Garage Sale CB Radio Fun


Everyone these days is all excited about eBay.

All your friends are online and bidding on radios on eBay and many are spending hours searching for that elusive deal or rare radio that has a buy it now price of only $50.00.

But is eBay a waste of time? Yes I said it – a waste of time?

Well I use eBay to buy radios just a much as you do so I know the thrill of placing a bid and winning a radio, but lately I’ve realized that the deals I’ve been getting aren’t really deals anymore.

5 years ago there weren’t as many people hooked up to the internet, and therefore there were less people on eBay and less people bidding on radios. I got some amazing deals a couple of years ago. But things have changed. It seems like when I do find a sweet radio on eBay all of my other CB friends have also seen the same radio and will be bidding against me.

So what is a CB’er to do? Go back to your roots, that’s what. Time to start hitting the garage sales again.

I think eBay made me lazy. It’s easy to sit back and just scroll though the junk but it actually takes a little energy to get in the car and go searching at garage sales. But the rewards can be much higher.

Garage sales are a blast. I love them. People spend half their lives trying to keep their houses clean and hide away the junk, but on weekends they pull everything out and lay it in their driveway for strangers to root through.

When I want to find garage sales with CB gear I first check the newspapers and the internet for garage sales listings. Of course I look for anyone who has “CB” in their ad, but I also look for listings that mention “various electronic items, automotive electronics”. Perhaps the most important key words you’ll see in a garage sale ad are “ham radio or amateur radio equipment”.

Now sometimes you may find a garage sale ad online where they list our all of their CB or HAM radio items that will be available at their garage sale – this is a case for caution. Why? Because if they are into the hobby they most likely know the worth and value of items they are selling and you aren’t going to walk away with any amazing deals. Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t check it out, but don’t get your hopes up.

The type of garage sale you are looking for are the ones where people are cleaning out the garage and have a lot of electronics or car items for sale. The very best ones are the garage sales where a widow or recently divorced wife is selling the husband’s old stuff.

If you are doing the garage sale drive by method make sure to look for tables that have electronic items but don’t forget to look at the roof of the garage sale house for antennas.

Once you hit the garage sale and find some cool radio stuff you’ll check the price. If there are multiple items and they are all overpriced you may want to let the garage sale person know the real “used value” and see if they will make a deal. Don’t get pushy and don’t be an ass. I know people who have told me in the past that I’m asking to much for something – but remember the seller can ask whatever they want, so don’t make CB operators look bad by being a pushy buyer. Often if people have a bunch of items overpriced they don’t know what stuff is really worth so make them a offer and explain your offer kindly.

If a seller has a lot of items for sale one of the best methods you can do is offer one price for the entire lot. Instead of buying one radio for $10 and one antenna for $5 – offer them $50 for all 7 radios and the 2 antennas. Garage sale sellers aren’t stupid and they will recognize the chance to unload everything at once and walk away with some cash without having to work all day selling the items separately.

Another thing to remember is that many CBer’s who are selling stuff at garage sales have more stuff that they didn’t put out for sale. Don’t forget to ask “I see you have a lot of CB stuff for sale, do you have any other items you are looking to get rid of?”

This also works for antennas; if someone is selling all their gear in the garage sale and you see a nice antenna still mounted to the house make sure to inquire about it and see if they want to get rid of it. Sometimes I even will offer to remove it myself. More than once they have said – you can have the antenna for free if you take it down. Oh how I love to hear that!

The garage sale can be a gold mine. People have picked up Browning Golden Eagles for just a couple of bucks. A friend of mine got a never used Cobra 2000GTL in the box for $25. Try doing that on eBay!

I myself have picked up SSB radios for $5-10 but I still haven’t hit the jackpot like some of my friends. The other day I bought a Philippines made Uniden Grant XL for $20 so I think I’m starting to do better.

There is risk with buying at a garage sale. Many radios for sale have been sitting in garages for years and their working status is unknown. Often the sellers know nothing about the radio so you are buying something untested in the hopes that it will power up. A lot of radios will come without microphones or power cords so make sure to add those costs up mentally before deciding to buy. If you have to buy a rare power cord and mic later the radio might not be such a deal after all.

Now just because it’s getting harder to find good radios on eBay doesn’t mean you should give up on the internet for finding a deal. My new favorite place to look for CB radios is . In case you haven’t heard about it, it’s basically just a big classified website where people post stuff for sale and it’s broken down by state and cities. Lately I’ve found some amazing deals on Craigslist. It’s easy to search for CB stuff, just pick your area and city and type “CB” in the search box. It will come back with a list of everything that has that search term. You’ll have to scroll down through quite a lot of ads for Honda CB 750 motorcycles but you’ll see the Cobra CB classified ads mixed in.

You’ll usually need to email or call a Craigslist seller and meet with them to do the deal. This in itself may be undesirable to many people, especially women CBer’s who don’t want to meet some weird guy at night to buy a radio. Some people on Craigslist will mail a radio to you if you pay shipping. But unlike eBay there is no feedback or repercussions if they just take your money and run so be careful. Craigslist is also a great resource for finding local garage sales and many people will say in their garage sale ad that they have a CB for sale.

The last thing I’ll mention is the Little Nickel. That’s the local small classified paper in our area, it may be called something else in your area. When I lived on Maui it was called the “Maui Bulletin”. It’s that small weekly paper that consists of only classified ads. There are always a couple of CB radios for sale in them so they are worth a read. If the paper charges to place ads though you may not find many cheap CB’s listed.

So as we all enter the internet age and find ourselves getting obese from lack of activity and our eyes going blurry from staring at eBay items all day, lets remember to do a little field work every once in a while just in case a mint Uniden Madison is hiding in your neighbor’s garage waiting to be discovered.