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ThingsAbove 04-28-2012 09:29 AM

Better radio option than CB
Prior to getting a Jeep I hadn't heard of anyone outside of professional drivers (aka truckers) using CBs in the past 15 years. The reason is that there are so many better options to CB for local communication.

CB is in the 11 meter frequency band which can propagate well over a long distance but tends to have less than optimal propagation at the sort of ranges used for vehicles traveling in a group. CBs also uses the ancient AM (amplitude modulation) scheme for modulating the signal. AM requires more power than an FM (frequency modulation) method making it less efficient at the same relative power.

Other options for unlicensed radio use are FRS and MURS. FRS uses UHF frequencies and MURS uses VHF frequency. The FRS radios tend to be very cheap and operate at half a watt where the MURS radios can legally operate at up to 4 watts. Both use FM rather than AM and because the are operating in VHF and UHF respectively the antenna lengths are much shorter than what is required for HF communication with a CB. VHF has better short range propagation than HF (CB frequencies).

I'm a licensed amateur radio operator (aka HAM) but when I travel with non HAMs I loan them a MURS handheld radio. MURS handhelds are relatively inexpensive and have excellent range (compared to handheld CB).

MURs radios offer 6 frequencies and 38 PL tones to allow you to keep from hearing extraneous conversations. Some of the radios offer quite sophisticated options and you can use them outside the vehicle just as effectively.

I'd love to see Jeepers move into the 21st century with their mobile radio communications and leave CBs in the 1970s where they belong.

Whats your 10-20 good buddy?

Remus_Redbone 04-29-2012 08:13 PM

CB' are cheap and easy. They are obviously not 21st century technology, but the simplicity is there. When did you last need 38 PL tones on the trail? A few of us have the old bug to play with the antiques, too.

sparky 04-30-2012 10:28 AM

MURS radio's arn't cheap or real easy to find. CB's are inexpensive, have good range (much better than FRS), are widely available and widely used.

You are much better off using frequencies that everybody else does. While 11M is an optimal frequency for DX work, when conditions allow, I've never had and problem using it for local communications.

While HT's are handy, trying to hold one so you can hear it and drive is not the best thing to do. Vehicle mounted radio's are safer.

While I agree that AM CB is old technology, it does not mean it's not worth keeping. It's simple, it's rugged, it works.

Don't forget, commercial air communications is all AM.

ThingsAbove 04-30-2012 03:37 PM

Those are some good points. It is certainly easier to find a cheap used CB than a MURS radio but a new CB handheld is more expensive than many MURS handhelds and new compact CBs are expensive. An installed CB is evidenced by the external antenna so it may be a lure for a thief. Being a HAM my vehicles sometimes bristle with antennas so I'm an even bigger target.

One nice thing about using handhelds over installed radios is that you can hand them out at an event and not rely on people having a CB's installed. The PL tones just help to keep the sanity when kids have gotten hold of a radio (you can filter them out).

As to holding onto it versus an installed CB, it sits as nicely in a cup-holder as a CB hand mic.

But I agree, CBs seem to be the communication tool of choice among Jeepers and likely won't be replaced for some time.

Ruby11 05-05-2012 10:56 AM

Is there a Murs radio with a 2 meter, cb, and family radio all in one? Got any suggestions on brands?

ThingsAbove 05-06-2012 12:32 PM


Originally Posted by Ruby11 (Post 2337475)
Is there a Murs radio with a 2 meter, cb, and family radio all in one? Got any suggestions on brands?

Manufacturers can't legally sell a radio that transmits on both licensed and unlicensed bands so you won't be able to find new.

As far as a MURS only Dakota seems to be the primary supplier.

Ruby11 05-07-2012 07:55 AM

Thanks for the reply. I'll have to do some research.

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