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gr8white

CB Radio for my truck?

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Im going to be doing an 8 month solo trip in my 2003  Dodge Ram 2500 4 door long bed pulling a 33 ft 2015 KZ Spree.  I was hoping to buy a CB radio tomorrow night off of Amazon and install this weekend.  Ive been looking and cannot figure out what to get.   I assume an antenna comes with it?  How do I run the antenna wire to the outside of the truck?  I would like to get something regardless of price  that would provide me with weather and the most entertainment and emergency help as possible. 

Any advice on what to get would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 

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It has been quite a long time since I was involved with CB radio so most of my knowledge is somewhat dated, but the first thing I would offer is to ask why you want a CB in the rig? While they can be useful, you won't find many RV travelers on the air and those who are seldom respond, or at least that was the case when I removed mine some years ago. There are still many truckers on them so you might get enough useful information from them to meet your needs. If for emergency communication, a major carrier cell phone is far more reliable. 

Looking at Amazon's selection of CB radios, Uniden, Cobra, & Midland were all major players in the field back when I was involved so I would probably look to one of those names. As I look at the selection, only the hand-held untis usually have an antenna with them so if you are looking at one permanently installed you will need an antenna and the cables to connect it. There are kits available like the Pro Trucker by Uniden, which looks like it would be a good choice. 

Getting the cable from the radio to the antenna can be a challenge if you want to keep it hidden and usually requires a hole in the body somewhere but you might be able to run it through an existing opening in the firewall to the engine area and then out via the hood to an antenna mount. The kit in my link supplies a mounting bracket that attaches to a trucker type of mirror bracket. 

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Most CB radios do NOT come with an antenna as there are so many antenna mounting options. The quality of antennas can also impact your transmission range and quality. If you want to use CB a good antenna, properly mounted and grounded, along with a quality radio like Uniden or Cobra are musts. Unless you are going to be traveling in full on boonies most of the time I would simply rely on a good cell phone plan. Even if you are in the fringes where text/data may not be available you can generally still place an emergency call. 

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My advice would be to visit the local truck stop(s).  They usually have a shop where they sell CB radios and equipment.  I doubt they'll be much higher than Amazon.  More importantly, they probably know where the local CB guru is who helps out all the truckers.  It might be worth your while to have them install it for you.  The shop clerk might even be knowledgeable about the subject also.

I don't remember ever buying a CB radio which came with an antenna.  Also, you'll need an swr meter to trim the antenna if the radio you choose doesn't have one built in.

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We noticed a major decline in the use of CB usage over the years. Especially the further west you went. I also seem to recall that while Channel 19 was used in the east someplace along the line different channels were used. A real pest trying to figure that out.

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We have had one for many years way before we had  a RV. It is on Chan 19 in the truck when towing we are montering  not chatting unless unless we are called. CB has come a long way since the early days and is much more "civilized" now. The CB is just another travel tool like the Tire pressure monitor, back up cam, etc. We have used it when in a RV convoy . The truck stops carry a wide variety of CB's antennas and accessories. 

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I have a CB which I seldom use but when pull alone I do turn it on when traffic stopped to figure out the problem and which lane I should be in just by listening.

Clay with a 40 foot fifth wheel

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Can't really add much to what has already been stated about current CB usage.  We have had a handheld CB for several years now that we keep handy.  It has rechargeable batteries and works pretty good up to about 1/2 of a mile.  It does have a small 12" rubber antenna w/magnetic mount you can attach it you need more distance.  What I like about it is we never had to mount it or plug it in, plus we can carry it in the RV, the car, and the motorcycle.

While traveling we rarely monitor it.  If there is an incident or backup on the road we might turn it on to get information.  Usually our cell phone app Waze has faster more up to date info though.

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I go back far enough that we used to look for a green light in a truck's  w/s for someone to talk to. Green got squashed, and everybody went to amber for YEARS.  My Cobra 29 is for sale, WAY too much filth and no courtesy like the old days.

