The K.I.S.S. Principle and Transceivers – Part 1, by Tunnel Rabbit

Editor’s Introductory Note:  Because of the length of this detailed article, it will be serialized into five parts.
I’ll begin with a note of warning for those who would delve into, or recommend sophisticated radio equipment.  The learning curve can be steep, and it requires a significant investment of time to become competent. I recommend using the “Keep, Simple, Stupid” (K.I.S.S.) principle. The apocryphal originator of the K.I.S.S. principle was no simpleton. He was the aircraft design genius Kelly Johnson, and we should heed the advice. It is likely that simple-to-use equipment is the best choice for most.
Here is an example of what can happen with some transceivers: Baofeng handi-talkies can inadvertently become locked, and unusable should the key denoted with the ‘#’ symbol is accidentally depressed. A lock symbol will appear on the upper right-hand corner of the LCD display. To unlock it, simply press the # key again. If one is unaware of this keypad lock feature, the radio is ‘stuck’ on the current frequency, and otherwise rendered mostly unusable.
Here is another example, this time involving a good quality, and nearly new in condition, modern ham radio, a Yaesu 2800M mobile. I recently pulled it out of storage to check the operation, and to physically remove the MARS/CAP (MARS, Military Auxiliary Radio System) that limits the unit to the 2 Meter Ham band by removing solder from a circuit board connection, and soldering to make a new connection in some transceivers. I got it in a trade for a couple old CBs. It was too much radio for the previous owner. They were very happy to dump the NIB Yaesu 2800M, and get two good-looking CBs, one with an antenna. The Yaesu 2800M is a good one for preppers in that the MARS CAP can be overridden, or canceled by depressing the ‘low’ and ‘d/mr’ buttons simultaneously while turning the radio on. The code ”A2” appears on the display indicating the radio is unlocked, allowing it to transmit from 137 to 174 MHz. I had programmed the radio prior to securing it in a watertight Faraday cage. Upon testing it’s function, I found that it transmits and receives, yet no audio was available. I must have depressed a key that muted the radio. The owner’s manual did not shed light on the problem. This radio has a sophisticated menu which on one hand is wonderful, and on the other hand, could be a curse. With so many different radios to deal with, it can be a challenge to master them all. Anyway, the ‘fix’ was to do a factory reset by rebooting it’s CPU and cleaning out it’s ‘brains’ to return it to it’s default settings. This fixed the audio problem, but it wiped the memory clean. Because I cannot get a programming cable, I must now spend hours reprogramming it.
TRANSCEIVER SELECTION
Ham radio is not for everyone. Most people I am acquainted with who have a Tech license know little more after attaining their license than they did before studying for the 35 question examination. Much of the test is about the ‘rules of the road’ that the FCC would like you to know. Sadly they have not availed themselves of the technical knowledge offered by potential ‘Elmers’, or other knowledgeable and helpful Hams in person, or on the Internet. The Smartphone is just too convenient, and provides for all of their communication needs. Therefore there is little incentive to look elsewhere, and to strive to master a new platform that offers less. Besides, they only got the license in case the world blew up, and have little current need for it, just like the Baofeng they got that is still in the box. I end up taking care of their programming and other technical issues, so that all they have to do is key up. I’ve finally accepted this as a fact of life of this day and age.
If you cannot invest lots of time into radio, then I suggest going with simple platforms. If there is someone in your family, or group who has the time to become the ‘resident expert’, perhaps sophisticated Ham radios can be a part of your plan, but not all have to get their Tech license.  We can use MURS, GMRS, and even CB.  The Ham Shack should have all these radios, something for everyone, and an ability to talk to neighbors.  The two most popular radios outside of Survivalist circles is not a Baofeng. Rather, it will be CB, and FRS/GMRS. GMRS will allow you to talk far and near, and to your neighbors. A 40-watt GMRS transceiver on a good antenna, will in most situations, talk farther than a 4 watt CB.  It will also talk to the Wal-Mart bubble pack FRS/GMRS radio most already have. Human error and ignorance can disable an otherwise very capable and sophisticated radio. Over the years I’ve had to fix many Ham radios, and antennas operated by Hams.  They got their surfboard, but still can’t surf. In a WROL situation, you will be on your own, and in big surf. A simpler radio with less buttons to push, however less capable, would be a better choice, than a complicated radio that can not be operated at all.

