Jump to content
Ultimate Subaru Message Board
Sign in to follow this  
GeneralDisorder

Good, Cheap CB sugestions?

Recommended Posts

Don't waste your money on the CB shops that offer "super-tuning" etc. One of the technicians that works for me used to work at one of those places, and you get almost nothing for your money. He quit because he could not stand to see customers ripped off every day.

 

Find a local ham radio operator that has an SWR/power meter and you will be much better off. We like to help the CB people because there is so much misinformation and almost every modification done to CB's is a hack job; and they splatter noise all over the RF spectrum. Every time I see a big rig with the antennas leaned forward "to get out better" I shake my head.

 

Every Cobra that I have tested was capable of pushing the max power allowed by the FCC. The quality and placement of the antenna is way more important than the power of the CB, and CB power does nothing to help reception. For the VHF and UHF bands (not CB), it is very imporant to have a good ground plane. For CB (11 meter band, at the top of the HF band) you get the best performance by putting the antenna as high as possible. Fender mounted antennas only radiate effectively from the portion that sticks above the roof. So go for a mag mount on the roof, and get the tallest you can support. I use a 1/4 wave (about 8') stainless steel whip on a spring mount, but a loaded (shorter) one will work and won't have the wind loading problem.

 

There is a lot of misinformation out there. Stick with a stock CB and install a good antenna in a good location. Find someone with the equipment to test your setup. High quality coax and RF connectors help.

 

SubSandRail

Extra Class FCC License

12 years managing RF design labs

USMC Amphib Recon Radio Operator

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hmmm. good info. I'm looking for one for my red brat.... I have a handheld one right now, but the antenna was missing, so I slightly modified a short base antenna to fit in... looks dorky, but works, but not very good to use inside the vehicle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the Venom II. I like it so far. Its under $100 and its got a PA output. The only thing I dont like is there is no 'scan' so you can just quickly find a channel with activity. Also the knob used to switch channels is pretty sensitive and I find myself accidently skipping a channel when trying to surf. Other then that it looks slick, was super easy to hook up, comes with a bracket for universal mounting and has a PA out put for yelling at morons on the road :D Range I honestly dont know. I have an ultra crappy and extra small antena so I really dont know its full capabilities but even with this little antenna I can pick up people on the north side of the metro area and I live on the south side of the metro area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well, I ended up with a factory refurb Cobra 18 Ultra with weatherbands. 1 year warranty.

 

now, any preferences on antenna size? this will be going on my redbrat, so I could either go with a magnetic mount for the cab, or mount to rollbar/lightbar....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 102 inch steel whip, the twangy twangy kind, i can't say as to weather it works better than a shorter one but it looks cool and i can hit stuff 12 feet tall. gets in the way sometimes, but if you get a fire stick or the like make sure you get the spring that goes between the antenna and the mount, just ask Tex and Austin if there worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any of the antennas you mentioned will work.............the mag mount ones do just fine...............make sure you have a good "match" for better performance...........an SWR of 1:1 is optimal; but almost never achieved. If you can get it below 1.5:1 that should do fine. Oh, and your finals will thank you......:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, i have had experience with CB radio and antenna for 25yrs now and here is a bit of what i learned and what i have.

 

my first radio and ant, I installed a 102" stainless steel whip on my subie wagon, spring base on a extended piece of metal extending from the base of the tail light assembly.

( i need to find that picture and post it here someday)

this gave a good ground. Ran the coax to a midland 077 radio, small comparable to the cobra 29 in size. I had the radio and antenna "tweaked" to the car by a local ham. I used it a lot while travel cross country and rx'd and tx'd some "skip" during the last solar max. ie Stationed in Maine, I heard and talked to someone from the mojave desert, no kidding here.

(skip, atmospheric or ionospheric conditions allowing the bounce of radio signals across long distance across the earth. anywhere from 60-10,000 miles. depends on radio freq as well.)

 

well the car ended up :( wreaked and i moved the setup to the next car, a Saturn, lip mounted K40 antenna, then moved radio to my truck and back to the 102" mounted next to the rear taillights, 4.5 ft above ground. the only thing i had to do was install a section of ground wire around the antenna to bring the SWR down to acceptable level.

I never had no problems except for low bridges and drive thru's.

 

a radio and short mag mount antenna came with my GL hatch. I m going to remove that one, because the SWRs could not be tuned below 2:1 and either im going to lip mount the K40 or bumper mount the other 102" whip i have in storage.

 

(SWR, Standing Wave Ratio. this is the amount of power being reflected back to the radio and if high enough will fry the radio, if the antenna is not the correct length.

SWR of 1.5:1 acceptable MAX. the lower the better, 1:1, is best you can do and nearly impossible to obtain., my lowest i ever got was 1.1:1.

2:1, 11% pwr is being reflected back. ok, but range is limited.

