Tater Raider wrote:Since we are going there the question I have, and please pardon my ignorance on this one, is how does the 2m stack up against the CB on stuff like local traffic, finding a hole-in-the-wall cafe with great eats, and keeping tabs on what the LEO's might be doing in the area? My experience on CB radios is they are handy tools to have at times and at other times are full of folk doing the radio equivalent of 4chan. For some things the CB is mandatory, like to be a member of the local 4x4 club, so I'm getting one anyways but would the 2m be worth the added expense?
greggk wrote:good question
The thing with CB, is generally speaking, you can send out a mating call on channel 19 and quite likely find someone in the area to ask about traffic, where the smokey bears are etc etc.
With a CB, you don't need to know where to tune in - that is, you don't need to know specific frequencies of repeaters or any PL tones, all you need to know is channel 19, channel 19, channel 19. Easy enough.
Of course there are a number of drawbacks with CB and there's no guarantee that you will find someone to talk, especially if you're in a remote area or away from major highways. But you asked a specific question so...
As for the VHF ham band, there is a calling channel and occasionally you can throw your call sign out there and get a response but there are far fewer people monitoring it and if you did get a response, they could be 20 miles away. They're probably sitting in their shack and don't have the slightest idea where the cops are setting up a speed trap or what's caused the 4 mile pileup on the interstate. But I guarantee you they WILL know where the good eatin' is at!
The chance of making a contact on the 2m calling channel isn't as good as it used to be. I often monitor the calling frequency when I'm on a long road trip. On rare occasions, I'll make a brief contact with someone else who's on the road, usually they're going in the opposite direction and we don't get long.
Now there's a lot of people monitoring 2m, but you'll have to know where the repeaters are and if you're travelling and don't have a repeater guide to find out the frequencies and pl tones, your only option is to scan for conversations in progress.
2m (FM) is far more reliable, especially in or around big cities where theres a lot of noise and interference that impacts CB (AM), but again, you asked a specific question about travel information and so I'll keep it at that. By the way, just as a side note, a lot of hams get annoyed when people hold long conversations on the 2m calling frequency as it is intended to be a calling channel like marine ch 16 and have conversations move to some other frequency. CB is, shall we say, less structured in terms of etiquette.
Edit to tell you a quick story of when I had a memorable conversation on the 2m calling channel... In 2004 I was briefly living in florida, in the area that got two direct hits from catagory 2-3 hurricanes 2 weeks apart. I had evacuated down to the south and therefore did not get stuck in the traffic from the mass exodus that went north. I was able to get back home before everyone else. The power was out, it looked like a war zone, local repeaters were down, cell phones were down. I made a contact on the 2m calling channel as I was driving on the interstate to someone who was about 20 miles away in their shack and we were able to have a reliable signal the entire time and I was able to relay conditions of the roads and everything else that I saw to the other station and anyone who was listening.