How To Buy A SSB CB Radio For DX

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What To Look For In Used SSB CB Radios For Sale, Such As The Modified Galaxy Flamethrower

CB radios have been around since the 1940’s and are still popular with truckers and some radio hobbyists.  SSB CB radios use a technology called Single Sideband to effectively create more channels out of the 40 assigned ones. SSB is used by ham radio operators on the shortwave bands to talk across the globe. Strangely enough, CB radios occupy the 11 meter shortwave band. This unwise frequency assignment by the FCC created a unique opportunity for CB radio operators to use cheap equipment to talk around the world when conditions are right. So called CB DX or “skip shooting” is done by thousands of people worldwide using SSB CB radios which have often been modified.

Modified SSB Export CB Radios For DX Illegal

Outside the U.S., “export CB radios” which are able to tune above, between and below the normal forty channels, are legal. These often feature not only AM, (the standard mode used by truckers), but FM and SSB CB mode as well.   These export  SSB CB radios are not legal for use in the United States, though there are plenty of them around. Radios like the Galaxy DX-949 and Galaxy DX-959 Flamethrower, which is sold overseas modified to work on hundreds of channels, are used either modified or unmodified.  Used SSB CB radios like the Galaxy DX 959 are legal in the U.S. when sold unmodified or when modified legally. Legal CB modifications involve tuning for peak performance while avoiding a transmit power of  more than 12 watts PEP for SSB and 4 watts for AM.  Those with frequency counters are the choice of skip shooters since outside the U.S. they can be modified to go above and below the 40 channels. The FCC has practically given up on enforcement of the law, with so many “skip shooters” using illegally modified SSB CB radios to talk around the world, however there are still steep fines for breaking the law.  Even without being illegally modified, SSB CB radios for sale can be used to talk up to fifty miles or more, with the right conditions and antenna setup. I’ve seen high power export CB Radios for sale in Central America that are used by people living in rural areas as the main means of communications.

The Sunspot Cycle and CB Skip Shooting

Solar activity or sunspot activity affects radio communication on earth. A layer called the ionosphere becomes highly charged by solar radiation every 7 to 11 years. During this time signals from SSB CB radios can travel thousands of miles. This is bad news for anyone wanting to use used SSB CB radios for local communication but great news for those who want to do illegal skip shooting with CB. Remember, the FCC’s legal limit is 155 miles and power is limited to 4 watts.  We are now entering sunspot cycle number 24, which is opening up worldwide CB radio DX.

New or Used SSB CB radios do not require a license and may be used legally to talk dozens of miles. It is still forbidden by the FCC to talk to a station over 155 miles away, though it is done by many people. It is fun to listen to CB operators late in the evening as far away as Australia, even if you are not allowed to talk to them.  Legally modified SSB CB radios are a great emergency backup communication method. In a disaster or emergency you may be able to summon help with a SSB CB since they can reach out farther than AM models. To find SSB CB radios for sale, look at places like truck stops, trucker CB shops near them, and on eBay.   Used Export SSB CB radios on eBay are ones that have been modified for export use, so beware that they many be illegal in the U.S. due to high power output. CB radios linear amplifiers for sale are also against the law.

Things To Look For In Used SSB CB Radios For Sale Such As Galaxy Flamethrowers

Make sure the radio has recently been bench tested and if you don’t want to get in trouble with the FCC, is approved for use in the United States. SSB CB Radios with frequency counters are the choice of the pros. Features like “talk back” which allow you to hear what your outgoing voice sounds like, and echo, are popular with truckers. Stick with the name brands, like Galaxy, Cobra, Uniden, etc.

Below is an example of a Galaxy Flamethrower SSB CB Radio for sale on eBay. Click on the image for details.

Galaxy Flamethrowers on eBay. Click on image for details.

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  • One Response to “How To Buy A SSB CB Radio For DX”

    1. Rex Tammerin on 21. Aug, 2010

      The “FlameThrower” CB I bought new on ebay made me fall in love with CB again. All I can say is WOW! This radio does what a CB is supposed to do. After 22 years behind the wheel as a LHD trying to get people to respond to me was very difficult, with my Flame Thrower they ALL respond with remarks like “Sounds Great”, U-R “10-8 “. But the receiver is the best part, I clearly hear stations with the Flamethrower that I could NOT hear with my Cobra or Uniden using the same dual co-phased antennas on my truck. If you are getting a new CB as a hobby, or need one every day on the road like me, don’t spend your money on anything else. Remember “you get what you pay for”.
      Great article & well written SUNSHINE!
      T Rex 19 AM 38 LSB Huntsville, AL