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Old 09-22-2008, 03:49 PM
Chuckyt Chuckyt is offline
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It's all in the antenna. Get a good one and get the SWR low. You wont need an amp.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:52 PM
killdeer killdeer is offline
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The Question is how to tweak range on a CB RADIO?

First you need to understand Radio wave propagation. I do not care how much power you have, if there is not propagation you are not going to be heard. I have made CB contacts of 1200 miles on 10.5 watts SSB (IE LEGAL LIMITS)

So first thing, get a decent recieving CB with Side Band. Put some work into an antenna. Now before you jump on the triband 100 foot tower, who are you trying to communicate with?

Think about it. Are you trying to get the "POWER MASTER OF DISASTER IN THE OCCUPIED TERRORTORIES BEHIND ENEMY LINES"? or are you trying to get hold of a MAG member across the valley in his Suburban?

If you are trying to reach local members then you will want a Vertically Polarized Antenna. If you are going for SKIP (which by the way is about as realible as a Politician), then you will want to go with a horizontally polarized antenna.

I have a few 27 MHZ capable rigs. However my best is a COBRA GTL148, fully legal that has reception that can not be beat in this price range. I have a center loaded mag mount that I cut (normally you do not cut center loaded, do not attempt unless you willing to toss and replace) to resonate at channel 38. I lose some at channel 19, but that is local driving and I am close enough to talk to the truckers around me, which is all I need.

I often call CQ on 38 lower side band as 234 South East Idaho.

I also have my General Ticket, so I have more available. I can tell you from experiance, that if you put all of your communications hopes into one band, you will be disappointed when the time comes to need it. I will always have Citizens Band though, because as long as I can communicate with the larger number of honest people on the road (THE TRUCKERS) then I am closer to help. Being that many areas of this country are dead to cell phones (YES THERE ARE STILL PLACES IN THE US WHERE CELL PHONES DO NOT WORK), having a CB to talk local while mobile is a huge plus.

So my suggestion, is stay legal, make sure the radio has SSB. the illegal radios with FM will be of little use, and for heavans sake, if you want to move to 10 meters get a ham license, it is not hard at all, and the quality of radios jumps up immediately once you start buying the plain brown boxes and stop bying the shiny boxes.

These of course are my opinions and as such are the right ones.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:03 AM
HarryTheSurvivor HarryTheSurvivor is offline
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There are many ways to communicate when TSHTF. Some are covert some are not.
CB and ham radio are one option but these frequencies will be monitored and triangulated to find where you are. You may be mobile but the other person may not be and they can get to you by getting to your stationary contact first.
If you are just a few miles apart and need to contact family and friends there are means to do so covertly.
One method is to use underground communications. Yes......literally underground! this does require both parties to have the same equipment and your communications cannot be monitored at all!
It was used during WWII in many parts of Germany. the system basically consists of two audio amps one at each location, some copper ground rods, headphones and microphones. You are using the earth to send a signal and it has been successfully done up to 20 miles or so depending on terrain. There is NO way your communications can be heard and the equipment looks just like an ordinary home sound system and can be made portable. Yes....you will need a generator, inverter, batteries or whatever to power the system but it does work!
Old 10-06-2010, 10:08 AM
HarryTheSurvivor HarryTheSurvivor is offline
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Just forgot to mention another system that uses the power grid. More than likely the grid will be down so guess whats available to each and every home for miles and miles around? The non functioning power lines!! you can actually hook up an intercom system using the grid and communicate for miles around you as long as your family and friends have the same setup! This too is untraceable and works better than the underground system as long as the power lines are intact but not powered up.
I tried both underground and powerline systems years back and they both work.
Old 10-06-2010, 01:56 PM
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kl0an kl0an is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryTheSurvivor View Post
There are many ways to communicate when TSHTF. Some are covert some are not.
CB and ham radio are one option but {snip}
Umm, what does this have to do with tweaking a CB radio to gain distance? You've posted about this technique in another thread in this forum as well... One that dies out about 2.5 years ago, only to be resurrected by your fascination with this technology.

I really can't see someone trying to connect to a power line with any kind of comm equipment in a SHTF situation.. Wouldn't you think the power company might be trying to turn the power back on?? Are you sure all the wires are indeed dead??

