Breaker, breaker, tell me what CB to buy.
September 5, 2005 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Breaker, breaker, good buddies - help me buy a CB off of this here intarweb thing...

When I was in my younger days (early 90's), a few friends had CBs in their cars. It was the source of much fun and, in the pre-cell phone days, an easy way to stay connected. We'd also listen to the chatter on the police bands.
I'd like to get back into it, even if only for a lark. There are lots of models out there, but my requirements are pretty small. I'd like to be able to listen and talk, but also hear any other chatter that might be going on. Used is fine. Ebay is ok, too. This wouldn't be a car model - I telecommute now, so I'd set it by the window.
IIRC, this means I'd need a 'scanner' and a regular unit? Would any of this be usable if I'd want to make the leap into Ham radio?
10-65, out.
posted by unixrat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is probably useless info but when I was in my younger days (early 80s) I had a "car" unit CB in my bedroom and I just "hooked it up" to a portable... car battery like thing. Like a giant 12v battery. Worked great. The battery ... thingy ... plugged in the wall itself.

Anyway, together I bet they'd be cheaper than the "scanner" or "regular" unit of which you speak as there are probably a gazillion zillion car models on eBay.
posted by dobbs at 10:02 PM on September 5, 2005

For police "chatter" you'll need a scanner. See for good info. Don't just run to Rat Shack -- you have questions, they have blank stares.

CB is, if possible, exponentially more insipid than it was in the 1970s-80s-90s, so unless you plan to talk to specific people, you might want to just get a scanner that covers (receive-only) the CB band.
posted by words1 at 10:39 PM on September 5, 2005

p.s. -- Scanners are much cheaper than they used to be, so consider buying one new. Buying on eBay is probably a bad idea unless you know exactly what you want -- many people sell scanners there for far more than they're worth.
posted by words1 at 10:42 PM on September 5, 2005

If you want to listen to police band radios, find out what type of radios they use in your area. They might be digitally trunked radios these days. If so, you specifically need a trunk tracker scanner.
posted by SpecialK at 10:58 PM on September 5, 2005

Turn your ham radio bias filter on.

CB radio has degenerated a great deal in the last few years. It is one of those cases where a few people spoil the fun by being obnoxious, spewing vitriol, and general malfeasance. Ham radio requires taking a test (gasp!) for a license but attracts a friendlier crowd. Local repeaters make a small ham radio work across a very wide area. CB radio equipment works on a different band (11 meters) and the equipment will not communicate with ham radio equipment without major modifications. Visit a local ham radio club meeting and see if it is a group of people you would like to hang out with. I have had a license since 1999 and find it to be a fun hobby.
posted by KrustyKlingon at 9:17 AM on September 6, 2005

This doesn't answer your question about a CB transmitter, but I am happy with my Icom R2. It's a "scanner" or wideband receiver. I can pick up CB transmissions with it and a whole lot more. It's a great little radio, you can program it with your computer, it's tiny, sounds good and they go pretty cheap on ebay since it's been replaced by more recent models by the manufacturer.
posted by jackmakrl at 9:51 AM on September 6, 2005

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