How Portable Can a CB Radio Be?
CB radios arent just mounted in trucks anymore. In fact, you can find them anywhere from peoples hands to their living rooms, not just in their vehicles.
What Do Handhelds Offer?
The big advantage of a smaller radio is portability; you can put it in your pocket and take it anywhere you need to go just like a walkie-talkie. That said, while you always make some tradeoffs when reducing size, there are also areas where the smaller models are just as capable as any other CB radio. Also unlike ham radio, CB radio doesnt require any form of user licensing, so its much easier to get started with CB.
- Channel Support: Citizens Band Radio provides access to 40 channels and even the smallest units can access all of them, so you dont have to give up any part of the CB experience with a smaller radio.
- Transmit Power: CB is limited to 4 Watts of transmission power, which even small battery-operated radios can reach, so you dont actually lose any power with a smaller device.
What Should You Look For?
There are a number of different features and accessories you should look for in a GE 40 channel CB, whether mobile or portable:
- Antenna: The smallest two-way CB radios come with an equally small antenna. In many cases the antenna is so small that youre limited to about a mile of range regardless of your transmit power. The simple way to improve that is with a larger antenna that can draw in signals from further away.
- Accessories: Dont forget the SWR meter. Its particularly important if you have to tune your radio to work with an external antenna. A base is also a good idea if you use your CB radio in the car as you can snap it into place and not worry about having a hand free to hold it. You may also want a protective case.
- SSB: Also known as single side band, SSB is a feature that increases your effective transmit power. While effective at longer ranges, it also limits you to communicating with others who also have single side band equipment.
Using Handheld Radio
In general, these GE CB models are best suited for use on foot rather than in a vehicle. Each transceiver gives you robust communications without the infrastructure limitations of mobile phones. Its this independence that makes them very useful in emergency situations because anyone listening on Citizens Band can go for help, and you dont need to worry about being in range of a cell tower. Just dont tie up the emergency channel unless you actually need it.
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