CB Radio long range communications

I am really impressed at what can be done with SSB CB Radio. It actually really blows away the range of 2 m / 144 MHz FM simplex. I use a 102” whip on my car, dead center of the roof and it’s a quiet, amazing antenna. I can use it naturally on 10 m as well as CB.

Every day now that I can drive to school I talk with a group of commuters from my car. For the mobiles I can hear them to 25 km range, and they’re in the city. For the base stations it is approaching 75 km range. Now, at that distance you both have to be in the country or at least the base has to be in the far out suburbs and car in the country. Preamps are required at both ends and you better have an RF-quiet car.

It makes my daily school drive so fun to have so many great folks to talk with. Everyone from other high-schoolers to well-retired. One guy is legally blind but his wife drives him around in a giant Cadillac, he is a riot too. There is a sense of camaraderie that bizarrely I feel less of on ham radio. Some people are sticklers for the finest points of rules, and I don’t think they even understand the rules they are holding to. Yet other people ride roughshod over a semblance of politeness and they are let to run that way too.

Wireless career approaching year 2000

I have benefited a lot from all those years of salvaging and selling used electronics. For summer a 9-5 job provides a form of technical mentorship. Picking a private high school has been a great choice. It’s where I find people taking real action in growing beyond their current state. So I take the long drive morning and night, the big but ultimately small price to pay to challenge myself to the max and open new doors.

My ACT score was a little embarrassingly high–the counselor says every door is open to me for the college I want. I have to think about all the lost income though. I have this weird though about saving up first, then going to college. CD rates have plateaued and might even keep dropping. So this works against just moving to low-medium risk position while in college, I need to have more exposure to take advantage of my young age. This summertime job is going to pay more than my dad makes–to do something I already love. It’s going to mean I can really play with the guys at school on Scottrade. I already have the equity position but with a reliable income stream I can be more aggressive.

That logic points towards working in a couple years–there is a pathway there with the commission structure such that within 2 years of starting full-time work I could be in the top 10% in this region, including all the bigwig judges, CEOs, MDs, etc. From that perspective it’s hard to justify taking myself out of the workforce.

The wireless world is exploding. Although our cell phones haven’t tapped the Web directly yet, I can send text messages to my Nextel c280 from the Internet, ergo I can send information such as stock prices if I leave my desktop on and use a program to scrape and send. Then I could phone in the trade. Ha! Those guys will really be puzzled at what I’m doing between classes this fall! And I assume in maybe 5 years we’ll have some form of the Web on phones too. Maybe something like Gopher used to be not long ago, but scaled to phone size.

So my car looks like a porcupine:

  • 102” whip for CB/10 meters
  • 18” whirly whip on-glass for 800 MHz SMR
  • 5/8 wave mag mount for 2 meter 144 MHz.