Charlie's Blog: April 2023


Homesteading vs. Gardening

A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.

For many years, I aspired to be a homesteader. I wanted 12 acres or more of land in the country. I fantasized about windmills and solar panels and fields and orchards. I saw an alternative style home with a well stocked pantry and a root cellar. I had big ambitions. Today, I have put that dream to sleep. I have no bitterness or regret about this. I just came to the realization that I was being an idiot. I embraced sensibility. Now, I aspire to be nothing more than a simple backyard gardener.

I do not intend to throw shade on homesteaders. I have friends who are homesteaders. My wife and I are avid fans of the homesteading channels on YouTube. We were subscribed to Mother Earth News for 6 years. We just admit that we cannot function at the homesteading level of prepping. And we don't need a homestead. Here are the things that brought me to this conclusion.

1. I don't eat meat, eggs, or dairy products.

I confess that I do not comprehend the economics of raising animals for food. If I was still an omnivore, I would hunt and fish to get animal protein. But to buy feed for animals in order to feed yourself is bizarre to me. Why not buy groceries with that money instead?

With gardening, you are raising vegetables. There is an initial investment in tools and other equipment, but it is low cost after that. I do not have a vast space for vegetable gardening, but it is sufficient. I also have modest expectations of cutting my grocery bill in half. With inflation as it is right now, this is a no-brainer. I also use the lasagna gardening method which makes use of waste items that cost nothing. For me, it is not enough to garden. I garden on a budget.

Because I don't raise and tend animals, I don't need the real estate for these critters. Animals need pastures and pens. I don't need animals.

2. I think solar power and wind power are pipe dreams.

We follow off-grid homesteaders who have no electricity except what they produce. I was keen on doing this until I looked into the economics of solar and wind as a replacement for being on the grid. It is a waste of money. James Howard Kunstler agrees.

I believe you are better off insulating your home than trying to produce your own electricity. I think having a fireplace or a woodburning stove are smart ideas. A gas or diesel powered generator is also smart for power interruptions. A small solar panel and battery is not a bad idea. But you are not running your air conditioner with this battery.

I am always going to be on the grid. When the grid fails, I will have to live like the Amish. Everyone else will, too. The guy with the expensive solar and wind array will be laughing until he has to replace that bank of batteries.

3. I need the internet.

Internet in rural areas is terrible especially in my county. This makes living deep in the country a negative for me. I am prepared for when the internet goes down for everyone, but I want access to it right up to the moment the Zombie Apocalypse hits. How else can I post to my blog? How else can I watch the homesteaders on YouTube?

4. I am unable to maintain or afford a large property.

I am a traumatic brain injury survivor. I can barely maintain a modest property. I do the best I can, but I still wouldn't have a large homestead if I was in better shape simply because I can't afford the land or the property taxes on that land. I would have to buy a tractor and equipment and fuel and on and on. When I think about it now, I wonder why I ever considered a homestead in the first place.

One of my homesteader friends points out that the homesteaders on YouTube make their money from homesteading videos and not homesteading. I wouldn't know, but we both had a good laugh over that.

Over the long term, age and injury are going to diminish your ability to work on a homestead. I think a modest garden is more sensible for older people.

5. I do not believe in the Zombie Apocalypse.

I understand that the zombie thing is just a placeholder for all sorts of possible future scenarios and catastrophes. But I thought about it for years and came to some conclusions. If nuclear war or the sweet meteor of death strikes, I am dead. I just need to be in a state of grace when it happens. I don't need a homestead in those scenarios. I need my rosary beads and a good priest.

Conventional war, civil unrest, and civil war are also possibilities. But you don't need a homestead for those things. You need resources to fight or to escape. When the Red Legs came to the homestead of Josey Wales, they killed his wife and son and burned his property to the ground. Josey didn't go back to plowing after that.

The scenario I see that is most likely is an economic collapse on the level of the Great Depression. I have already lived through economic hardship both on the large scale and the personal scale. And it can never hurt you to prepare for hard economic times. The preparation for Great Depression II is frugality. Homesteading is not frugality.

