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Old 02-04-2019, 11:29 PM #1
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Do I need a CB Radio? USA TRIP!

Hello everyone! Y'all have been a big help so far in my 4Runner Mod Journey. I need some more help!

I am traveling across the USA (North Carolina to San Diego) this Fall and was wondering should I invest in CB Radio? Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:31 PM #2
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They still have those things?🤣
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:36 PM #3
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Quote:
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They still have those things?🤣
Haha, yes!

...OR, do I need something other than the Garmin inReach Satellite Messenger? Like a HAM Radio?
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:37 PM #4
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Maybe...

The last time I traveled from Chicago to Colorado I had my Cb and all I was picking up was some idiot in Florida jamming the airwaves...on channel 19
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:44 PM #5
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The last time I traveled from Chicago to Colorado I had my Cb and all I was picking up was some idiot in Florida jamming the airwaves...on channel 19
So you're saying for humor on the trip, that's a yes!
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:47 PM #6
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I go by the handle "Candy Cane".
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:02 AM #7
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I go by the handle "Candy Cane".
So if I go this route, I will have to come up with a cool name! Dang, that's even harder!
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:14 AM #8
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For group rides, I have found the distribution where I am to be about 40/40/10 for CB/FRS/2M

CB and FRS are both decent for car to car close range and CB can be entertaining on the road.

For help in the wilderness, only 2M (440 etc) to a repeater or a satellite phone will get you help. 2M is also entertaining.

The sat phones are probably the best to get a signal out in any situation, but generally limited for emergency use only.

SO it's a hard call on only one radio for all purposes.

In my case I have CB, FRS and 2M and have been looking at the satellite emergency phones as well...
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:46 AM #9
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For group rides, I have found the distribution where I am to be about 40/40/10 for CB/FRS/2M

CB and FRS are both decent for car to car close range and CB can be entertaining on the road.

For help in the wilderness, only 2M (440 etc) to a repeater or a satellite phone will get you help. 2M is also entertaining.

The sat phones are probably the best to get a signal out in any situation, but generally limited for emergency use only.

SO it's a hard call on only one radio for all purposes.

In my case I have CB, FRS and 2M and have been looking at the satellite emergency phones as well...
Oh my..more options!
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:15 AM #10
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if you are doing highway miles, a CB can be useful for truck traffic especially in states where radar detectors are illegal. if you are doing the TAT or backroads solo a CB won't do anything for you.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:23 AM #11
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@moshie If you want it for emergency use when you are out of cell range, the inReach is pretty good. You can also use it for texting and emailing just like a smartphone, although there is a bit of a lag. I do quite a bit of solo travelling and it provides good peace of mind for me (and my wife) when I'm out in the middle of nowhere. It does cost $15 a month for the basic plan, but it is incredibly easy to activate/deactivate and there is no contract. There is also an emergency button that will send rescue to your location if you press it. As good as it is, you still need a clear view of the sky for it to work. If you're in a wooded valley, you can still end up bear food.

CB/HAM is probably better if you have multiple vehicles in your group. HAM also takes a little bit of learning, and you are legally required to get a license to use one, though I know some don't. I know some people are pretty righteous about that.

If you're staying on the road and travelling during the day, I wouldn't be worried. I still might have a couple extra gallons of fuel with me for once you get out west. I drove overnight through Nevada recently and went over 200 miles without finding an open gas station. Have a good trip.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:54 AM #12
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you can text and email from a ham radio too if it does APRS or can be connected to your phone with a TNC like the moblinkd. the I-40 corridor looks like it has good coverage from a quick scan of aprs.fi.

(although i personally wouldn't worry about any of this for a road trip on the interstate)
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:45 AM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingTaco View Post
CB/HAM is probably better if you have multiple vehicles in your group. HAM also takes a little bit of learning, and you are legally required to get a license to use one, though I know some don't. I know some people are pretty righteous about that.
Yeah - if you're looking to REALLY piss people off start transmitting on the ham bands without a license. People will actually hunt you down and turn you into the FCC if they can. Just don't. Getting your license is quite easy and it's a super fun hobby: Ham Radio for Preppers: Beginner's Guide - The Prepared

CB isn't wonderful for communications but it's great for entertainment. The best is listening to truckers talking about hookers out in the middle of nowhere!
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Last edited by MossJenks; 02-05-2019 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:54 AM #14
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The question to you really needs to be: what are you doing on your trip?
If you're sightseeing on pavement, you're good without anything unless you want it for entertainment.
If you're doing some trails: with a group, see what they're using; without a group, HAM is the only thing that will get you distance besides a sat phone if you're in the middle of Nowhere, West America.
And after all of that, I've found that my Verizon phone gets service most of the time, even when I wish it didn't. Yes, there are still some areas out here that you'll lose cell coverage, but it's 2019 and they're trying to lose those spots.

I'd say the most important thing is what are you going to do and who you're doing it with.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:08 PM #15
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Having done multiple trips like this… ill throw in my 2 cents.

I don’t have a CB… nor do I want one. There are much better things to purchase, even for car to car coms on the trail. FRS and MURS will satisfy all those requirements while providing much higher quality of communication than CB. I keep a case full of MURS radios just for others on the trail...

Plenty of places I didn’t have cellular, various parts camping and driving on road though CA Deserts, Oregon, Yellowstone. Plenty of observed dead spots in my travels, even near an interstate or road.

I do have a HAM radio, and on multiple occasions been my ONLY line of communication when adventuring. That said, there are even times when that wasn’t enough. Even if I could get into a repeater (Mendocino national forest) I needed a 50 watt mobile to do it. 5 watts off a handheld was useless. Lucky for me I have a crossband repeater capability in the truck so I was still able to talk to the truck, to talk to a repeater. Without it, if I was injured hiking, I would have been pretty screwed.

I think it’s worth mentioning I am a licensed HAM, and in order to really use this stuff you need a license. Yes, you can legally use one in a true emergency without a license, but having done this for 10+ years with really nice gear, it still takes practice.

You really do need to learn how to work the gear, setup your station, program and test repeaters to be effective at it, and in a new area, even that is challenging because there is no guarantee you are going to hit repeaters. Without taking the time to setup and test as you progress through your trip, it will probably be very hard for someone new to get help during a real emergency. Even near impossible if it was time sensitive / life threatening.

That leaves us with Sat Coms… The Iridium network is pretty awesome. InReach sat com 2-way communicator is a solid option. Ever since I learned about the Garmin mini and inReach, I was sold.

A Basic safety plan and a HAM radio is now part of my standard loadout when adventuring, off-roading, and camping. I love that it works stand-alone, but also works as a satellite modem when using a mobile device. Lots of convenience, ease of use, and reliability.

As much as I like HAM radio, the InReach is better for emergency stuff and family check-ins.




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