3:1, 25% pwr reflection and transmission is not recommended.

http://www.roadtripamerica.com/Equipment/How-to-Tune-a-C-B-Radio-Antenna.htm

 

Tuning antenna, being 19 is the middle of the band, have the antenna tuned for this freq. the SWR's will rise slightly at 1 and 40, think shallow bowl and 19 is the center with 1 and 40 on the lip.

 

as for other antennas, it really depends on what are the worse condtions you can imagine for an antenna, mag mounts are good, they can be removed for security, or can be brushed off if the impact is hard enough to lift the magnet off the car, could leave scratches in the paint.

(a K40 mount can be either mag or permanet mount, but the base can be twist locked on/ off as well to remove the whip for storage. it has about 2" inch vertical travel for tuning adjustment. (mine was stolen, somebody removed the top half, left the base.)

permanant steel whips, good, and can bend and flex when hitting trees and stuff.

fiberglass, stiff, doesnt bend as much small steel spring at base helps alleviate this. thay can have the length of a 102" with its wire wound core.

 

as for dual antennas, you either have to have them 1/4 wave apart, ~8ft or be very good electrically to make the radio "think" they are 8" apart.

but dual antennas make a wierd radiating pattern and "directionalizes" the transmission. perpendicular to the line between the antennas.

thats why truckers have duals, transmits/ receive forward/behind the truck.

 

antennas needs a good ground plane to reflect off of. so if your antenna is at the rear center of the car, most of the energy transmits forward, or inthe corner, toward the opposite corner. espcially if you want ot transmit long distances.

 

But if your range to transmit is 1-5 miles, i would go with a 3-4 ft 5/8th wave fiberglass antenna, mounted on the rear bumper. any small stock radio will do ( cobra, uniden, midland) have friend with a meter, help fine tune the antenna.

5/8 wave radiating pattern looks like a squished donut in appearance, more energy transmits horizontally than vertically.

http://boatantenna.com/images/fig2.gif

 

I think my best improvised antenna was about 100 foot of copper wire strung up into a tree, virtually no SWR's and got excellant reception.

 

that my 2 cents. if you have questions, please PM me,

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lets not be too hard on him, I'm sure he had the best intentions, Just commenting on him to add to your post count?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

honest, i didnt even look at the date, i just saw the post and replied.

besides i was already on a CB kick yesterday. seeing if i can get that 102 whip bumper mounted without interfering with the hatch.

 

zombie thread, maybe it is time to clean up some of these really old posts, so somebody like me cant find them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats actually one of the nice things about a forum.. its a cheap library. I beleive there is a way to archive older posts, but if you purge everything then you get rid of a lot of history. Build logs, Pictures, Trips.. things like that.. its nice to look back.. just need to look at the dates..

 

 

-Justin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought it was well timed.

 

I am taking a long road tri[p to CA and want to be able to communicate with the other cars in the caravan.

 

So I installed a CB (cheap Midland from Bi-Mart) and hooked it up to the Mag Base antenna I had laying round.

 

Now I've on;y used CB in the woods when wheelin before. That mag mount antenna seemed to work fine before.

 

This time though, installed in the car, mounted to the rear center of the roof, I was transmitting this terrible "feedback" like noise. I had other guys parked over 100ft. away telling me that all they could here from my radio was a loud squealing sound.

 

SOOO......I went and bought a fender mount, a Firestik, and an SWR meter and mounted it up, tuned it, hooked it up......bam.....worked perect.

 

I left the Mag mount antenna wire routed in the car for now. I may try tuning it later when I find my SAE hex whrench set to adjust the height.

 

But FWIW, the permanent mounted antenna seem WAAAAAY better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny thing, i knew mick had a old cobra cb in his brat and i was thinking while going through this doesnt he have a cb. Then i look and this thread is way old. I have a radioshack cb with a cheap short radioshack antenna. Works good on the trail but i dont think its tuned for miles and miles of fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

 

our 4x4 club uses channel 33 on the course, cbs are an awsome way of comunicating for us you can get updated info on the bog pits ,etc here in michigan we have offroad parks , the one outside of flint is about 60 acres

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zombie thread, Aim for the brain, kill it :grin:

 

 

This thread is died 6 years ago. :rolleyes:

 

:lol:

 

I brought it up as much as he did, by submitting it to the off road USRM. Maybe a mod can close 'er up for good?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Funny thing, i knew mick had a old cobra cb in his brat and i was thinking while going through this doesnt he have a cb. Then i look and this thread is way old. I have a radioshack cb with a cheap short radioshack antenna. Works good on the trail but i dont think its tuned for miles and miles of fun.

 

Should have it at least checked.

 

You can actually damage your CB unit if the REF power is too high.

 

Over 3:1 can actually "fry" the unit.

 

SWR meters are less than $20 and easy to use.

 

You don't NEEED to be fully tuned, but you should make sure you're at least under 2:1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×