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CB Antenna problems

Discussion in 'Ham Radio - CB - Trail Communications' started by 2001ExpSport, September 20, 2000.

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  1. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    OK, you CBer's out there I hooked up my new CB antenna today. When I connect the antenna to the transceiver I don't get any reception. When I disconnect the antenna and just stick the center post in I get great reception. Only when the outer threaded ring touches does the reception go away as if it's completely disconnected. What's up with that? My old antenna worked fine(magnet), but now I have a different set up. I have it mounted to my roof rack and I have a white fiberglass 4' antenna with a spring and 20' cable. The antenna is attached to a mount screwed to my custom roof rack made out of two 2x4's, one in front and one in back. I have the bracket screwed to the back passenger side. A buddy told me to ground the antenna, but that doesn't work. Others say to make sure it is not grounded and it isn't. Either way, it won't work. The transceiver is grounded I know for sure because it's grounded to the frame for power. Right now I have teflon tape on the threaded part of the transceiver antenna connector to break the connection and it works great. Only thing is it's not the right way to do it. Any help would be great!!

    P.S. When it's connected the right way without the teflon tape, I cannot transmit or receive. It's as if I don't have an antenna at all.
     
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  3. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I'm thinking I may know the answer. There's a thin plastic piece that goes inbetween the bracket and the Antenna to keep the antenna from touching metal. You don't want the antenna to touch any metal if I remember correctly. Two questions.....a. when you grounded it did you let the ground touch the antenna or is it grounded to the bracket, b. is the antenna touching the bracket or is there the plastic piece inbetween.

    You also might need to get the antenna adjusted. It's cheap and can be done at Radio Shack.
     
  4. Ray Hutchinson

    Ray Hutchinson Moderator Emeritus

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    CB Reception

    2001 Explorer Sport,

    Another possible problem is bad or shorted coax. If you have a continuity meter, you can check the coax cable by disconnecting both ends. The center conductor, and the outside conductor ( shield) should not be connected. Check the center for continuity end to end, then the shield, then test to be sure you have no continuity between the center and the shield. You don't mention which brand/model antenna you have, whether it's a base loaded, center loaded, full quarter wave, etc., or what style mount you have. Leebo is right. The radiating element should be connected to the center of the coax, and the base of the mount should be grounded. If you don't solve the problem right away, post the info about the kind of antenna and mount you have and we may be able to give you more definitive help.
     
  5. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Re: CB Reception

    "Leebo is right."




    I don't think I've ever seen those words in writing before.

    Looks kinda funny to me

    I'm scared....hold me
     
  6. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    LOL, you're pretty funny Leebo, but unfornately I beat you guys to it. Looked at my antenna again today and the plastic spacer was cocked a bit so that the center was touching the bracket. Drilled a larger hole in the bracket and now the spacer seats fine and the coax works.

    Thanks for your replies anyway guys. I know that I can always find refuge here.....I feel at home here.....comfortable........hold me?
     
  7. JayR

    JayR Active Member

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    Hey guys, I have a through glass type cb antenna, On the directions it says not to mount it on glass with metalic type sunscreen(aka tint) I mounted it in the storage window in the back, Should it be effected? my dads gonna check it with the swr meter this weekend, but any ideas?? i have a radio shack cb.
     
  8. Ray Hutchinson

    Ray Hutchinson Moderator Emeritus

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    Glass Mount Antenna

    JayR,

    First, let me start by saying that a glass mount antennas, especially for the lower frequencies such as 26-27 mHz where the CB band is, are compromise antennas: that is you compromise some performance for not having to drill a hole, or run the coax cable through the door jamb where it will eventually become damaged . The very best antenna location for an Explorer is a permanent mount in the dead center of the roof, but most of us aren't willing to drill the holes this requires.

    If you mean the "storage window" is one of the rear side windows with the factory tint, or even after market mylar it should work OK. My cell phone antenna is there and works satisfactorily. The only problem with mylar tint film is that ther inside pickup may not stick on as well, or tend to pull off the tint film.

