different SSB conversations to take place on the same channel in the immediate local area. Two stations using USB and two stations using LSB on the same channel would interfere with each other. There is just not enough frequency separation between the USB and LSB signals on the same channel. From the channel center frequency you are only shifting your frequency up 2.4 KHz or down 2.4 KHz depending on which sideband is selected.

    As a result of the difference between AM and SSB operations, various “Gentlemen’s agreements” evolved over the years. CB operators using SSB tend to operate on CB channels 36-40, with channel 36 being used as the “calling channel” to monitor in between contacts. Once contact is established, two stations might shift to channels 37-40 if they want to have a leisurely chat without tying up the calling channel. The lower sideband (LSB) is often selected, with the resulting shorthand of “See you on 36L” being used to indicate the desired channel and sideband.

    Due to the incompatibility of AM and SSB signals on the same channel, stations using AM-only CB radios are asked to avoid using channels 36-40. Likewise, SBB operators are asked to avoid using their higher-powered SSB radios on channels 1-35. Back in the days when there were only 23 authorized CB channels, SSB activity was centered on CH 16. In some areas, SSB activity may still be found on CH 16. Again, either the Upper sideband (USB) or Lower sideband (LSB) may be used – but both SSB stations must be on the same sideband in order to communicate.

    Hint: If you have difficulty understanding the signal of another SSB station, try switching to the opposite sideband and readjusting the clarifier control.

  12. Very timely article. Just last night I got back on the air (first time in 40 years.) I’m afraid that disruption of power grid will impact communication ability more so than any other power uses – i.e., how are other family members getting along?, do they need help?, how can I let then know that I need help?
    A word of warning to the wise – the supply chain is breaking down, most electronics seem to be Chinese, also, it seems that illegal export CBs are becoming hard to find.
    I spent (don’t tell the wife) $150 or so on my starter station. $59 for a Anytone Smart 10 meter which I converted to US CB, $45 for a half wave dipole antenna which I converted to 11 meter, and $45 for 100 feet of rg8 coax cable. Because I am trying to give up Amazon, it was a real job to source everything

  13. Which brands of CB SSB radios are best to look for at a garage sale?

    I live on the coast and have several Marine VHF radios with DSC. I would enjoy an article about using DSC for communication, since it is just a blip.

    1. I don’t think you will find a large selection of SSB CBs at garage sales, so the best brand would be one that you found at a good price, presumably around $20. I would limit it to that amount unless you are certain that it will function properly. Like TR noted, if it comes with a PA that’s a bonus.

      We use Galaxy 979s as our family standard mobile, but there are many others as good or better. We also have a bunch of 40 channel CB portables so we can cover the neighborhood as needed.

      CB is important, but I would encourage you, if you haven’t already, to get a Ham license for the opportunities that opens to you. Our whole family has done so, even the 12 YO nephew!

    1. A portable and mobile CB.

      While it is not the most cost effective, it is the easiest to install, and that is where part of the value could be found. See the Amazon reviews and video to fully appreciate this one. When attached to the same external magnetic mount antenna as a mobile CB, the range should be similar.

      Midland 75-822 Portable / Mobile 2 in 1 CB Radio
      “Midland is known for its portable radios. Now it takes CB to true portability with the Midland 75-822 Micro Mobile-Portable CB radio! The 75-822 is a 2 in 1 plug and play two way radio that’s a lightweight hand held and a mobile CB all in one powerful package!”

      Reviews as found on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Midland-75-822-Channel-CB-Way-Radio/dp/B00000K2YR/ref=sr_1_16?dchild=1&keywords=anytone+at6666+cb+radio&qid=1611963568&sr=8-16#customerReviews

      Video that best explains this transciever: https://d2y5sgsy8bbmb8.cloudfront.net/v2/be377865-f4de-539d-a7f5-cec9efc64457/ShortForm-Generic-480p-16-9-1409173089793-rpcbe5.mp4

      Other part, and component needed to be used with much bigger and better, longer range external antenna that is not demonstrated, but possible with an adapter is used:

      Eightwood UHF Female SO239 to BNC Male Adapter Antenna Extension Cable 3 feet for CB Ham Radio Antenna Scanner

      Wilson W500 54″ Magnet Mount cbradio

    2. This is a popular handheld/portable that can just plug into the car. It is also unusual because it is the smallest handheld CB I’ve seen, compact enough to be carried.
      It will be featured in my next article due out in about 3 weeks. The BNC to UHF(SO239) pigtail adapter listed is intended to connect this radio in it’s handheld configuration to an external antenna. The base that connects the radio to vehicle power and antenna has a UHF connector.

