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Good, Cheap CB sugestions?


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42 replies to this topic

#1 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 08:59 PM

From my military experience, it's always good to be in the rig that has the radio - and if I'm gonna off-road this beast, I want to keep in touch. I don't want to spend a lot tho on something I'll only use once a month.

What I'm looking for is sugestions on:

1. Cheap new CB's that you guys have found work well - ie: easy to use while driving, good range, good clarity.

Or

2. Model numbers of CB's that I could find used on ebay for pretty cheap.

And

3. Antenna's, and their placement on the rig so they don't get in the way while driving.

Keep in mind my budget is tight - I want to do everything for $50 or less if possible...

Anyone out there who has upgraded and wants to get rid of their old one?

GD

#2 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 09:03 PM

I got my CB from wal-mart for $35. Basic 40chan CB with squelch and volume.

I got my whip from Napa for $17. It was packaged as a trucker special, came with a 60" whip, mounting bracket and a 6' cable.

I broke my cable when my brushguard was hit by a tree. I went to RadioShack and got a magnetic base mount that had 10' of cable leading from it, it was on sale for $10 (was all old and beat up, packaging ripped)

The magnetic mount worked ALOT better than my brushguard mount. I put the magnetic mount in the center of the roof for the wagon. I've heard the roof act's as a type of dish that the signals bounce off of and are picked up by the antenna. When my antenna was mounted to the brushguard, i couldnt pick up anything. Now with the same antenna mounted to the magent and in the center of the car i pick up ton's of channels clear as a whistle.

-Brian

#3 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 09:57 PM

That's a good tip on the antenna mount - does it need to be ON the roof, or just over it? - like attached to a roof rack maybe....

GD

#4 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 10:00 PM

From what ive heard it grounds better if attatched to the roof, but if you ran a solid ground from the antenna to the chassi it should ground out just fine. You will want to have it in the center of the roof tho for best results. My rack has a custom tab that is for my antenna, sits about 4" above the roof... but i like my magentic mount alot so I think i'll keep using that :)

-Brian

#5 86subaru

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 10:53 PM

go with k-40 or wilson , get the cb peaked up , also matched, it will work better, :wave: a local cb shop can do all this ,

#6 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 10:55 PM

yeah, it helps if your CB is tuned correctly for your vehicle and your antenna, but it doesnt matter if your just talking to the car thats 20' in front of you.

I still havent had my CB Tuned, and it worked great on my off-road trip with Adam and Tony. It also worked great the entire drive home, i followed Jared (rooinator) from Eugene to Sacramento, and we stayed awake most the time by chatting over our CB's.

-Brian

#7 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 10:59 PM

What is "peaked-up" and "matched"?

And what is K-40?

I'm assuming wilson is a brand?

GD

#8 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 11:01 PM

Peaked up means you can modify the amplifier the CB uses to recieve and send signal's. FCC regulations limits the amount of wattage, but people modify them and i believe that's what he means by "peaked up"

Matched means the CB has been tuned to the Antenna and vice versa. Your antenna works best when its matched to the CB, a propperly tuned CB and antenna will give you the best results, but it is not necessary.

-Brian

#9 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 01:47 AM

Anyone got any other brand name sugestions?

GD

#10 playswithfire

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 08:38 AM

I've been using a Radio Shack TRC-483 with a dual 48" whip antenna system. You'll hear alot of opinions (both very pro and very con) about Radio Shack's products. In fact I've had varying experiences with them myself. So roll the dice if you're going for a product from them.

But this CB unit has been flawless for me for almost 6 years now. I had it my old '63 VW Single Cab that I took around the Northwest backroads looking for old VW's.

Right now I'm looking for one of those antennas that double as an AM/FM antenna. They look just like a regular car antenna and so hide the fact you're running a CB. (I suppose a magnetic mount would do well for stealth too) Anybody have any experience with those? I've seen them online from various sources but haven't heard how they well they work.

And General D., West Linn is close to Canby. I'll send you a pmail and maybe we can hook up for a :drunk: or something...

Take care
Aiden
Canby, OR

#11 northguy

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 09:10 AM

Buy a cell phone. More reliable, more practical, you'll use it more often, you can take it anywhere, and no one listens to cb anymore. My 2 cents.

