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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2001, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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what to look for in a CB radio?

Id like to purchase a little handle held CB radio for traveling ( I just drove across AR,TN, and MS in the ice and snow) and for use in the Jeep.

I know nothing about CB radios, other than the antenna is crucial so an external would give more range than a short soft handheld, and that max power output is 4 watts.

what brands, features, and price range should I look at?

I guess Uniden is good, 40 channels is standard right?
anything else?

thanks!


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2001, 03:12 PM
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Re: what to look for in a CB radio?

The crucial part of any CB is the antenna tuning. Make sure someone sets the SWR correctly for you if you add an external antenna.
As far as hand helds go Uniden, Radio Shack, Maxon, etc. They are all about the same, just some models have more features than others. They range in price from about $50 to $150. You are correct that 4 watts is the legal limit for transmitting power. You will see packaging that tells you it has 5 or 7 watts output but they are refering to audio output. All standard CB's now have 40 channels but you can get CB walkie talkies with only a few channels.
If you want something you can mount permanently you can go from a $30 unit with volume, squelch and channel selector all the way up to Cobra, Uniden(same company) or Galaxie single side band units with all the bells and whistle for up to $200. Base station units can run as much as $700. I would suggest going to your local CB shop or a CB shop at a truck stop and asking their advise on what models are available. Explain what you are wanting, and price range you want to spend, and they will be glad to help. They may even have a good used unit that has been traded in for a lower price. Just make sure they offer you some sort of warranty on it. If they won't offer a 30 day warranty be nice and say no thanks I'd rather have a new unit. They should go through them and make sure they work properly before resale.
I have personally had good luck with the Radio Shack units, but all of mine have been top of the line units that they no longer carry. My next new one will be a Galaxie unit that is the most popular with all the truckers right now. Galaxie has been making Ham Radio's for years so they are a good manufacturer, as are Uniden and Cobra who have been in the CB business for years.

Carey Smith
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97 (TJ) Wrangler
95 Bronco
Middle Tennessee Trail Runners
post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2001, 05:18 PM
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Re: what to look for in a CB radio?

I have a couple cheap GE handhelds and a nice Midland. The things that make the Midland better are it's smaller and it will charge the batteries (as long as they are rechargeable) when you run it off the cigarette lighter. The down side of that is if you use non-rechargeable batteries, you have to remove them before you plug it in. It also displays receive and transmit strenght and has 10 weather channels. The GE's are just basic units with 40 channels and no features.

As far as price goes, the GE's are about $30. A few weeks ago I saw Walmart had Uniden handhelds for $30 a pair (they used to be $60 a pair), but I don't know what features they had. I got the Midland on clearence at Walmart , so it actually cost less than the GE's. Kmart occaisionally has Cobra handhelds on sale.



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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2001, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: what to look for in a CB radio?

Ill have to get out and do some shopping it looks like!

thanks guys!


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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2001, 11:46 AM
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Re: what to look for in a CB radio?

The handheld will not do any good TX/RX in the car, trust me. I was following my buddy and we both had Cobra 45wx handhelds and could hardly hear each other. Once you hook up a power chord and external antenna it's all a big jumble of chords in there and quiet dangerous to handle while you drive. And it's STILL just 4 watts. Here's a site that will explain why you might want a mounted unit instead with the RIGHT power...
http://www.exportradios.com

'91 YJ, I-6, 3" lift, 31s
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2001, 12:11 PM
 
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Re: what to look for in a CB radio?

http://www.exportradios.com

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2001, 12:18 PM
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Re: what to look for in a CB radio?

Our Maxon's work just fine inside the vehicle. They have flex antennas, and I have adapted them to work with an external antenna. Got them at Wally World a few years ago, we have 2 we use for wheeling (in case someone else forgot or doesn't have one), hiking, camping, and when we travel in a vehicle other than our own. They'll work at camp (middle of nowhere), and reach a good distance. They also have 3 weather channels. They'll run off 10 rechargeables, 8 regular AA batteries, or a 12V power source.

I also use another for traveling, it's one we had in the TJ, before we got the weather resistant one from Radio Shack. I put a plug in cord for a cigarette lighter on it, and have a magnetic mount antenna, works great over the road. It also has 10 weather stations, so no matter where I'm traveling I'll pick something up. I bought a SWR meter for tuning, this'll do the most to enhance your reception/transmission without investing a lot of $$$. I run a $1 lawn sale one in the Scrambler, so if it's stolen or submerged, I'm not out a lot. I did spend $9 getting it cleaned up and tuned though.

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