There are several radio types that can used in a complete commo plan for the prepper that is redundant, and flexible and relatively easy to use. To start, choose a primary, install that, and then choose a good alternative to standardize on.  GMRS and SSB CB or standard CB complement each other. GMRS has only 8 channels, plus repeater channels, and anyone with a FRS/GMRS could talk to you. As with any radio, it is important during WROL to use brevity codes and discipline. Do not use a radio as you would a cell phone.  A GMRS mobile can have considerable range, and unfortunately there are many GMRS receiver owners out there that  can hear you. Given this major COMSEC issue with GMRS, SSB CB would be a better choice for longer distances between the base station and vehicle, yet there are no SSB CBs on the market. It might be the best balance of an ‘off the beaten path’ radio that is easy to use, and much more secure, yet we cannot talk to hand held’s. It could be your primary, and GMRS could be your secondary, but because of the deficit, SSB CB and CB would be better as an alternative.
Unfortunately, there are to my knowledge, no handheld SSB CB radios available, but there are CB handhelds, yet these are typically larger than a brick. And because of the long wavelength, and long telescoping antennas needed for useful ranges, these are not practical for everyday carry. GMRS has only 8 channels, yet in many regions that is plenty, and we can use PL tones to block unwanted traffic. If we use brevity codes and limit ourselves to brief exchanges, GMRS would suffice until the threat situation escalates. And because the GMRS 5 watt handheld radios are compact, we can carry a handheld transceiver that can talk to a base station at an extended distances, and possibly to a repeater if there is one in your area.  If there is, then you have major advantage and very good reason to choose GMRS as your primary, and SSB CB, or just plain old CB, as a secondary.
But what about MURS?  We do not need to program a Baofeng to use MURS. A pre-programmed handheld MURS radio, on a good external antenna might be good fit here. In my thinking GMRS could be a primary, a MURS handheld on a linear amplifier could be alternative, and CB, or SSB CB would be good for a contingency.  A whistle and signal fire could be for emergency communications.  However, I should let the user make the final decision.
PRE-PROGRAMMED UHF and VHF TRANSCEIVERS
(No Programming required and easier to use)
GMRS MOBILE, BASE STATION AND HANDHELD TRANSCEIVERS
This is an easy-to-use, and good quality GMRS Transceiver:
Midland MXT400 GMRS 2-Way Radio.
(Recommend 2 MXT400’s, one for the house, and one for the vehicle. If money is limited, install the Base Station first. A transceiver for the vehicle could be used as a replacement unit for the Base Station if necessary.)
MXT400 Transceiver = $249.99
BASE STATION 120VAC TO 12VDC VOLTAGE POWER SUPPLY
Samlex SEC-1223 23 Amp Switching Power Supply, $136.99
(needed to covert house power to 12vdc to run radio)
Nagoya H-20N Lightning Protector (N Female)
$15.99
COAXIAL CABLE FOR A GMRS BASE STATION ANTENNAS
We are using the more expensive and heavy cable, and low loss N type connectors to optimize the performance of the transceiver and antenna.  We should also measure to estimate how much cable to order, and order by the foot to avoid using an excessively long cable that weakens the signal at the antenna, and costs more.  Amazon sells pre-made cable that is of a certain length, but it much more expensive and possibly too long, or short.
We should avoid using connectors to extend cable lengths as the use of connectors decreases signal strength, and if exposed to the elements, invites corrosion and unanticipated high VSWR’s that would damage the transceiver.  Connectors can be sealed from the elements with vulcanizing electrical tape. Minor cuts in the cable can also be repaired in this and other ways. Silicone is not as durable as this tape.  During installation, use means and methods that protect the cable from damage, and it will provide a decade, or more of service.
For lengths of around 50 feet use BR-400 coxail cable, the equivalent to LMR400:
Note: Specify Type N connector for the ends.
Adapters will likely be needed at the transceiver and antenna:
UHF (PL-259) Male to N Female Adapter $4.99 x 2 = $9.98
Using an adapter means we can adapt different radios to the cable as needed.
ANTENNAS FOR GMRS BASE STATION RADIO INSTALLATION
Slim Jim antenna for GMRS. UHF 440-470 MHz
Specify cable connector, N type Female, and frequency range 462 to 467Mhz.
$41.00
GMRS, MOBILE TRANSCEIVER COMPONENT LIST
The Midland MXT400 GMRS 2-Way Radio.
$249.00
Mobile Antenna
Magnetic MNO mount and cable for vehicle-mounted mobile radios. Midland brand. (Note that the cable is only 12 feet)
$24.99
Midland 6 dB Gain Antenna with Durable Spring Base and NMO Connection – Works with Midland MXT400
$49.99
PRE-PROGRAMMED GMRS HANDHELD TRANSCEIVERS
Wouxun KG-805G GMRS Two Way Radio
Wouxun, FRS and GMRS handheld, true 5 watts for GMRS channels 15 to 22, repeater capable.
$79.99
Midland T290VP4 High Powered  FRS and GMRS Two Way Radios (a pair of 2 radios)
Midland, GMRS, pair of hand held radios, maximum 1.5 watt, not repeater capable.
$89.99 (one pair)
ANTENNA ADAPTER FOR HAND HELD Baofeng AND WOUXAN, but not for the Midland T290VP4
SMA Female to UHF (SO239)
Use to connect handheld to base station antenna for low power operations or other external antennas, or for vehicle’s mobile antenna)
$5.99
(To be continued in Part 2.)