#12 Hogsubie

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 09:20 AM

If you're talking on the trail, most of the time there is no coverage out in the middle of no-where. Not to mention it can get expensive...talk is free with a CB. If you don't want to get a CB, try using the FRS (?) hand held. Those are $20 or less now.

#13 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 01:02 PM

Haha - I already have a Cell Phone - had one for 4 years. I want this for trail use - and as pointed out above - no coverage out in the middle of nowhere. At least with CB you have emergency band, and a chance of reaching some other 4x people. If I were wanting something stricktly for emergency's tho, I would get a sat phone - we have em in the ARMY.

GD

#14 electryc_monk

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 03:03 PM

I won't roadtrip without one!

I admit that the Cobra brand that are used buy over the road drivers ALOT are nice and stable and rock solid and have Cadillac appeal for the longevity of use but, I also admit that the Pro V. Con debate over radio shack is vald too.

my experience:
Currently have 2 different CB's in the two sub's both radio shacks

the best experience is the 12 years i got from the then $129 model which had WX bands on it and a PA.
...that thing worked flauwlessly and I also own a SWR meter for "tuning the antenna to the CB"

well the two CB's i have now are both using built in calibrating dials for SWR *balancing*.

magneting mounting antenna on the wagon and a trunk lip mounted unit on the XT6.

as for the range dialogue on location of the roof for mounting....

the theory I learned about RF communication is that to have the maximum range in front og you on a car the antenna needs to be at the rear of the highest place on it, there by aiding in the directional "boosting" of its reception (so-sto-speak)

now here is my logic jumpoing in and asking that comment ot explain why to the cab-over trucks use just the mirror arms as mounts and still get "supposedly better or equal range then my cars setup?" And the responce to that was antenna is higher off the ground, there is more metal mass - thus more opportunity to recieve RF then the lower to the ground car antennas.

you deside. your car, your money....

every time i have had to buy a new one over the years it alwasy seemed to be onsale and the Shack dude or dudette gave me a killer deal on the antenna as well.

Personally I won't buy a CB thats listed for under $70 its just not going to have the reange... we have tested it when i was in the navy with several buddys on roadtrips to Miami and North Carolina from Jacksonville NAS.....

Unidens have never in my experience been units to have any range of use. never heard an over the road driver talk goood about a uniden either.

#15 biffbradford

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 03:06 PM

I have the Uniden Pro510XL. It fits in the dash of my XT where the cassette player was. It hears well and I always get good reports on the signal and audio. For the XT, I use a 48" base loaded whip with a trunk mount. The antenna needs to be grounded to the car for good results. For my wagon, I use a mag mount in the center of the roof. I guess mounting it on the rack would work 'okay', but the roof acts as a ground plane so I'd think direct mounting on the roof is better.

http://www.uniden.co...d_code=PRO510XL


John Wilke
WB9UAI
Milwaukee
(been an amateur radio operator for 26 years !)

#16 Sweet82

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 06:04 PM

We use Motorola Talk-abouts to go vehicle to vehicle when out Jeeping. Not everyone has CB's but a couple pairs of Talk-abouts will keep the group together.:argue:

We also usually have an AT&T Cell and they will work most places.........

I'll be using an old GE CB in the Buggy.

For what it's worth,
Glenn
82 Hatch, well it use to be........ :temper:
01 Forester, still is.............:burnout:

#17 86subaru

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 06:34 PM

if you have a bad match then the power comes right back into the cb , the cb will transmitt better not receive better , so what i am saying is get it matched in it will last longer. wilson makes one called little willy about 30 bucks , a good cb 80-90 bucks , matching a antenna is necessary , it.'s like not changing your oil in your car , well there is oil in the car so do not change just drive it :banana: :banana:

#18 TomRhere

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 08:35 PM

Just to throw in my opion.