      I should have include this video, which is better that the one from Midland.


  14. Steve Judd,

    Yes, there is problem with ‘over’ simplification, using terms loosely, yet it is an introduction, the start of developing the needed mindset. I am not an expert, but I can also relate to those who are not technically minded. There are not enough ‘experts’ to go around to take your advice. We will be on our own. Few Ham radio operators know anything, and most nothing about what you speak. I know because my General and Extra Ham friends do not even understand my simple explanations about how a military operation might use radio. They have zero interest in pursuing it. They lack not the technical ability, but the martial mindset. They can know more about radio than I do, but they cannot think like a warrior. I do know, however, the basics of what you speak, yet our time is better spent on just getting folks to get a radio they can handle and use. Encouraging them to get a Ham license is good, however, the majority will not, and even if they do, they seldom, in my experience, learn any more than needed to get that license. I often end up taking care of the rest so that they can get on air.

    Again, the purpose of this article and others was to help those who are not technically minded. They can be highly educated and successful, yet cannot relate to radio. I have doctor friends I must explain these thing to. We are not talking about using radio on a battlefield here. We talking out simply operating their first radio. Hopefully in time, it can be about organizing and coordinating civilian activities, and defenses. The attackers would not have the sophistication of nation State actors. That is an entirely different game. If a person is struggling to use a Boafeng, they are in no way prepared for anything more advanced. If we talk over their heads, their eyes would glaze over, and they would tune out. This is my target audience for which this and other articles were written for. I have worked with engineers and highly competent technical people, and coordinated their work with management types. That was my job. These are our rocket scientist’s, they speak and think very differently than non technical persons. I can do both worlds and I too have suffer from frustration. It is difficult to do, and I understand why engineers, mechanics, and high IQ types become frustrated, and why some professionals have little time for it.

    Who would be your audience? There are several levels present here who might find my articles boring and painful. In my estimation, even the Hams are not ready for you. Their hobby focuses on talking as far away and to as many persons possible, and just the opposite, the fewer the better. However, there is a small number of us who would be very interested, but are distracted by other pursuits, and need your help. Prepping is a balancing act. If I focus only on communications, then I might not learn tactics, gardening, mechanics, medicine and more. I recently traded a doctor a linear amplifier and a home made antenna for some AR mags. I’ve got other needs and things to do other than radio. Survivalists must be well balanced, generalists, not specialists. We are mostly self taught, jack of all trades, and masters of only of few. Doctors tend to over prep with medical items, Hams tend to over prep with spools of cable and expensive transceivers, yet cannot defend themselves. Solderers tend to focus only on equipment and training, believing the food fairy will kick MRE’s off the truck, or that they will some how ”live off the land”, whatever that means…. Many vets do not have their logistics in place. How will they fight once they have depleted their food source? I exaggerate not. I know, I’ve been an RTO for these guys. If a platoon of highly experienced former expeditionary forces cannot feed themselves, I fear their is no one who can stop them from taking it… I left, because I saw that they had no logistics, and few plans for logistics. No, the government did not train me. I did my best on my own, and passed the test of combat vets. I know as much or more than my friend who was an SF RTO. He is now a retired E9. He told me so. However, I am more versed in old school techniques. I realize that I am the exception, not the rule. As an example of my limitations, even though one might know advanced infantry tactics, I neither have the training, or the skills of warrior. I do not even know SOP. I have holes in my knowledge, but I know the basics. We can laugh at my bungling attempt to help those who know little, but you do not know me, or them. Please step up to the plate.