64 Comments

  1. I’m a Tech, but didn’t get my ticket out of a crackerjack box. I passed my Novice in the early 70s, when we were still using crystals. When Tech became available, I passed my General written exam, but couldn’t pass the code. Fast forward to my divorce and leaving behind all things ham radio, including the Extra ex. Right after that, Techs were grandfathered in as Generals, but I let my license expire. Then I got involved in disaster relief and was encouraged to start over. So now I have my code free Tech, and several radios too sophisticated to operate. Nothing is even close to what I used to use.

    1. I picked up a minty 2 meter ICOM-28 for $50 off Craigslist. There are no menus on that fine old radio. Because of the age of these radio’s, I would have a box full as they may fail after 30 years of service, but they can be purchased at a reasonable price. Shop Ebay.

  2. I always enjoy your articles however the HAM license test and study guide have little to do with operation of a ham.
    No one needs to know the diagram of an ohm or radiation type calculations to push a button and talk.
    It’s just a way to keep it a tight club.
    You actually drive that point home in talking about cell phones.

    1. There is huge difference in book knowledge and real world application. The book knowledge is supposed to lay the ground work for future real application. The current Ham tech license is more like a driver’s license that any one can passed if they know the FCC rules of road. In the early years, one had to know code and travel far to a FCC office for the test. The barrier for entry was high, and only the most dedicated passed. This was in the time when Ham radio was like the emerging internet. Until the recent interest in preparedness, interest in Ham radio was dying out, so they had to make it easy to obtain a license to replenish the dwindling ranks. That helped, yet only a small percentage go beyond just passing the test. The radios now are also more complex, yet not really much more than smart phones, however, in this day and age, we are overwhelmed with information and compete priorities, and the ‘smart phone’ has become an obsession.

      Years ago, I’ve done work for those who passed the Extra Class examination, yet they could not do what I do. Just get to know the basics, and that will serve us better. Ham radio is like a computer. There is so many avenues one could delve into, but in the context of preparedness, VHF/UHF is the bread and butter. Talking across the country will have a much less importance than connecting, and organizing the community for the local economy, and mutual defense. And we have to be able to do this with whatever limited equipment available, and be able to enable the lowest common denominator.

  3. How timely, I have already purchased several Baofeng radios and are about to take the Technicians exam, wish I had seen this article first. But I’m committed and will see it through. The radio was recommended by a ham friend but not only don’t I understand all the buttons, the instructions are terrible. Very little about how to proceed. Thus I am joining a ham radio club.

    You are correct about how I am studying for the test and it’s mostly just rote.

    I’m not looking to be an expert, just have the capability to talk about 20 miles when the SHTF.

    Since I’m retired, I can see this through.

    Why am I doing this? I no longer trust the government to get it right! Because we absolutely need to communicate with our kids and something tells me the government can shut down cell towers or they will run out of electricity, even with diesel generators,

    I AM really looking forward to the remainder of your articles.

    Thank you for posting them. God Bless.

    1. Hi Francis, I did the same thing. However, baofengs aren’t too hard to figure out. Watch some videos online how to program them with a reliable cable (lots of junk ones out there) and Chirp (free download). Once I did that it was pretty simple. If you don’t have the cable and chirp it’s a PIA to do.

      Chirp also has features to look for local repeaters and other channels and auto adds them now. Pretty cool feature. I have GMRS and MURS channels programmed on it too.

      In the end if you don’t want to deal with programming I agree with TR – don’t get baofeng. If your savvy, but don’t want to get totally involved with radios, or budget constraints, then this handytalkie might be a good start. Its all personal preference and understanding the pro/cons of each.

      Oh and get a better antenna for the radio. I got the newer version of the HT with the bigger battery so it only made sense. Plus now I have a backup antenna.

  4. So, when you say the Midland HTs are “not repeater capable” is it that they have no provision for CTSS codes or is it that they just don’t have the channels programed in them? Can you still hear the broadcast out of the repeater without the CTSS codes?

    1. I’m not familiar with the Midland radios, so I can’t answer the question about repeater capability, but you should be able to hear broadcasts from a repeater with no CTSS. The HT should pick up any broadcast that you are within range of and is on the frequency your radio is set to. The CTSS tone is just a tone broadcast from your radio to tell the repeater to open up. Also, some repeaters actually don’t need a CTSS tone, we had a local one with no CTSS, I’m not sure if it is still active or not.

      1. wwes, that is consistent with my understanding. The one question would be if the Midland has the channel programmed in it. I will have to pull one out and look at it. In my spare time.

    2. The Midland handhelds can hear a repeater, but cannot transmit on the frequency that the repeater hears. They are also only 1.5 watts, but given that they could be talking to a base station antenna that is mounted up high, and is a high gain antenna, the range between the 1.5 watt hand held and the power base station could be several miles. Range is greatly dependent on local terrain, vegetation, and antenna height that is discuss in some detail latter.

