UHF CB Radios technical notes

BSAR requirements for UHF CB Radios

  • Access to all 40 UHF voice channels with the capability to use repeater channels
  • Simple and intuitive to use
  • A key lock function so the radio does not accidentally change channel when bumped or in your pocket.
  • At least 1.5 watt power output - less than this limits transmit coverage in difficult terrain
  • A physical ON/OFF switch, normally associated with the volume control. Some radios have an electronic ON/OFF switch that drains the batteries over an extended period of time
  • The radio should be readily available from electronics stores and not be a one-off special
  • A stout wrist strap and belt clip
  • A minimum of 24 hours of receive-only operation
  • Ability to use external speaker/mike

 Other desirable features:

  • Availability of CTCSS tone functionality to reduce unwanted traffic
  • Waterproof
  • Battery save functionality – radio listens for a short time and if no activity goes to sleep for a short time
  • Spare battery if custom battery is supplied
  • 5W power output. While this uses more power on transmit, the increased transmission range is very useful.  BSAR now aims to equip each search team with at least one 5W radio with a long range antenna.

 Features not required for BSAR use

  • Voice activation for transmission (VOX) as VOX activates automatically in high winds and blocks the channel to anyone else

Batteries

Use of AA batteries is an advantage for the following reasons:

  • AA cells are readily available at supermarkets and stores
  • most GPSs use AA cells hence only one type of battery need be carried
  • BSAR already maintains a supply of AA batteries
  • they are less likely to require changeover in the field due to their capacity
  • others in your group and adjacent groups will also have AA cells
  • either high capacity alkaline cells (preferred) or high capacity rechargeable nickel metal hydride cells can be used. Nicads are not recommended.
  • AA cells last significantly longer that AAA cells, especially in the very cold conditions

See also: Radio battery capacity testing

Radios we currently use

Updated 26 Aug 2012