How To Turn Your CB Car Radio Into A Powerful Transmitter

Phillip Wilkerson
By Phillip Wilkerson September 21, 2018 06:38

How To Turn Your CB Car Radio Into A Powerful Transmitter

CB radios are inexpensive, rugged, mobile, and widely available, making them well-suited to use as a SHTF communication system. However, most factory-build CBs only transmit between 4 and 12 watts of output power – fine for short distance communications over flat terrain, but often not enough for reliable communications over long distances, in mountainous areas, or during other less-than-ideal conditions. In combination with a good antenna an amplifier can overcome these shortcomings, leaving you with a robust, low-cost backup communication system when other infrastructure fails.

Power Of Different CB Radio Types

CB radios come in many makes and models with different feature sets, including different numbers of channels and modulation modes. Older CBs used a 23 channel system, whereas modern band allocation gives 40 channels. Many newer CBs also have a mode switch that permits switching between AM and upper/lower single sideband (SSB); while this does not give the radio 120 channels as some sellers claim, it does allow each channel to support an upper sideband (USB) and a lower sideband (LSB) conversation.

How To Turn You CB Car Radio Into A Powerful Transmitter - Wiring for a CB transciever (note fuses close to battery)

Wiring for a CB transciever (note fuses close to battery)

Power output varies based on the configuration, ranging from a few milliamps at low power settings up to 12W with a single-sideband transceiver at maximum power. The amount of RF power that is actually emitted also depends on the antenna, coax cable, and ground used – mismatched impedances, lossy feedline, and poorly tuned antenna can all reduce the effective power output, but a well-thought-out antenna design can be used to direct output power in a particular direction (e.g. up and down a highway you’re driving on).

Related: The Best SHTF Radios


In the United States the CB radio service is regulated by the FCC, which inspects samples of mass produced radio models sold in the country and applies licenses to the radios themselves, not the operators. Certified radios are supposed to limit output power to 4 watts for AM transmission and 12 watts for SSB transmission; modifications to transceivers, or the use of external amplifiers are – technically – in violation of these regulations and subject to penalties. In reality CB radio operators all over the US use amplifiers regularly; the FCC lacks the enforcement capability to stop almost any of them, unless they are creating significant interference with sensitive equipment and/or broadcasting music. Using an amp/transceiver combination that produces a clean signal, and being a courteous operator, will go a long way towards keeping you out of trouble.

The amateur radio service, on the other hand, has a tiered licensing system that grants hams access to many more bands than CB and permits a maximum power output of 1,500 watts, in exchange for the additional training, knowledge examination, and paperwork associated with the license. That said, hams regularly make contacts with just a few watts of power (or less) and those that do use higher power transceivers often find they don’t need more than 100 to 200 watts to make casual contacts. Many CB operators choose not to get a ham license for various reasons, and this is perfectly fine. If you want to invest in a high-powered amplifier for your CB radio because you are serious about SHTF communications, it’s worth looking into ham radio because it will improve your experience (though the equipment is generally more expensive).

Amplifier Types

Amateur HF and CB radio transmitters with an AM or SSB signal are generally paired with class A linear amplifiers to alleviate the distortion issues associated with other amplifier classes. Users generally have a choice between solid state and tube-type amplifiers, with solid state amps used for intermediate power and tube-type amps used for high to extremely high gain.

How To Turn You CB Car Radio Into A Powerful Transmitter - CB transceiver and amplifier

CB transceiver and amplifier

Not all transmitters and antennas are suited to all amplifiers, however, as some transmitters can be set to gain high enough to damage an amplifier and many antenna systems have a power output limit before they overheat.

Operating Guidelines

How To Turn You CB Car Radio Into A Powerful Transmitter - CB and amplifier installation in a vehicle

CB and amplifier installation in a vehicle

Adding an amplifier to the system does not change how the transceiver operates, except that precautions need to be taken to reduce the audio and RF gain appropriately on the transceiver end. Use only as much power as you need to communicate clearly. Minimizing output power while maintaining a reliable contact is important in a SHTF scenario, where your electricity supply may be limited. Most amplifiers are designed with a duty cycle that specifies how long the amp can transmit at a given power setting as a fraction of the time it is operating; neglecting the duty cycle can overheat components and cause them to fail. Remember also that the ionosphere changes at night such that HF signals tend to propagate much, much farther than during the day; you will probably not need your amplifier in the evening.