      If you had a base station, you could try out these less expense hand helds to see if they are adequate for your needs. The more powerful 5 watt Wouxan that is reprogrammed with GMRS, or a Boafeng 4 watt, that are repeater capable hand helds, may not be worth the added expense, yet those can also be connected to an external antenna, or even a base station antenna greatly extending the range of those radios. It could be that a Wouxan hand held could be used as your poor man’s base station radio that talks to less expensive FRS/GMRS hand helds. Define your commo needs. Satisfy first your local security needs, and then strive to talk further as you can afford to purchase the more expensive equipment. If there is a GMRS repeater in the area, a repeater capable hand held may be powerful enough. However, I am not one to rely on a repeater in a collapse situation. In pine tree covered areas, one would want the most power GMRS radio they can afford. Start out with what you can afford, and experiment now to see if the equipment purchase is sufficient.

    3. In order for a radio to be considered “repeater capable”, it must have two capabilities.
      1. Ability to transmit CTSS tones to “open” a repeater for use. While it is true that not all repeaters require these tones, those that do would not be useable if the radio doesn’t have this capability.
      2. Ability to transmit on one frequency and receive on a second frequency (determined by the offset of the repeater to be utilized). These frequencies are determined by the repeater and are a standard “offset” from each other.

      For this to make sense, the following is a simplified explanation of how a repeater works.
      When you have a radio that is setup for and that is within range of a repeater, you key it to transmit, it sends the CTSS code which turns on the repeater. Then your radio will transmit your message on the repeaters receive frequency, the repeater takes that transmission and “repeats” it by transmitting it on the repeaters transmit frequency (which is your radios receive frequency). So the repeater extends your effective range using this process and typically a higher antenna location and power level.

      1. I have to admit that may not be simple! So here is anexample example using numbers.

        Step by step assuming use of GMRS repeater channel 15;

        Your radio transmits the appropriate CTSS to open the repeater on 467.550 MHz
        Repeater opens (no action required by use)
        You transmit your message on 467.550 MHz, (Repeater receive freq)
        Repeater re-transmits your message on 462.550 MHz (Repeater transmit freq)
        Other radios in range and set to receive on 462.550 MHz will hear your message.

  5. I applied the KISS principle to my EMCOM VHF radio. It’s an old Motorola business band VHF. It’s pre-programmed with all the local repeaters and Symplex frequencies, nothing to do but change channels with one knob. That way I don’t have to deal with menus and other fluff on this radio when I’m in a hurry.

    73 de AD5TD

    1. Business band radios are the topic tomorrow. Per your request, BuyTwoWayRadios.com can program them. They may also program dual banded business radios for the Ham bands, if you are so licensed, and with MURS, and GMRS. These are as simple to use as they get these days, and rugged. They may also program Wouxan and Boafengs as well. Shoot them an email…

  6. More Alarming News Coming out of Israel Concerning Coerced vaccination:

    Fauci: Israel is doing an extraordinarily good job

    https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/297396

    Look at this Big Brother Schtick that got passed in Israel’s Knesset this morning:

    MKs pass law allowing transfer of data on non-vaccinated Israelis

    Legislation permits municipalities to acquire names, ID numbers, addresses and telephone numbers of local residents who have not yet been inoculated against coronavirus or missed second dose in order to encourage them to receive it

    https://www.ynetnews.com/article/r1tS9T7zd

    United Hatzalah to suspend all unvaccinated volunteers

    We are going to be the first national organization that is 100% vaccinated. I want every single person in Israel to be vaccinated.”

    https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/297417

    Health Min. revokes license of anti vax-coercion doctor, party head
    The judge said that Aryeh Avni’s actions pose a real danger to public health.

    https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/health-min-revokes-license-of-anti-vaccination-doctor-rapeh-party-head-659919

      1. Mandatory vaccinations are forcing the good guys out of the our military in droves. And soon, we’ll see contact tracers at our doors waving their Federal badges in our face. These ‘contract tracers’ will also be collecting information for latter intelligence development. During the last census in 2010?, when I refused to cooperate by giving the census takers all the information they demanded, eventually a supervisor showed up, and talked to neighbors to find out what she could. She then attempted in interrogate me as if I were a criminal. She left in tears. When they give a badges to the average person, some of these persons can quickly turn into little Nazi’s. Given the atmosphere, these ‘contact tracers’ will be on a mission more urgent that census takers felt. They will not be welcome in Montana, that is certain.

      2. It will be interesting to see if the current “administration” and Congressional “leadership”, who don’t give a hoot about Israel any time other than during campaign season, will suddenly decide they are the ones we should all be following.

  7. In your series, could you include a “ham radio for really dumb dummies”? Like: buy this, read this, do this. Or is that what you just did? LOL. I need it really dumbed down. I really want to learn this.

