CB or VHF?

lowranger

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Feb 6, 2017
3,762
Kelseyville, CA, United States
I would go the CB route. Most Jeep groups you would go with or run into have CBs. I do carry two VHFs, incase someone in our group breaks his CB and is unable to communicate with us. They are small cheap and handy to have.
 
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Mr. Bills

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Nov 24, 2017
1,159
Area Code 530
Despite its limitations, CB remains is the most common means of radio communication for offroaders. A Uniden Pro520XL is all the radio you need, mated with Firestik coax, stud mount and antenna. rightchannelradios.com is a good online source with many tech articles, however recently I have been patronizing wearecb.com, which is located in Oregon - prices are good, as is service.

I also have a 2m ham radio in my jeep. Ham communications are superior to CB, but one must have a license and hams are a small minority of the offroading population which limits utility for inter-group communications.
 
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lowranger

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 6, 2017
3,762
Kelseyville, CA, United States
Despite its limitations, CB remains is the most common means of radio communication for offroaders. A Uniden Pro520XL is all the radio you need, mated with Firestik coax, stud mount and antenna. rightchannelradios.com is a good online source with many tech articles. Recently I began patronizing wearecb.com - Prices are good, as is service.

I also have a 2m ham radio in my jeep. Ham communications are superior to CB, but one must have a license and hams are a small minority the offroading population which limits utility for inter-group communications.
Well said. I get all my CB stuff from Right Channel also. Great customer support!
 

pcoplin

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Dec 1, 2018
203
Santiam, OR
Around here, we have all converted to VHF radios. I have two CBs that haven't been used in quite some time actually. If you are looking for a cheap one, let me know.
 
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fuse

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Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2018
268
San Diego, CA
Getting what your local Jeep/Off-Road clubs use is always a good idea, and that should certainly be your first pick.

But in terms of price/performance, Ham radios beat CBs by a mile -- or by many miles. A typical CB radio has a 4W transmitter, but even cheap handheld Ham radios have 8W transmitters (e.g. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MAULSOK/?tag=wranglerorg-20).

If you're ever out on your own and out of cell phone coverage, a CB radio isn't going to go very far. But even a cheap Ham radio has a good chance of reaching a local repeater, and then your odds of getting in touch with someone are much better. Even in remote, mountainous terrain, I've been able to communicate more than 25 miles with a cheap handheld Ham radio.

So, I say, go for both.
 
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IPerkWVU

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Feb 11, 2018
686
Indianapolis, IN, USA
I bought a cheap Baofeng VHF for around $30, the usb cord for $10 and programmed it using free software to the RR frequencies to keep in my tool bag when wheeling. Our club uses both depending on the group out, that handheld works great.
 
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Randy_K

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Sep 30, 2017
134
Canada
I am looking to add a Ham radio for my Jeep. I am taking a class to get my licence in a few months. What radio do people like for their jeep
 

fuse

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2018
268
San Diego, CA
For a starter radio, it's hard to beat one of the cheap Chinese ones. Baofeng has a model that's less than $25: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H4VT7A/?tag=wranglerorg-20. That will get you going and give you something to work with so you can think about what you want for a mobile rig.

I went for the version with more transmit power: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MAULSOK/?tag=wranglerorg-20. I've been happy enough with it that I haven't felt the need to rush into getting something nicer.

That said, these Chinese radios aren't exactly easy to use, and the quality is questionable. You definitely need a USB programming cable to configure them: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CP0I474/?tag=wranglerorg-20. And you need to spend some time actually reading the manual to figure the thing out.

I think the Kenwood 2M radio is pretty popular for off-roaders around here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007470C0A/?tag=wranglerorg-20. Yaesu and Icom have comparable models that are a little more expensive. I'm holding out for a nice dual-band Icom rig with GPS, but the nicer radios get expensive.
 
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fuse

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2018
268
San Diego, CA
are handheld units not as popular ?
I've seen more handhelds than mobile units on the trails here. I also hear a lot of people using handhelds for conversation on the local repeaters.

So handhelds are definitely popular.

On the other hand, there's a lot of Ham radio traffic by commuters, and they're almost all using mobile units like the Kenwood @Mr. Bills has.

Other than organized trail runs, the only people I ever hear on CB are random tweakers.
 

Mud dauber

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
101
South Carolina
I made my decision, I just sent away for my HAM radio study guide. Twenty years ago I was on the verge of getting my license, but cell phones arrived and I forgot about it!
 
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Red Dog

Perpetual Student of Life
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Jan 12, 2019
255
Iowa, Trenton's Tiki Hut
I made my decision, I just sent away for my HAM radio study guide. Twenty years ago I was on the verge of getting my lisense, but cell phones arrived and I forgot about it!
I've been kicking around the idea of getting a HAM license the past year but technical stuff tend to make my eyes glaze over. Keep us updated, this thread has already got me motivated to get my rear moving and get a study guide!
 
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Mr. Bills

TJ Addict
Nov 24, 2017
1,159
Area Code 530
I've been kicking around the idea of getting a HAM license the past year but technical stuff tend to make my eyes glaze over. Keep us updated, this thread has already got me motivated to get my rear moving and get a study guide!
There are also several websites with ham licensing practice exams available at no charge. The study guides will teach you the basics of radio theory and the FCC ham rules, but repeating the the practice exams until you recognize the questions and answers will probably do more to get you ready for the test. The question pool for the Technician license changed on 7/1/18 so make sure you are practicing with the tests using the current questions.
 
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Red Dog

Perpetual Student of Life
Supporting Member
Jan 12, 2019
255
Iowa, Trenton's Tiki Hut
There are also several websites with ham licensing practice exams available at no charge. The study guides will teach you the basics of radio theory and the FCC ham rules, but repeating the the practice exams until you recognize the questions and answers will probably do more to get you ready for the test. The question pool for the Technician license changed on 7/1/18 so make sure you are practicing with the tests using the current questions.
Thank you! I was not aware of that and will look into it :)