Before you connect, let me know so I can get my digital camera and film what you're doing. When Youtube comes back online, I want to be the first to post the video on there..
Old 10-06-2010, 02:19 PM
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cleatis cleatis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_AK View Post
Im looking into buying a cheap cb radio and make it into a base unit (to be stored for future events) what is the best way to (if any) to give it more range ?

I have been told that you can get an inline amp that will boost the range/signal and if so where would i look to obtain one?

I know antenna lenght will play a big part as well as line of sight ... or is this project a total waste of time and money?

So can one of you really nice comms ppl give me some of your knowledge on this.

As always all help is greatly received
Most of the newer stuff cant be tuned up. Something in the new finals makes impossible to do. Older stuff, Cobra 29 LTD classic can be made to pump out some power. What ever kind you get you can just google the name brand and tweeks you will find help. On top of tuning up finals, (witch you should do with a meter), you can open up the ears on most by clipping certain diodes. Just depends on what you get but all the work and money is lost without a good antana. Good old Amtron 99 will work for most any setup. It is multi-directional, 360 degree and they are tuneable to knock down SWRs. One good stand by for straight 40 channel, Navaho by Realistic. It can be AC or DC and with the right stuuf done to it, you can do good. I got one and with about fifteen minutes of work am getting a dead key of 14 and swing 18. Not bad for a $20 radio. Ebay has them and most swap meets has one or two laying around. Slap on a good power mic or not, just a good little radio that wont break the bank.
Old 10-06-2010, 08:58 PM
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kl0an kl0an is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleatis View Post
Just depends on what you get but all the work and money is lost without a good antana. Good old Amtron 99 will work for most any setup. It is multi-directional, 360 degree and they are tuneable to knock down SWRs.
So glad to see you mentioned antennas on this post. Increasing your 5 watts of power to 14-18 is nothing compared to what a decent antenna can do.

The only thing I see wrong with your antenna choice is that's it's a vertical antenna. Vertical antennas work equally poor in all directions.

It's like taking a rabbit ear antenna and putting it on top of your TV vs the yagi style antenna you put on the roof of your house and point it towards the TV tower. You KNOW which one gets the better picture = better reception..

Works the same in radio land. Tuning a vertical does improve it's reception and transmission but, using a tuned directional antenna and being able to swing it a little this way or that way once you have a signal makes the difference in whether you make the contact or not.

Pushing 100 watts through a finely tuned vertical is about as useful as increasing your 2 watt qrp rig to 5 watts on a decent yagi.

It's like trying to put out a fire with a round lawn sprinkler versus a straight stream nozzle..

Skip "tweaking" the CB, buy or build a decent antenna(s), tune it to the best SWR and enjoy a decent contact.
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:10 AM
gondwana gondwana is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryTheSurvivor View Post
There are many ways to communicate when TSHTF. Some are covert some are not.
CB and ham radio are one option but these frequencies will be monitored and triangulated to find where you are. You may be mobile but the other person may not be and they can get to you by getting to your stationary contact first.
If you are just a few miles apart and need to contact family and friends there are means to do so covertly.
One method is to use underground communications. Yes......literally underground! this does require both parties to have the same equipment and your communications cannot be monitored at all!
It was used during WWII in many parts of Germany. the system basically consists of two audio amps one at each location, some copper ground rods, headphones and microphones. You are using the earth to send a signal and it has been successfully done up to 20 miles or so depending on terrain. There is NO way your communications can be heard and the equipment looks just like an ordinary home sound system and can be made portable. Yes....you will need a generator, inverter, batteries or whatever to power the system but it does work!
never heard of it...wow! What do I google?
Old 11-14-2010, 01:47 PM
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CrypticCRICKET CrypticCRICKET is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_AK View Post
cool thanks for the info ... all i have to do now is figure out the antenna so it doesnt stand out to people.
I live in an area with a lot of CB activity. I wanted a CB radio so that I could monitor local activity but also so I had an emergency off grid method of communication. I picked up a radio at a local thrift shop for $10. I then put together an inexpensive 1/4 wave antenna system which has a very discrete profile. I painted the 102" stainless steel whip and the mast/mount with a flat brown spray paint and it blends in perfectly with it's oak tree background. Even when you're looking for it it's almost impossible to see from the street.

I receive transmissions from the all over the country as well as South America and the Bahamas on it. I can transmit about 30 miles with it when conditions are good and that's with no amplifier. I use a mobile CB for the radio and I can use the radio either mobile or as a base station. I made a video about it.

