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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. bluescat

    bluescat Active Member

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    Spare equipment

    So how can you tell what a firestick is? I have a couple of CB's and antennas sitting around the garage. Two of the antennas are the fiberglass variety, a skinny blue one (5') and a thicker orange one (4'). I also have a metal one with the drip edge clamp that I'm going to try to attach to the roof rails. It has a collapse feature, you push in a button and you can move it from the straight up to the horizontal position. Is this one any good? Will it work ok on the side rail of the roof rack as opposed to the middle? I don't have any crossbars yet, Ford's too cheap to give you them nowadays. Also does the ground have to make contact with the vehicle skin for ground purposes?
    I think the spare radios are still good if anyone can use them. One's a Pace 144 and the other is a Pearce-Simpson Tiger 40. Since I need removeable/invisible I got a Midland 75-822 handheld w/weather that comes with a 6 cell battery pack that slips off and in it's place you slide a unit that supplies power from the 12V access outlet as well as the coax connecter. It turns it into the same kinda rig as the Cobra except it is an all in one. I also got a Cobra HH 46WX Babe Winkleman unit so I 'd have two portables for camping/farm and I found out that the battery packs on the Cobra and Midland units are interchangeable. Looks like the same outfit makes both units but I heard the Midland unit is better. FYI

    [Edited by bluescat on 09-29-2000 at 05:41 AM]
     
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  3. JayR

    JayR Active Member

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    Ray, yea i love annapolis, beautiful place over here. but no 4 wheeling. My dad is a operates a 2m ham radio as will I when i finish my no code plus test. Thats my next commuications advancement. MD is a good school. catch ya later.. terps lost =(
     
  4. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    That's what I have and radio shack has them for about $6.
     
  5. Ray Hutchinson

    Ray Hutchinson Moderator Emeritus

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    Firesticks, etc

    bluescat:

    I've never owned a "Firestick", so someone who has one will have to describe them. You could also stop by a truck stop or CB shop if there are any in your area and ask to look at one. ;-) As for the folding antenna, theyre not necessarily bad, and you can permanently mount it in the tracks on your roof, and tip it for low clearance situations. Usually the roof rails are metal, and grounded to the truck body so that shouid take care of the base grounding. If you have an ohm / continuity meter you can verify this. Without knowing the brand etc, I can.t say if the "folder" is good or bad, but at least you will be up on the roof, and away from the gas tank / fuel pump.
     
  6. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I wouldn't do that if I were you. The roof rack will not work as a ground. While it is metal and it is connected to the truck it still isn't good enough. The problem is that there's a thin layer of a foam like material between the rack itself and the truck. This is to help keep water out between the two. It also breaks the ground. You should run a ground wire to the frame somewhere.
     
  7. riffman

    riffman Well-Known Member

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    hmmm....not sure if im too late, but i wanted to get my 2 cents about the whip on the back of the truck. i have a 40" or so on my back bumper, if anyone wants to look at it....it works really well for me, except for i can't have my radio on at the same time as my CB, or else i get some SERIOUS feedback.....heres the pic...the flag isn't always there...we just had to have it on our vehicle for the park we were at.....

    http://www.geocities.com/andre_hryn/Attica/at012.jpg
     
  8. bluescat

    bluescat Active Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks to Leebo and Ray. Gawd what a pain running this frigging coax wire inside and under everything! The roof rack is completely plastic, thanks Ford! Since Ford didn't see fit to include cross members to actually make the roof rack functional, I'm using one of the attachment holes (there are 6 per side, I hope it won't fall off) to feed the wire into the cabin. I'm going to tap the shield as the coax enters the headliner and screw it to the frame. Will this be what's needed to create the ground plane? Also, I found the old instructions for this "Wide-Band Gutter Mount Antenna for 47MHz CB Radio" by Antenna Specialists. It says "DO NOT SHORTEN THE ANTENNA CABLE FOR ANY REASON". Too late! I found it w/o a male conn. on one end and a bad shield in one of the legs. I'm assuming this was a tuned length, so how do I tune this thing so it won't ruin the transistors in my new Midland? I don't have a SWR meter. Thanks to all.
     
