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CB antenas ?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio - CB - Trail Communications' started by «Mätthëw»², April 13, 2001.

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  1. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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  3. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Leebo,
    It looks like you had to drill through your cross bar to use that mount. I was hoping that I could use some sort of clamp style mount shaped like the bar somewhat so I wouldn't have to permanently alter my rack. I'll keep looking, and if I don't find one, I'll try to make one.

    Does the antenna weight flopping around put much stress on the rack?? I was hoping to lessen the stress on the rack and protect the antenna by adding a light spring (which comes in the Firestik antenna kit I'm looking at).
     
  4. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

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    Stephen S,

    You should be able to purchase a mount that will attach to the bar of the roof rack (Mirror Mounts) from any CB/HAM radio shop or even on the web; there are a lot of different moounts out there.
    There is a place on the Web called EEI, they have all kinds of mounts including heavy duty mirror mounts made from a block of aluminum, really nice.

    I just bought a Lil Will, made by Wilson, to use on my Wife's Navajo, so I could talk to the rest of the truck while going to the Vermont Truck Show. This antenna worked great, nothing but good reports on the signal and modulation clarity. Tnx to Ray L for the idea.

    73,
     
  5. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Sandy, thank you for giving me a little hope for my search! :) If I don't find a mount that I like, then I might scrap the Firestik idea and go with a Lil' Wil like you said....seems many others have had good luck with them too. It also eliminates the need for a grounding the antenna, so I've read. Is there a possibility of it scratching the paint off the roof with the magnet??

    Do you (or anyone else) have any opinions on Midland model 77-104XL or 77-235ESP radios?? (thinking about getting one of those two) They are listed under Mobile CB's here: http://www.midlandradio.com/

    Also, would there be much disadvantage to put the antenna near the rear roof rack crossbar, or does it really work better closer to the front one???

    Thanks!
     
  6. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Stephen...

    Sorry about that before.. I was in a hurry. I got that mount from a truckstop here in town. They had several other type of mounts. I'd guess that if you could find a larger one you would be able to tighten the two down and "clamp" onto the rack. Would work just as well. Go to a truckstop or CB shop and look around. I'm sure they can help you.
     
  7. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

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    My opinion about Midlands is that they are not as good as they used to be.

    Stick with either Cobra or Uniden or if you can try one of the new Texas Ranger Communications CB, they are nice looking and perform really good. They are a little large, so that may be a problem. (EEI has some of the Texas Rangers).

    I could proably come up with a reason not to put it to close to the cross bar but that is where the Little Wil was possitioned on my wifes vehicle and it work well.

    The grounding of the antenna is a must to work the way it was suppose to. If you decide to mount to the roof rack make sure to ground the rack.

    Good Luck,
    73,

    p.s. Yes it usually scratches the roof. The reason is that dirt gets under the magnet and with the vibrations in the vehicle and while driving works it way in the paint.
    A trick that can help a little is to put Duck Tape on the magnet. Don't over lap the tape, get it as close together as possible.
    The Little Will by Wilson comes with a silicon disk attached to the magnet so that should be a great help.
    Another trick, ha ha, put some vasiline(sp) on the edge of the magnet before putting it on the vehicle; it usually seals better.

    Keep your antenna up., 73,
     
    Last edited: August 8, 2001
  8. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Sandy,
    Thanks for the reply...I was hoping you would.

    I will look a little harder at Cobra and Uniden radios since you recommend them. Can you recommend a good low to mid range priced model that I should look into as a beginning user?? I've looked at the Texas Ranger units and I don't think I will use the CB enough to justify their cost. Besides, they are a little too large to mount where I want.

    Also, after doing a bunch of reading, I think my antenna choice is a 3 or 4 foot Firestik II (tunable tip) mounted to the front roof rack crossbar on a fold down, spring mount. Is this a good choice??

    I am aware that the antenna mount must be grounded and since the rack probably sits on rubber, I was planning to run a separate wire to ground it. Is this a good idea?? I like the idea of a more permanent mount, and then avoiding scratching my paint with a magnet.
     
  9. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

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    Me Again !

    OK on the radio types, size is the contributing factor here; where do you want to put it?

    Most CBs in the under $100.00 range are almost the same, so much so that you would probably not know the difference. The only thing on the little radios that I miss is the mic gain! I wish the radios companies would buff up and put one in.

    I am using a Uniden 535 at this time, when I first put it in it got out put not really well. I added an Astatic Red Devil Noise Canceling Power Mic and the radio took off. Everyone I talk to say it is load and very clear.
    Load and Proud...
    So consider a power mic in your budget.

