| Well, this by far, is the most important paragraph. First of all let me start at the beginning. CB radio is primarily a two way communications device for talking locally to other vehicles. A typical range when mobile could be between 2 and three miles in average conditions but further in certain conditions. It works by radio waves and is simplex. In other words, only one person can talk at a time. If you want to reply to someone you have to wait until he/she has finished talking before you can talk (and be heard) CB licences have been abolished as from the 8th December 2006 so now, once you have purchased and fitted your equipment, it is totally free to use and needs no licence. There are 80 channels on FM that we are legally allowed to use in the UK.
CB radio can also be used at home to talk to other homebases or mobile vehicals. The distance obtainable is much further especially if one of the larger homebase aerials are used. You can average about 10 miles with a base to base contact, and, depending on the terrain, much further especially if both bases are at the top of hills. Mobile to base and mobile to mobile can obtain similar distances in the same way.
CB radios are excellent for convoys (multiple vehicle journeys) as all people can stay in contact with each other for advice or just to relieve the boredom, they can be excellent tools for cruise nights or 4x4 off roading, they can be invaluable for warnings of traffic problems ahead or directions if you are lost.. in fact, they can be an invaluable tool which mobile phones or the internet could never replace.
CB radio is free and easy to use, no exams or tests of any kind are required. No special knowledge is required and help is always at hand via other local CB'ers, groups, shops, forums or your local rig doctor.
| This is a difficult one to answer. It depends on what sort of radio you want, if you are happy with second-hand or new?, do you want one with all the bells and whistles or just a basic one? what type of aerial and if you need a homebase power supply to run your CB with, how much coax you need and so on. On average, from second-hand to new you could pay between £25 to £175
Mobile - For a car you need a CB with mic and power lead (These normally come with the CB), an aerial (Magmount/ gutter mount or drilled hole) which normally come with coax supplied, a SWR meter with patch lead (unless you can borrow one as it's only used once in a while) and some sort of mounting bracket (supplied with new radios) As the CB runs off the car battery (12V) there is no need for a seperate power supply.
Homebase - You can buy CB's specifically made for the home which have power supplies built in. Or, you can buy a CB power pack (rated at 13.8V) and run a mobile radio as a homebase. You will need a length of coax to run from the CB to where you plan to have the base of your homebase aerial. You will also need a homebase aerial which there are a wide variety available, and a SWR meter with patch lead (once again, this can be borrowed). You may have to solder some PL259 plugs on the end of your coax or get someone to do it for you.
|You're never to young
to "breaker break"
|CB's can fit in
|Even on a
| Vehicles - To start with lets see what you need to fix the radio in to the vehicle with. A smal drill and a few self tappers or m4 nuts/bolts to fix the mounting bracket in with, A screwdriver or small spanner/socket set to secure the bracket, a plan to fit the aerial... a magmount would be easiest as you just plop it on the roof/boot and run the coax through a window to the CB, or you might have to drill a hole for a DV type aerial or you could use a gutter mount so the coax would come through a slightly open window or in past the door rubber (Make sure you can still pull the coax through when the door is shut otherwise it will crush the coax) If you have the magmount on the boot it would be an idea to run the coax past the boot rubber than tuck it neatly out of the way as it runs into the car to the CB to prevent tripping when exiting the vehicle. Then you need to put the SWR meter in line, ie short coax lead from the CB to the SWR meter TX socket and the aerial coax to the SWR meter ANT socket.
To SWR your areial in you will need to press the PTT button on the mic and turn the knob/slider on the SWR meter to the set position (while in FWD mode) then let go the mic. Set the SWR meter to REF and note where the needle goes. On REF it needs to move as little as possible. If it flies right up (like it did on FWD) then you have a problem. Adjust the aerial height (Possibly with an allen key) short lengths at a time and note which way the meter goes up. Remember the nearest it is to 0 on REF the better the SWR. A SWR of about 1:1:5 for a mobile is perfectly acceptable.
Homebase - Similar to the above, although in all likelyhood you may need to put PL259 plugs on both ends of your aerial coax. If you are hopeless at soldering please get someone to do this for you. It is vital there are no shorts on the plugs. SWR'ing is the same principal although many homebase aerials will be pretty close and may not need adjusting. Your aerial may be upto 23ft tall so some good fixing will be required. Put it on a pole and lash it to the chimney, or T and K brackets bolted to the wall will be required. Remember at times it gets windy and we don't want it falling over. Make sure you use a proper CB power pack rated at 13.8V and at least 3A. Do not use scalextric or hornby train controllers or battery chargers as these are not smooth in current and will damage your radio.
| There are various help groups on the internet where you can get some sound advice and help from, or you could talk to your local CB shop or rig doctor. There may be groups in your area who meet up which are CB related so you need to find out what is in your area. Most CB operators and even Amateur Radio operators are friendly people and will help you out if you need it. If you damage your radio there are still rig doctors about (check the link below) who will repair your CB rather than you having to go out and buy a new one.
If you decide to give it a go then good luck and welcome aboard..........
|CB radio and 4x4