    1. You are no dummbie, you just lack the technical experience that is the ground work needed. Watch some videos. Monkey see, monkie do. This is about as simple as I know how to put it. All the parts are listed, and BuyTwoWayRadios.com could answer your questions. If you have specific questions, I would do my best. Let’s start there.

    2. SaraSue, You and I are in the same boat, hahaha. Radio speak is a foreign language for me. Tunnel Rabbit does a great job explaining, and I am going to print off several copies of his articles to keep with the radios.
      Hug the dogs for me! Krissy

      1. One day Krissy, I’ll be a ham operator. And when I achieve that, I will document the process from a dummy perspective. It’s the same way with guns. I own them. I can shoot them. I usually hit the target! But, that’s the limit of my knowledge. There’s so much to learn!

        The “puppies” say hello!

    3. These are as simple as it gets these days. They are designed to be easy to use. Odds are your neighbors, if you have any, have radios that can talk to these radios. If you have trouble plugging in the battery charger, give me an email though the blog. Start by turning on both radios and attempting to talk to the other. This will give you a good experience and confidence. After you get the ‘hang of it’ it will be easier. I personally have 6 of these, plus a box full of others like them. Use channel 15 to 22, GMRS, for the long range possible with these. These can also talk to Boafengs. Krissy ought to get some too. Please pass it along…

      Midland T290VP4 High Powered FRS and GMRS Two Way Radios (a pair of 2 radios)
      Midland, GMRS, pair of hand held radios, maximum 1.5 watt, not repeater capable.
      https://www.buytwowayradios.com/midland-t290vp4.html

      Here is video review of this radio.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHlpBy3GeqY
      $89.99 (one pair)

    4. Here is a better and actual review of the Midland T290 handheld. I wish it were as simple as a business band radio, but the risk, price wise, is fairly low. We’ll take a look at the business radios tomorrow. Regardless, if you cannot figure them out, these could be useful in the future as a neighbor could figure them out as this type of radio all have similar layout, or are about the same to operate. Video starts at the review.

      https://youtu.be/7XswtNB9pBQ?t=735

    5. Hi SaraSue,

      Part 2 is now up and I found that I had forgotten about a radio that is on my list that I believe is even easier to use than the Midland T290. I am changing my recommendation to this radio. When you buy it, select ”custom frequencies” and ask them to program it for the 8 GMRS frequencies only and to set the power on hi.
      https://www.buytwowayradios.com/olympia-p324.html

      The reason I included business band radios are that they are the simplest to use and are generally rugged. However, the trick part is asking them to program it, and that is a hassle for some, but I believe the extra step in purchasing this radio is well worth it in your case. And I believe it is a high in quality radio. If you are ready to spend the money on a powerful mobile, they can program this for you as well. However an antenna must be installed, and a power supply used if installed in the house. https://www.buytwowayradios.com/icom-ic-f6011-52.html

      The antenna installation will be detailed in parts 4 and 5.

        1. There is more coming about how to install a base station antenna in parts 4 and 5.
          I would read though it even if it does not make complete sense to you right away.
          I have found that anytime I was learning something new, it was best to slog through it, and allow my brain to assimilate what it could at the time of reading or first exposure, and to let it simmer in the back ground over days and weeks if necessary.

          Eventually it spits out a solution, or asks better questions, and the process repeats.

          It is difficult to write to all levels simultaneously, and it is difficult to relate what one knows so well to those who have no back ground. Please be patient, I am striving to do better. We should be patient with ourselves as well.

  8. Either you guy’s don’t have much contact with the rest of America , or get around much lol.
    But this is the second article that Tunnel Rabbit has written that he claims there are no sideband cb radio’s.
    Well I have to say they sell brand new ones every day, they are not cheap but they can be found easily. Just a couple of name’s come to mind Magnum s9, stryker and many others are easily available.

    1. @ B Rhoads. TR stated: “Unfortunately, there are to my knowledge, no handheld SSB CB radios available…” key word being HANDHELD SSB CB radios. If you have knowledge of a handheld SSB CB radio….please share the link where to find it.

      1. Not to cause a fuss but under transceiver selection Mr Rabbit clearly states there are no ssb cb’s on the market , that is incorrect. He is correct about handheld sideband cb’s. An internet search for sideband cb’s will bring many results. Like I said before Magnum s-9 , Sryker, cobra and many others make and sell ssb cb’s All you have to do is look. Just so you know I am a general class ham.

    2. A SSB CB Thrift Store Score!, by Tunnel Rabbit
      https://survivalblog.com/2021/02/06/ssb-cb-thrift-store-score-tunnel-rabbit/

      In this 5 part article, there is large section devoted to CB’s that also features the most compact CB handheld that I am aware of, but it is not a SSB CB handheld.
      I would like to know if there is a SSB CB hand held out there. Please let me know. Because of the very long wave length, and the very small ‘rubber duck’ antennas on these CB handhelds, that make them practical to carry, the range is also very short, and usually no more than a 5 watt GMRS radio.

