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CB and VHF Radio

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by krickett, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. krickett

    krickett Member

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    Wasn't sure where to post this since it's related to both CB and VHF. I figure i'll just post this thread in both sections.

    My family does a lot of offroading and boating, those are the 2 hobbies we all enjoy together. As a result, all the trucks have CB radios, and we would like to install a VHF/CB in the boat. The goal of the radio in the boat, in addition to being able to communicate with other boaters on the water, would also be to communicate with the trucks on land so that we can easily coordinate the launch ramp pickups and drop offs. Most of our boating is done on lakes so the distance shouldn't be an issue.

    CB seems to be the standard on the highway and VHF is the standard on the water, so having just a CB in the boat would not be ideal.



    Does anyone know of a radio that has both CB and VHF abilities? We'd like to install just 1 radio in the boat. I've been looking on google and other manuf. websites and haven't seen anything. Just wondering if something like that exists.

    Thanks in advance for the responses.
     

  2. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    There might be - but I doubt it.
    You see - that the frequencies used by CB are different for VHF. Since any antenna needs to 'resonant' or 'tuned' to the frequencies it receives and transmits on - one single antenna is impossible for the most part.

    You would probably find out eventually that you will need two separate antennas and two separate radios.

    Not to worry too much - though. CB radios and antennas are relatively cheap compared to a VHF setup. A simple trucker-type fiberglass 5 ft whip/coax will cost about $35 new and a used one would be half that price - approximately. A radio can be a cheap as $25/used or more - depending on features. A VHF antenna will be a bit more - and so will the radio.

    If you spent $100 more/less for a used CB radio/antenna/coax for the boat - is that too much?
     
    #2 Robb, Jun 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
  3. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    krickett,
    If you mean a readily, and commercially available combination CB/Marine radio, I'm afraid you are out of luck. To the best of my knowledge there are none. You have two choices, really, have two radios, or, modify some other kind of radio so that it would have the required abilities (two band coverage).
    I'm sure you can find two radios to suit your needs, they are not rare by any means. Finding some other single radio to suit your needs so that you can use it as it wasn't intended to be used, and doing the required modification, is going to be the difficult part, not to mention being illegal.
    I won't say it's impossible. I can think of one or two ham radios that come real close to doing what you want. They are not cheap, they would require someone who knows what they are doing, to do that modification, and the chances of you paying the penalty for doing something illegal are very good!
    So there's a "but" to that, "There ain't no such thing!", but I kind'a doubt if you wanna go there. Just figure on two separate radios, it really is easier all the way around. Sorry 'bout that.
    - 'Doc


    (The FCC isn't the one I'd be worried about. The USCG and Lake Patrol would be the one's I'd really be worried about. Up to you.)
     
  4. Wire Weasel

    Wire Weasel Senior Moment

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    Hi krickett,

    There is a relatively cheap way to go. Yeah if you do considerable boating, then get a
    Marine VHF for the boat. It will be great to have the ability to talk with other boats and marinas and you'll have the Marine emergency channel.

    For the land hookup, get 1 or 2 Marine VHF handheld radios and use in-family or loan to a buddy for nearby land to boat communications. Or do it the CB way and get 1 good CB Walkie Talkie for the boat. Ah..Cobra and somebody else still makes a decent CB handheld. Will be cheap and convenient to have the extra temporary station to be handheld. Saves the permanent hookup of a mobile and antenna. The CB handhelds are cheap and I've seen the Marine ones go for around $50 or even less on ebay. Now be aware that this is not legal I don't believe. I'm pretty sure the Marine radio regulations state that the marine radios must be used on water and that will include authorized "coast stations" like marinas, because they are right on shore by the water and specifically communicate with watercraft for intended business and safety purposes.

    But Billy Bubba ridin' around in his pickup on shore roads chattin' it up with boaters is NOT included.

    HOWEVER....these handhelds are low power (5 watts or less) and short range. You can use them for your stated purpose and....nobody will really know or care and the FCC certainly isn't behind every bush just waiting to drop the hammer on everyone. There is essentially NO enforcement.

    So I'd do that myself, but just don't go around showing off and braging to everybody about what you're doing and you'll be fine.

    If you personally are a stickler for all the radio rules and don't want to violate any rules and you never drive more than the posted speed limit and don't drink, dance or smoke.....then you'll be stuck putting CB in your boat along with Marine VHF.

    Your choice friend

    [​IMG]
     
    #4 Wire Weasel, Jun 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
  5. WX2MIG

    WX2MIG Still Alive & Well

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    Wire Weasel pretty much hit the nail on the head, but I'd like to add my twist on the subject.....

