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Looking to buy CB system - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio - CB - Trail Communications' started by Garrett, April 11, 1999.

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  1. Garrett

    Garrett Guest

    I have looked in some catalogs at systems ranging from $45-$150. What's the difference? Is the $45 CB a piece of crud? I'm new to these, but want a form of emergency communication in my Navajo for when I get stuck. Also, are the antennas that route through the stock FM/AM radio antenna any good? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as would pointers. Thanks!
     
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  3. Sandy

    Sandy Guest

    Garrett - Hi, I will try to answer your questions. Everyone has a different opinion of radios and especially CBs. Like everything else cost is in direct proportion to what you get. If you pay more then you get more but the real question is how much do you need. Check with your buddies to see what they are using and how they sound to the others on the trail.
    The CB is not a long range radio, so no matter how much you pay for a mobile rig with a mobile antenna you are not going to talk to your buddy 10 miles away, unless certain conditions are in effect, but lets not get into that.
    Where am I going? What are you going to do with the radio? Trail talk to the next vehicle, less than 1/4 mile away? Talk to the vehicle one or two vehicles away? In most cases the need for CB communication is for short-range one or two vehicle away communication. So just about any radio will do. I use an older Uniden that has three knobs, a channel selector, a squelch, and an on/off volume control, that's it. It cost about $50.00 a long time ago, Cheaper now.
    Now the antenna, again you need to decide what you want to do; remember you are not going to talk around the world. The CB antenna is the most important part of the CB system. Keep the antenna as high as possible and the longest antenna as possible and as close to the center of the vehicle as possible; you have to decide what looks right to you. Make sure you match it or have it matched, you only have 4 watts, legal, power and a mismatch will cut a lot out.
    So, get a CB that has all of the knobs that you will need or want, get an antenna and mount it as high as possible, and start to talk to your buddies. See what works for them.
    I will be buying a new CB for my Navajo soon; it will be a Cobra 18 w/sound tracker technology. They do not have many features but they do the trick. A buddy of mine just bought one and he could be heard a mile away on the hy-way. (He always has to be the lead vehicle, but who cares).
    Hopefully I have not confused you too much.
    Good Luck on your decision.

    PS: On the road I use a K40 antenna w/mag mount, it works good, has a dead on match form the box, and most importantly to me, can be removed from the magnet mount with a twist. I also use an 11-meter rubber duck for the woods, cuts down on the flexing of the roof from trees hitting the antenna.

    Sorry for being long winded, Have fun...



    ------------------
    Sandy Balzarini
    n1mau@gis.net
    '92 Navajo Project
     
  4. Garrett

    Garrett Guest

    Sandy, thanks for all the info, I really appreciate it - your info will let me shop a little smarter! I am surprised that the range is only a couple of miles, even on the highway - I was under the impression that it was quite a bit further than that. Thanks again for the info!
     
  5. Ray Lobato

    Ray Lobato Guest

    Hey Garrett,
    You live in the Bay Area. check out this website. This guy is from Morgan Hill, and his prices look reasonable.
    http://www.garlic.com/bills2way/equip/multilst.html [​IMG]

    ------------------
    Happy Wheelin'
    Ray L. [​IMG]
    95 XLT 4X4



    [This message has been edited by Ray Lobato (edited 04-20-99).]
     
  6. GJarrett

    GJarrett Guest

    Hi Garrett,
    Just thought I would add a little about the antennae. You specifically asked about the antennaes that route through the stock radio. As Sandy said, the most important part of a CB is the antennae. I can tell you that any of those antennaes that use your stock radio are absolutely worthless. You will be able to listen OK, but when you transmit your range will be SEVERELY reduced, and I mean way over 50% and probably closer to 75-85% or more. Those classy through-glass ones that look like a cellphone antennae are also a waste of money. You have to get a REAL CB antennae and have the shop adjust the SWR (fast and easy to do and the CB shop you buy the antennae from will do it for free). I am using a Wilson Lil'Wil magnetic mount and am very satisfied with it. There are many good ones out there.
    Hope this helps you avoid a little aggravation and loss of money buying something you will throw away before getting the real antennae. I had to learn with dollars.
    Gerald
     
  7. Garrett

    Garrett Guest

    Gerald, you saved me just in time! I was on my way to buy a CB antenna when I checked the website before hand. Your recommendations were taken seriously, as I stayed away from the window mount types (what I thought I was going to get originally) and the other one that runs through the radio, which I was considering at first for security reasons. Thanks so much - based on your info I got a nice magnet-mount one to put on the roof of my Navajo. Thanks again for the suggestions, you saved me! And I know I'll be thanking you every time I use it!
     
  8. GJarrett

    GJarrett Guest

    Glad I could help. I truly wish those glass mounts worked better but I tried two of them and it didn't take long listening to truckers comment on my (total lack of) transmission quality to realize that they just wasn't gonna do the job.
    Gerald
     
  9. Ray Lobato

    Ray Lobato Guest

    Garrett,
    What system did you end up with? I was thinking about getting a Wilson 1000 with a short load for an antenna( the standard whip is 62" and the short load is 36"). I though I would use the short load when we go 4wheelin where the trees hang low. Less to get hung on low branches, since It will be mounted on the roof. I'm not sure about the CB itself. I'm looking at a Uniden76XL, Cobra 29LDT ST, and a Midland 77-285A.
    Does anyone have a comment on these three units? I would appreciate a reply as I will be getting it this weekend. [​IMG]

    ------------------
    Happy Wheelin'
    Ray L. [​IMG]
    95 XLT 4X4



    [This message has been edited by Ray Lobato (edited 04-23-99).]
     
  10. Garrett

    Garrett Guest

    Ray,
    Being new to the CB world, and on a fairly tight budget, I went for a factory reconditioned Cobra 18 Ultra Weather CB. I didn't think I needed any bells and whistles, so that's what I got, for a price of $29.99! That's right! I ordered it off Cobra Electronic's website. I got my magnet-mount whip antenna at Radio Shack for $19 -almost as much as the radio! The radio looks good, as it's black and matches the inside well. It's mounted below the ash tray, since it was too wide to fit directly in that slot, which I would have preferred. Hope that helps some in your shopping around. --gmg

    [This message has been edited by Garrett (edited 04-24-99).]
     
  11. Ray Lobato

    Ray Lobato Guest

    Hi Garrett,
    I picked up a Cobra 29 NH ST with a Wilson 1000 magmount antenna. I also baught a Wilson short load which will replace the 62" whip with a 36" instead. Now we'll be able to talk to each other when we go to Hollister Hills on the 23rd. I have heard that the Cobra 18 Ultra is a pretty decent radio. You should have some good fun with it [​IMG]

    ------------------
    Happy Wheelin'
    Ray L. :)
    95 XLT 4X4
     

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