We are already in hard economic times as I write this. It can get worse, or it can get better. I am just glad to be adjusted to a modest and frugal lifestyle. That was the lesson I learned from the survivors of the Great Depression. You make do with less.


There isn't a name for the way I choose to live and prepare. I believe in living a simple lifestyle, and the homesteading lifestyle is not simple. It takes a great deal of money and labor to do homesteading. It doesn't take a lot of money and labor to tend a garden and stock a pantry. So, I am just a gardener now. This was something they did in the Great Depression. I may fail as a gardener, but this will only confirm that I would have failed with a homestead. I just see this current strategy of mine as being sensible. I think everyone should replace ambition with sensibility.


An Unpopular Opinion About Running

My doctor told me that running could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already.

Recently, someone posted a provocative piece on the Unpopular Opinion reddit board. It was definitely unpopular as 1000+ people responded mostly in the negative to the post. I quote it entirely below because reddit moderators are notorious for deleting these posts.

If you enjoy running you must secretly hate yourself or some part of your life.

Running is one of the most miserable experiences on this planet. I literally just walk instead to stay healthy and I can promise you I’m enjoying my day more than you. I also get to enjoy nature more.

If you’re an athlete that makes money or gifted genetically then sure I understand that, but for the everyday person if are choosing to go on a run your life must suck in some way. Just walk and stop hating yourself.

Edit: I’ve absolutely loved reading all the cope in this thread. I’m 6’0 and weigh 190. I do plenty of other activities to stay in shape. But there are psychos out there that really choose to spend their time outside running. You hate yourself if that’s how you choose to spend your time.

Some people really missed the point and tried to focus on the fit aspect when in reality running is just boring and a miserable experience, and quite frankly a waste of time.

To the people that did notice and talk about that, I see you.

What can I say? I am in agreement with the original poster. I think running is a miserable way to get in shape, and you will enjoy walking more. Running only has one advantage over walking. You will lose weight faster and get fit faster with running. That's it. And that only applies if you don't get injured or quit.

Do runners hate themselves? I can't answer that. I understand why people would draw that conclusion because there is a masochistic streak in running especially when you hear about the injuries and sufferings of Navy SEAL turned ultrarunner David Goggins. That man is clearly dealing with issues from his past life. On a recent Joe Rogan podcast, Goggins admitted that he had run his knee to pieces requiring surgery that still leaves him running in pain. But this man is not the typical runner. Nevertheless, running for even the average person is painful and miserable. The mythical "runner's high" is not worth the price of admission. Personally, I don't think it exists.

The real story here isn't what the original poster wrote but the response it got. He touched a nerve which means he got something right. Why else would people go so nuts telling him that he is wrong? Plus, this was not some sort of running forum. It was the unpopular opinion board. Yet, it was like stepping into a fire ant nest.

I think this response comes from a pathology in our culture today that insists that gain must come from pain. To say otherwise is some sort of heresy. And that is the secret of walking. You can exercise, get fit, and enjoy it. I find that very appealing. Just know that if you walk and enjoy it, some people are going to hate you for this.


On Hobbies

What is a hobby anyway? Where is the line of demarcation between hobbies and ordinary normal pursuits? I have been unable to answer this question to my own satisfaction.

I do not have any hobbies. I do not want to have hobbies. Some people will claim that I have hobbies, but I do not. This is because I have a definition for a hobby. A hobby is the serious pursuit of a worthless activity.

No one considers their job to be a hobby. This is because jobs pay money. Getting paid makes any activity worthwhile and serious. But is mowing your lawn a hobby? Is doing the laundry a hobby? The answer is no. These are worthwhile activities even if you don't get paid to do them. We call these chores instead of hobbies.

Is watching television a hobby? Is listening to the radio a hobby? Is reading a hobby? That depends upon the seriousness of the activity. For most people, these are generally worthless activities that no one seriously pursues. These are not hobbies. This is entertainment.

