One of the great appeals of listening to the radio on a long drive is knowing that there’s someone out there at this very moment, awake and broadcasting. Syndicated radio programs, podcasts, and modern digital technology have unfortunately made that less likely on your AM/FM dial.
Citizen Band (or CB) radio is a unique way both to listen in the present—and to start conversations in your immediate locale. Truckers, recreational vehicle drivers, and outdoor enthusiasts can all find community and information on the airwaves. Choose one of these three excellent radios (you’ll also need to get an antenna that works best for your vehicle), and stay in tune with your neighbors at home or on the road.
Handheld option. Amazon
This versatile handheld CB with a four-watt output will delight anyone who loved playing with walkie talkies as a kid. Stay in touch with friends in your RV caravan, or follow the weather through NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). If you’re on a long haul, you can set up the dual watch feature to monitor channel 9 (designated for emergencies) and one other channel such as channel 19 (the most-common trucker channel). Use battery power outside, or plug the mobile adapter into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter while driving—just know that you will need to purchase a separate antenna for your vehicle for sufficient range.
Look at all those dials and knobs. Amazon
If you dislike looking at digital screens and cycling through menu items while driving, the old-school analog dial and knob system of this radio allows you to make adjustments by feel. You can confirm your selections by glancing at the frequency counter and channel display, which show digits with green LED lights. Grab the handheld microphone and add your two cents to a conversation with the push of a button. Note: this model does not cover weather monitoring frequencies, so it’s best for people who want a CB primarily for a community with other drivers.
You’ll love this upgrade. Amazon
People who aren’t a fan of knobs may prefer the console of this radio, which allows you to switch between seven different colors of lights depending on visibility. You’ll enjoy access to NOAA weather and all 40 CB channels. The noise-canceling microphone is a nice feature, and you can even outfit this unit with Uniden’s wireless microphone.