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Old 02-14-2008, 10:21 AM   #1
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What kind of CB radio/antenna

Howdy Y'all

I've been looking at the Cobra CB that has everything in the handset for my Excursion. I like it because the main unit is allowed to fit anywhere under the dash, and therefore doesn't have to crowd the area nearer the driver. I know nothing about this radio's reliability, so I would welcome any input.

I already have a portable, roof mounted antenna. I have been thinking of getting one that is a permanent mount, but I've got questions. Where should it be mounted? When I got my first CB they installed a window type antenna. This worked until I hooked up the trailer. Once the trailer was in tow I lost reception behind me because of the trailer's height. Is there a permanent style antenna that, once mounted, may be unscrewed from it's base in the rare instance I treat the Ex to a "pro" car wash?

_________Tom
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:39 AM   #2
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CB Antenna

I use a Fire Stick mounted between the hood and the left fender. It screws off for the car wash and gives good broadcast and reception. The mount is availible at most CB shops.
I have the Cobra Clasic and it has been tweeked.

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Old 02-14-2008, 10:52 AM   #3
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Careful- everything Gunny has, has been tweeked!
I use a 20 year old cb with a magnetic roof mount antenna, works on the burb just fine, fwiw.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:18 AM   #4
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I run a Cobra Nightwatch 25 with the weatherband, and a Wilson 5' Silver Tune antenna, with folding mount and homemade bracket. I can transmit and receive 7-10 miles on a consistent basis. I've been really happy with it.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorgunner
Careful- everything Gunny has, has been tweeked!
I use a 20 year old cb with a magnetic roof mount antenna, works on the burb just fine, fwiw.
Semper Fi
DG
Those old radios are hard to beat. I have a Royce 1-682 and a 1-604 that I'll sometimes use in other vehicles that are pretty sweet. I have a Wilson "Lil Wil" that I run with them.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:57 PM   #6
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A friend gave us a Cobra 19DX IV as a gift and it should be fine for our needs. Just to keep in touch with others in our caravans and to check-in at rallies with the parking attendants. We picked up a Radio Shack magnetic antenna but we can't receive much and so far no one on the highways has returned any of my radio checks. I am thinking we may need a better antenna.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:38 PM   #7
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you have to actually plug the antenna INto the radio.




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Old 02-14-2008, 01:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnyusmc
...
I have the Cobra Clasic and it has been tweeked.
What does that mean to "tweak" a CB? If "tweaking" means boosting range...please share...I'd love to get more of a range from my unit.

We installed ours in an unused storage compartment in the center of the dash and use a roof mounted antennae with a range of 2-3 miles on the flats.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:53 PM   #9
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In all seriousness, now...

I was googling this sort of thing, and it seems that cb antennas do require a fair amount of adjustment to "optimize" their effectiveness, based on their length and placement on the vehicle. This is because the vehicle itself is part of the "system" that transmits/receives signals. Problem seems that in order to properly tune the antenna, you need a device (swr meter) that only a real radio geek or pro radio shop would have. (as far as I can tell).
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
In all seriousness, now...

I was googling this sort of thing, and it seems that cb antennas do require a fair amount of adjustment to "optimize" their effectiveness, based on their length and placement on the vehicle. This is because the vehicle itself is part of the "system" that transmits/receives signals. Problem seems that in order to properly tune the antenna, you need a device (swr meter) that only a real radio geek or pro radio shop would have. (as far as I can tell).
Actually, you can pick up an inexpensive SWR meter that will be more than adequate to the task for around $20 many places online, and places like Fry's still carry them. Radio Shack used to, but not so much anymore.

Antennas typically do have to be tuned to some extent in order to get the best performance. Also, it's a generally held opinion that a mediocre radio with a good, well-tuned antenna is better than a good, well-tuned radio with a mediocre antenna.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
you have to actually plug the antenna INto the radio.




Do you mean the antenna wire to the back of the unit or the red wire to something else?
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bake315
Also, it's a generally held opinion that a mediocre radio with a good, well-tuned antenna is better than a good, well-tuned radio with a mediocre antenna.
The manual did not mention anything about how to tune an antenna. I did pick up a new non-ground antenna which should work better but I have to make something to mount it to the truck. I hope it gets a little warmer so I can do it soon. Sort of like having a new toy and no batteries. Now about that red wire?
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukionna
What does that mean to "tweak" a CB? If "tweaking" means boosting range...please share...I'd love to get more of a range from my unit.

We installed ours in an unused storage compartment in the center of the dash and use a roof mounted antennae with a range of 2-3 miles on the flats.
You can do what's called a "peak and tune" on a radio, where it's effectively adjusted from whatever settings it came with from the manufacturer. Unfortunately, good CB radio work is becoming somewhat of a lost art, and you have to be really careful about who you let work on it. There are good guys, and there are those that turn out some real hatchet jobs.

