2 way radios; alive and well!

I’ve been a CBer for 44 years. I put a CB in my '65 GTO when I was 16. Lately, Ive heard a few twits say CB is dead. Far from it! As far as I’m concerned I like the airwaves quiet. These doomsayers joined when the craze was going nuts. They dont remember the early days. About the only thing wrong with CB is foul language due to the FCC giving up and not fining anyone. If you would like nice family friendly radio, keep reading…

In 2000 the FCC created a VHF (FM) Citizen Band. License Free called Multi Use Radio Service. It’s still not popular because no one wanted to promote it. Radio Shack kissed it off save some Handhelds. Its mostly used on construction sites and oil riggers in TX OK and ND. It operates like business band with privacy tones. There are vids with preppers telling you alot of hoo-haw about the band, but at least you can go see the radios. Heres the deal…dont laugh yet… The band has limits, not unlike the 40 channel CB band, designed for short range communications. You get a whopping 2 watts! That gets you an average 10 miles like a CB has 4 watts for the same 10 miles. The band is also only 5 channels. There was only 1 model mobile unit made by Radio Shack. It had a few business band freqs and a cute little knob on circuit board that you could crank up to 5 watts. There is a rule that you can use a pre-2000 radio that can be tuned to 2 watts and not be changable by the user. HA! Well we know what happened to CB. 40-60 watt radios. The FCC is not issuing tickets for power unless someone reports interference with a licenced station. You can get a 20-30 watt ham radio and program the MURS freqs. You an have a 40" Firestick looking antenna or an 8" “spike” like a detectives antenna and go low profile. MURS is great for clubs and friends traveling together. Ive only heard foul language by some jerks in the L.A. There are Handhelds starting at $35 going up to $100-200 for dash mount mobile radios.

1 Like

A good choice in a handheld is a Baofeng UV-5R. They’re about 25 bucks. There’s a learning curve and the radio has to be programed. I’d recommend downloading Chirp software. The UV-5R can talk on 2 meter and 70cm “ham” bands. A license is required to transmit on most frequencies but you could use it for the MURS and FRS bands. FRS is used in those little “walkie talkies” the box stores sell. It also can do GMRS frequencies. Many off roaders are going GMRS. The main advantage of GMRS is there may be a repeater in your area you could use. If so, you could talk to people a 100 miles away. On some GMRS frequencies you can transmit at 50 watts. You have to be careful with a UV-5R and not just transmit on any frequencies you stumble upon or you could end up in some trouble. MURS does not allow use of repeaters.

It’s really easy to get a Technician class ham radio license, so why not? Far more capable than the toy radios.

I’m not sure I’d agree that getting a license is easy. That depends on where you live and how much you already know about electronics. I think that having to be able to identify electrical components in a diagram is an outdated part of the test and there’s nobody testing in my area anyway. Here in western NC, the 2 meter and 70cm bands are as good as dead. Line of sight communication sucks in the mountains. We need the repeater so I’ll go take the test if and when somebody offers a test in my area. For now, the wife and myself use MURS programed into the UV5R’s. We have a VHF repeater in our area that would meet our needs but without passing our tests, that’s off limits. My wife would really have to study to pass the test as well. She has no experience with electronics. I’ve considered GMRS but without a GMRS repeater in our area, MURS seems just as good.

PS: Cell phones are almost useless too. That Verizon guy “can’t hear me now”! I canceled my cell phone. There was always no signal or the battery was dead and if it did ring, it was some spam call. I don’t miss that. I use a Google number now.

Another good feature of the UV5R is that you can program in marine radio frequencies. I added in marine channel 16 & 9 so I can contact my daughter on her houseboat when we arrive. I’m considering a “real radio”. I’m looking at a QYT KT-980PLUS (Gen. 2) Mobile Radio 75W(VHF)/55W(UHF) Dual Band Quad Standby Ham Radio. I may install that when I do my roof fan but I may look for a radio that can do cross band repeating to extend the UV5R’s. 75 watts is a lot of power.

The Technician class license is super easy, and there are practice tests on the web. Even someone with below average intelligence can pass the Technician class test. General class is harder, but gives you HF (worldwide) communications without using repeaters or any other infrastructure. The Extra class test is very hard for most people, but gives even more frequencies on the HF bands.

A few hours spent on practice tests will open up a crapload of possibilities in terms of communication. There are probably more repeaters in your area than you think, and many of them linked. Here in New Mexico (a very mountainous state), we have almost seamless VHF/UHF communications statewide. With HF and a good antenna, nationwide communication is not hard, especially with some of the digital modes we have now.

Ham radio is in a whole different league than what you’re talking about. And with a ham radio license you can legally use up to 1,500 watts of power if needed.