Don't Wait. Be Prepared. Stay Safe.
We think it is awesome that your community is exploring CB communication as a potential option for use during an emergency. It is a great form of communication and could work very well for you.
There are many emergency situations where cellular communications might be down or ineffective for communicating with other people within your community. CB communications will be available even if cellular communications are down. CB communication also allows you to talk with others in your community without needing a phone number to be able to connect with them.
There are some key points to having an effective CB Radio Communication Plan:
- The longer the antenna, the more range you will have.
- The base station antennas do not require a ground plane (a flat metal surface for the signals to reflect off of).
- For every one foot of antenna, you can typically expect 1-2 miles of range depending on the surroundings (trees, hills, buildings, etc.). More range in open surroundings, less range in areas with obstructions.
- It might be best to have a few key leaders with an ideal location to have a base station CB unit. The reason for this is for the longer antenna which will allow them to communicate to the rest of the community. Other leaders and community members might benefit from having a handheld unit that would easily convert to vehicle use paired with an extended range (longer) antenna.
- Every external CB antenna needs to be tuned. The antennas for the handheld unit/s will not need to be tuned. Tuning is not a difficult process- please visit the links below for additional information.
If you have any excess coax for your base station setup (or any external antenna system on a vehicle), be sure to properly store any excess coax in a figure 8, about a foot in length, and bound in the center. It should look like a long, skinny 8. Improper coax storage is the number one reason why people get high SWR readings.
- It might be best to test the performance with just one base station setup (a higher location would be ideal) along with one handheld unit with an extended range antenna affixed to it and move the handheld radio to different locations in your community to see how well it will work. Note the areas that do not seem to work as well. Those areas would benefit from having a longer antenna or base station setup.
For a main base station setup, here are the products that we would recommend:
A mobile CB radio with built-in SWR meter for antenna tuning (several other options available too) such as the C29LTD, MCKINLEY, or BC980SSB.
A power supply to power the radio (this would need to be plugged into the wall or generator) such as the PS12.
PP8XX Coax - we recommend at least 18 feet of coax.
Other base station antenna options:
We also recommend a lightning arrestor for any of those base station antennas. The product description describes how that would be connected.
You could also use a handheld as your base unit but you would need an external SWR meter to be able to tune the antenna. For example, you could use the HH50WXST handheld radio (which includes weather alerts), with the KVAD1X adapter, the PROTON99 antenna, and coax plus the AUSWR meter. This would also be nice and easy to transfer to a vehicle setup with a magnetic mount like the JBC112-XX00.
Handheld units can also be used.
PRO510HH or HH50WXST- handheld unit that will easily convert to vehicle use and also has weather
SA2 or HATA- extended range antenna compatible with those handheld units 24"
JBC112-XX00 - external magnetic mount antenna to pair with the radio
Again, if attaching a handheld radio to an external antenna on a vehicle, an SWR meter will be needed to tune the antenna- simply attach inline between the radio and the external antenna.
The handheld units will have a battery pack. Some of them also have the car adapter to be powered by the vehicle.
Here are some links to our website which might also be useful:
AUSWR Recommended SWR Meter for antenna tuning
We hope this helps! Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or concerns. Please let the members of your community know that they are welcome to contact us with questions as well- we are happy to help!
Always wishing you the very best,