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Looking for 50miles in a CB / SSB/ Export?

Discussion in 'CB and Export Equipment and Accessories' started by saveamerica1, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. saveamerica1

    saveamerica1 Member

    Feb 4, 2011
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    OK guys,

    I'm sure i'm gonna get a lot of flack for this newbie post :)

    I grew up with CB's in the 70's and had them in my car till the mid 80s.

    Now, I'm looking to get back in the game. Although i have an iphone and hi speed internet i know for a fact, that i am a flick of a switch away from being cut off should anything happen. So i have begun my research to relearn what i once used all the time.

    I am looking for a reliable way to keep in touch with family that live about 60 miles away as the crow flies. Obviously standard 4 or 5 watt cbs won't cut it. So what i've gleamed from surfing the web, is that it seems to me that 'export cb' or export ssb in 10 or 11 meter is the tool that will get me that greatest distance. cbradiomagazine.com was touting a Magnum 350 that would put out 70 watts. How far will that transmit without a skip, i couldn't find out.

    So I am asking you pros, without too much ribbing me :)... what you would theoretically suggest as a cb radio system for two people who live about 60 miles away on relatively flat terrain. Some minor hills the terrain doesn't vary more than a couple hundred feet.

    I see a lot of talk about the "export radios", but can't seem to get an idea how many miles one could get out of them. Also what is the best range one could hope for without a skip in a truck or car?

    I don't think i want to get into the HAM radio with FCC licensing. I just would like to be able to have a link and communicate if the SHTF.

    Any insight on radios, antennas, or amps would be helpful.

    Now again, i've been out of this for quite a while so i'm starting from scratch.

    All suggestions are of course theoretical :) as i fully understand that some of these options may not be legal if they were to be used in the once free USA.
    Thanks for your hypothetical advice :)


  2. K7RDN

    K7RDN Member

    Dec 2, 2010
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    About 2 months ago I got back into CB for the same reasons, however with some encouragement of a member on the board, I am taking it a couple steps farther. I will be taking my Technician and General Ham License on February 14th. It isn't that hard. I have been using: HamTestOnlineā„¢ - Ham Radio Exam Courses

    I don't think you will be able to get to 50 miles in a mobile unless you are running power and the other person has a beam antenna. And from home I think you would make the trip if one of you has a beam antenna and some good wattage. I may be wrong and if I am, I'm sure someone here will set me straight.

    As far as radios go, there are exports that put out 200 watts or so, seem like that is what you would need. Something like the RCI-2970N2. There are others out there too, maybe someone else will chime in here.
  3. guttapercha

    guttapercha Member

    Sep 22, 2010
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    I assume that you're referring to the free status of the USA before the Pilgrims got here.

    Get your ham license. No mobile CB or Export is going to get you 50 miles between mobile stations unless one of them is sitting on a mountain top.
  4. Wire Weasel

    Wire Weasel Senior Moment

    Dec 13, 2008
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    Hi guy, Yeah 60 miles is going to be a stretch for a mobile. Might happen. Radio alone probably won't quite do it and the high power mobiles are very pricey.

    Consider the "medium power" (25-35 watts) mobiles and an amp in the 500 watt range. And I think it's going to take SSB for you too.

    Can't go wrong with a Texas Star amp and you can buy them new. A TS 500 or 667V would be good choices.

    For shortened antenna I would recommend a Wilson 5000 or if can go longer a good ol' 102" stainless steel whip.

    Like Big Bob suggested.... ham radio would solve your problem instantly....but this will require one or more family members on the other end also becoming hams. But they've made it SO easy. No morse code anymore.

    Good luck!
  5. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

    Apr 8, 2005
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    Legality aside, there are no mobile radios that can reliably give you 50 - 60 miles of range at 11 meters without taking propagation into account. That 'reliable range' is affected by the transmitted power and by directional antennas, but 'Momma Nature' is the primary controller with 'her' propagation (skip), there's just no way around 'her'. That doesn't mean that it's not possible, but it certainly does mean that reliability is going to be a 'crap-shoot'/chancy/"don't count on it"!
    Ham radio does offer more reliability for that sort of range because of the availability of more bands of use. The lower HF bands give you a more likely chance of communications over a 50 - 60 mile range. And the VHF/UHF repeaters also can do that sort of range under some conditions (mainly if there are any around and possibly 'linked'). Tossing a mobile into that mix can be a problem because of a mobile antenna's capabilities/limitations.
    The 'catch' is that idea of "reliability" and the particular circumstances you have. Wish it weren't that way, but it is...
    - 'Doc
  6. n0zna

    n0zna W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

    Nov 3, 2008
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    Ther is no way you will be able to when the skip starts up again soon.MY advice is get a mag257hp and a 102inch whip...You will get a little height out of them,and a mag257hp and a good antenna for the house.Good luck,your best bet is get you tech lic and use a repeater,that will get your milage...73s de JW
  7. radiohobby

    radiohobby Active Member

    Dec 21, 2010
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    As I read your post you are talking about base to base between you and family that lives 50-60 miles away.
    If at least one of you has a beam antenna and the other has a good omni with average conditons you would be able to communicate very well.
    If the skip was running hot and heavy as it used to years ago unless you both have good beams (at least 4 element) then you would have trouble.

    What I would suggest is that you both have a good SSB type radio and as a minimum 3 element beams and then you would have no trouble talking unless there was local interference at either end of the qso. The SSB signal punches through much better than normal am modulation.