Is knitting a hobby? Is sewing a hobby? Is woodworking a hobby? These things require serious pursuit, but they are worthwhile activities because they produce useful and valuable things. These would be crafts not hobbies.

Is playing the piano a hobby? Is painting a picture a hobby? Is writing a hobby? That depends upon if the musician or painter or writer is any good. These are known as arts which are akin to crafts. If you are no good at these things, you should give them up or pursue them without serious commitment. This is how you end up playing the kazoo.

Now, I like to play the kazoo for 10 minutes each day or until my wife gets annoyed. Is kazoo playing a hobby? Without a doubt, kazoo playing is a worthless activity, but I pursue it with no seriousness. The same also applies to my bird watching. I have a cheap monocular, but I can't identify half the birds I see. I don't even try. I do not own a field guide, and I do not keep a logbook. I don't make special trips to watch birds. Most of the birds I watch are in my backyard or the grocery store parking lot. If I took bird watching seriously by buying a better looking glass or started keeping notes in a log, then my worthless activity would become a hobby.

I pursue worthwhile activities with seriousness, and I pursue worthless activities without seriousness. I do not seriously pursue worthless activities. I do not have hobbies.

What are examples of hobbies? I think golf is a hobby for the vast majority of people who play that worthless game. For those with talent and skill and ability to earn cash prizes on the PGA tour, golf is a sport. For everyone else, it is a worthless game they will never become good at playing despite the thousands of dollars they shell out for equipment and country club fees. This makes golf a hobby.

I think ham radio is a hobby. Ham operators spend considerable time and money studying the subject and purchasing expensive equipment in order to make contacts for contests. If you ask them what the value is in these activities, they will make some generic claim to "emergency communications." In some rare instances, this claim is true. But for most hams, it is a hobby that eats up time and money.

I like to use CB radios, but this sector of the radio world doesn't take itself seriously. Yet, CB radios have been the number one form of radio communication for truck drivers and others who appreciate the utility of CB radio. People actually use CBs for emergency communications. This would be the not serious pursuit of a worthwhile activity. This is not a hobby.

I like gardening. This is serious, and it will be a worthwhile activity if things grow. If they don't grow, then I have found myself a hobby which I need to end. I like walking, but this is always a worthwhile activity done for the sake of health. This is exercise which is not a hobby. Then, there is writing on this blog. I find value in what I write, and people tell me they find value in it, too. This makes it worthwhile and not a hobby.

Collecting things are always hobbies. It could be comic books, coins, stamps, movie posters, baseball cards, vinyl records, and other things. Most hobbies tend to be collecting. Shortwave listeners don't listen to shortwave radio. They collect shortwave radios. Golfers are collecting expensive golf clubs. Most of the guitar players you see on YouTube are just guitar collectors. Ultimately, a collection is just clutter. This is why I am not a collector of anything except belly button lint.

Hobbies are a waste of life. This is why I don't care to have them. I do serious things, and I do fun things. The fun things are pleasant breaks from the serious things. Hobby is a term of derision derived from the hobby horse which is a child's toy. The child rides the toy with great effort, but he doesn't get anywhere. This is why calling something a hobby is an insult, and the term is accurate and fitting.

Hobbies are the serious pursuits of worthless activities. People may do them because of ambition or compulsion. Rare is the hobbyist who can justify his hobby. And they rarely have fun with these hobbies. Once the novelty wears off, most hobbies become clutter for the garage, the basement, or the attic. Yard sales and estate sales are replete with the detritus from these hobby graveyards. I just see it all as one big waste of life.

The cure for eliminating hobbies is twofold and simple. Pursue worthwhile activities with seriousness. Pursue worthless activities without seriousness. That's it. You will have stopped wasting time, resources, and life on hobbies. You will become a better person for doing this.


Unsolicited Advice

Unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.

A friend of mine told me once that wisdom was the purest form of pain. The pain comes from watching other people do stupid things. It puts you in a trap. Part of you wants to speak up and spare the fool the inevitable consequences of his folly. The other part of you knows he will never listen. And the final point of pain is the guilt you feel when you don't say anything at all. You need to spare yourself those feelings of guilt. The old wisdom is still the best. Never give unsolicited advice.

