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CB Radio: Nashville area


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After the recent ATT outage, our family has been looking at other ways to keep in touch. I bought a couple GMRS HT's and a license, and might consider setting up a base or two but pretty sure the simplex short-range will be a hindrance given Nashville's hilly/city topography and that it's line-of-sight. Not ready or able to setup our own repeater(s). And HAM isn't really an option since this is for multiple family members.
I used to be heavily into the CB scene back before it became "Smokey & the unBearables"-ized, ie, back in the FCC licensed days...yes I'm that old. I'm thinking that CB (mainly SSB) might have enough reach to cover the needed 20mi or so metro area, base-to-base, maybe base-to-mobile, depending on hardware/setup. So I setup a base and am wondering if anyone else in the metro area has one that I could test against? If interested and able, PM me...tx!

 

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Tagging in to see where this goes...

Like you, I'm interested in alternate forms of communication should standard methods become unavailable or unreliable. I've got some handhelds that work multiple frequencies... not quite ready for Ham, yet.

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Was talking to some Ham friends today and asked what they thought of 2 meter. They said very limited in range but would get you out 20 miles or so. I said what about repeaters? They said very few repeaters were setup with generators and the battery backups were limited in how long they would last in a major power outage. 

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On 2/17/2021 at 8:50 PM, Ropin4gold said:

Are there any open GMRS repeaters in Nashville. Might check that first. 

Nope, or at least not that I can find.  I was able to hit WCRL 600 but only because I was out in that area for a medical appointment, and had my HT along.

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:45 AM, ReeferMac said:

Tagging in to see where this goes...
... not quite ready for Ham, yet.

On my list, but me neither. I have an older 2m HT that I futz around with on occasion, still figuring it out. Quite a few HAM repeaters in Nashville, including 2m.
Repeaters Local to Nashville, Tennessee

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14 hours ago, Jeb48 said:

Was talking to some Ham friends today and asked what they thought of 2 meter. They said very limited in range but would get you out 20 miles or so. I said what about repeaters? They said very few repeaters were setup with generators and the battery backups were limited in how long they would last in a major power outage. 

GMRS is UHF, 2m is VHF. Neither works great past line-o-sight, thus the need for repeaters. Dunno about HAM, but most of the GMRS repeater setups I've read about rely on solar/battery systems and given that they are usually setup in a remote outdoor location are also subject to environmental conditions. Can be difficult to physically service/maintain. So yeah, there are limitations.
Ideally I want to have GMRS, HAM, and CB options but short-term CB is the simpler/cheaper so that's where I went first base-wise. I also have an old AM-only CB HT that would be handy for short-range mobile-to-mobile comms. Even if our power goes out, as long as we have fuel for the cars I could use my CB there-in with a mobile antenna or run a coax line to my base antenna. Eventually I want to have solar-recharge options and build a go box.
 

Edited by Mamba
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On 2/17/2021 at 10:56 AM, Mamba said:

 might consider setting up a base or two but pretty sure the simplex short-range will be a hindrance given Nashville's hilly/city topography and that it's line-of-sight. Not ready or able to setup our own repeater(s). And HAM isn't really an option since this is for multiple family members.
 

For reference what are the distances and elevations of each area you're trying to reach?       I got in ham radio in September of last year and have really been surprised how far you can simplex on 2m given decent elevation and a good antenna setup.     

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I did some reading on this a while back and wanted CB/10 meter capable mobile and for a home base unit. Best for the money is the Anytone AT 6666. Its a real power house with 12-45 watts.  11 meter CB convertable with button selectable CB or HF band. Hammers hate this for its way over 4 watt legal limit abilities. I want the thing for SHTF days so who gives a rats  butt about power when the Gov is broke. Side band is good to have just to listen in on 10m ham any way. Having the extra power in CB for local communication is imperative IMO. 4 watts is not worth having in hilly country. I'v not set this up as a base yet but have most of the stuff to do it.  Heres how they work. Alot on you tube on the AT 6666

 (11) Anytone 6666 overview and first contact on 38LSB - YouTube

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On 2/19/2021 at 2:49 PM, Trekbike said:

For reference what are the distances and elevations of each area you're trying to reach?       I got in ham radio in September of last year and have really been surprised how far you can simplex on 2m given decent elevation and a good antenna setup.     

Our elevation is ~600', target elevation is ~800'. Ham isn't first choice due to required license per party. I'm wondering if GMRS 50w units, with enough base antenna height might work well enough simplex.

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On 2/19/2021 at 3:11 PM, xtriggerman said:

 A lot on you tube on the AT 6666

Thanks, I'll look into it. Price-wise seems about the same as the better 50W GMRS mobiles, so that's nice.

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3 hours ago, Mamba said:

Our elevation is ~600', target elevation is ~800'. Ham isn't first choice due to required license per party. I'm wondering if GMRS 50w units, with enough base antenna height might work well enough simplex.

