This is a first for us here at RCR, but after a couple of unpredictable years, I think it'll be helpful to take a look forward into 2022 and let you, our customers, know what to expect. This article covers the current state of radio sales, usage, and what we expect to see in the near future.
Current State of Radio Sales
I know we’re all sick of hearing it, but supply chain issues continue to plague our industry. Many of our main manufacturers, such as Cobra, are having a hard time meeting the demand for radios while dealing with shortages of raw materials. In our 14 years of business, we have never been out of stock of our most popular radios, including the Cobra 29 LTD, but now it’s been off the shelves since mid-summer. Unfortunately, we don’t expect to see the C29 until late spring/early summer of this year. However, manufacturers like President Radios have kept CB radios in stock, and we have seen a lot of CB users fall in love with their radios. The President McKinley and President Bill deserve honorable mentions, toting features such as automatic squelch, NOAA weather and CB channel scanning while maintaining a smaller overall size to fit in modern vehicles. Also, after a long drought of the Uniden 510’s and 520’s, we now have a healthy inventory of both CB radios.
In late 2021, we received some bad news that the very popular all-in-one handheld Cobra 75 WX ST has been discontinued. Yet, the Uniden CMX760 will be a suitable replacement for the Cobra 75 once inventory returns this spring.
There is some good news in the CB antenna world. Firestik is focusing on building enough antennas to bolster inventory, and top-loaded antennas, such as the Firestik FS and the Firefly, will be readily available. However, center-loaded antennas are being affected by a sheet metal shortage required for the coil construction, so there will be some outages on those products, namely the Hustler SBC. If you need a quality center-load antenna, I recommend snagging a Wilson 2000, 5000 or a Stryker SRA 10/20. We haven’t seen a shortage of any magnet antenna models, and expect that to stay the same.
Stainless steel is in short supply these days so some mounts will be in and out of stock throughout the next few months. We have many brand choices for both stainless steel and heavy-duty aluminum mounts, so consider another mount if your favorite Firestik mount is unavailable. Also, we have added new vehicle-specific mounts for the current generation of Ford F150, Dodge Ram, Chevy Silverado, and Jeep JL/Gladiator. If you’re upgrading your rig in 2022, give us a shout and we’ll see to it that you get the best mounting configuration for your vehicle.
FM on CB radio?!?!
As many of you have likely heard, the FCC approved the use of FM on standard CB radios. This is an exciting development as there hasn’t been any major change to CB’s in nearly 50 years! Advantages of FM include less overall radio noise and longer range. We’re hoping to see new radios come to market with FM, but it doesn’t seem like too many are in the pipeline for 2022. The only FM-enabled radio that we’re receiving soon is the President Thomas. We should have the Thomas in stock soon after publishing this article, so head over to Right Channel Radios and snag one for yourself if you want to be one of the first on an FM-enabled CB radio.
GMRS Radio is picking up steam, especially within the off-road community. Running at 462 Mhz, GMRS gives a nice, clear signal and will cross over with the smaller FRS handheld radios that are widely available. GMRS also gives you the ability to transmit using higher power and to use repeaters. However, it needs to be understood that there are different power allotments for different GMRS channels as the changes on the lower end of the band (channels 1-14) allow less power while the upper end of the band (channels 15-22) allows you to transmit up to 50 watts and to utilize repeaters. This article gives you an overview of GMRS channels, channel power allotment, and which channels can use repeaters. GMRS radio does require a license, but it’s a one-time fee for 10 years and does NOT require a test. Also, the fee for the license is reported to decrease to $35, but it’s still listed at $70 on the website. We’ve been expecting that to change for some time and we’re all really shocked that the FFC hasn’t prioritized this… (read sarcasm).
Predictions for 2022
I personally think that we will see a few Chinese-branded radios enter the market this year. While I don’t expect these models to be overly popular, I think they will fill a void created by the lack of full-size radios on the market in both the 11- and 10-meter space. Along with this, I think we’ll also see some new manufacturers enter the GMRS market as it gains momentum. What you can count on for sure is that Right Channel Radios will be here every step of the way, trying to proactively solve or find the answers to questions that will arise around CB, GMRS and other radio communications. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on current radio trends or join the Overland Comms Facebook Group.
I wish you all a safe and adventure-filled 2022!
Owner, Right Channel Radios
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