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Phillip Wilkerson
By Phillip Wilkerson September 21, 2018 06:38
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  1. 3-500Z Quad pair September 21, 15:59

    As an Extra Class FCC LICENSED AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR there are other things you might consider in A N.A.L. (Notice of Apparent Liability) such action as Monetary Forfeiture, Prison time, Court ordered seizure of equipment, and public news as Well media posting. I know a few people who got into trouble in violation of CFR 47 Part 95. One had his kilowatt amp off line, another had his equipment seized, but denied that. Well I hope you know the US Government can do personal sanctions against you INCLUDING denial of assistance, loans, public assistance, income tax seizure, etc.. And as of September 2017 any Felonies will in fact DENY YOU of ANY FCC License whatsoever. Also jeopardize any good jobs. Think twice before doing something stupid.

    Reply to this comment
    • Alex September 21, 17:28

      DE K3RMV

      Reply to this comment
    • Grumpy September 21, 17:42

      As an licensed HAM operator I understand what you are saying. However in a SHTF period are you really concerned wit the FCC? Just as a backup I might be able to find and old 23 ch SSB with the filters cut out, a 1500 watt amp, and an Yagi antenna. Always keep your options open.

      Reply to this comment
    • Lord Fusor September 21, 19:57

      When you gain knowledge of what jurisdiction is and how it is, you will also learn that non of your above mentioned legal consequences are any forve or effect, so long as there are no damaged party with actual damages. Any-ones oppinion is irellevant, facts is what matters. For example: Supreme Court case; Stanford vs Dread Scott, reads: Any natural man is independent of all (statutory) laws.

      Reply to this comment
    • Ajit P Top Fed Dick Swinger September 22, 01:58

      Who gives a f@#$. You ham guys dont scare anybody. Websites sell hundreds of illegal ham radios every day. Your not going to drive around listening for illegal users and try to seize anyone’s radio gear yourself as that might put you in a dangerous situation. Oh my, file a complaint with the FCC why dont ya. They’re going to send someone out right away and hunt down thousands of illegal ham radio users down. Hahahahaha!!!!!!!

      Reply to this comment
      • Indrid Cold February 19, 20:13

        Actually, it is hundreds of thousands of illegal CB and ham radio operators. Many amateur radio operators also have an illegal CB station operating with more power than their nation allows.

        Reply to this comment
    • Johnny nuggets September 22, 13:58

      I am a long time ham that has cw testing endorsements unlike half the fake extras running around today. I hv no issue with cbers having amps. I say have at it. The fcc can’t regulate foul mouthed hams that been on the air for years jamming people so let cber enjoy cb. In fact some of them hv more tech knowledge than no code generals and extras. Dont let some moron extra bother you by his little rant about how big and bad the fcc is. They only choose to when it suits them.

      Reply to this comment
    • Harris/Motorola expert September 22, 14:26

      I have worked in radio communications (public safety) for many years. In all my years, I have only seen the FCC “police” come after 1 party. That was because they were transmitting for years on an unlicensed frequency and the FCC finally issued that frequency to a police department. The police department was getting the interference from the unlicensed user. They contacted the FCC, and the FCC found the unlicensed user. The unlicensed user only received a “cease and desist” and was told to apply for a frequency. As a person who works for a dealership of one of the 2 largest radio manufacturers in the world, your claims hold no water. The FCC is not going to waste their time on some guy with an overpowered CB radio. It will never happen. I work with the FCC almost daily…and I’ve been doing it for 34 years. You are just looking for attention in hopes that someone will think you are a “big shot” and know your stuff….but you don’t.