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Are you comfortable with wiring?  You will have to find a neutral and positive to connect to.  Then punch a hole somewhere to run the antenna cable.  Cables/antennas do not come with a radio.  Also, you will have to set the antenna with an swr meter.  If not, you can still listen but don't try to transmit/talk on one, you will burn out the finals then all you will have is a non working gadget on your dash.  Then if it's not a magnetic mount, drill usually 3 small holes to mount it unless you have somewhere to mount it.  Mounts are many, different types.  These holes will be permanent.  I used to run CBs, have no use for them now.  I won't run one and force my wife to listen to the vulgar, insulting language that occasionally pops up.  Like mentioned, before you go the route and install one, pick up a decent hand-held unit.  You may find they are not a great tool any-longer.  At one time, long before GPS and good cell-phones, vehicles with huge display screens, they had their place.  These things used to be a big theft item, I have lost 2 from vehicle break-ins, I doubt it now, but it can happen, thieves still steal just for the thrill of it.  Again, if I felt the need to have one, it would be a hand-held.

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Used a CB when driving OTR and it was off unless a traffic scene described above existed or I was at a customer, it was too annoying with all the BS and arguing. All alone on a stretch of highway, I had to listen to how someone made perfect sandwiches, ingredient by ingredient, for nearly 1/2 hour, unless I turned it off. Seems they had a boosted system that would squash everyone else and loved to use it. Finally seen two trucks going the opposite direction as the food talk got clearer and louder. I listened cause I was just bored and curious as to just how long the BS would go on. I have a Cobra from that truck that is stored in a box in a tote, don't know why, and will sell or donate it at an upcoming campfire to an interested party.I see their usefulness if others in an RV convoy have them, but chances are far greater that they'll have walkie talkies as they are sometimes used docking at camp. 

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9 minutes ago, rm.w/aview said:

I see their usefulness if others in an RV convoy have them, but chances are far greater that they'll have walkie talkies as they are sometimes used docking at camp. 

We have convoyed using FRS radios as they have far less traffic to interfear. 

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I got a handheld Cobra. It has a small rubber antenna and also came with an external magnetic mount antenna for longer reach. It has rechargeable batteries and a 12v adapter plug. I use it mostly for when I go Jeeping because often there is no cell signal and you can communicate with more than one Jeep if all have a CB and are on the same channel. I have tried it in the RV a few times but it doesn’t seem to be used by many others. I could never get a response to my radio check nor did I hear many useful conversations. It may be handy if traveling with several others in a caravan of RVs. 

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WOW, thank you so much for all of this great info!  I am going to go through it tonight as I am currently unloading everything I own from my home  to go on the road full time.   The reason that I want a CB is that growing up, I have always had one and I know how to talk on it and it will keep me entertained during my travels.  I have also been in some dangerous situations on my last RV trip when I wished that I had one. 

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We have traveled all over the country since 2006 and the CB is nothing like it was years ago. We find it a very useful tool along with the other travel tools we use in the truck. We built our first CB back in the 60's 23 channels at that time. It could be a bit nasty and was during the early 70's. It is nothing like that now.It fcat CB chatter is Low now days.

 

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We used one about 30 years ago!  We had a portable antennae & ran the wire along the door frame.  It started getting too raunchy so we discontinued the use.

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I have a Cobra 75 WX ST and like it a lot.  It's a unit where the entire thing is in the microphone, no big box to install somewhere.  I use it primarily while off-roading since many people still do, though many are going to GMRS/FRS and VHF.  I have a 60w VHF/UHF mounted in there also.  The Cobra was a very easy installation, with an antenna mounted into the body panel on the rear bed panel.

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as said already go to a truck stop.. one of the better ones. they have everything you need right there.

truck stops have never been the lowest cost (for most everything), but these day about your only real source for a cb radio.

then find  real cb radio tech. have him "tune up" NOT "turn up: the radio/antenna combo.  back in the day in my cj7 i could get a clear transmit out to 50 miles. with no booster, and was putting out less than the legal 5 watts.

 

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