I have only known one time in my life when my advice was solicited. A co-worker of mine came into a windfall of money when his aunt died leaving him a sizable inheritance. I am not a financial advisor, but he asked me what I thought he should do with the money. I had watched him and his wife for some years struggle financially because he was a heart transplant recipient. His entire income went to paying for the meds that kept his body from rejecting the donated organ while they lived on his wife's paycheck. They could only afford one modest car which they shared. I know that he expected me to give him some kind of stock tip or mutual fund advice. Instead, I told him he should pay off the mortgage for his home.

That fellow actually followed my advice. He paid off his home, and it changed his life. He told me that a great burden of stress had been taken off of him and his wife. Without those monthly mortgage payments, this fellow and his wife were able to buy a second car. He had a better life. But it got back to me that he was unhappy with my advice. He never said it to me directly, but he thought he could have done better in the stock market or something. I changed his life with common sense, and he hated me for it. I never expect gratitude, but I certainly don't expect ingratitude. But I do feel good about one thing. He asked for my advice, and I gave it to him. He benefited from it even if he didn't appreciate it. And, as far as I know, he didn't mortgage his home again to gamble it away on the stock market.

That story has taught me that even giving solicited advice is a thankless task. I wish I had told him nothing and let him continue to suffer. If that sounds heartless and cruel, I need to remind you that this man is a fool. That's not my responsibility nor my fault. I was a fool for giving him my thoughts on what he should do. But I learned my own lesson to be grateful to God for His blessings. This includes the painful blessings.

If giving solicited advice is full of grief, giving unsolicited advice is even worse. I hate watching people suffer needlessly. Recently, the editor/journalist at my local newspaper wrote a column about his health issues. The most prominent issue was his struggle with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. I had similar issues before I stopped eating crap and started eating a plant based diet. Those issues cleared up for me immediately when I made that switch. The newspaper fellow went on prescription meds. This allows him to keep eating crap. He is mystified as to why he suffers from IBS, but I am not taking the bait. He knows the reason. The title of his article was that he needed to make some changes. Then, he went on to write how he actually wasn't going to change. He wanted sympathy and reinforcement in his stupidity. I just know not to waste my time sending him an email on the matter.

I genuinely want the good of other people. I want everyone to repent, convert to Roman Catholicism, die in a state of grace, and behold the Beatific Vision one day. I don't want anyone to go to Hell including my enemies. But this is not up to me. Similarly, I have learned some things that have made my life on the temporal level easier to bear. Most of it I learned from following the advice of others which is all over the internet. But most people would rather watch cat videos on YouTube.

My desire and wish for the good of others carries the label of GENERAL BENEVOLENCE. I want people to do well. I nurse no grudges, envy, or ill will. But with that general benevolence, I add another label. This label is BENIGN INDIFFERENCE. Basically, my good wishes end at your freedom and autonomy. I care about others but not to the point of overriding their free will and desire to be left alone.

People have tried to give me advice which I did not take. This is because I considered it bad advice. Sometimes, I have changed my mind later. But what I have noticed about people who give bad advice and even good advice is their pushiness. It feels like bullying and aggression. The poster boy for this aggression is your typical vegan and other leftwing types who not only give unsolicited advice but attempt to force it through laws and tyranny. They don't want you to have an informed choice. They want to take away your choice completely.

The middle ground in all of this would be the salesman or Jehovah's Witness who comes knocking on your door. They are not forcing you to buy what they're selling, but they are aggravating when you are not interested. These people want to reach the ones interested, but they end up encountering and bothering a lot of uninterested people. The way around this would be advertising. Advertising allows you to reach people while allowing them the option to ignore you and change the channel.

My advertising to the world is this blog. As I have said before, this blog allows me to say what I want to say while allowing you the freedom to ignore it. It relieves me of guilt while not being pushy. People have the freedom to read what I write to inform their own choices or disregard it. Plus, I recommend reading as much as you can from others. There are plenty of blogs with good advice.