      Reply to this comment
    • Tyler London April 13, 20:38

      @3-500z: What a laugh. You ham bootlickers go through great lenfths to scare people oit of using “Dirty” amplifiers to “Pollute the airwaves.” The truth is the FCC stopped going after CB almost completely decades ago. Unless you are making a MAJOR nuisance of yourself, it is a very safe bet you can run an amp with no problems. I once reported intefference in San Antonio with AM commercial broadcasts and got a response back from the FCC basically telling me to find the source of the problem myself. Even a youtube search can pull up videos of the FCC ignoring guys running amps in the 10s of 1000s of watts.

      You hams are a real hoot when you go into your scare modes. Its like the nerd version of Reefer Madnezs.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Doc Best September 21, 16:14

    Articles like this are designed to sell something. Maybe not right now, but wait for the other shoe to drop… This ‘person’ has no more knowledge of radio, than a chimpanzee. I won’t put truckers down, as I am one, and I am also a retired Electrical Engineer. However this type of “mercy sakes good buddy, I am kicking out 1000 watts and I only have a 100 watt linear!” is absurd. It would take me about 30 to 40 pages of typing to correct ALL of the errors in this article. Yes a CB is great for short range communication, and yes you can add an amplifier to it (ILLEGALLY) and yes, after the blowup there won’t be any FCC to worry about (besides, we could just shoot them (ha ha) if we wanted to avoid a fine). You would be better off to simply invest in the proper amateur gear and the new (relatively) “No Code” technicians license and just be better prepared, rather that trying to relive the “Smoky vs Bandit” CB craze.

    Reply to this comment
    • Vidyaguy September 21, 20:43

      Doc – You are so right. The “Headline” hints at some quick&dirty way to increase radiated power significantly (perhaps by rubbing the xcvr front panel with a clove of garlic and attaching a used vacuum cleaner bag, cut to a quarter wave length, to the microphone cord). I also note the author’s describing “low power” in ma, and “high power” in watts, from which introduction he goes on to a dozen absolutely ROFL statements. These kind of articles, promising much and delivering nothing, are increasingly common, so I should not complain.

      Reply to this comment
    • diesellsniffer September 22, 10:32

      smokey AND the bandit (rip burt) not vs!!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Real ham who knows September 21, 16:27

    Your so full of Crap!! It’s TOTALY ILLEGAL to use any type of amplifier to increase power out from a CB radio above the rules of 4w am carrier and 12w pep ssb output!!! It’s people like you who are self centered making bullcrap postings like this that real hams who ARE licenced by our government to use power amps. 99% of REAL radio operators laugh at those toys compared to any of our real equipment!!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Daniel September 21, 16:30

    Your condoning the illegal use of amplifiers on cb radio is horrible. Hams get a license to prove they understand what they’re doing. You know this article will encourage people that have no idea what they’re doing to go out and do it anyway. Do the right thing, go get your ham license. Don’t be like this guy.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Spike September 21, 18:09

    For all you nay Sayers, I’ll bet anyone who uses a GMRS radio without a license is a horrible individual also. Lighten up…anyone who would know how to do this knows it’s illegal and the consequences. Do you follow every ridiculous law the Feds have in place? Have you drained a puddle of water after a rain lately without a permit? If so, you just broke the Waters of the USA law.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Waygone September 21, 18:43

    Others have pointed out some issues with doing this. Here is two more, but could be deadly!

    There is a reason that they limit power to unlicensed radios. RF radiation can be deadly if you don’t know what you are doing.

    When TSHTF the last radio you want to be transmitting on is a CB, that goes 20x if your running power. Way too easy to find and I mean easy.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Davezeh September 21, 19:47

    It seems that ALL the survivalists that encourage people to get some kind of radio for emergency communications like to leave out the facts that tend to make casual use of these devices unreliable. I’m an Extra-class ham that has taught many what they needed to get Technician license and participate in local emergency nets, and also an FRS/GMRS net, all based on legal use of radios. The fact is, that reliability of any of these systems depends on a fair degree of knowledge of radio performance, usage practise, equipment maintenance (Batteries charged or updated) , knowing the people you would communicate with, etc. The FRS is the simplest, probably most effective if you have a community of net participants within a mile or so, but even that requires a plan, practise, battery maintenance, and proper antenna positioning to be effective. A short blurb like this is not likely to give anyone what they need to know to have effective emergency communications.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Lunchbox September 21, 19:58

    These comments show what is wrong with the ham community and why people don’t want to get their ticket. Now honestly, do you really think there’s going to be an FCC to enforce a power law on 11M or worry if someone is transmitting on 20M without a general license? Tool bags, get a life.

