Del Albright's - Products and Tech Talk
NOTE: Put a CB and GPS in your off pavement rig. You'll not regret either one. And with today's land closures and Wilderness areas going up right and left, you NEED a GPS and good map with you. Don't get caught where you don't belong; and know where you are at all times. Our image (and future access) depends on us behaving ourselves. Please do your part (Click here for more on access).
GLOBAL POSITIONING SATELLITE GIZMO
GPS: Currenty, my GPS's are a Garmin III+ and the 2720. These are great units! "Mrs. Garmin" (my 2720 Street Pilot) is the most awesome navigation device for city streets and country roads I've ever seen! I use the III+ (they have newer units now) for off road navigation.
I've heard reports that most of the big names in GPS are making good products these days. Do your homework (research and talking to old timers) about the product that best suites YOUR applications. For example, if you want a unit that you're going to use in your boat, out in the ocean, you should focus your research in that direction (talk to marine boaters, not just four-wheelers). Check out the four-wheel drive, backpacking and other enthusiast magazines that are all pretty much doing GPS reviews these days (start here).
The trick is to make your own list of expectations -- what do you want your GPS to do (and of course, what you can afford). A couple of guys in my four-wheel drive club like to attach their GPS to their laptop computer while we're on the trail. That way, they can actually map the trail we're on while we're cruising. It comes in handy when you encounter an intersection you weren't expecting. :)
CITIZEN BAND (CB) RADIO
CB: CB's are a common tool in most four-wheel drive rigs. In fact, someone who doesn't have CB is missing out of a lot of the fun of a group ride. Cobra still makes one of the most trail worthy, vibration tolerant CB's on the market. I've used many others and they work ok too. But Cobra sure has the rep for being the one for dirt lovers. Make sure you get a GOOD antenna for your CB. It'll mean night and day differences to your transmissions. If you ever have a CB problem (won't transmit), I can almost assure you it's because either your mic is bad (just replace it) or your antenna has wiggled loose. It's that simple in 90% of the cases in my experience.
With that in mind, buy a CB that has an easily replaceable microphone. Also, take the time to have your antenna PROPERLY installed and calibrated. Get someone to do a meter test (side way and VF). It's not important what they mean. Just know that a calibrated and properly installed CB may make the diff between getting back to camp in time for dinner or NOT.
I also own and have used Midland and Radio Shack CB's. The way you install them and use them is more important that the brand name, truthfully.
FAMILY RADIO SERVICE (FRS)
These handheld two way radios have really come on strong with recreationists. They've pretty much taken the place of handheld CB's. But as of yet, they're not a rig mounted radio. You NEED a rig mounted radio (CB or HAMM) for running in trail convoys to really enjoy the trail and hear what's going on. TRUST ME when I tell you that you can't hear a handheld radio of any type while riding in most four-wheel drive rigs. I recommend not only a rig mounted CB, but also a remote (external) additional speaker (such as one from Radio Shack).
Write me if you have any questions.
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