Following any catastrophe, there are likely to be a number of local truckers and pick up truck drivers who have Citizens Band (CB) radios. CB radios have been around as a radio service since the 40′s and are still popular today, particularly with semi-trucks. CB radios do not require a license, unlike Amateur “HAM” Radio or GMRS, which do require a license. Many pick-up trucks also are equipped with CB radios and some base stations also exist. It would benefit the prepper to obtain at least one CB radio and base station antenna to communicate with citizens in their immediate community. You can obtain a CB from Amazon.com or Walmart for between $30 and $50 for a basic model, which is all you need. See below for a variety of CB radios from Amazon.com.
Base station antennas are also inexpensive an easy to install. The rule with Citizen’s Band (CB) is, the higher the antenna, the better the range. You may have heard about “Skip” using CB, which is possible over great distances depending on atmospheric conditions, but won’t help you communicate with people in your own town. You need a high antenna to do that! Below are a variety of base station antennas and coax cable to run between the CB radio and the antenna. I would suggest the Solarcon Vertical with Ground Plane as the best option and the Double Bazooka only if you are on a tight budget. The Double Bazooka is a dipole antenna, which has the wrong polarization for talking with most Citizens Band stations that use vertical antennas, although it will work. Also, you must buy RG8 or RG8X coax cable as featured below, DO NOT use television coax for your Citizens Band setup.
Most people use the Citizens Band (CB) Channel 19 for routine communications and Channel 9 for emergency communications. Either of these channels should be monitored during a catastrophe and you may want to consider a “is anybody monitoring” call at the top and bottom of the hour if you have the electrical resources to do so. You can also monitor CB Channel 9 and 19 on most scanners or a an Amateur Radio HF Transceiver. The freuqency to monitor for Channel 9 is 27.065 MHz AM and for Channel 19 it’s 27.185 MHz AM.
Citizens Band (CB) radios also require a 12 volt DC power supply, as compared to the 110 volt AC power that comes from your home outlets. Your vehicles cigarette lighter supplies enough 12 volt DC power to supply a CB radio, as does a car battery pulled from a vehicle or a most AC to DC power supplies that supply at least 2 amps (A) or 2000 milliamps (mA).