    Reply to this comment
    • Jake September 21, 23:18

      One could easily say, too, that the quality of the prepper comments shows what’s wrong with them…

      It’s not about whether the FCC is going to come down on an overzealous operator when the SHTF, it’s the uninformed operator who thinks everything will be fine with simply “more power”. As others have pointed out, severe emergency situation communications requires serious pre-planning and practice! So encouraging someone to set up illegal amplifiers for the SHTF times without mentioning just how all that power may require additional knowledge and training to get any value out of it is worthless advice and should be called out. Practicing with illegal equipment during plain times is plain stupid, and will get you noticed in all the wrong ways.

      So do it right. Study. Get licensed. Learn how to work with low power and QRP equipment designed to get through with meager signal strength. Learn Morse Code. It’s still the smartest way to communicate over the air, especially with low power. Get trained for EmComm. Even if you don’t trust them, it pays to know how they do things, and much of what they do is pretty smart when SHTF in spite of what you may think.

      Yeah, I’m an Amateur Extra, too. I’ve studied. You can, too.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Baddog September 21, 20:32

    Your better off getting your HAM ticket. You’ll have a lot better options as far as equipment
    and you’ll gain a lot of valuable knowelge.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Swlmike September 21, 22:18

    Helps to know the basics of HF propagation. 11 meters will not propgate “much, much further at night”. It’s really quite the opposite.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Bill September 21, 23:41

    As a person interested in becoming a ham operator and an ex trucker, I can say that buying a CB is a whole lot cheaper than buying the any ham equipment.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ted September 22, 06:19

      Not true my first handheld which out out more power than your suck cb only cost me $20 bucks! It’s a baofeng radio and easy and cheap and I’ve been using for 2 years not one issue yet. Can even pick up police and other frequencies to listen no modifications needed.

      Reply to this comment
    • AKMguy September 12, 18:54

      The equipment costs more due to many variables. Filters to get rid of spurious radiation, staying ON FREQUENCY thru warm up and for days OR weeks longer if needed, DB quieting circuits/filters to get rid of 60 cycle hum and background noise in conjunction with a variable background filter to get rid of other noise, the ability to adjust your SWR directly at the transmitter/transceiver (which most have built in), the ability to vary your output power since inputting 200 watts into an amplifier might just cost you your amplifier. (in other words **you’ll burn the F**king thing up in about 4 to 5 seconds** and if you do this DURING a SHTF Scenario, just WHO do you think would then fix it?? – DUH~!!!!!)

      SO, when ANYONE gets on and says “hey there bubba, got anything ya’ want to bart——…….” and then all bubba hears is SILENCE because YOU didn’t know what you were doing~!! LMAO~!!!!!

      And someone can’t just string some wire from your output and nail the other end into a tree and call it an antenna, it needs to be cut or configured for the band you are going to transmit on and needs to be oriented towards the area you want to contact, particularly if you use a cheap DIPOLE.antenna.

      ADDITIONALLY, even the very old MOONRAKER type of beam antenna won’t do you much good if YOU are Vertical and everyone else is Horizontal~!! AND NO, I won’t tell EVERYONE EXACTLY what I mean by this – if you buy ANY type of transmitter/transceiver you’ll just have to do a little research and learn what you need to know or you could end up on your radio and talk all day long and never get any replies other than the people in your family/group replying “do you know what you’re doing because we think you should have been able to contact SOMEONE in the last 6 months~!!” ROTFLMAO~!!!

      Reply to this comment
  12. lraude September 22, 00:48

    It is interesting to hear what everyone has to say. Being as I am retired Navy in an electronics field. It was fun and annoying when overseas as to what the rest of the world is doing with Marine band, which can also be done with CB,Ham FRS or any of the other groups.Overseas just about EVERYone is running high power amps and tuning antennas and are broadcasting way over the permitted power for these radios. And what is done for Marine Band can just as easily be done for the other bands. So needless to say the Navy equipment is being overrun by any and all locals because we had to play by the rules. But then again who will be monitoring after SHTF? Well actually the Government types will be monitoring so they can find the folks with the where with all to survive. Nuff said.

