Ya Gotcher Ears On, Good Buddy?
For Christmas, my wonderful wife gave me a CB to put in the Honda Element. In my long commute each day, I sometimes get in traffic jams, and I have used an old hand-held CB in the past to find out about the hold up and determine if I need to take the next exit to detour or if I should just stick it out. My new CB is the Cobra 75 WX ST. It's not like a typical CB. The entire unit is in the hand piece instead of having a microphone attached to the radio, plus a junction box that takes the antenna cable and the power source. I also got a Firestik II antenna, a spring for the antenna base, an antenna mount that attaches to the channel between the hood and the fender, and an external speaker. The radio includes NOAA weather channels to keep up to the minute with dangerous conditions.
Today, my old friend, Mark, came over with his tools and equipment to install it for me. Mark is a big time amateur radio enthusiast, and really knows what he's doing. He did a fantastic, professional grade installation. He also had the watt meter and the skill to tune my antenna for optimal performance. We mounted the antenna to the passenger side fender well, ran the cable under and through without drilling any holes, wired the junction box to the cigarette lighter power source, mounted the junction box inside the center cowl cover, and then mounted the hand piece and external speaker to the front of the center cowl cover.
After we got everything put back together and cleaned up, he drove his truck down the road while I stayed in the yard so we could test out the range. In one direction, we got about 3/4 of a mile with good clear contact. In the other direction we got nearly a mile and a quarter. The CB is usually a line of sight radio, and there is more terrain change in the shorter direction.
After the sun went down, we messed around with the radio some more and were getting skip and were able to listen to guys in California, Washington and Utah. Skip is a phenomenon, usually for a few hours after sundown, where the radio waves "bounce" off the charged ionosphere and you can communicate at ridiculously long ranges. During a nationwide breakdown situation, it can be a great way to gain intelligence about what is happening in other parts of the country. Channel 26 is one of the main channels they use for this. Aside from just highway safety on a regular basis, this ability can be a real asset when SHTF.
I'm very pleased with the installation and the performance of this CB and antenna combination. It is great for the Element because there is not a whole lot of space to mount a traditional size CB, and I love the fact that it has the NOAA weather channels. The CB is not just for 1970s trucker movies, it is still a valuable piece of communications technology.
Silent But Deadly
After we got the CB installed, we broke out a couple of .22 pistols and Mark's Silencerco Sparrow suppressor. We used my Ruger .22/45 and Mark's Walther P22, both with threaded barrels. I shot some good video that I need to edit, and will put it on the YouTube channel when I can. It might not be until I have Spring Break the first week of April, but I'll do it sooner if I can. All the real details will be written into an article that I'm submitting to a magazine. Suffice it to say, it was a ton of fun shooting those pistols with the "can" in place.