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UK CB Radio Specialists - Expert Advice, Competitive Prices & knowledgeable staff, Est 1996
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Beginners Start Here
Q: We use mobile phones to speak to each other when we go off-roading, what can having a CB do for us ?

A mobile phone is great for speaking privately to someone, but with CB, if there is a group of you all on the same channel, you can all hear what is said at the same time.

It would not usually be practical to phone the vehicles behind just to say something like “mind that side-slope” etc, but with CB, any quick comment, said once, can be heard by everyone.

Having this advantage - it is much easier for information to be shared around the whole group, and for those in separate parts of an off-road course to speak to the others around the site.

Mobile phone network coverage can be patchy in some sparsely populated areas, and you cannot rely on getting a signal everywhere you go.

The social aspect of having comms between vehicles in a group can be what really makes a difference too.

The ability to talk to the other people in a group can help to quickly integrate new members into an off-road club, for example, and will promote good humour and enjoyment - especially If you enjoy a bit of banter between you all!

Passengers can speak to passengers in other vehicles and a whole lot of fun can be had. CB will increase safety at off-road events, combat boredom on a long journey, is a hoot on events like the London to Brighton Land Rover run, and simply enables you to chat with your friends (and other Land Rover / offroading people) conveniently, for free.

Q: How far away can I speak to my friends?

The range of a CB is very dependent on what is between you and the person you want to speak to.

The kind of aerial used also has quite an effect on performance - for example : with an aerial like the “Springer”, which is long, yet very flexible, you might get 4-6 miles in open terrain, reducing to 2-4 miles in wooded areas.

Local geography also plays a part - undulating hills & valleys this might reduce the range, although get to the top of a high hill, and you may be able to talk to people 30-40 miles away or more !

More Info

Q: Do I need to speak in silly codes and slang?

No, almost every off-road CB user will talk in plain English - there’s no real need for codes amongst a bunch of friends who know each other anyway.

You may still come across a few silly names (handles) and things like “give me a 9” (please repeat) - so we’ve included some CB slang here.

Q: Who else uses CB now?

The number of “hobbyist” CB users has been decreasing steadily since the late 1980’s, and in some parts of the country there are virtually no “general” users left.

This is obviously to our advantage as it means we get clearer channels with less chance of being interrupted or listened to as we go about our activities, either recreational or if using CB to help you in your work. There are still thousands of truck drivers who use CB every day to get traffic reports on the motorways, and to get directions in unfamiliar towns (usually on channel 19 on the UK band).

The ability to get accurate traffic reports is very handy if you do a lot of road driving. Often the person who will give you a traffic report is going the other way on the opposite carriageway, so has just driven past where you will be driving, so the information is only a few minutes old !

Freak weather conditions sometimes means that during the summer months you might hear signals from Europe and beyond, although this is unlikely to cause too much interference to you and your friends as you will probably be receiving each other at reasonably high signal levels.

Q: How easy is CB to install?

It can be very easy - we guide you through the process on our Advice Pages and this should tell you all you need to know to be able to install a CB set-up yourself.

Have a read of our installation guide here

If you find yourself having problems when installing - just give us a call for advice.

Q : Won't I break any aerial mounted on the roof when I go through trees ?

Most of the aerials we feature on this site are fairly tough, although some are better than others.

If you want a big "whippy" aerial, then the Springer is a good bet. This aerial has a large spring coil at the bottom, and a very flexible whip, allowing it to bend around all over the place, even down to almost horizontal if necessary.

There are a number of smaller (approx 3') aerials, again often with shock absorbing springs to avoid flexing the roof, and to enable them to bend when encountering branches.

One of our most popular aerials is a 15" long rubber aerial that we import from America. The first couple of inches are rigid so we supply a small shock absorbing spring to protect the bottom of the aerial and to encourage the shedding of branches, but the rest of the aerial is conductive rubber that is very flexible and almost impossible to break.

This is a very good solution where short-range communications are needed - the range of this aerial is less than a larger one, but should still be good for 1-3 miles - plenty for greenlaning and off-road site use.

Changing over to a larger, higher performance aerial for on-road work would give you the best of both worlds

Q: Do I need a CB licence?

Not any more ... the UK CB licence was abolished on 8th December 2006 .

This also means that you can use the multi-standard CB's legally abroad, even in countries where a cb license is needed by the countries residents - as the CB's "owner" is a UK citizen and there is no UK cb license anymore, the license restrictions are relaxed for those travelling in those countries.

Q: Can I use a hand held CB?

Having a hand-held CB in addition to a vehicle-mount unit can be very useful for when someone gets out and still needs communication back to the vehicle or for winching / recovery and checkpoint operations.

However, the bodywork of a metal vehicle will act as an shield to radio waves, so will reduce the range of a handheld used inside a (hardtop) vehicle to about 50 yards!

Luckily, you can use the handheld units with conventional CB aerials mounted on the outside of the vehicle, and like this the actual receive & transmit range will be the same as if you were using a normal CB.

You can do this either by plugging the main aerials’ lead into the top of the set (via an adaptor), or by using a battery eliminator, which will give you a cigar plug connection for power, and an external antenna socket, all in one slide-on piece. A battery eliminator is supplied with the Midland 42, and one is available separately for the Maycom AH27.

We also supply various earphones & headsets and small microphones with speakers in them that can clip to your clothing, along with various other items to make the operation of a hand-held in the vehicle a bit easier or for hands-free use.

However, you will probably find that using a hand-held in a vehicle will never be as convenient to use on the move as a vehicle-fitted CB.

Q: Can I use CB for base-to-vehicle communications for my business?

Using a large “base” CB aerial can give you ranges of upto 10-15 miles, ideal for many uses.

Many farms use CB for base-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communication out in the fields and surrounding areas - increasing safety and combating boredom. allowing colleagues to talk to each other.

Landscape & gardening contractors, taxi firms and any company that operates a local delivery service or has personnel out in the local area can all benefit from having easy communication without call charges.

The decreasing number of “hobby” CB users mean that there is now little chance of interruption from other people on the bands, although as a public service, CB will never be “private”.

We produce a free “Farm CB” guide intended as a supplement to our catalogue (we have reproduced it on this site, see Advice pages, under "Farm CB") which deals with the more serious and practical benefits of CB and shows how to install a base station and kit out a fleet of machines. This is worthwhile reading for anyone considering base-to-mobile or mobile-to-mobile communications of this type - not just farmers. We supply all the aerials, fittings & accessories you might need.


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