    Reply to this comment
    • Armin September 22, 20:59

      Interesting comment, Iraude. I hadn’t thought of that aspect. If someone is operating a high-powered unit AFTER SHTF it may be just like sending up a flare and letting everyone know where you are. That’s where you hook up a big honkin’ capacitor (something the size of a 45 gallon drum in an oil bath) to your unit and shift to using very narrow beam. But then it becomes sight to sight. And not over the horizon. And not just the government types will be looking for stashes. There may be smart criminal (smart criminal…oxymoron?) types also looking for stashes of food and weapons and ammo. Now it all depends on what KIND of SHTF happens. If it’s an economic crisis then all the electronics are still working. You just may not be able to afford to operate them. If it’s a HEMP event then all the electronics will be fried by EMP anyways and then all this talk of Hams and CB’s is an exercise in futility. If the electronics are still working during SHTF then the FCC will be the least of our problems. If EVERYTHING goes down at the same time then there will be approx. 365 million North Americans going into survival mode and then it doesn’t matter how many bullets you have. Ugly won’t even begin to describe the situation. Right now I’m only counting NA as I doubt the South Americans will be able to travel that far north looking for food supplies and ammo dumps. 365 million desperate, starving people all looking to survive at any means. I can’t even begin to imagine what that’s going to be like. It’s giving me sleepless nights.

      Reply to this comment
  13. Mtdandy September 22, 00:48

    Knucklehead hams and theyre egos. They have forgotten one thing. In an emergency anyone with a transceiver can operate on any frequency anyhow anywere. Its know it all hams who stop people getting a licence in the first place. A cb with an amp is a perfect way to get communicating when shtf and thats what this article is all about. Who cares a hoot about emr or weather the lump of wire as an antenna has good swr. Getting heard and getting out of a predicament is what is important in a dire situation if shtf.

    Reply to this comment
    • WayGone September 24, 23:17

      If you don’t have good SWR, the RF gods will come down on you like a ton of bricks, more so if you are running high power.

      I am also a VE and I have never stopped anyone that passed the test from getting a license and don’t know anyone that has.

      BTW to other readers, this guy is clueless.

      Reply to this comment
    • Davezeh September 26, 17:08

      But it still remains: If you are not part of an organized net structure, don’t know how to pass messages so they can be relayed correctly, or don’t know enough about antennas to assure proper match to the radio, you can’t count on any kind of radio getting any help for you in a disaster. If you just turn it on and start yelling for help, it will most likely be like putting it out on facebook and hoping somebody nice responds.

      Reply to this comment
  14. thinking man September 22, 01:12

    Well at the cb frequencies you’re not going to get really far even with a lot of power. Also you need an antenna and feeder that can handle that kind of power. I hate to say it, but having your ham license and actually using the frequencies that are available is probably the best way to prep for emergency communications. If you think you’re going to pull your CB radio out, hook it up to your generator and run a kilowatt and talk to people, well good luck. Probably some people would hear you, but if they don’t have the same kind of power, you won’t hear them. Now on the other hand if you had an amateur radio and a license and were used to using it for communications, well things would be a lot different for you. See there are things about radio that a small article like this just wouldn’t have the room to cover. On some frequencies a hundred Watts depending on the season of the year and the time of day would be more than sufficient to have reliable communications. If you only using 100 watts, radios, antennas, and tuning devices would be smaller, also the power needed to operate such a radio would be significantly smaller. Rather than having a 3000 watt generator operating full blast to run your 1000 or 1500 watts, you could use a car battery and be fine for an extended period of time. Solar panels would also be a viable charging apparatus for this type of communication. Say you did have to use the gas powered generator to charge your batteries it’s a lot easier on the fuel consumption to charge a car battery. This would work extended hours without the need to recharge for a 100 watt transceiver or have to run Full Tilt on your generator, just to keep your station on the air.
    Just saying