        1. More ‘teasers’ for radio nuts. I looked up the Magnum S9, and Magnum 10-12 and Cherokee ah-100 handhelds. Perhaps on Ebay? These would have fit into the last part of CB section of the article that might be available in Part 3. The Anytone AT-6666 would be the equivalent to the Magnum S9. These are also becoming hard to find new. Look up the Anytone Smart am/fm only, 10,11,12 meters, namely 26 to 30Mhz, and for only $60.00. Cheap and tiny, these would make a good clandestine manpack radio that could fit into a 1 quart canteen pouch.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkopix6xTIw&t=9s

          1. These are not teaser’s at all you asked if there were hand held ssb radio’s And I gave an answer. Perhaps if you would slow down and listen us elmmer’s could and would help in your quest.
            As much as I dislike face book market place is a source for radios, A Large truck stop with a cb shop is another , ham shows , Craigslist etc. As I said new ones also they are marked as export radios but you can buy them they are going to cost you, like ammo radios are booming because people are panicked and hoarding them.
            Some names for sideband cb’s that work just as well as the name brand ones are Sears road talker, realistic / radio shack, Cobra 142/148, and on and on.
            Stay away from rci 2950, cobra 138, president 2510 these older models may not be repairable as parts are no longer made and scarce. Good day

  9. I know we’re all trying to avoid amazon, but a simple search for cb radio ssb yields this new radio with SSB.

    https://www.amazon.com/President-McKinley-USA-Channel-Radio/dp/B01N0A8GO2/

    @$180 the price is in line with other CBs….

    See the links below for reviews and recommendations.

    https://www.wearecb.com/ssb/

    https://cbworldinformer.com/best-ssb-cb-radios/

    n

    (and @tunnelrabbit, I appreciate the articles, they always give me something to think about.)

  10. ” a MURS handheld on a linear amplifier ”

    Every MURS radio I know of uses FM emissions. They do not require a linear amplifier – a class C amplifier would work properly.

  11. On the handheld cb with Single Sideband capability, I haven’t seen any. However, a few years ago a CB shop in Florida was selling Midland model 75-822’s that had been modified to add in SSB. I got one and like it. I’m not sure if he’s still doing selling them. I believe the mod for adding SSB is quite simple, like flipping a DIP jumper switch or two on a circuit board inside. I saw a YouTube video on the how to do the modification, but it was both in a foreign language and a bit blurry.

  12. TR,

    Good start! Looking forward to the other installments.

    Please note that TR said he didn’t know of any HANDHELD SSB CB radios.

    The links I followed that came from the responses above lead to MOBILE SSB CB radios. There is a significant difference in size and weight and possibly power output. I am not aware of any handheld SSBs either, but would be interested should someone know of one. Meanwhile, the time may come when engineering and manufacturing produce a compact design for a handheld SSB CB….that would be interesting.

    Red Rover
    Ham Extra & General R/T w/Rdr

    1. Interesting indeed. I’ll need time and internet access to determine if these are full power, and whether they are pre-programmed for the GMRS repeaters. These may or may not be the equivalent to the Wouxan hand held featured. It is very difficult to find full power, 5 watt, GMRS hand helds that are repeater capable. The Wouxan was the only one I could find. The Boafeng ”Uv5X GMRS” is the full model designation, is not easy to find for sale either. If you know where these are available, please list their specs. and compare with the Wouxan handheld, and provide the link today if possible as this is the topic du’jour. A lower cost GMRS handheld that more capable then the Midland handhelds would be welcomed. I’ll be looking if my internet connect allows.

      1. Found this about the radio: https://www.radioddity.com/products/uv-5x

        Or straight from the source

        https://www.baofengradio.com/collections/uv-series/products/uv-5x?_pos=1&_sid=8d4afe621&_ss=r

        2 pack for $60 – not too bad! Antenna is integrated but not sure what exactly that means as these seem the same otherwise. It would be interesting to get some and see if behind the curtain you could still swap antenna or create a dipole.

        Details:

        The Baofeng UV-5X is the GMRS version of the classic model UV-5R. It features 30 GMRS pre-programmed channels + 11 NOAA channels with NOAA Weather Radio alert. These radios are ready to go, right out of the box. A GMRS license is required. FCC ID: 2AJGM-P51UV

        The UV-5X GMRS is repeater capable and has the 8 repeater pairs programmed in from Channel 23 to 30. GMRS power levels and wide-band capable signal will allow a further talking range than FRS radios. When used with a GMRS Repeater, the range is greatly increased.

        [Classic Design] Compatible with BL-5L 3800mAh extended batteries as well as other accessories of UV-5R series, except antenna. The UV-5X is equipped with an integrated antenna, which will bring a more stable transmit-receive.

        [Additional NOAA Alert] Always be one step ahead of horrible weather. The NOAA function will automatically scan and send alerts to keep you aware of approaching severe weather. Another communication option in times of disaster when cellular towers are always overloaded.