Just to give you a frame of reference, I'm around 700' and participate in a 2m simplex net, and the net controller is out of Mt. Juliet so he is about 26 miles away from me.   I think he is in the 900'-ish elevation range with a good base antenna.  I can talk to him easily off my 5w HT using an dual band J Pole roll up emergency antenna.    It's more about elevation, a good antenna, and no major obstructions between stations, than power.   Obviously power helps but is only one component.    

You will lose some range since you'll be UHF compared to 2m VHF.     

 

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On 2/20/2021 at 10:14 PM, Trekbike said:

Just to give you a frame of reference...

Thanks for that. I'm just starting my Tech course study, mainly using what I can find for free. Figure since I already have the 2m HT I'll see how it goes from there. Short-term I plan to use one of Ed's DBJ-2's...be a pretty easy mount outside my basement shack, running it underneath our main-floor elevated patio deck.
^This still doesn't provide a family solution so I'll continue looking into CB and GMRS. Saw a couple new GMRS repeaters go online (Lebanon, White House) so maybe eventually a few will go up here in Nashville.

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6 hours ago, Mamba said:

 Short-term I plan to use one of Ed's DBJ-2's...be a pretty easy mount outside my basement shack, running it underneath our main-floor elevated patio deck.
 

The DBJ-2 is the antenna I mentioned in my previous post.    For reference that particular model is designed for backpacking/field use and is not intended to be "permanently" mounted outside base antenna for several reasons.      Dr. Fong's DBJ-1 is what you would need if you want to use it as a base J-Pole antenna.     With that said, a J-Pole design is a little more limiting than a ground plane vertical antenna, so for a base antenna I would recommend the ground plane route.      If interested, just let me know and I can throw out some antenna suggestions.   

Another option if you are specifically trying to reach a certain location, you can use a Yagi directional antenna that will give you more signal strength since you're dealing with an HT.    You can set up a rotating mount if you need to vary the direction of your signal.    

Good luck with your endeavor. 

Edited by Trekbike
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  • 2 weeks later...

Back in the day, I would talk to several stations in West Nashville from Dickson on CB. I was running a 40' tower and 600 watts though. 

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13 hours ago, m16ty said:

Back in the day, I would talk to several stations in West Nashville from Dickson on CB. I was running a 40' tower and 600 watts though. 

I could easily talk 30-40mi barefoot base-to-base back in the 70s, but it was mostly rural/flat-land between points.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'v been on the look out occasionally for a  compact mini CB with Export power level and ran into this 10-11 meter one. 

Blue CB Radio CB-40M 25.615-30.105MHz 10M Amateur 8W AM/FM Citizen Band Radio 720310980747 | eBay

 (35) Anysecu Crystal Mobile CB Radio 10-11 Meter 800 Channels AM/FM 4L 8H Watts Power - YouTube

Looks like it fills the bill since there is like no room in my vehicles but  this 4" x 4" size should be pretty easy to find a nice spot for these.

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6 hours ago, xtriggerman said:

I've been on the look out occasionally for a  compact mini CB with Export power level and ran into this 10-11 meter one. 

Be curious to hear how it works out; not much info on these review-wise on the 'net.

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I am not trying to sound snide or anything, but why can't everyone involved get a ham license? they aren't that difficult and you could study as a group. I have talked to Brentwood from Hendersonville while mobile with 5 watts and talked to another fellow just past Cookeville on 2 meter ssb from the house in Hendersonville. With the right antenna and tower (altitude is king) you might be surprised at what you can do. Best wishes on what ever avenue you decide to pursue.

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6 hours ago, Photoguy67 said:

I am not trying to sound snide or anything, but why can't everyone involved get a ham license? they aren't that difficult and you could study as a group. I have talked to Brentwood from Hendersonville while mobile with 5 watts and talked to another fellow just past Cookeville on 2 meter ssb from the house in Hendersonville. With the right antenna and tower (altitude is king) you might be surprised at what you can do. Best wishes on what ever avenue you decide to pursue.

Agreed.  If people would be as determined to study for and pass the extremely simple Technician class exam as they are to make CB and GMRS work over long distances, they'd end up with a far better solution.

Maybe we could just get some TGO study groups going.

 

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1 hour ago, TGO David said:

Agreed.  If people would be as determined to study for and pass the extremely simple Technician class exam as they are to make CB and GMRS work over long distances, they'd end up with a far better solution.

Maybe we could just get some TGO study groups going.

 

Oh man, I'd love this!!!

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General Class here as well.  I'd like to study for Extra at some point.   I can help where time permits.  🙂

 

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11 hours ago, TGO David said:

General Class here as well.  I'd like to study for Extra at some point.   I can help where time permits.  🙂

 

I'm in the same boat, extra is a bear!!

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On 3/16/2021 at 12:39 AM, Photoguy67 said:

I am not trying to sound snide or anything, but why can't everyone involved get a ham license?

Not snide at all. I think the biggest speed-bump is the license difference. A single GMRS license covers the entire family. Also GMRS and CB are simpler for the non-technical folk to understand, being channel-based. 

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