    Reply to this comment
  15. wa2qcj September 22, 01:32

    There is one obstacle in the way for CB to be used as a “replacement” for HAM radio. The operating band for CB is the 11 meter band. For those familiar with the HAM 10 meter band, the atmospheric conditions can render the band to have a range of a few miles, as opposed to longer range under the right conditions. CB radio operators usually use a vertical antenna for their radios. This makes it okay for vehicle use, but this is still less than what the radio might be capable of. Beam antennas are a distinct improvement, as are dipole antennas. Taking the time to get an antenna to be resonant at a given channel would be very good, since it gets the best operating condition, PROVIDED all impedance’s are right, and the best low loss coaxial cable is in use. Sorry to say, most CB’ers have not a clue. This said, there is a redeeming possibility for CB in the form of Morse Code, and digital transmission, such as PSK31. Don’t know Morse Code, there are transmit, and receive programs that can be run from a computer to make up for that. Many HAMs are operating just this way. CB frequencies make the band generally okay for local use. For long range, nothing, short of the Internet beats lower frequency operation of the HAM bands. We can talk to other countries when CB falls off at the city limits line. There is one technique that everyone can use when in a mountainous area. This is called near vertical operation. The antenna is placed near the ground at the station, and the radiated signal takes off, almost straight up, and comes down the same way. It is good for talking from one side of a mountain, to the other. The slang term is, “cloud warmer” operation.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Datman September 22, 04:19

    I appreciate the technical side of being able to talk to people across the globe, but surely your average prepper doesn’t need to set up for this. I would think communication within a few hundred miles would be your most vital information. My old AM SSB 2 way could pick up people on the other side of Oz on a good night. I understand this is to do with luck and skips ets, but nothing will ruin the air waves faster than a million people shouting at each other with 500watt transmitters. And it sounds like a good way to be found easier with higher out put devices. I’m sure there are enough operators at the moment who would set up a local news broadcast channel for those who don’t have the ability to listen around the world. Surly it would be better to set up good comms for short to medium broadcast/receive than have 100 people in your area with poor systems clogging the air.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Cash September 22, 06:17

    I just saw this discussion about CB radio . I’m a ham and I know fellow hams that communicate around the world on 1 to 5 watts. It takes know how and a good antenna, I’ve used Children’s Band for over 40 years even still have my FCC CB assigned call sign, the FCC required that years ago . I’ve witnessed CB go down hill over the years because of the lack of regulation. It still has a use in traffic but that’s it for me. I got tired of hearing the profanity and rudeness with my family in the car while on the road. I have noticed that those using CB with an amplifier many times have a distorted signal or sound like they are in a box or something. That usually is caused because of bleed over on other frequencies ond the cheap components used in most CB equipment , Even with extra wattage CB is still line of sight communication, unless you have an antenna in a 80 foot pine tree or something your range is limited even with unreliable skip. Also most CB radios are not built with the quality parts that are used in a quality built ham radio, most ham radios used illegally are the cheap ones from China because a licensed ham will invest the money to have quality equipment . Having invested the effort and time to earn a license . You don’t just buy a radio install it and talk. It’s true the FCC is short handed but a couple of years ago in Jacksonville Florida an owner of CB base station that was interfering with neighbors was fined by the FCC.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Asphalt cowboy September 22, 08:09

    All sounds dandy but how about you ham ops. And amateur guys stay the hell off of ch19 and not feel like your being punkwd by doing so ill admit us truckers talj some shit to each other but also we communicate important traffic and etc. Info that wont be said cause you guys dont show respect and keep open the freq.

    Reply to this comment
    • Datman September 22, 09:53

      We use channel 40 uhf for truckies in Oz. Its a lot better since going to 80 channel UHF it spreads the idiots out a bit.

      Reply to this comment
  19. Buckshot September 22, 08:45

    Remember during a serious crisis, vertical communication becomes important. Now we know God heareth not Sinners, i.e.those not born from above are not attached to the spiritual grid. Even the most prepared and haughty experts will all be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Reply to this comment
  20. sparks31 September 22, 14:39

    Poor advice.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Snoopy September 22, 15:04

    When the Shit hits the fan who cares if it’s ILLEGAL or not

    Reply to this comment
    • WayGone September 24, 23:48

      If you are running a high power CB or many any CB you will care. It doesn’t take much equipment or skill to RDF (radio direction find) aka fox hunting.