    I have talked from mobile to base using SSB over 50 miles many times with perfect comms. Using AM 30 miles is at the edge from mobile to base. Both these cases using omni for base. Using a beam will extend both ranges but more so the SSB.

    Years ago had a friend that lived 112 miles from me and I had stacked 3s and he had moonraker 6. We could talk just fine unless there was someone very close by running power and bleeding over anytime day or night. We were also both using Cobra 148s on SSB. I was in the mobile one night going back home from his place and we talked until I was over 75 miles away.

    Anyway that is what I have done real world using the CB radio that the FCC says is a CB radio. If you get those so called CB radios that are really amature radios that have been modified then you will of course have more power getting to the antenna but it is hard to beat the receiver that is in the cobra 148 on SSB.
  8. Robb

    Robb Yup

    Dec 18, 2008
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    In regards to the last post, just so long as the one beam is a vertical beam - it should work out fine.
    Better still - to have two beam antennas.
    Just so long as they are both vertical or both horizontal - or both are dual polarity.
    But radiohobby is quite right; one beam will do in a pinch . . .

    Just remember, that a beam antenna's 'polarization' is important. If you use a horizontal beam trying to talk to a vertical antenna; they have wave cancellations and the signal gets reduced on receive and transmit. You don't want that to happen. Even a three element beam can be made to work horizontal or vertical. Antenna height is very important for the vertical; not so much for the beam. But it helps to put them both as high as you can SAFELY install them. Watch out for power wires!!!
    #8 Robb, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  9. office888

    office888 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2009
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    Not possible, too many variables to consider.

    Local VHF repeater might be a better choice?
  10. jazzsinger

    jazzsinger Bullshit Buster

    Jul 3, 2008
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    50-60 mile contacts consistently on 27 mhz is akin to searching out the holy grail,in fact that might be a tad easier and cheaper, but good luck, i hope your local geography allows you to obtain that sort of range consistently,height is might on line of sight contacts.;)

    living in a valley myself (roughly at sea level) only way we can achieve that consistently here is to take to the hills (with a good antenna and some extra power) which fortuneately are quite big here.
  11. unit_399

    unit_399 EL CAPO

    Jun 17, 2008
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    savamerica1 -

    Radiohobby's posts are the only worthwhile posts on this entire thread. If you want to talk 50 -60 miles base to base, or base to mobile, it is only a matter of optimizing your equipment, and selecting a frequency where there is the least interference. You may need additional power (over 5 watts) but this is easy with the "10 meter" radios or an amp. At night, there should not be any problem, but during the day skip interference can cause difficulties. Then, just go to an unused frequency. Anything is possible. Just experiment and make it work. 73s.

    - 399
  12. wavrider

    wavrider W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

    Jun 2, 2009
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    50 to 60 miles, mostly flat terrain.

    Both use beams, SSB, make that USB for better distance. Towers in height around 60' to 70'.

    Three to four element yagi or better yet a quad antenna.

    As Doc said mother nature will play into the equation but talking that distance with a legal 12 watts SSB rig is possible, but not reliable. The frequency would have to be quiet and no QRM from adjacent channels.

    I check in to some 10 meter nets all the way to Jacksonville FL.

    That is over 60 miles from my location and I never have any problems checking in with net control. I am using 100 watts USB, four element yagi at 75 feet.

    Now with that being said, compare the cost of two towers at 70' in height guy wires and associated expense to install the towers correctly. Two four element yagi's. Two SSB radios capable of producing 100 watts SSB.

    Then take a look at the beep beep phones at a few $$ a month plan per phone. Which is more cost effective for "reliable" communications.

    At HF there is nothing "reliable" at the 27 Mhz frequency at that distance day in and day out. Probable? Sure but not reliable.
  13. 9C1Driver

    9C1Driver Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2008
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    Base to base should not be that hard. Will have to be SSB, two IMAX 2000's 40+ feet in the air, and you will need 300 or more watts. Yea there are some variables but it can be done. You could even go mobile to base if the base has a beam antenna and the mobile has 300-500 watts. If the DX is rolling just find a quiet freeband channel.
  14. guttapercha

    guttapercha Member

    Sep 22, 2010
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    Cost of two amateur 2M HTs = ~$200
    Using repeaters, 60 miles doesn't even merit this long of a discussion.

    Export radios plus beam antennas on towers = thousands.

    We're not even factoring in the fact that you'd be breaking the law with export radios running power from a base station. Very very easy to find you and slap you with a $10K fine with fixed (vs mobile) operation.

    If you are just interested in communicating with a station 60 miles away, ham is the logical way to go.

    On the other hand, if you are looking to get into the hobby of 11M operation and running illegal power, then this is really a whole different question.
  15. saveamerica1

    saveamerica1 Member

    Feb 4, 2011
    Likes Received:
    thanks for all the info

    Thanks guys for all the crash course on explaining the realities of CB limitations and variables.

    So what i've gleamed to far from all your posts is that HAM would work for sure. I've noticed the price of units are easily upwards of $1k plus other hardware.

    So if i were to stay in CB world, what is my best reliable range scenario. Am i better off with a new "Magnum export variety, pumping out 70watts, or would a old school dusted off from 80's 4w CB or SSB with an extra boost amp work just as well?

    So in a nut shell, which equipment would you go with for max range?

    a new magnum export or similar brand? a standard CB with a good amp (how many additional watts?) , or an SSB with a good amp?

    Thanks for the education and your patience :)

: export-radio

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