Best CB range with fj80?

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Sep 18, 2017
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WA
I am considering a Wilson magnet antenna but I’d like a permanent antenna. I’m wondering if a 102” antenna mounted to the back corner near the tail light would be better or worse than a magnet on the middle of the roof.

What are some good but practical options here?
 

inkpot

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All over Arizona
A bunch of us run the 48” Firestick with the HD spring base on the rear corner. Heavily top loaded for improved pattern. I don’t recommend Wilson for anything. They went out of business a few years ago, then someone else bought up the leftovers. Wilson used a variety of parts that were not interchangeable with other brands. If you broke something, it was hard to find replacement parts
 
Joined
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WA
On the top of the roof would be best for range. The reason the tail light is popular is because of other factors.
Right, I’m just wondering if a 102” antenna sticks above the roof enough to negate the fact that a lot of it is down behind the car. I can’t imagine a 4’ fire stick working better than a Wilson mounted on the roof center though, but like you said the corner mount works well for lots of reasons. I’m not really sure what I want to do because all of the options have pros and cons. That said I would like good range for emergencies.
 
Joined
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A bunch of us run the 48” Firestick with the HD spring base on the rear corner. Heavily top loaded for improved pattern. I don’t recommend Wilson for anything. They went out of business a few years ago, then someone else bought up the leftovers. Wilson used a variety of parts that were not interchangeable with other brands. If you broke something, it was hard to find replacement parts
How does that setup work out? On paper it isn’t ideal.
 
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I used to be very into CB radios. Nothing is going to beat a 102' whip for getting out. I have run them on the 60 and on my 40. They are great.

That being said, they are also a pain. They hit trees, garage openings, etc. all the time. And they can also be a danger on trail runs too. For that reason I went a different route on my 80. I have a CB w/ Firestik because they are great for talking to truckers on the highway and others in your group on the trail. But I have a added a mobile 2 meter / 70cm radio for my outback adventures. The truth is that even a good CB just doesn't have that much range.
 
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Colorado Springs
the 4' firestik works great for me. I'm not sure what you're model is, but i use the yodateq rear corner mount. The most important factor is proper grounding and tuning of your antenna.
 

-Spike-

 
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How does that setup work out? On paper it isn’t ideal.
It's not ideal from a radio wave spread point of view, but it has good range, 1 mile easily, 2-3 under ideal conditions, and the location protects the antenna from damage. It's a compromise, but in practice not one that most people are going to notice.
FWIW, a lot of us running this setup around here are actually using the Firefly antenna, from Firestik. It's a little lighter, and wound high on the mast, so that the fact that the antenna is slightly blocked by the vehicle to the front isn't as big a factor as it is with a Firestik.
 
Joined
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It's not ideal from a radio wave spread point of view, but it has good range, 1 mile easily, 2-3 under ideal conditions, and the location protects the antenna from damage. It's a compromise, but in practice not one that most people are going to notice.
FWIW, a lot of us running this setup around here are actually using the Firefly antenna, from Firestik. It's a little lighter, and wound high on the mast, so that the fact that the antenna is slightly blocked by the vehicle to the front isn't as big a factor as it is with a Firestik.
Thanks for the info, this setup sounds like it would be easiest to live with and practical enough. I think getting a ham license for a real long range radio might be a better plan, although I guess in an emergency one could relocate the antenna to the roof from the side.
 

-Spike-

 
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Thanks for the info, this setup sounds like it would be easiest to live with and practical enough. I think getting a ham license for a real long range radio might be a better plan, although I guess in an emergency one could relocate the antenna to the roof from the side.
Yeah, if you want range you don't want to rely on a CB. And the actual difference in range from an ideal location to a lesser location is probably not more than a mile, in fact probably measured in feet. It ain't gonna 'phone home'. Which is why I carry a phone... it's pretty rare to be somewhere that a signal can't be had from on top of the nearest mountain.
 
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How are you guys getting the wire out of the hatch to the antenna? Is it thin enough that it just closes in the hatch? Now I'm thinking about making a bracket similar to the yodateq one but cable routing is the only thing I'm unsure of.
 