      As others have said, unless you hit the solar cycle when the skip is good on 11 meters, then about 15 miles is all you will get no matter how much power you put in.

      If you are on the ham bands, then you have to have a call sign to get people to talk to you.

      I won’t talk to someone that isn’t a ham before or after tshtf on ham bands.

      Ham is a skill which makes it is very easy to spot an interloper. It isn’t because I am a snub, it is because the interloper has already proven he isn’t willing to play by the rules. I am not going to risk my security on a person like that.

      Reply to this comment
  22. Edmon September 23, 20:32

    I had a C B handel in the 60’s untill I was drafted in the early 70’s . It was KFV3967 . What would there be to reactivate my call sign . I was an active pilot in the C A P for 48 years .

    Reply to this comment
  23. SpeedBump September 24, 04:07

    I can not believe you just incriminated yourself to the degree that you accomplished.

    I’m sure by now the FCC has already paid you a visit, lol..

    Running an illegal amplifier on CB frequencies will get yo ass thrown under the jail pronto!.

    Yes, most people already know every thing you’ve presented, but few are stupid enough to admit to it, or show the world pictures of your illegal rig.

    Please check back with us after your jail stay, I’d like to hear the stories of your visit..

    Reply to this comment
  24. Wannabe September 26, 16:55

    Man, a lot of attacks on this article. Glad I don’t know anything about the subject so no one can see my ignorance by posting something.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Lunchbox September 26, 18:02

    With the shit head hams replying to these comments you can forget about getting help or traffic across anyway. They’ll be the first ones picked off in the zombie apocalypse.

    Reply to this comment
    • Jake September 28, 01:16

      Yeah, it’ll all be so simple for everyone else…Hams have no experience dealing with hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis like those other smarter folk. Hams don’t make any effort to really prepare themselves for communications emergencies like those other folks, and they certainly like to keep what little they know to themselves, even when it can benefit those smarter folk. Hams know they don’t possess the magical knowledge that others have who carefully toss a CB radio into their go kits and an article about amplifying it, so they’ll be “ready” when SHTF.
      Bring on the zombies!

      Reply to this comment
  26. AKMguy November 2, 00:19

    All the above comments aside… a TRUE EMERGENCY, it is NOT ILLEGAL to use what ever combination of radio and amplifier to make and keep emergency communications going for the betterment of the situation. I don’t give a sh*t what some Extra class says, in a SHTF scenario, do WHAT IS NEEDED AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T HURT SOMEONE and you can explain later of the WHY you did what you did and you’ll be just fine!!!!! That said, if you are some MORON just traveling down the road pushing a kilowatt of power, then YES, you could be in very deep doo-doo, IF CAUGHT!! And it’s the last two words of the previous sentence that dictates what happens 😉

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    • Jake March 22, 17:36

      For those making the argument that operating outside established laws will be possible when shtf:
      Nobody has really denied that in all these comments. And it’s really not the point.

      If the issue really is PREPARATION for shtf, when will that prepping happen? Before or after shtf? Will you break open that box on your megawatt transmitter on that day, scroll the dial around and start looking for folks you need to contact? I guess that’s as good a time as any to take up your new hobby of learning how to find people with a powerful transmitter; we’ll have lots of time on our hands after all. Oh wait, did you remember to test an antenna that can handle that power? Did you figure out which direction it’s going to transmit best? Did you find out from which azimuth direction it’s going to get likeliest reception? And did you happen to attach a nice flexible coax to that antenna you hid over in the trees a couple hundred feet away and check if any transmission power is actually reaching your antenna? Hey, don’t worry about the VSWR, it won’t matter, right? You spent good money on that killer transceiver. So, it’s gonna work right out of the box for you, right? Naturally.

