Cb Radio Equipment
A Quick Guide to CB Radio Equipment
Getting into the fun and entertaining world of CB radio involves having the right CB radio equipment. It's just like with a cell phone - if you want certain capabilities, you have to have certain types of handsets. CB radio equipment is no different. It will determine how you can communicate with others and even how far away you can reach. Plus, there are a couple of legal issues that you should be aware of before buying your CB radio equipment.
The very Basics
Owning and operating a CB radio can be as simple as you want it to be. Most people who operate one for typical, daily use (i.e. truckers and outdoorsmen) just have a handheld radio set. This set is accompanied by an antenna, which is responsible for receiving and transmitting signals sent to and from the radio.
These antennae have to be longer than your average car's radio antenna due to the wavelength of the frequency - 27 Mhz. The wavelength - or length of the wave being sent - is related to the length of the antenna. It is not uncommon to see antennae that are nine-feet long, although many today use shorter antennae with loading coils that "lengthen" the antenna electronic length.
More advanced CB Radio Equipment
All you really need is a handset (or dashboard-mounted set) and an antenna to get started. But, if you want to go a bit further, there are other kinds of CB radio equipment you can pick up. A scanner is a popular device that searches the CB channels for signals, which then are transmitted to your receiver so you can hear what is being communicated.
You can also purchase amplifiers which increase the power output of your unit, enabling it to be heard over certain distances. These are illegal in the United States, having been banned by the FCC in the 1970's. Enforcement of this law, though, is pretty relaxed in most areas, to the point where many CB radio equipment manufacturers and retailers openly advertise them.
Legal Concerns with CB Radio Equipment
As mentioned above, the FCC has banned external power transmitters and amplifiers to prevent people from using CB radios over long distances and with other frequencies outside of the approved channels. This doesn't stop people from doing so, though; Channel 6 is often called the "Super Bowl Channel".
The FCC limits CB radio use to no more than 150 miles from the source of the radio in any direction. It is possible, though, to communicate beyond that range even without amplifiers. Most long-distance use nevertheless is accomplished through illegal amplifying equipment, which is a legal concern you should be aware of when purchasing CB radio equipment for your own use.