Aside from this blog, I keep my mouth shut. I can sit back and watch people do incredibly stupid things and suffer the consequences and not say a word. I use to suffer watching these fools, but I don't suffer anymore. I just pop some corn, sit back, and enjoy the show. Fools are good entertainment and good education. They show you what not to do.

It is foolish to give unsolicited advice. If they don't ask for the advice, do not give it to them. Sometimes, they do ask for advice, but these fools just want reinforcement on the choices they have already made. You should test them first to see if they are sincere. If they are sincere, give the advice. They are free to take it or leave it. If you follow these simple rules, you will have genuinely helped the few you can help. Everyone else is free to suffer the consequences.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

UPDATE: Every human being is born with the need to drink water. Deprived of water, people die. That is as basic as it gets. It's nice to have a beverage like a hot tea or coffee. But the best thing to drink for hydration is water.

Many people drink soda pop all day instead of water. It blows my mind, and it should blow your mind. I told a friend about how drinking water is a good thing. He said he didn't like the taste of water. I am not making this up. I have another friend who said the same thing and prefers drinking iced tea all day long. It makes my kidneys hurt to think about it.

The reason I share this here is that the advice to drink water is as basic as it gets. Only oxygen is more vital to life. Yet, if you can't convince people to drink water, you're wasting your time on anything more upper level than this. This is just another example for not giving unsolicited advice and not feeling guilty about it.



Most of us have only two or three genuinely interesting moments in our lives; the rest is filler.

I follow a fellow who makes YouTube videos. He is an old man who lives in Nebraska, and his videos have a homemade quality about them. They are short and come out about once a week. I watch every one of them. What makes him so watchable is that he never wastes your time. He gets to the point and doesn't ramble. His videos are short. They are typically around five minutes. His videos have no filler. I wish many of the other YouTubers made videos like this.

I am a blogger, and it hit me that I was doing something similar with my posts. I was creating filler. For some reason, I felt the need to post daily. I saw this as a recommendation from some website that gives advice on blogging some years ago. I think it is bad advice. To post on a daily basis, you end up with filler. The better advice is to only write and post material that is worth reading. Don't waste the reader's time.

I have removed most of the filler from this blog that I accumulated over the years. My rule now is to only post evergreen posts that have some enduring value and appeal. I wish every post could be a hit, but that it isn't possible. What is possible is not wasting people's time. Just because you have the power to publish everything you write doesn't mean you should.

I am against filler across all mediums and platforms. Stop wasting people's time. Get to the point. And, if you have nothing to say, shut up for awhile. A good post on a weekly basis is better than bad posts on a daily basis. Fundamentally, make better content and trust that it will be found.


Cycling Is Stupid

 Anyone who would willingly ride a bicycle through the frenzied streets of New York City could only have an I.Q. in the low double digits. That, or a death wish.

I am not a cyclist. I have spent time riding recumbent stationary bikes in gyms, and this is as far as I care to go with cycling. I think this form of cycling is relatively safe and healthy, and I recommend it if you can't get outside for a walk. I do not recommend riding a bicycle outside of a gym. This is because cycling is stupid.

1. Cycling is dangerous.

The first and most basic reason that cycling is stupid is that it will get you killed or seriously injured. If you ride on the road with cars, an idiot driver is going to slam into you or sideswipe you. You can follow all of the rules for the road, wear reflective garb, and don a helmet. None of this matters. In the battle of car vs. bike, the car is going to win. The pickup truck and the big rig are also going to win.

Cyclists who choose to go off road with mountain bikes and gravel bikes encounter the dangers of terrain and going over the handlebars on steep descents. Broken collarbones are common. Mountain bikers end up with as much hardware in their legs and other body parts as they carry on their bikes.

One of the aims of cycling is health. How is it healthy to end up busted up on a road or trail? This is dumb.

