What radio should I buy is a question that I am often asked. My reply
is usually this:
The general recommendation would be a Superstar 3900 (SS-3900) it has
10 watts AM and FM and 20 watts PEP when using SSB. SSB is what is used
for freebanding work. The SS-3900 is essentially a clone of the famous
and world renowned Cobra 148 GTL DX. It can be connected to a
Zetagi B-300 linear amplifier to produce over 100 watts on SSB which
should be MORE than enough!! Additionally a 6 digit frequency counter
can be added so that you know what frequency you're on. It's not really
necessary when working with channelised CB radios, but it can be very
There are other choices, and the one that immediately springs to mind
is the Galaxy DX-95 T2. This is an all in one 100 watt SSB package with
frequency read out. Obviously it's expensive, but when you see that it
has the 100 w p.a. and frequency counter built in it's not too bad
really. I am told that it performs well and is also well made.
Just add a 5/8th wave Silver Rod type antenna as high as possible, some
really good low loss coax such as RG 213, a decent power supply and an
SWR meter and you're away.
I would add that I got bitten by the CB bug which is great for casual
chat, then got interested in Freebanding as a 'serious' radio interest,
but got a little frustrated with the limitations that these 'freeband'
(multi-mode) radios offer. Not that there's anything particularly wrong
with the radios themselves or the general idea, it's just that when one
gets on the air and realises that there is actually so much more out
there on the bands you'll probably soon (very soon) what to do a lot
more. It didn't take me many months to realise that such radios were a
I quickly got a proper amateur radio licence which opened up almost
limitless and exciting opportunities on a vast array of other
frequencies and bands. Not just a small handful of channels on 27MHz -
but everything from 1700kHz to 430 MHz and even beyond. The entry level
licence here in the UK allows 10 watts - it might not seem very much
but you can get around the world with 10 watts. 10 watts is more than
enough for chatting locally on 2m and 70cms and MUCH further afield
with a nice Yagi antenna!.
For not much more that the Galaxy CB you can have a real radio with
modern circuit design. The Yaesu FT-857D is a classic little rig. 100
watts on HF from 1.7 MHz to 28 Mhz; 50 watts on 144 - 146 MHz and 20
watts on 430 to 440 MHz and all the modes you'll need and it has built
in digital signal processing and loads of other exciting - modern -
It really is great fun putting together a good radio station, but
please do think about what I have said, because you don't want to go
rushing into spending what are quite large sums of money then realizing
just a few short months down the line that you find that you need
something better and more flexible and that you could have bought right
now for not very much more than an old style CB rig.
See my AMATEUR RADIO PAGES
Take your time to decide what route you want to go and what radio you
will buy. Whatever you do, HAVE FUN and GOOD LUCK!
Always buy from a good radio dealer - I list many of them in my amateur
radio and CB radio links pages.