Odds are, you could probably spend a few bucks on a nicer antenna, tune it to the proper height, and more than double your present range.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
The manual did not mention anything about how to tune an antenna. I did pick up a new non-ground antenna which should work better but I have to make something to mount it to the truck. I hope it gets a little warmer so I can do it soon. Sort of like having a new toy and no batteries. Now about that red wire?
Typically, the coaxial cable that runs from the antenna to the CB will only connect one way to the radio. The black lead from the radio would be the ground for the radio, the red needs to go to a "clean" source of 12-13.8 volts of DC. By clean, I mean on a circuit that isn't affected by things like alternator whine, and so forth. It's common to use a cigarette lighter type of connection, but a dedicated circuit is always a best bet if you can swing it.

The no ground antennas are a good option if you are stuck with a mounting location that doesn't leave you with a convenient means of grounding the antenna.

There are a couple of sites out there with detailed tuning instructions... I'll see if I can find one for you....

Firestik has a good writeup on SWR tuning here.

I used this guy for peak and tune on my Cobra. He's conscientious, and does good work.
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stream 1529
Howdy Y'all

I've been looking at the Cobra CB that has everything in the handset for my Excursion. I like it because the main unit is allowed to fit anywhere under the dash, and therefore doesn't have to crowd the area nearer the driver. I know nothing about this radio's reliability, so I would welcome any input.

I already have a portable, roof mounted antenna. I have been thinking of getting one that is a permanent mount, but I've got questions. Where should it be mounted? When I got my first CB they installed a window type antenna. This worked until I hooked up the trailer. Once the trailer was in tow I lost reception behind me because of the trailer's height. Is there a permanent style antenna that, once mounted, may be unscrewed from it's base in the rare instance I treat the Ex to a "pro" car wash?

_________Tom
I have yet to set up my old UNIDEN in the Dodge. I have used this shop, at Exit 370 on Interstate 20 west of Fort Worth for a lot of years. Head straight up 281, you'll run right into him.

CLAYS RADIO SHOP
CB Radios including Motorcycle Intercom Systems

One or more of his employees have opened there own shop a few miles further west, they may be pretty good as well.

I have a huge triple magnet mount that I use on the roof with a fibreglass Wilson antenna. Good reception.

Also, some info on proper mounting. (Search your manufacturer for a TSB [technical service bulletin]

Mobile Radio Installation

TSB 08-16-98
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:33 PM   #16
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Good advice. Take it to a known good CB shop. In layman's terms, SWR equates to tuning the antenna so it does not reflect the transmitter energy back into the radio rather than sending it out on the "air".
Also the CB shop will verify that the connector is correctly installed on the cable, and that the antenna cable is correct for the application.
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Old 03-08-2008, 02:21 PM   #17
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I appreciat y'alls responses, and advice. I took the Excursion to a CB shop today, and learned some stuff specific to the Excursion. The antenna has to be a roof mount because of the way the rear doors open outward. The guy also told me I could get a 1000w antenna that is a magnetic mount, and that with my steel roof my range should be at least 10 miles. He also said the magnetic mount he was describing was tunable. Since he was waiting on a shipment, he didn't have any in stock. So, I go back in about 10 days to close the deal.

________Tom
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Old 03-08-2008, 03:38 PM   #18
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Got Your Ears On ?

Most important is your 'ground plane'
It makes everything work.

Before buying anything,
Find a local truck stop with a CB Shack.
They will usualy have some great deals on used radios. (you can get a new mike)
You will want then to tweek out whatever you end up with.
And they can tune antenna too.
The more knobs on radio the better it seems.
I have a lowly Cobra 21 pushing 14w.
Putting my shoes on gets it up to 250w.
(It will come over FM radios close by)

I centered mine in roof.
Really puts out and receives great.
(wall to wall and treetop tall)


This unscrews...


Under white tip is a adjustable length brass screw with lock nut. (typical)


Firestick, I'm at 13' 10"
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:18 PM   #19
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Ten mile reception .. during the day .. on a busy Interstate .. will be unlikely, even with an outstanding mobile rig. 2-3 miles is more common.

On the backroads, with no sunspot activity, 5-7 miles is not uncommon.

At night, with a good rig, you may then see those ten miles.

If the antenna referenced is a WILSON, then you'll be pleased with it. Just keep the coax away from vehicle power lines and don't let it get pinched.

If at all possible, power the radio directly from the battery (as in the TSB above). This will make an enormous difference. And be sure to ground the radio chassis.

I have, and recommend, a Turner/Telex "Roadking 56" noise-cancelling microphone. That or a comparable Astatic is the ticket.

Since buying all the pieces of mine ten years ago, and a single time on the bench to install some Connex 3300 finals, the radio has always checked out fine. I have moved it in and out of vehicles many times, and I always get compliments for this old Uniden 78.

Get a good rig and do the painstaking installation.

I use an earphone in my left ear to keep passengers from being bothered.
Alternatively, the best remote speaker location is on the dashboard firing up against the windshield (like the old AM radios from the factory); this keeps the voice in an optimum position for you to hear every detail.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX
I use an earphone in my left ear to keep passengers from being bothered.
Alternatively, the best remote speaker location is on the dashboard firing up against the windshield (like the old AM radios from the factory); this keeps the voice in an optimum position for you to hear every detail.
The earphone is a great idea! I could use one of those on long trips where one of us is driving (and wanting to listen to CB) while the other one of us is sleeping (and not wanting to hear the CB chatter).
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