  9. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    That's just about what I had to do too.....it's a clean install though. Your best bet is to take your truck to radio shack or the local cb shop. They'll tune it for $10 at the tops.
     
  10. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    Bluescat, running the cable is easy. I ran my cable from the back hatch to and between the plastic side liner and the head board. The cable was thin enough to fit between the opening on the top of the liftgate without getting pinched. The side panel starts right at the back and you can run it all the way to the dash with out any obstructions. I have a 20' cable and it was plenty. It works great and I don't get any interference.

    Anybody know the trick to peaking CB's? Why is it better to mount the antenna in the middle? Mine is on the side and works just as well as when I had it center mounted on magnet.

    [Edited by 2001ExpSport on 09-30-2000 at 08:03 AM]
     
  11. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Antenna's are rather fussy about where they receive their signal. An antenna mounted or the right rear will get the best signal from the front left....front right will pick up the rear left. If the antenna is in the middle of the truck it picks the signal up from all directions. This is the problem with the "whip" antennas, you more or less have to mount them to the bumper right next to the fuel pump as well as they're one of the more directional antenna's. If i'm willing to bet the reason for the same signal you're receiving is more of the power of the antenna over your other one.
     
  12. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    My antenna is mounted on the top rear pass side. Same as center, right? How does the signal know my antenna isn't in the middle?
     
  13. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    You should be fine with it mounted there. As for the antenna "knowing" where it's mounted....it doesn't. It just receives the signal best from the opposite direction. This is one of the reasons why you see 18wheelers running two antenna's, one on each side. That way they can pick up the signals no matter where it's being sent from.

    ps.....where in Ill. are you from anyways?? I looked at your photo and I saw the plates were from there.
     
  14. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    leebo, I was joking about the antenna knowing. I'm just north of Chicago.

    If your're interested, about 10 of us from the site are making a run to Attica, Ind on Oct. 14/15th.
     
  15. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Maybe I could make it from Vegas by then. I grew up in Ill. but haven't been back in some time. I joked with Riff about it...he lives about 30 miles from the town I grew up in, and he never heard of it.

    Go Fig.
     
  16. GJarrett

    GJarrett Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    Actually....

    The antenna does "know" where it is mounted. You can do a search on this forum because this has been discussed before.

    A CB antenna uses the surrounding area as a reflective ground plane to radiate its energy off of. That is why an antenna installed on the right rear gets better reception to the left front of the vehicle: the antenna uses the entire area of the top of the vehicle in front and to the left of it to augment its reception and transmission. That is also another reason why truckers use dual antennas; to take advantage of both angles off of the top of the vehicle to improve performance. If you use a CB on the highway to learn of potential speed traps ahead, the absolute worst place to mount the antenna would be your left front bumper since your best reception would then be to your right rear.

    Mounting the antenna in the center of the roof gives a more balanced performance in all directions from the CB unit. So from that standpoint of view, you can say that the antenna does "know" where it is.

    I hope that made sense and didn't confuse the issue.
     
  17. bluescat

    bluescat Active Member

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    As usual...

    As usual, I found everything I needed here to get the job done, thanks to everyone who posted. I still have those CB's and Firestick's, anyone interested? One of the links I followed from above took me to this excellent reference site at Firestick:

    http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs.htm

    I was sure I was going to have to add cable to get the SWR down to the optimum 1.5:1. Instead, when I booted it up in the clear instead of the garage it was right on the money. I did break down and buy the meter for $20. I still have no idea whether this thing is a top-loading half or quarter plane antenna and it's mounted to the side rail at mid-point driver's side, not the center but WOW, what a difference! Now all I have to do is learn the lingo....
     
  18. JayR

    JayR Active Member

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    Matt i just looked at your truck and have to say i love those rims are the 767's? and how much did you pay for them???
     
  19. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    You can have them for a $100(4) plus shipping. They are $40 each retail.

    Yes, they are AR 767's, email me if you are interested.
     

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