4 Reasons You Need This Forgotten Communications Device

By Lee Bellinger / November 12, 2013

Is There a Gaping Hole in
Your Preparedness Plan?

From the Kennedy assassination to September 11, phone systems always go down in emergencies. So when the next one occurs, you can be part of a community that never missed a beat when communications go down: Truckers. They have their own grid of “mobile devices” – CB radios mounted in and powered by their big rigs. If you are EVER caught in a traffic jam, no matter where, the truckers always have the low down!

Whether you are traveling for casual reasons or in an emergency evacuation, being able to tune into truckers’ CB chatter is essential to avoiding problem areas and re-rerouting. All along the U.S highways, truckers are linked up through CB radios, and they’re able to pass information quickly between themselves. Usually it’s about traffic, but in an emergency, access to this pre-established network can be extremely valuable.

The Ability to Communicate:
Your Lifeline During an Emergency

During any kind of emergency access to information about what’s happening – about ongoing dangers, road and bridge closures, evacuation orders, or new threats – can make all the difference in how well you and your loved ones come through the crisis.

A communication plan is part of any complete preparation plan. Information can become just as important as food and water during a crisis. And you can’t plan to rely on normal communication channels. Power outages and storms can cut off your access to news from T.V. or the Internet. And during an emergency, there’s a predictable increase in call volume, often enough to bring both cell phone and land line service to a screeching halt.

What you really need is access to the trucker network, and better yet, some kind of two-way radio of your own. Personally, we recommend a CB.

Four Ways You Can Use a CB Radio
to Stay Connected During an Emergency

CB radio, short for Citizen’s Band radio, is made up of 40 channels within the 27 Mega-Hertz band. It’s a short-range communication system used by individuals and businesses alike, but the most well-known users are America’s truckers. The typical CB range is two to twenty miles, depending on the terrain and the size of your antenna. But when you listen in to the trucker channels, you can extend your range, in a manner of speaking, because they essentially have a relay of information already set up.

To tune into the truckers and other drivers, listen to channel 19 and occasionally switch over to channel 17. These two channels are used most by travelers. Another important channel to know about is channel 9. This is the lone CB channel reserved for emergencies by the FCC. That means if you have a CB radio, you can’t call out on that channel. During an emergency, though, you want to listen to it regularly to gather any information you can about what is going on.

Many towns and cities also designate a channel for local residents. Finding out your own town’s CB channel gives you another source of information during a breakdown or emergency. Through this local channel, you can hear from businesses, churches, and community organizations that have news to share. And you can relay any valuable information that you happen to have as well.

A fourth way to use your CB radio during an emergency is to set up a family-and-friends channel. This basically just means agreeing ahead of time with your nearby friends, neighbors, and family members who own CBs what channel you’ll use to communicate on.

No License Required

One of the reasons we recommend CB radios over the other options like ham radios is that the CB world is still a bastion of freedom in a highly regulated world – you don’t have to purchase a license to operate a CB.

To use a ham radio, you have to file paperwork with the FCC and pay a licensing fee. So not only are CB radios cheaper, but they don’t create a paper trail in the government’s labyrinth of bureaucracies. You know we’re firm believers in reducing your government footprint – the less the bureaucrats know about you, the better. Another advantage – a CB doesn’t require a large, conspicuous broadcast antenna in your yard. Buying a CB radio is easy. You can pick up a cheap model for around $50 on Amazon. Or you can opt for something fancier if you’re able to spend a little more.

Just make sure you pick a radio that has a few key features. The main feature to look for is RF Gain Control. This feature allows you to filter out weak signals to cut down on background noise. Without it, you’ll have to listen to a constant stream of competing signals, trying to pick out the signal you want to listen to against all the others. It can get very annoying and diminish the usefulness of your radio.

If you opt for a higher-end CB radio, consider purchasing one with a sideband or SSB. This feature will give you access to the upper and lower bands on either side of the usual 40 CB channels. Those bands can come in useful for setting up a family-and-friends channel. And they don’t have as much traffic, so the signals are clearer, too.

Finally, you might also consider augmenting your CB radio with a power mike. These mikes don’t extend your radio’s signal, but they can make your voice clearer and easier for receivers to understand. That’s a valuable feature if you’re ever in the position to send out a call for help. A CB radio is an inexpensive way to make sure that you can stay connected during a crisis. It gives access to critical information during an emergency and provides you with a method to reach out for help if you need it. Every savvy prepper should have one.