Something to consider for the CLC GRAND NATIONALS in Louisville
— and future DRIVING TOURS?
Using the CB Radio for Classic Car Touring
Some say CBs are a requirement for touring. But there’s an App for that too!
Using a Citizens’ Band (CB) radio to someone who has never used one is sort of like trying to explain how to operate a TV to someone who has never watched one before. But it's really not as complicated as you might think. Remember, it's a RADIO. Think of the channels as different radio stations. There is no limit as to the number of "listeners" that can be tuned in to a particular channel. You agree in advance on a particular channel for your group. CBs have 40 channels. Just pick for your group to use. Avoid Ch 9 and 19 (trucker channels).
How does it help with touring? The Buick tours typically have 2-4 groups of 10-15 cars each. Each group will have its own channel designation. This is done because we are usually running 5-10 minutes apart, but if that distance closes up, you need different channels for each group to avoid "bleeding over." The range of most regular CBs is usually 1-2 miles but will depend on the area. Mountains and/or hills will normally cut the distance.
The CB is used primarily to give directions. For example, the leader might call out, "Turn right at 10th St.by the Texaco station." Then your group’s "tail gunner" will announce "tail gunner made the turn on 10th St." In the event of an emergency (e.g., a break down) someone can say, "So & so is pulling over," or the person who is pulling over might say "Everything is okay, we just need to make an unscheduled pit stop."
Buying a CB radio: What type of CB do you need? Just a "basic/simple" CB can be bought for well under $100, and many fine ones cost about $59. The antenna will be another $40-$60. Truck stops are the best place to buy CB's, now that there are no Radio Shacks. You don't need a $150 unit.
Mounting the CB radio equipment can be as simple as plugging it into the cigarette lighter and laying the CB on the seat. Or you can buy a plastic mount that just sits on the transmission hump. You can buy a mounting bracket that will screw into the bottom of the dash under the ash tray. Or try a console drink tray that sits on the transmission hump and mount the CB bracket to it. The CB will have a cigarette power plug-in.
Most antennas have magnetic mounts, but some attach to the side window. Magnet mounts are the most popular. Just put a thin piece of cloth under the magnet to prevent scratching and run the cord (called "coax,” short for coaxial cable) through a corner of the window. There is no problem rolling the window up on it. Most drivers mount their antenna on the trunk lid and run the coax in through the trunk behind the rear seat. Some people pull up the edge of the carpet by the door jam, but many just run it on top of the carpet and under the floor mats.
What about that app for my smart phone? If everyone in your touring group has a smart phone, you can eliminate CBs altogether. There are apps that allows you to program all group member's cell numbers in. It works just like the old Nextel "Push to Talk." One app to try out is “CB Radio Chat,” free at your app store.
Perhaps something to consider for the drive up to the CLC GRAND NATIONALS in Louisville — and FUTURE DRIVING TOURS?
— Doug Bailey, Peach State Cadillac and LaSalle Club
Peach State Cadillac and LaSalle Club enjoys the benefit of multiple talented writers/members for this blog. A BIG thanks to all our contributors for sharing your deep knowledge base about classic Cadillacs!