      Real PREPARATION will have to take place BEFORE shtf, and that’s when someone must be aware of the rules. Enforcement will take place if you make a nuisance of yourself at those times. It’s not just hams that will go after you, it’s local law enforcement, local fire departments, hospitals, airports, commercial broadcast stations, and any other local businesses that have RFI sensitive equipment or business needs. It may even be your neighbors complaining that their TVs and wi-fi equipment don’t work properly. And if you’re tracked down, which isn’t that hard, you’ll be the one in the wrong.

      If those same asserters of lawless times after shtf missed the other point, here it is again:
      …go ahead and transmit your kilowatts at your pleasure after shtf, but don’t be surprised if you become the center of attention for everyone thinking you’re so well equipped as to put out a beacon to help find you. Again, tracking down a signal is not that hard, but maybe operating with minimal power IS a little smarter in the long run, eh? Maybe learning how to do that (which IS harder) BEFORE shtf (while the rules still apply) is even better preparation…

      Bottom line: there’s two sides to all of our snide remarks. Some rules will be in effect on either side of shtf: either rules of common courtesy and efficiency on one side, or rules of out-surviving the other on the other. Preparation takes place on the first side. Staying alive takes place on the other. You can believe that things will work the way YOU say they will, but reality will have the last word for everybody.

      I vote to work on the skills beforehand, and do it in a way that attracts no attention to you, which means do it within the rules.

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  27. David April 11, 15:08

    This is why no body wants a license any way instead of trying to help a cber advance they try to scare them into not to test, so they don’t become a them…….

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    • Jake May 20, 17:35

      I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m just applying logic – namely, if you wait until the worst of times to properly learn how to do something, isn’t that simply foolish? I mean – what does “prepping” mean then?

      As to the rest, the airwaves are shared, even when shtf. If signals can be sent, signals can be received, but maybe not always where you need them to go or want them to go. If you think that’s meant to scare you, I don’t know what else to say. It’s simply a statement of fact regarding the physics of electromagnetic waves. You have to decide if that basic truth is going to be a problem for you in your situation.

      Since radio is a different part of the same spectrum that light is on, consider the same information given in this thread with regard to a very, very bright light. Can you narrow your beam and direct it where you want it, or is it going to flood everywhere? Will it shine in the direction of someone you want to see it? Will it be seen by someone you don’t want to see it? Will it be blocked by something? Will it bother someone when you use it?

      Would this be something to figure out before you need it?

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  28. Mark April 12, 02:58

    Well during a actual emergency you can use the 2 meter band without the technician license.

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  29. Jake May 20, 15:53

    Even when it’s not shtf times, FCC rules state that anybody licensed can use whatever means are necessary if there is direct and immediate threat to life and limb. Emergency comms are just that – for emergencies.

    But think about it: who else uses 2-meter equipment? PD, FD, Hospitals. Are they listening on frequencies that your standard ham, GMRS, FRS, etc. radios are capable of using? Not usually. They have to assign someone to listen to those frequencies when they’re not doing something directly related to their work. If you need help from first responders, your radio will not do much for you directly – they’ll be busy.

    You’re going to have to find someone else listening on those bands to help you. Which is usually someone else with a radio hunkered down somewhere nearby. 2 meter radios are line of sight and may have a decent range of 3-7 miles in a metro area, and maybe at most 10-15 miles in broad flat areas. To go farther, you’ll have to be high up on a mountain or something, or use repeaters. Depending on the situation, repeaters may or may not be available to you. Again, without prepping for all contingencies, waiting to figure out which repeaters will be workable for you when shtf is plain foolish. Doing it beforehand (meaning with a license) will get you as wisely ready as you can be. Check out to see what you can do locally with (or without) a license for REAL preparation for shtf times.

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  30. Bulldog December 28, 02:00

    I’m a licensed ham as well. I started with CB back in the day and sideband was always where the action was, the narrow bandwidth could reach all over the country as long as you worked it at the right time of day and had a well matched antenna. Keep in mind that although cb is quiet these days, it is not dead, and many people think they need an amp to get out and be heard. During a SHTF scenario it will be alive and well with many people in the local area jamming it up. Amps have their place, but do not serve the purpose of “just making your radio bigger and better.”

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