Having your 'tenna mounted central in the vehicle is beneficial. The body of it acts like an mild amplifier. Twin 'tennas are better than singles, if you have the match right.
Lot of single 'tennas are out there and they be good ones. But match is the key. You can have top of the line everything, but if it ain't matched, you got a lot of expensive junk.
I've played with many different set-ups as far as units and 'tennas. Like the Cobra models, but there are other as good. Have an RCA Co-Pilot 40-ch w/side bands as a base, can be used as a mobile as well. Just takes up alot of room in the vehicle, to be a mobile.
CB's are better than a cell phone, ( as stated), cause you have more ops for contact that with a cell. Haven't been on that much lately, but there's still alot of people on the air.
As stated, it's free communication. All it costs you is the initial investment, no monthly bills. No long distance charges, no out of service crap. Best of all, no tele-marketers.
Still finding good CB's in yard sale around the area. Can get them for $10-20 complete.
Listen to any Trucker, they'll set you straight on the best of the best. Tell you what to steer clear of, and what not.
86 subaru (Jim) is a trucker, don't know how much he is into CB's. but I know he can find out, easier and faster than most of us.

#19 heartless

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 09:42 PM

Guys, I hate to say this, but what brand you go with really doesnt matter that much, its kinda like ford vs chevy vs dodge...or whatever you care to vs with!

I drove truck long haul for 12 years, my personal preference on a radio is Cobra, and my personal preference on an antenna is Wilson...BUT ...have had several off brand antennas that worked just fine, and so do the cheap radios...The number one factor is getting things peaked and tuned, and matched. that is where any performance improvements will be made.

most cb's out of the box are set up to run 18 feet of coax for best stock performance...not too many people need 18 feet, but that is where they are factory set, just a note for those that didnt know. If you are going with a shorter coax, then you REALLY need to get it matched up.

Another tidbit, coax should be replaced regularly for best performance, and do yourselves a favor, DONT buy the cheapest coax you can find. I have tried several styles over the years and find the grey coated ones last longest. the skinney little, cheap black ones are good for maybe a year, depending on the weather in your area (hot & dry being harder on them than cold & damp), the grey ones can go several years, again depending on the weather conditions. the 'clear' coated ones dont last long at all, had a freind get this style and he replaced it within 6 months, he was that disappointed with the performance. Just remember to replace with the same length as you had when getting things matched, it does make a difference.

Just my two cents worth....

#20 86subaru

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 09:59 PM

i to drive truck local city driver 15 yrs , 48ft or 53ft , all things affect the match , location of antenna , cheap ones do not last very long , i always match my antenna ,and keep the antenna in the same location on the truck or car . i am also a ham operator for 10 yrs , just my 2 cents :banana: :banana: :banana:

#21 Subafly

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 01:02 AM

I have a midland that I got at GI Joes for 40 bucks. Had a magnetic antenae layin aroud and it works but I hate it! Every time I drive under a low branch on the trail it gets knocked over and it will also scratch your roof up if you put it on and off alot. As for the CB it works just fine.

#22 Flowmastered87GL

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 02:35 AM

Hmmm maybe its better that you dont know what my blingin' CB cost in the GL....

It was like $190 for the Cobra 148 NW ST (its top of the line though :D )

Then afew bucks more for the 18 feet of coax to run to the antenna (I am ALWAYS told to run 18 feet for some reason)

Then like $25 for the fender mount, spring and whip antenna

My CB actually works TOO well.... I get alot of weak signals that I have to use the squelch to close out.

#23 1ABAJA

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 03:22 PM

We have been pondering that...but where are you going to mount you antenna so it doesn't get ripped off by brush when you are "jeeping"?

Josh!

#24 Flowmastered87GL

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 05:09 PM

I really like my antenna where it is, I used a fender mount (mounts under the hood then extends up and over the fender... hard to explain but really simple when you see it... the mount was like $5 at radio shack)

I then tied the 8.5 foot steel whip down with parachute cord so it doesnt "trim trees"

Yes I actually would see small branches falling behind me when the antenna clipped low trees at 40 MPH :D

I dont tend to snag it on anything now... though the antenna still can bounce around enough to smack the roof here and there (nothing like trying to catch air into the driveway of work) :D

#25 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 07:19 PM

The one thing i like the most about my magnetic mount was the fact that i could move the antenna anywhere. I had it mounted to the brushguard before, but it broke my antenna wire when the guard hit a tree.
On my last trip to Oregon, i was able to move the antenna from my hood, to my roof, to the bumper of my car and then remove it for the drive home. It does leave marks, but so do the rocks and tree's I hit.

-Brian




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