-Spike-

 
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After replacing a bunch of magnetic antennas because of wire damage due to being closed in doors, my first priority with this antenna setup was to avoid that scenario. Mine is routed through the taillight (credit for the idea to @richardlillard1, although it was probably someone else's before him). All it took was a small round file to make room for the cable to pass by the light- it doesn't actually go through the light, but just behind it, and into the quarter panel through the grommet. Pay no attention to the wide gap around the light, that's not caused by this particular mod, my junk just doesn't line up all that well. :hillbilly: From there it's routed under the door sills, up the a-pillar, across the top of the glove box, and down to the AM/FM/CB splitter, which I highly recommend to anyone that uses the radio. Much-improved range on the radio, and no ill effects on the CB. I also have an SWR meter always connected. It may not be as electrically perfect as possible, but no one around here transmits or receives noticeably better than I do, so it's good enough.

I used a mount that Richard found, I believe from a 'Mud member (maybe even Yotateq, can't remember), but if I were to do it again I'd look for one that mounts where the hatch strut is. I've seen them on 'Mud somewhere. Nothing wrong with the one I have, but on the strut mount it would be a little higher with no downside that I can think of, except finding another way to bring the wire inside. I'd probably punch a hole in the hatch jamb and use a grommet- but I'm not your typical OCD 80 owner.

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I ran mine through the tail light housing and cut a little notch out for the wire. I ended up slicing the rubber grommet that is for the tail light wiring and running my cable through there into the jack area. Not the prettiest but it’s been fine so far...Cut it at the bottom of the grommet to minimize water intrusion
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From there it's routed under the door sills, up the a-pillar, across the top of the glove box, and down to the AM/FM/CB splitter, which I highly recommend to anyone that uses the radio. Much-improved range on the radio, and no ill effects on the CB. I also have an SWR meter always connected. It may not be as electrically perfect as possible, but no one around here transmits or receives noticeably better than I do, so it's good enough
I just found out about those splitters about a month ago and definitely want to install one...my stock antenna is terrible for radio reception. What splitter are you using @-Spike- ??
 
Joined
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Messages
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WA
Nice! Thanks for the pictures and information. The behind the tail light routing looks like the way to go in my opinion. I think I'm going to get a cable and start building and installing an antenna mount, then keep looking into antennae, although the firefly 4' looks promising. I'm still debating using a 102" and bending it forward for storage but it could be pointless and impractical.
 

-Spike-

 
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
7,198
Location
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I think I'm going to ... start building and installing an antenna mount...
If I have one complaint about my mount it's that the brace on the bottom could be longer. The antenna base sways just a little when the antenna is knocked around, but I've had to replace the cable once due to a connection in the molded ring coming loose. It was probably caused by my ignorance, tightening the bolt on the bottom instead of the nut on top and twisting the contact ring, but no movement at all would be best. Truthfully, that might not be possible, or might put too much strain somewhere else.

A bit of advice the owner of Firestik gave me (they're a local company) is to use the heavy duty spring. It's only there to allow the antenna to move if it gets hit low, the antenna itself is very sturdy. His original advice was actually not to use one at all, but he didn't understand how much the antennas get hit offroad in the brush.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2014
Messages
1,352
After replacing a bunch of magnetic antennas because of wire damage due to being closed in doors, my first priority with this antenna setup was to avoid that scenario. Mine is routed through the taillight (credit for the idea to @richardlillard1, although it was probably someone else's before him). All it took was a small round file to make room for the cable to pass by the light- it doesn't actually go through the light, but just behind it, and into the quarter panel through the grommet. Pay no attention to the wide gap around the light, that's not caused by this particular mod, my junk just doesn't line up all that well. :hillbilly: From there it's routed under the door sills, up the a-pillar, across the top of the glove box, and down to the AM/FM/CB splitter, which I highly recommend to anyone that uses the radio. Much-improved range on the radio, and no ill effects on the CB. I also have an SWR meter always connected. It may not be as electrically perfect as possible, but no one around here transmits or receives noticeably better than I do, so it's good enough.

I used a mount that Richard found, I believe from a 'Mud member (maybe even Yotateq, can't remember), but if I were to do it again I'd look for one that mounts where the hatch strut is. I've seen them on 'Mud somewhere. Nothing wrong with the one I have, but on the strut mount it would be a little higher with no downside that I can think of, except finding another way to bring the wire inside. I'd probably punch a hole in the hatch jamb and use a grommet- but I'm not your typical OCD 80 owner.

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While I would love to take credit for this, it was actually our friends @ChaseTruck and @DSRTRDR who did it before I did. I only switched from a 3’ to a 4’ antenna.

Here’s the post with pictures of their install.

'93 80 vs. '97 LX
 
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