        [Simple Operation] Easy to read with tri-color display. Most basic settings are accessed via the Menu and Keypad. Features 9 sensitivity levels for VOX hands-free operation. 128 Channels, 50 CTCSS tones and 104 DCS Digital Coded Squelch choices. More advanced settings are available when connected to your computer.

        1. Excellent find. My Internet is spotty. The Boafeng UV5X GMRS would certainly be my choice over the Wouxan listed, as it is about 55% less, and cheaper than the Midlands at $40.00 each that only put out 1.5 watts verse about 5 watts for the Boafeng. It could be a toss up as some need the simplicity, however, set the Boafeng to the frequency and output level, Hi or Lo, and depress the # button to lock it, and that way, the user only has to be able to turn it on, and push the PTT button to talk. This would be as simple as can be.

      2. Nerd Specifications:
        General
        Frequency Range: GMRS (RX & TX) | 136-174 & 400-520MHz(RX)
        Memory Channel: 30 GMRS + 11 NoAA Weather Channels + 128 Scanner
        Operation Voltage: DC 7.4 V ±10%
        Battery Capacity: 1800mAh (Li-Ion)
        Frequency Stability: ±2.5ppm
        Operating Temperature: -20℃ to +50℃
        Mode of Operation: Simplex
        Antenna Impedance: 50ohm

        Transmitter Part
        RF Output Power ≤5W(GMRS)
        FM Modulation 11K0F3E@12.5KHz
        Adjacent Channel Power 60dB @ 12.5KHz
        Transmission current ≤1500mA

        Receiver Part
        Receive Sensitivity 0.25μV (12dB SINAD)
        Adjacent Channel Selectivity ≥55dB@12.5KHz
        Inter Modulation and Rejection ≥55dB@12.5KHz
        Conducted Spurious Emission ≤-57dB@12.5KHz
        Rated Audio Power Output 1W @16 ohms
        Receive current ≤380mA
        Rated Audio Distortion ≤5%

  13. If one would be up to the challenge of a more complicated and capable GMRS base station and mobile radio that might be programmable latter as a open banded UHF/VHF Ham band capable:
    https://baofengtech.com/product/gmrs-50×1/
    $199.89

    BTECH Mobile GMRS-50X1 50 Watt GMRS Two-Way Radio, GMRS Repeater Capable, with Dual Band Scanning Receiver (136-174.99MHz (VHF) 400-520.99MHz (UHF))

  14. Tunnel Rabbit, Great info. Uniden has come out with the Bearcat 980 40-Channel SSB CB radio. It’s very compact and has good reviews. Amazon has them for $190 or so, which is not cheap. Will that work? Whatever you do I don’t recommend ordering them from the HURETD website where they list for $87. They scammed my credit card and I had to cancel it. God Bless.

    https://www.amazon.com/Uniden-Sideband-WeatherBand-Cancelling-Compatible/dp/B007B5ZAES

    1. Amazon had the Uniden 980 SSB CB for $140.00 and now is out of stock. Radios are starting fly off the shelf. That is an outstanding buy. If you can get friends into that SSB radio, you will have an edge, an off the beaten path communications that few can scan and understand your traffic. This article is in 5 parts. I believe Part 3 is the part that gets deeper into CB’s, and into unusual CB transceivers for the adventurous that would give them unusual and advantageous capabilities. As a sneak peak, look up videos on the Anytone AT-6666, and the Anytone Smart for $60.00. Get the Anytone Smart that, with a soldering iron, could be a free band CB in AM and FM!. If I was not buying bullets and mags, I’d be buying a box full of Anytone Smarts.

  15. The excellent article by Tunnel Rabbit about Ham Radio illustrates the SurvivalBlog principle of finding like minded people. +Some areas in the USA are more conducive to living near other preppers.

    NOT all people have the diligence to understand the radio equipment, they buy.

    ‘Often’ in a large enough group, there will be a someone with a knack for the needed skills. The Tunnel ‘Sparky’ Rabbit type will be a cherish member of any group.
    …… It takes one person to explain ‘uniformity’ of frequency, +using the ~correct size antennae for the equipment, +the expected battery life for different use periods, and of course, most importantly +the expected range of the equipment.
    +Someone capable of reading directions with the equipment, and able to explain it to everyone else, is always an asset in a group.
    *******
    ********

    There are advantages to have a knowledgeable person around, that understands Shortwave Radios. …. Currently the Ham Radio Clubs provide essential services during Emergencies, when other communication systems are NOT working or overloaded.

    Millions of Texans recently lost their electrical power. The Electrical System operators built for Global Warming, and installed Wind Mills for the future. The operators needed MORE electricity during the Cold Spell (Remember, it’s Global Warming!!), and found out the Wind Mills could NOT provide the desired power needs.