    The Red Devil is a noise canceling type of power mic used in high noise environment like trucks with their windows open. I used it in my wife’s Navajo with all of the windows closed and people said I was in the vehicle with them when talking to them.
    Oh Ya! Mine is Red in color also, it does come in black I think; but the red stands out. The price is around 50 bucks but you may find it for less. Try to work it into the deal for the radio, mic and antenna.

    The Radio, Uniden 535, is an older model of the 538(W) that I think is still sold. It has a good receive and the output is good but no mic gain. After hearing everyone talk over me on truck runs and people telling me to repeat the message, I added the Red Devil.

    Your antenna - The Firestiks are a good antenna, I have used them in the past, but they are too big around, not flexible enough for the woods. On trail runs I use a Wilson Silver Load, 24", very flexible, it work great and some times I forget to take it off after the run and it work good on the road also. The silver load has an additional wire that assists if you are unable to match the antenna; I like the idea even though I have never had to use it. The 24" size work well all around.

    Run the additional ground wire to the frame from the rack if possible; also ground the radio chassis to the frame or body or maybe a seat bolt if it is metal to metal.

    Good Luck, let the forum know what is going on,
    73,
     
  10. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Sandy, so much good information!! Thank you again.

    I would definitely like to stay as much under $100 for the radio as possible and still get a quality unit. (poor college student). I understand that higher priced models will perform better, but for my use, a middle grade radio will probably do.

    I plan to mount the CB to the driver's side of the center console, between the seat and the console, so it sits next to my right leg and within easy reach. The radio's width or depth doesn't matter much in this case (to an extent) but since I am trying to sandwich it in a spot, minimal height is key. I think radios up to about 2" high would fit, though I may be wrong since I haven't tried any yet.

    I didn't consider adding a power mic to my system, probably because I didn't know they existed. :) (still learning) I will look into them as well and see if I can fit one in my budget. However, I am very much a beginner, as this will be my first CB, so high end equipment is not a must.

    About the antenna: unfortunately, my poor 2 wheel drive stocker doesn't see many trails (not by choice mind you), so I'm not sure if antenna flexibility will be a real issue, where as function and cost are important. Also, I kinda like the look of the fiberglass whips. But I did think about the flex
    bility issue and thought that a spring loaded mount would help out some. The CB's main use will be on the road anyway.
     
  11. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

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    Stephen S,

    All good reasons for maintaining your budget.

    Both Uniden and Cobra have small units for around the $60 mark but both do not have a mic gain. The power mic is a must; get one as soon as you can (Afford to). Everyone will wonder where the little radio got all the Nuts from.

    The Silver Load Wilson is a fiberglass whip just thinner than the Firestik, both are good antennas.

    If you don't smoke, the ash tray area is a good place to put the radio, especially if it is a little Uniden. Pretty much fits in the hole, well maybe a little sheet metal work.

    Good Luck on your choice, remember your limits and your needs not your wants... and you will get a good system for low cost.

    Let the forum know how things work out.

    73,
     
  12. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Sandy,
    How much could I expect to pay for a radio that comes with a mic gain and will it take the place of the power mic you suggest?? Or is the power mic a good add-on for any CB system?

    Can you recommend a model that may have a mic gain?? The Midland 77-235ESP that I was looking at has "variable mic gain to boost transmission audio for maximum range." Is this something like what you mean?

    I don't smoke, so I will consider mounting the unit in the ask tray, but I think a Uniden is the only unit that will fit.

    Also, I've been meaning to ask this...when running coax from the antenna, should I stay away from amp power cables for interference reduction?? Or do the power wires not interfere with the signal?
     
  13. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

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    How much could I expect to pay for a radio that comes with a mic gain and will it take the place of the power mic you suggest?? Or is the power mic a good add-on for any CB system?

    * The larger sized unit do not cost much more than the smaller ones but they usually contain additional filtering. A power mic works well on all CBs; they bring up your modulation (voice outout) which will drive your CB to its top performance. When using a power mic on a radio with a mic gain, you will need to adjust the power mic and the mic gain to achieve a good level of modulation vs distortion/squealing. The distortion/squealing will occur if either is turn up too much. When and if you get a power mic just listen to the people giving you radio checks and also just in general ask how you sound, not how much signal am I giving you, just how do I sound. Most CBer will tell you and you will be able to pick the best set points for the mic gain and the power mic.
    A rule of thumb in the HAM radio ranks is to use the least amount of power to achieve communications. So in line with that rule set your mic gainnnn, if you have one, to about mid point and the mic no more than quarter open. See how people respond then adjust accordingly.