    I'd go with the fixed mounted VHF Marine radio in the boat, and not a CB. It's not as bad on fresh water lakes as it is on the open ocean where I do my boating, but corrosion is still every boater's issue, marine radios are made to withstand corrosion, and the occasional splash or spray of water, CB's are not.

    (back in the 70's and early 80's when CB was at it's peak of popularity, a lot of boaters around here were installing them on their vessels, and most didn't last a season or two, but again that has a lot to do with open ocean salt water than inland fresh water lakes)

    Go with the hand held CB, you can keep it out of harms way in a protective bag until needed, your buddies or family members in the trucks won't need to buy or install anything extra, and you should be able to get at least a couple miles of communications between the mobile CB's and a decent hand held unit.
    I believe both Cobra and Midland still make them....

    There is the (technically) illegal option of putting VHF Marine radios in motor vehicles, or the cheaper option of them using Marine hand helds, so long as you (or those in the trucks) do not abuse the use of those radios, that being, no long winded rag chewing, transmitting false distress calls, or talking on U.S.C.G., Marine Police, or Lake Patrol frequencies, the chances are fairly good you won't draw the wrath of Uncle Charlie.
    This practice is very common along the coast, a lot of guys that run party fishing boats, sportfishing boats, those in the marine towing or construction business, and a lot of boat owners all have fixed mount VHF Marine radios in their vehicles, and I don't know one that has ever been fined, or even questioned by the FCC, however it is still illegal to do, and there is always the chance that you might be in the wrong place at the wrong time talking on a VHF Marine radio from your vehicle, and the black suits in the unmarked van with the funny looking antennas are in the same parking lot as you.....:eek:
     
  6. KingCobra_CDX882

    KingCobra_CDX882 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    There is another option..

    However...
    Boating allows VHF..
    and well CB is CB..

    But...You CAN get a radio like...Icom 706MKIIG and then mod it
    That will enable it to get the entire Marine Band..
    As well as Also the Entire CB band..

    If you own a boat..then you can easily Obtain a FCC license for Marine...
    But i am Unsure..if Marine Allows ( or would Tolorate ) a Ham radio for Marine use ( would be up to you to check into that )

    However...Buying and Moding a Ham radio like the 706 MKIIG
    Might be more then your willing to spend and or do

    Also..
    You may want to look closer into an HF/VHF Marine radio
    ( if it exists together in a single radio)
    For i Know Marine use allows HF for SSB and of course VHF
    maybe someone like Icom has one that covers Both HF and VHF
    then would likely be a simple mod the radio to enable CB use
     
  7. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
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    No it doesn't. But just about every other commercial sport boat and private fishing boat here in Socal does exactly that. Coast Guard doesn't care. However, all VHF Marine radios are now required to be sold with MMSI/GPS interface for distress calls. If you're only out in small lakes it probably doesn't matter, but if it's in the Great Lakes or the Ocean, you NEED to have this functionality. The Coast Guard does look for it, at least they do out here. The bottom line is that you can probably get away with a modified ham rig, but you probably should really do it right...install both the VHF Marine and CB if that's what you need to use.

    Another option is to get your ham tickets and use some good handheld radios between the vehicles and the boat...
     
  8. WR0220

    WR0220 Active Member

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    If he decided to use an amateur radio instead of two individual radios wouldn't it suffer the same fate as that of a CB radio from corrosion, splash and spray as WX2MIG pointed out? I think the idea of having a VHF Marine radio and using a CB HT as previously mentioned would be the best solution... (y)
     
  9. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator
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    Well, there are a couple of radios out that are weather resistant, but yes it could be the same problem.
     
  10. WX2MIG

    WX2MIG Still Alive & Well

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    Without actually seeing the boat in question, I'm going on the assumption that it is a smaller bow rider, or enclosed front speed boat type configuration, in which case space for dash mounted electronics is very limited. Most all modern VHF Marine radios are fairly small in size, many are now submersible, the rest are splash & spray resistant. A small and easy to use lift & lay type Shakespeare VHF antenna is all that is needed, and an even better space saving option would be either the Shakespeare or Metz coil loaded stainless steel whip antennas that mount on a stainless steel "L" bracket.
    After seeing the U.S.C.G. using the Metz Manta6 coil loaded antennas on all their small craft here on the east coast, I got one for my 17' center console, and that little antenna worked surprisingly better than the space consuming 8' fiberglass antenna it replaced.
     
  11. krickett

    krickett Member

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    Thanks guys for all the responses. Much appreciated! It sounds like going with a quality VHF radio for the boat to be able to communicate with other boaters/marinas and then just doing a hand held cb to be able to talk to the guy in the truck during launch and recover is the easiest, cheapest, and legal option, haha.

    Thanks again guys!
     

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