    If you mean the rear lift gate window, make sure you avoid the area where the defroster wires (little red lines) run. try to put the center of the inner and outer mounting pieces between the wires. A fixed window such as the rear side window is the best bet.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. GJarrett

    GJarrett Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    Glass Mount Antenna

    Jay,
    I've tried those antennas on two different vehicles in two different applications. Unfortunately they are just about worthless for a CB. You will be able to receive but your ability to transmit will get you not much farther than you can yell. I'd love to be able to use one on my '99 Eddie Bauer (and I tried it) but in my experience you will be extremely dissatisfied with it.

    I finally used a Lil' Wil magnetic mount on the top rear just in front of the rear cargo door. To keep the coax from getting crushed when the door closed I closed the door with a philips head screwdriver shaft placed in the crack at the top middle of the door. It deformed the metal just enough to let the coax through. It didn't even break the paint. Then I ran the cable via the plastic molding along the top inside of the interior all the way up front for a completely invisible installation.

    The only thing I have to do (since I garage mine and it won't fit with the antenna) is keep a short 4" piece of extra antenna in the mount to keep it clean and then when I take a road trip and want to use the CB I'll exchange it for the real antenna.

    The setup works great for me.
     
  10. JayR

    JayR Active Member

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    So i wasted 40$, DAMN, Ill get a mag mount one.... but anyone have one mounted like jeeps do? with llike a 4 foot whip of the bumper???
     
  11. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I'd watch that too. Those whips are banned from some clubs for trail use. They can do some nice harm to the spotter. On top of that they are very directional and if they're put on the bumper they sit right by the fuel sensor. This give it some nice rfi. You'll get nothing but fuzz. I use the Firestic on mine. I've got it mounted with a "mirror" mount to the factory roof rack pretty close to the center of the truck. The cable is running through the door(so shoot me, I'm lazy) and under the carpet. Inside the truck you don't know where the cords are. I've got some nice range with this setup....but I know it could be better. I use a lower power cb that is mostly hidden. It's a smaller one by Cobera where all the controls are in the mic itself. I've still been able to get up to a 4 mile "mic check" on just about any given day. For the trail.....that works just fine by me. The antenna was 35, the mount was 12, and the cable was another 10.
     
  12. Ray Hutchinson

    Ray Hutchinson Moderator Emeritus

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    Antennas

    Gang,

    I'd have to agree that a mag mount is far superior to a glass mount. (glass mounts don't work real great until you get up to much higher freguencies, such as 800+ MHZ where analog cell phone is) Lower frequencies just don't seem to go through the glass too well. Some hams try to use them on 2 meters,(144 mHz) and wonder why they don;t get real great signal reports. I just didn't want to discourage JayR too much 'cause i know those antennas aren't cheap, and they wii work, sorta. Better yet, of course is the roof through-hole permanent mount, but there's that damn hole in your roof, so I understand why many don't want to go that way. Only radio geeks like me, and I still haven't been able to bring myself to drill holes in my 2K F-250 :). There are the earlier threads about RF static from the fuel pump that Gerald alluded too. This is a big problem on many Explorers, cause they put out lots of static noise greatly reducing your ability to recieve. This is why center roof, or close to it, is the best bet, as it is the quitest location as far as internal static generated by the vehicle is concerned.

    One problem cropped up ay COlors Run this year. A couple of guys showed up with their antennas located inside their aftermartket roof cargo racks. One a mag mount onto the roof (inside the rack) , the other mounted down inside the rack , knnda on the rack "floor" so the metal rails of the rack passed by close to the both antennas. Both found they had lousy transmit perfromance and very high SWR. Relocating outside ar above the rack made a BIG difference!

    Just remember, just like life, nothings perfect: All antennas are a compromise, but they are important. It's the weakest link thing, a $500 radio will be crap into a bad antenna, or a badly located good antenna!
     
  13. GJarrett

    GJarrett Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    Thanks Ray. Yeah Jay I didn't want to discourage you TOO much; if you've shelled out $40 for that thing you need to try it. But if you don't get the performance you were expecting once you get everything installed I just wanted you to know where to find the culprit.

    Now I have a question. Leebo just said he uses a "lower power" CB. I assume he has a Cobra CB-in-Mike like I do. This is not the first time I have heard reference to a "lower power" CB.