Here it is:
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:02 PM
Josh97526 Josh97526 is offline
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I have been playing with c.b.'s for a few months now. I have the whole family on board, and we are in the process of getting larger, better tuned antennas to help with our range. It has become clear that a standard c.b. will just not quite cut it for clear, reliable transmission over more than a few miles, if you live in a place with a lot of hills and valleys like I do. But, Ham is an expensive way to go, that also requires licensing and a bit more radio knowledge than most people seeking basic comms possess.
There are a few things you can do. The first and most simple: It's all about the antenna. Don't pay any attention to the wild claims made by some of the compact designs. Although some are pretty darn good, there is just no substitute for a MASSIVE antenna. You want the tallest thing you can find, and you want to mount it as high up as possible. Think of a c.b. as a "line of sight" tool, because that's more or less what you get. If you are in the desert, great, you will trans/receive for miles. In the woods; forget it. You need the giant whip antenna, or do home base to base comms with something large attached to the gable of you house.
As for "tweaking" the range: Most c.b. manufacturers have their units "turned down" at the factory in order to always pass an FCC test. Most are turned down to about 80% give or take. You can not only turn up the modulation on some units, you can get rid of the limit by removing key parts. There are a lot of websites that describe these tweaks in detail, but I would recommend a visit to a reputable shop to get things started. It's highly unlikely that you would get caught running too much power, but if you did, it's the FCC. They don't mess around with people like us, they throw the book at you (from what I've heard). The shop can not only turn up your modulation, but they can break out the meter and fine tune your antenna for the best performance.
Now, if you are anything like me, you are a do it your self'er, and hate to pay money for something you can do yourself. You probably could, but the shop does it better, and you are guaranteed good results. You will also walk out of there with a new found wealth of knowledge about radio comms. I'm still learning, but I'm hopelessly hooked
Old 11-14-2010, 05:42 PM
ssonb ssonb is offline
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Two of my friends and I have just ordered each a Galaxy DX 959 SSB. The radios are coming with a 102 in whip and a super tune on the radios to stabilize the ssb freq and radio power.I may not have all of my facts right but I am just starting and hope you do not mind some novice questions from time to time,and just mabey sunspots willing we may talk on the air with each other.Oh BTW I had been wondering how to set up a ground plane when I found CCs post and video. thanks
Old 11-14-2010, 07:45 PM
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CrypticCRICKET CrypticCRICKET is offline
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...Oh BTW I had been wondering how to set up a ground plane when I found CCs post and video. thanks

You're very welcome ssonb.
When I was looking for information on how to set up an efficient antenna/ground plane system for 11 meters I didn't find much information that explained 11 meter systems very well. I only found one person between radio and the web that knew and understood that stainless steel is resonate for 11 meters at about 102” when copper is resonate at about 108” for the 11 meter wavelength. Once I understood it and applied it- I got results. Seems like the science is almost forgotten these days. I had to publish my result for others so that maybe others wouldn't have to go through what I did to figure it out.
Another aspect of ground planes: Well, I learned that the angle of the ground plane in relationship to the antenna has an impact on the takeoff angle of the transmitted signal and an impact on how much of your signal gets projected towards receiving antennas. I think my angle could be steeper and would as a result perform better for my conditions. getting a steeper angle would require a taller mast for my antenna.
I probably won't change what I have though because what I have seems to perform pretty well.

I recommend that anyone setting up transmitting antennas use an SWR meter to tune their antenna to frequency and check the efficiency of the system. I think it may also be best to tune the antenna to the frequency the very best that you can before using the SWR tuning function on a radio to adjust/match the system's impedance. If you have the tools to check efficiency when you set up the system then you'll also be able to check efficency when something goes wrong and then know if something is wrong with your equipment or if it's just the local conditions.

My .02
Old 11-15-2010, 09:45 AM
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I have another friend who talks about the great range he gets from his 102" when it was mounted on the top middle of his homes gable steel roof. When you mentioned angles the angle of this persons steel ground plane came to mind.
Old 11-17-2010, 12:39 PM
WIG19 WIG19 is offline
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Most of the shops at/around the giant truck stops will peak out your CB. Getting a good rig, with SSB capability applied with a really tuned antenna will get you further than you might think.

Lots of the trucking community on 10 meter or trunked stuff nowadays anyway, so the air clearer in more ways than one.
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