    Can you recommend a model that may have a mic gain?? The Midland 77-235ESP that I was looking at has "variable mic gain to boost transmission audio for maximum range." Is this something like what you mean?

    * You seem set on the Midland, so I think I would try it first. Sometimes the only thing that matters in performance is the radio you pick, (EGO). If size is not a problem then I would stick to a larger Uniden, I am not sure of the models but they are good radios. Make your own pick, try out and listen to your friends radios before buying.


    I don't smoke, so I will consider mounting the unit in the ask tray, but I think a Uniden is the only unit that will fit.

    * If the radio is small enough it will work out well.


    Also, I've been meaning to ask this...when running coax from the antenna, should I stay away from amp power cables for interference reduction?? Or do the power wires not interfere with the signal?

    * Always run coax away from power wire and computers if possible. If all wiring is shielded then it may not cause trouble.


    I hope this helps, picking a CB is sometimes more than just what everyone else thinks. You need to get in and listen to other radios and see how they sound to you. In HAM radio there are a number of good radio manufacturers but every HAM will tell you their choice is the best radio you can buy. Money vs availability vs use, consider every angle. You may get by with a smaller unit after hearing one perform.
    ALSO, a CB's power output is low so the most important item on your list should be a good antenna and quality coax, (PLEASE do not buy Radio Shack coax, it is junj at best). The coax/antenna/SWR Setting will determine how much power (RF) gets out in to the air so others can hear you.
    Keep asking questions and you will get it right along the way.

    If I am not here for a while, feel free to contact me by e-mail as follows: n1mau@gis.net

    Good Luck on your choices and keep in touch with the forum, 73,
     
  14. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Sandy,
    Thank you for your time and advice. You have been much help. I'm going to keep reading around here and learning some more before I make any final decisions. If I have any more questions, I'll be sure and ask and I'll let the forum know what I find out and decide on. Thanks again.
     
  15. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Leebo or Sandy, (or anyone else who knows)....
    I like the way that Leebo has his antenna mounted and I was hoping to do the same thing to mine. Well I visited a couple of CB shops today and when I told the guys where I wanted to mount the antenna, they frowned and said that I would have grounding problems. I understand that the roof rack rails are not grounded well to the truck, so my plan was to run a separate wire from the antenna mount to the closest grounding spot (I was thinking a rear hatch hinge bolt). But the CB shop guy said that a wire that long would not ground well and instead would act like part of the antenna. He said he wouldn't go any farther than 3 feet away from the antenna for a ground. What can I do about this potential grounding problem?

    Leebo, how did you ground yours, and how well does it work?
     
  16. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I drilled out one of the rivets that held the roof rack in and replaced it with a small metal bolt. That took care of the ground no problem. :) Took about .15 cents and about 10 minutes.
     
  17. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    I was hoping you would tell me that you did it a different way (I was trying not to have to drill any holes in my truck). But that seems like a pretty good solution, so as long as it doesn't leak, I can consider doing that. Thanks Leebo.
     
  18. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    You're really not drilling holes. The rack is held into place with rivets. You're just drilling out one of the rivets and replacing that. It's still sealed from Ford, although I did put abit of grease on the outside of the bolt.
     
  19. Stephen S

    Stephen S Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying that you put a threaded bolt in the rivet hole or a sheet metal screw?
     
  20. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

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    Questions, questions, questions...!

    leebo,
    Where did you mount the antenna ?
    How did you run the coax ?
    The bolt, (good idea) ,is it only for the ground ?
    Where did you mount the radio ?
    What size is the radio ?

    Tnx for taking the time to answer.

    73,
     
  21. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I was able to mount the antenna to the roof rack using the mirror mount and a few extra holes being drilled. The mount I found had the holes drilled too far apart, so I made my own. I ran the cable(DON'T KILL ME ON THIS) through the passangers door and down the molding on the inside. I've got this hooked up and I'm using it till I cut the darn thing. Then I'll drill the roof. I was able to find a regular bolt that was threaded correctly for the rack. It's only for the ground and keeps everything clean.

    As for the radio, I seldom use mine so I opted for the Cobra where the controls are in the mic. I can't think of the name, but it's a popular one out there. I mounted the box for it under the carpet on the middle hump, and the mic and controls are by the cup holders. For the trails and road trips it works great, not sure about much more than that though.
     

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