WRAM - We dedicate our hearts,minds and bodies to protecting our great Republic!
Why CB? "C"itizens "B"and
The time lag for a member getting up on a Ham frequency is 3 to 6 months. I don't think we can wait that long. The member going that route and that is already licensed and on the air can set up a radio net amongst themselves today. Most won't be able to get there until they are licensed. ( no license needed to monitor or talk in an emergency)
You can buy a CB at a swap-meet, flea market, Radio shack and be on the air in 15 minutes. Thus I wanted to allow those members who have no time, money, expertise to help me set up a network in every county to supplement the phone call tree.
CB is a fast and cheap way to get comms up. However they are limited by the FCC to 4 watts. Some radios can be tweeked to put out 5 or 6 watts with very little effort or time. However real world range which is dependent on terrain is about 5-10 miles. In the CB world your Antenna is everything. Even at your radios low power you can benefit from using a properly tuned and installed antenna.
If you can get a CB that allows you to use Single Sideband as well as the Normal AM output. This will increase your range slightly on SSB as well aid in COMMSEC as most CB's cant RX just the SSB.
CB is known to most amateurs as 11 meter and certain HAM rigs will TX/RX in that band usually at about 50 watts. Those rigs start new at about $700 and go up to the 10's of thousands.
If you want to get comms up quickly using CB's I would recommend using an Amplifier.
The FCC rules prohibit it under normal circumstances but enforcement has been lax in recent years. In the event of an emergency the FCC rules allow you to use as much power as needed for effective communications on any frequency or emission type.
One source of affordable amps:
There are others Research and if you find a good deal let everyone know!
For Mobile applications I recommend the K40 Antenna. It has several mounting options and has the best gain for the money. However if you have the mounting room the 102" Stainless Steel whip is always the best as it can be used ( with a tuner ) on most all HF amateur bands.
Yes, CB's in stock form can't get out that far, but you can run amps on them or linears that'll boost the range.
Truckers still use them, but with cell phones and the combo cell phone/walkie-talkies, they're mostly for the trucks that are out where theres no cell reception.
The truck I'm finishing up on has both a CB and Ham station in the rear......
CB's are cheap, readily available. Chances are either you, or one of your closest neighbors has a CB. Even if it's not mounted in your rig, somewhere, in a box in the basement or garage, there is a CB or two in your neighborhood already.
A few months ago, I bought a pair of 40 channel handheld CB radios. No, it's not HAM. But it will give me some communication ability with other patriots if things get locked down.
You can buy some of the Ham radios from Ham Fest around the country. Heart of Ga Hamfest is May 11th. I bought several of mine and you can find VHF (2meter) radios that has 25 to 45 watts output for 25 to 40 dollars. I found an Icom IC-720 for 200 and it will work from 1.8 to 30.000 Mhz with about 100 watts out. You can find it if you have time to look.