    The Swamp Media is telling us, the problem was with the ‘Fossil Fuel’ generation of power. Read more than the FAKE NEWS. … The Wind Mills were suppose to be the power providers of the future. [What was really needed was dependable Fossil Fuel power plants and/or Nuclear plants providing power; NOT unreliable Wind Mills.]

    Even worse, there was a decision made to start rolling blackouts across Texas. [Dang it, Texans acting like Californians now days. And, it was a disaster. = people died!] … The ‘blackout strategy’ rolled into one of the world’s largest gas fields, the Permian Basin.

    No longer was Natural Gas being pumped to the homes of Cold Texans and Fossil Fuel plants. The power plants shutdown, and froze in the Cold Weather. A power plant can’t be restarted with a ‘flip’ of the switch.

    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state. Some of the council lived in other States; they were recently on the council. I read where ~all ‘out of Staters’ recently resigned.

    There will be some changes in the near future to the ‘structure’ of the Texas Electrical Grid.

    Many people scoff at the ‘self sufficiency’ goals of the preppers. The daily news make the prepper goals ~> like Golden Wisdom.
    Information on SurvivalBlog, including the Ham Radio advice, can help in ‘life or death’ situations, that seem to occur more frequently now days.

  16. Don’t forget the “power” of a good antenna. 100 Watts of broadcast signal leaving the transmitter just comes crashing right back into it if the antenna cannot radiate it. One drawback of some FRS/GMRS radios is that the antenna is molded into the radio and cannot be replaced.

    In addition to the requisite Baofeng radios, I have several Yaesu VX-6 handheld radios. I removed the factory rubber duck antennas on all of them and replaced with ones tuned for the 2m and 70cm bands the radios use. On the Yaesu’s, I can reliably hit a repeater 15+ miles away using only 0.3W of power because the antenna efficiently radiates those 0.3W. The radio is capable of 5W, but being able to effectively communicate at a much lower power level (6% of the maximum output) greatly improves battery life, which will be vitally important in a grid-down scenario.

    Also, transmitting with as little power as possible is important from an OpSec standpoint. You want your signal to go only as far as you need it to — and no farther. You never know who else is listening…and perhaps direction finding.

    I never fail to learn a TON from this site. Thank you JWR and all who contribute.

  17. “Also, transmitting with as little power as possible is important from an OpSec standpoint. You want your signal to go only as far as you need it to — and no farther. You never know who else is listening…and perhaps direction finding.” From TheGrayMan762 comment.
    *******
    A political comment: =
    A famous, yet NOT so famous person with a Ham Radio license. =

    “Confirmed: Nellie Ohr Lied About Ham Radio To Congress…”
    Nellie Ohr is the wife of DOJ official Bruce Ohr. Nellie Ohr, a specialist in Russian matters, was also a contract employee of the CIA for multiple years.

    During congressional testimony, Nellie Ohr was asked when and why she obtained the Ham radio operators license. Ms. Ohr testified she obtained the license in 2015, “well before” she began working for Fusion GPS. Obviously this statement conflicts with the public FCC record showing she obtained the license in May 2016.
    [from TheConservativeTreehouse, April 2, 2019]
    *******

    There is a lot of conjecture about why Nellie Ohr obtained a ‘Ham License’ ~ Her answers do NOT seem to be copasetic to her employment and behavior. Nellie Ohr was part of the group, spying on and lying about President Trump. Her husband worked as an important lawyer with the US Justice Department.

    She obtained a Ham License in her 50’s. [You’re never too old to get a license.] Nellie Ohr told Congress, she wanted to join the local emergency ‘safety’ net. There is NO record of any such activity by Nellie Ohr.
    Ham radio gives the possibility of broadcasting without much public record. … With cellphones and computer communications, there is a record of contacts kept by the service providers.
    ******
    I do NOT own a shortwave radio that broadcasts. I only have the inexpensive portable ’emergency’ radio that can receive messages, during power outages.
    [It could be said, “I want to belong to the emergency ‘safety’ net, ~without obtaining a license. No need for one, as I can’t broadcast. … I can just hear when it’s time to report to the FEMA camp; for everyone that doesn’t have a COVID-19 vaccination. (A joke hopefully)]
    ******

    “directional finding” is a real process of pinpointing the location of someone using a shortwave radio. The US Military will track enemy ‘shortwave transmissions’ through ‘directional finding’
    It’s possible to see such things replicated in old movies. Plus, enemy ‘spies’ using a small ham radio are located by ‘directional finding’ in the old movies too.

    Two lines on a map are drawn, in “directional finding” ~ Where they cross pinpoints the Shortwave Transmission.

  18. “A simpler radio with less buttons to push, however less capable, would be a better choice, than a complicated radio that can not be operated at all.”

    Well said. TR and I sometimes disagree, but here, TR has nailed it.

    Our group standard mobile 2-meter radio is the Kenwood TM-281. Very simple to operate, and has a speaker right on the front panel. It can be operated on MURS (in an emergency, of course) by removing one resistor.

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