2. Cycling is expensive.

You can buy a cheap bicycle from Walmart. Just get ready to get laughed at by your cycling peers and also find the cycling experience less enjoyable. For serious cyclists, their bikes cost thousands of dollars. I have seen bicycles that cost more than a good used car. Who can afford this? Why would you drop serious money like this on a bicycle? This is dumb.

3. Thieves will steal your expensive bicycle.

Bicycle thievery is common and persists despite bike locks and all the rest. If I had to ride a bike, I would make it a folding bike that I could carry with me. Leaving your bike anywhere unattended for ten minutes will result in that bike getting stolen. Some brazen thieves will even steal your bike with you on it. They just knock you down and take your ride. This adds to the danger of cycling that I already mentioned. Riding a bike is an invitation to thieves. This is dumb.

The world is not kind to cyclists. Some cyclists get mad and fight back. This is a fight those cyclists are going to lose. Fighting reality is dumb. This is why I gave up my bicycle years ago and will only ride those recumbent stationary bikes at the gym. They are comfortable and safe and cheaper than getting your thousand dollar bicycle stolen.


These are some headlines I pulled from a recent search for "cyclist" on the news tab of DuckDuckGo:

Woman cyclist hit, killed by SUV in Hialeah

After Driver Hit Him, Teen Cyclist Is Tracked Down and Ticketed—in the Hospital

Cyclist Killed While Riding Rasputitsa Gravel Race in Vermont

Slain Cyclist, Father To Be Honored At Brooklyn Vigil

Cyclist dies after colliding with semi on April 13

Cyclist, 83, dies after colliding with truck on SB Turnpike in Davie

Teenage cyclist killed in Franklin County crash

Cyclist killed in head-on crash with truck during race, Vermont cops say. ‘Nightmare’

Changes planned for Presidio roadway following world champion cyclist's death

Cyclist hit by car outside Jazz Fest now fighting for her life

Cyclist found laying in Manhattan intersection following collision with BMW

'Beloved' Cyclist Mourned After He Was Fatally Hit In Brooklyn

Death of elite cyclist struck by car in S.F. remains a mystery. His friends want answers

I can go on and on with these headlines. Fresh stories of injured and killed cyclists are added daily. The point is that cycling on the road with cars and trucks is deadly. Drivers are supposed to share the road, but they don't. Is cycling worth death or a crippling injury?


CB Radio Is Better Than Ham Radio

CB communication is not only fun, it's also smart.

The best communication device that exists today is the cellphone. Most people won't even leave the house without a cellphone on their person. Payphones are gone, so that cellphone is it especially if you are travelling. Preppers know that those cellphones are vulnerable to all sorts of systemic failures and sabotage. The government can also shut down those cell networks at a moment's notice. This necessitates having a backup form of communication which means radio. I believe that CB radio is better than ham radio as this backup radio communication.

1. CB radio does not require a license.

To talk on ham radio legally, you must study and pass a test to get a license. Some ham radio operators will tell you that the test is easy. I disagree. The test is easy if you are someone who geeks out on radio. Most people don't have that deep of an interest in this hobby to dedicate the time to passing that test. They want to key up a mic and start talking. You can do this with CB radio. No license is required.

The other nice thing about not having a license is anonymity. Once you get a ham ticket, you are branded as a ham operator by the FCC. They know where you live and who you are. If you are comfortable with that, you might like being a ham operator. If you are not comfortable with that, you should go with a CB radio.

2. CB radio is cheap.

Ham radio is very expensive. You can probably buy some used junk on the cheap, but you can expect to spend thousands of dollars on high frequency rigs and antennas for your ham radio hobby. If you are married, this expense will certainly put a strain on your relationship.

CB radio is cheap. You can spend less than $100 for a complete rig and be on the air. You can spend more for something better, but it won't be anything close to the cost of a ham radio.

3. CB radio is popular and ubiquitous.

Ham radio allows you to talk to people very far away in other parts of the country and the world. This is nice, but there are few ham radio operators. CB radios have sold in the millions. Truck drivers and the like with CBs are numerous. Even people who have stored their CB radios in garages and attics will have no problem dusting them off and firing them up in an apocalyptic scenario. This means that CB radio allows you to talk to more people. But you can still talk far away when the skip conditions are right. Ultimately, what matters is being able to talk with more people in closer proximity than talking with fewer people far away.