    I am really confused. It was my impression that ALL CBs (except weaker handhelds) are by law limited to and rated at 4 watts output. In the old days of the 23 channel CBs it was 5 watts and I had an old 5 watt Royce I used for years. Now if they are all 4 watts, 4 watts is 4 watts, right? Wouldn't any decent non-SSB CB get out about the same? If you got the best antenna mounting and tuning setup you could and then experimented by plugging a few different CBs into the coax wouldn't they all perform about the same? I'll allow that a $40 cheapo may not, but wouldn't the difference in any of the regular brands be unnoticeable or non-existent?
     
  14. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    All I meant is that this set-up is more for use on the trails where you are right behind somebody rather than several miles away. I bought this one mainly cause I didn't want a huge radio taking up space. It is the same one you have. This is a good mic but the range(power) you get from it is not as large as it is with some of the larger more pricy ones. You are right on the watts it gets, however even though it outputs that many watts you may only receive fuzz. It just depends on the setup you've got. A four mile range though isn't too bad with any mic you'll get though. I'm more than happy with mine
     
  15. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    I have a 40" fiberglass antenna mounted on a custom wood roof rack. I use the rack to carry lumber. It's mounted on a spring for flex and then to a bracket. It's out of the way of spotters and if it hits a branch it will bend completely horizontal if needed.

    I have heard the same thing about glass antennas, not much for trans, but good enough to receive.
     
  16. JayR

    JayR Active Member

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    Ok guys, Im accually lucky that my dad is head of comunications for the MD state police on the easternshore. he hooked me up with an ok metal whiped mag mount antenna. Im gonna run the wire through the sport pop out window and throught the trim etc. Guess i should have asked him befor i bought it. (dumb a$$) Let me pray radio shack takes it back =). So what is better metal or fiberglass?? and lebo how do u have it mounted to your roof rack???? Went 4 wheeling the first time last week, cant wait to go again. but felt left out without a cb u know
     
  17. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    Jay,

    I bought a magnet antenna and even took the hole thing out of the vac package. Radio Shack took it back no problem, I told them it wasn't what I wanted and they exchanged it with the new set up I have now.
     
  18. JayR

    JayR Active Member

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    O good, i can get a nice set up for 40$$, thanks for the info
     
  19. Ray Hutchinson

    Ray Hutchinson Moderator Emeritus

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    Metal vs Fiberglass

    JayR,

    I guess mostly preference. Both are mechanically shortened antennas that electrically look like a quarter wave (108"on CB band) antenna as far as the radio is concerned. A shorter antenna is a good thing for avoiding trees etc. Also, in this thread or maybe another, someone pointed out that the 108" (102' steel whip +6"spring) are prohibited by some clubs and asssociations because of the hazards to spotters and bystanders when they "whip" around. I happen to prefer metal whips with the loading coil (the coil of wire that makes the radio think it has a 108" antenna) in the base.these are between 3 and 4 feet long typically.

    It's hard to go wrong with either the k-40s or the Wilsons, but they are pricey. Many folks here also seem to like the "Firestick" fiberglass antennas. Price does matter somewhat: don't expect a really great performing and durable antenna that will take the punishment of O.R. for $20. My next door neighbor rolled his J**p Cherokee with a Wilson 1000 permanently roof mounted. It bent the whip beyond repair, but for $15, we installed a replacement whip on the old base loading coil. and it worked perfectly again! I also run a Wilson 1000 and am very satisfied.
     
  20. Ray Hutchinson

    Ray Hutchinson Moderator Emeritus

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    JayR,

    Probably not the right place to post this , but just wanted to say that I'm a relocated U Md, College Park, Grad.
    GO TERPS! ;-) Annapolis sure is a neat place to live! I really liked that area. BTW is your dad a ham (Amateur radio operator)? I'm with the County Fire Dept here in CA, and most of our Communications guys are.
     
  21. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    JayR....go to your local shop or truck stop and look around. They make a mount that is made for the mirrors of the 18 wheelers. I got me one of those that have a flat surface and two bolts clamping them together. Make sure its about the size of the roof rack. I then just drilled 2 holes into the rack....put the bolts through and clamped them down. If I remember to and if anybody is interested I'll try to take some photos this weekend. Let me know.
     

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