    Please do. Now the time is right for experts like yourself to educate us all. Knowing the audience is half the problem, but perhaps now you may have a better idea of what we do not know. At least I will be in that audience. Please do write that article. It is tough to speak to a mixed crowd. I have tried to provide something for everyone, but I am a lousy writer and a poor teacher. It is difficult. Teaching is an art, a profession, something I need to learn more about. If it is easier to give us what you got, in an uncompromising way, go for it. Some of us will be studying and referring to your content for years. We will be pedaling as fast as we can. I’ve been a long time reader of NC Scout, and began my self guided investigation into the topic 5 years before NC Scout of brushbeater.org arrived. If I cannot afford to buy an OTP machine, because I gotta buy ammo, I can not afford to take his classes that are sometimes $300 bucks tuition for a weekend of training, plus travel to another state. No one pays for our education, so we are thankful for those who have the expertise who are willing to share.

    Radio is either mostly under appreciated, or underdeveloped. Radio is the Patriot Community’s weakest skill set, our soft under belly. If rural communities can not talk to each other, then we cannot coordinate a defense. If we have no intelligence to drive our defenses, we cannot put up our best defense. We do not have our communications in place, and could suffer horribly because of that. Yes, Hams can talk long range, they can encrypt, but few will use an OTP, a directional antenna, or even know about NVIS. Encryption can be broken. Has it be tested in battle? Hams are not prepared for the battle field, and would not survive long. I would hope this segment of the your potential audience would put their ears on. My Ham friends have ignore me for years. They are clueless about COMSEC, and the battlefield. They are not warriors with radios. We desperately need your help.

    I cannot reply directly to you, but can only hope that will you will somehow happen to see this post. I would very much like to learn from you. Please go ahead and give us your best without holding back. Make it as technical as you please, in your language. I would LOVE to see that. Given your credentials, I am sure others will fall in. The time is right. I will advertise your articles far and wide. Build it, and they will come.

    Thanks for listening.

    Tunnel Rabbit out.

  15. I look forward to your article coming in 3 weeks on the handheld CBs. Because I’m still not clear if they are a serious radio or more of a toy.

    On TMS Live Stream with Matt Bracken today, I saw a comment by a chat room contributor saying “Amazon is locking down on FCC regulated radios” by the end of this month. If this is true, and if the CB’s are FCC regulated might be good to run the story earlier.

    1. Hi Keybee,

      In the next article there will be not be much more about hand held CB’s, but there will be lots more about CB’s and other relatively simple to use radios, mobiles and handhelds. It might be good to wait. If I could afford it, I would have at least one CB as an alternative, if my primary choice where something else.

      The handheld that I linked to is a serious one, and one of the best I believe. Many CBer’s on YouTube have these, and have good things to say about them. They are also the most compact CB handheld I’ve every seen. I have many of them. This of a size that can be much easier to carry than all other CB handhelds. If I were looking for a CB handheld, this would be it if I would also use it as a mobile. There are less expensive handhelds, if that is what you are looking for, but to assure you, this one, the 75-822 is not a toy. Here is a better video of it than first:

      I have not seen the latest Bracken video, so I go see that this evening. I am not surprised that, yet another large corporation is acting like the government, and in place of a government at the behest of the government, the Deep State, or Globalists. By definition, that would be a fascist state that allows, or works with corporations to enforce, or not to enforce law.

      I would be a buyer of radios, such as the Boafengs, and other open banded Chinese imports before Amazon bans them, if there are no other offerings from small businesses. 95% of the links in the next article point prospective buyers to many small radio business who have the same or lower prices than Amazon. A small business that specializes in Chinese radios is 409shop.com. It does seems as though there is a bit of run going on with radios, the cheaper ones, and radio offerings are going on back order, or delivery times delayed. Prices are rising.

  16. A short comment that may help sort out this “technical vs novice vs laymen” level of explanation:

    There are people in the middle like myself who have a general level of understanding of various areas of science and technology. I used to play around with simple electronics kits when I was a kid but never pursued it as a career. Thus my knowledge is more of a practical level rather than theoretical.

    example; I can find several articles on line that show you how to make a j-pole antenna… its nice to have a “cut it to this length, attach here, use this plug… it boosts your signal this far” instruction. The theory can come later, I need to make that antenna today. Digging around, I see there are some sites that show you how to adjust the dimensions depending on the frequency (a little theory).

