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CB radios and scanners

Discussion in 'VA/DC/MD- Capital Land Cruiser Club' started by topherbecker, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. topherbecker

    topherbecker

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    Would like a recommendation on a CB radio please. Ed? I'd like to mount an antenna to my front bumper. Any suggestions there? Also, is there a use for a scanner? Do any units do both? Are there any models that also receive AM/fm so thAt I could just replace what's in my dash?

    Thanks
    B
     
  2. emorth

    emorth

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    You must have been talking to Von Hayek. He asked the same questions. :)

    Here is my advice (remember, advice is free and you get what you pay for):

    What will you be using the CB radio for? If you are a long haul trucker and you listen to the CB all the time, it may be worth while to invest in one that has good quality audio. If you are only going to use it for trail rides and convoys, audio quality is not as critical. Also, for trail rides, everyone is usually close together so reception is good and range is not an issue. With good strong signals the audio quality is usually good, even on the cheap radios.

    I have a cheap radio, I only use it for trail rides and it works fine in that application. It is also in my 40 with a bikini top (during the summer) so if it gets stolen, no big loss. I have access to professional two-way radio test equipment. For grins & giggles I checked my radio on a communications analyzer. My cheap ($40 on sale at an outlet store) CB radio had impressive performance. The receiver had very good sensitivity, the transmitter was transmitting at the legal limit and the modulation (transmit audio) was good. What's not to like?

    Given the high ambient noise in a topless 40, a larger external speaker is a good investment. The little speaker inside the radio is OK in low noise, closed cab environments.

    The Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL) is a must, gotta have, feature! Don't buy a radio without it. The other features are mostly nice-to-have but not necessary. Some radios have a National Weather Service feature. That could be worthwhile if you are off-roading and a storm is threatening. You can tune in and listen to the weather info broadcasts.

    Combo CB scanner - not that I know of.
    Combo CB AM/FM - not that I know of.
    Scanner? Most public safety comms have gone/are going to a digital trunking format. The scanners to listen to trunking systems are expensive, $500 - 800. Cost prohibitive unless you are really into scanner listening. Encryption is on the way too. Once encryption is implemented, you won't be able to hear anything but a SHHHHHHHHHH noise.

    Mounting the antenna on the front bumper is fine. That is the typical mounting location in Australia. The best CB antenna is a whip that is 108 inches long. Kinda long and unmanageable. Also, some off-road places limit the antenna length (48 inches I think) to prevent someone from getting smacked when the antenna goes whipping by. For off-roading, the fiberglass "stick" antennas are probably the best.

    I did a quick google search and found a couple sites with worthwhile info:

    Choosing the Best CB Radio : CB Radios & CB Antennas - Cobra, Uniden, Wilson, K40 & Firestik

    Choosing the Best CB Antenna : CB Radios & CB Antennas - Cobra, Uniden, Wilson, K40 & Firestik

    CB Radios "Q & A" FAQ & Information


    Advice: If I were going to buy a CB radio for myself for off-roading, I would by a cheap radio from a name brand manufacturer. The antenna I would pick would be a fiberglass stick with a spring mount. If the price was not outrageous, I would consider getting an antenna that did not require a ground plane.

    Check in before you buy anything.

    Hope this helps,
    Ed
     
    Hack likes this.
  3. TRFCSUX

    TRFCSUX Wasn't me

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    Great info Ed, thanks. What does it take to tune antenna ?
     
  4. Jakes40

    Jakes40 IH8MUD Poser SILVER Star

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    some places will tune your antenna for free when you buy from them. But they are like 40's a dying breed.

    Chris
     
  5. emorth

    emorth

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    Typically, it involves adjusting the length of the antenna. Similar to tuning a piano. The length of the antenna (piano string) determines the resonant frequency (pitch) where the antenna will work the best. An un-tuned antenna causes the transmitter's energy to be reflected back into the transmitter rather than being radiated. This results in a loss of range and an overheated transmitter.

    A standing wave ratio (SWR) meter or an in-line watt meter is used to measure the transmit power going to the antenna and the reflected power going back to the transmitter. No reflected power (actually minimal power - there is no perfect antenna) means the antenna is in tune and the maximum amount of transmit power is being radiated.

    Make sense?
    Ed
     
  6. topherbecker

    topherbecker

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    so you cut your antenna to size when tuning?
     
  7. Von Hayek

    Von Hayek

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    Thanks for the good help Ed.
     
  8. Jakes40

    Jakes40 IH8MUD Poser SILVER Star

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    Sounds like another tech day?
     
  9. emorth

    emorth

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    CB antennas are usually OK and don't need much tuning since they are made just for the CB band. Commercial mobile antennas, in some cases, are cut to length.
     
  10. emorth

    emorth

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    Works for me. :)
     
  11. Devilmans Hand

    Devilmans Hand TLCA #19517

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    totally. I've been looking at export radios with a PA system.
     
  12. shack

    shack

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    CB Thoughts...

    I bought my Firestik at Auto Outfitters in Manassas, VA. They even offered to tune it for free once I got it installed.

    This is what I went with...
    https://cobra.com/detail/index.cfm?nPID=74

    While it might not be the beefiest CB out there it doesn't require an "in dash" module. Everything is incorporated into the actual handset which is nice. All that you are required to do is mount a small receiver box underneath your dash.
     
  13. Von Hayek

    Von Hayek

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    Just wondering if any club members who have bumper-mounted antennas have any reception problems? I would much prefer to drill a hole in my bumper vs. a hole in my roof, but reading some of the links that Ed posted leads me to believe that a roof-mounted antenna provides the best reception. Thoughts?
     
  14. Devilmans Hand

    Devilmans Hand TLCA #19517

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    What about his antenna set up with looks like a fiberglass lower section with a whip that screws into the top. Its mounted in the rear of ed's 40.
     
  15. Black Op

    Black Op

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    I installed my antenna to the front bumper. I cannot say anything yet as I need to tune my set up. On the trail ride I could hear Tracy on occasion, never really heard Steve, but had Dan load and clear. SO, until I get it tuned i am no help....
     
  16. Black Op

    Black Op

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    I bought a Cobra 18 and it installed in the factory radio slot just perfect. It has 10 weather stations. Need to get it tuned though.... ugh! :bang:
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  17. SAS

    SAS Seeking higher vistas

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    My antenna on the Trooper is bumper-mounted. No problems. On the 60, I use a magnet-based antenna that I put on the roof. That's a temporary solution until I get a bigger front bumper.
     
  18. Von Hayek

    Von Hayek

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    Well, I think I'm going for a real long bumper-mounted antenna then. Thanks Tracy.
     
  19. Von Hayek

    Von Hayek

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    My apologies to Ed -- just noticed that he addressed this in hist post.
     
  20. Devilmans Hand

    Devilmans Hand TLCA #19517

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