4. CB radio is simple.

When you look at a ham radio, all those buttons and dials are very confusing. CB radio is stone simple. You turn on the radio, find a channel, and key the mic. The most complicated part of CB radio is calibrating your SWR on your antenna. Ham radio guys have to do the same thing with their rigs. Other than that, anyone can use a CB radio. It's not rocket science.

5. Ham radio people are not friendly.

Ham radio is a dying thing. Most of the ham operators are over the age of 65. They know ham radio is dying. And they help kill it by running off any younger person interested in the hobby. These old timers are a referred to as "sad hams" and "gatekeepers." They are called worse things than this, but I will leave them to the Gentle Reader's imagination.

Ham radio already has enough strikes against it without this surliness from a bunch of grumpy old men. Regardless, ham radio has no future except as a niche hobby occupying an increasingly smaller niche. Is this worth your money and time?

CB radio users are friendly. You might encounter a jerk on the air, but no one can kick you out of the CB radio club. You just change the channel or turn it off. It's just like the internet. Most CB users learn to play nice because it is just better.

6. CB radio is utilitarian.

Ham radio is mostly a toy of hobbyists. The favorite thing for hams to do is participate in contests where they make a lot of contacts. A CB radio is something you see in a dump truck that drivers use to coordinate with one another. This is why you see all that CB equipment at your local truck stop. You're not going to see ham equipment. Ham equipment is mostly useless in the real world.

If you like tractors and pickup trucks and hardware stores, you will like CB radio. CB radio is for blue collar people. Ham radio is for nerds.

7. Hams vs HOAs.

The mortal enemy of a ham radio operator is the homeowner's association in his neighborhood. HOAs don't like ham radio antennas. They don't like CB radio antennas either, but a CB radio antenna is easier to conceal. Many CB base stations make use of the same antennas you would use on a pickup truck. Plus, most CB operators don't live in neighborhoods with HOAs. But if they do, they have an easier time of it.


I think CB radio is better than ham radio for people who want a backup radio option for their cellphones. CB radio is cheap, simple, and very functional. Plus, it is fun. CB radio was massively popular before cellphones, and I think CB would be very popular again in the event of cellphone disruption.


2 Meter Ham Band

Many preppers buy cheap Baofeng radios on Amazon to talk on the local ham repeater broadcasting on 2 meters. That is the case in my area. I listen on that band with my C.Crane radio, and it is dead most of the time. If I am lucky, I will catch a late night rag chew. I think if the cellphone towers go down, those 2 meter repeaters will go down with them.

GMRS: The New Kid on the Block

GMRS promises to be the new CB radio. I don't think this will happen. I find GMRS to be too byzantine. It uses FRS frequencies on some channels and repeaters on others. There are privacy codes except they aren't private. You have a lot of power but not on all the channels. Some radios don't even have all of the GMRS channels. It boasts a long range on simplex unless there are trees in the way. Then, the radio doesn't get any range. It has clear audio or absolutely nothing. You don't have to take a test, but you have to have a license to operate. And you have to use a call sign except only 30% of GMRS users bother to get the license and do this. You can use a Baofeng to listen and talk on GMRS frequencies, but this is not allowed by the FCC. Needless to say, I am not a fan of GMRS. I don't think it will ever replace the simplicity of CB radio.

FM on CB Radio

Recently, the FCC has opened up CB radio to use FM in addition to AM and SSB. This allows a CB radio to cut out the static of AM and other traffic from skip shooters and have higher quality audio when talking with others on FM. I think this move negates one of the primary appealing features of GMRS and 2 meter ham operation which is clear audio. I think FM will be a positive thing for CB radio.

UPDATE: I like this video about CB vs Ham from a fellow who is usually too profane to post here. This video is clean.

CB vs Ham - The Undeniable Coolness of CB!