    I would suggest that where possible, write the article to address 3 levels of understanding…
    1) this black box does this and that’s why you need it
    2) here’s how you do it, or make it
    3) you might want to know why it works this way in case you need to make adjustments

    In any case, thanks to tunnel rabbit for this article. Lighting one more candle in the technology darkness.

    1. Yes, that is the approach I should take. In the next several articles that are several weeks away from being published, I do get into antenna installation, why ‘height is might’ and why cable choice and antenna gain is important. Writing to several levels of understanding is an art I’ll need to work on. Like anything, it takes practice, and I struggle with my lack of writing skill as well. Putting it out there on this blog, has been an education in and of itself. Unfortunately spring is almost here, and I have not done any of the reloading I need to do, and then comes time to plant the garden, and earn a living. And I’ve got to get to work on my fixing up my old rust bucket. Last time I attempted to drive it, it had a dangerous gas leak inside the engine compartment, and the drivers door would not latch closed. Good thing I happened to have an extra door and fenders. When they fall off, it’s not hard to bolt another on one. If more took a turn as contributors, the wealth of information that could be shared might be impressive.

  17. For those considering purchasing an “Export” model CB radio that operates outside the normal CB channels, please be aware of the reality of such operation. The FCC has allocated the various frequencies below and above the standard 40 CB channels to other functions and users. Many of those users are government agencies.

    While the normal CB channels can be chaotic at times, there is an advantage to using them. Your communications will be amongst many other users within the authorized 40 CB channels. Operating below or above the authorized CB channels is like waving a red flag. Your unusual radio communications will stick out on a spectrum analyzer being used to sweep the frequency band. The government operator will see the signal spike on his equipment and ask, “What is that signal and what is it doing there?” You are therefore better off “hiding amongst the tall grass” of various conversations taking place on the authorized CB channels instead of bootlegging on unauthorized frequencies. I don’t know how much effort will be spent scanning across the regular 40 CB channels. But the government will definitely be interested in searching the frequencies above and below the 40 CB channels for any bootleg signals from “subversives” that are operating illegally.

    By the way, the term “export radio” is a misnomer, since it implies that the radio cannot be used in the country in which they are sold, but hints that the radio “might” be legal in another country. However, the typical “export radio” has a combination of features, frequency coverage and output power which makes it illegal worldwide. In reality, there is no country in which these radios may be legally used as CB radios. The United States has the most generous Citizens Band radio service in the world in terms of authorized channels and power output. But the typical “export radio” exceeds even these generous authorizations due to their expanded frequency coverage and higher output power.

    “Export radios” are sold in the United States as Amateur Radio transceivers for use on the 10-meter, 28 MHz Amateur Radio band. The marketing, import and sale of such radios is illegal if they are distributed as anything other than amateur radio transceivers. It is also illegal to use these radios outside of the amateur radio bands by anyone in the US, since they are not FCC approved for any other radio service. The use of these radios within the amateur radio service by a licensed amateur radio operator within his/her license privileges is legal, as long as all FCC regulations for amateur radio are followed.

    Many people do not understand how the FCC regulations are written. The emphasis in the FCC regulations is on the person operating the radio equipment. The person operating the radio equipment is responsible for ensuring they are using authorized equipment and are properly licensed for the frequency they are operating on. There is nothing in the FCC regulations about the sale of radio equipment, as long as the radio equipment is FCC approved.

    The situation is similar to when you buy a vehicle from a car dealer. The car dealer is not concerned about whether you have a valid driver’s license; that is your problem! The car dealer is only concerned that you have enough money to pay for the vehicle. Once you drive the vehicle off the dealer’s lot, it is YOUR responsibility to have a driver’s license, insurance, and vehicle registration / license plates. The legal use of the vehicle, or any radio equipment, is the operator’s responsibility!

    That is why many nefarious on-line radio dealers include a fine-print statement on their web site that states “It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure they are operating legally in accordance with applicable FCC regulations. You have been notified”. This statement is an attempt to protect the dealer from a lawsuit after a clueless customer gets busted for bootlegging on an unauthorized frequency. But again, it is the responsibility of the person using the radio equipment to ensure they are legal. So buyer beware!

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