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Old 05-26-2009, 10:18 PM   #51
Geek Guy
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But you probably don't want to strip your car to that level
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:11 PM   #52
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Glad to see a thread like this finally! I'll post my set up tomorrow...
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:18 PM   #53
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i like some of the ideas.
is the uniden pro 520 xl, paired up with a lil wil good for a starter set up?
is there anything else that i need beside those two. i think i know someonw who has an SWR meter that might be willing to help me out when i get it.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:19 PM   #54
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I had a Little Will as my CB antenna for a while. For what it was, it was ok. However, the difference between it and the NMO27B was staggering.

You will absolutely need a SWR meter to set up the system, but it's something you can borrow and give back.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:22 PM   #55
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Here's my setup

Uniden PRO520XL w/ K30 mag mount antenna.








I would like to get a through metal mount, but I'm hesitant to put a hole through anything right now. For road trips and caravans it does great. A whole lot better than trying to use those GMRS/FRS radios while driving. At least I can hear what people are saying. I've definitely hit people up to 3 miles away from me as well and got them coming back clear.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:23 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
Yes, it's possible to monitor police radio frequencies and to detect proximity to police TrunkTracker systems. However, that's not what I'm talking about. In the Citizen's Band, Channel 19 is commonly used for general communications on the road. If you monitor Ch19, you will almost never pass a cop that you didn't hear someone else talking about before you got within a mile of it. In fact, when I ran the CB all the time for about 6 months, I think I literally never once passed a cop I hadn't heard about before hand.

you sir just sold me a CB. i just need the most low key, small antenna'd, easiest to use for the 'tard'd CB available. Oh, and make it cheap and easy to install.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:29 PM   #57
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what would have a better range, the lil wil or the k30 mag antenna?
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:31 PM   #58
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It will depend on how well you have it setup, ie. using an SWR meter to get your Tx signal balanced so you don't have any reflected power going back at your radio.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:32 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by SedonaScooby View Post
you sir just sold me a CB. i just need the most low key, small antenna'd, easiest to use for the 'tard'd CB available. Oh, and make it cheap and easy to install.
Aaaaaand that's where you run into a problem

In CB antennas, size matters. The longer it is, the better it works. Stubby won't impress anyone.

Remember those ungodly long steel whips that were all the rage on 4x4s in the 80s? That's, literally, the only correct length of antenna for CB. Anything shorter than that is a hack. The shorter you get, the more hacktastic it gets and the shorter the range. The shorter the range, the more likely you're not going to hear about something in time. So, to be most effective, you want the longest antenna you can.

So, you need long but you want stealthy. Go with a very thin whip painted black. One example is the Larsen NMO27B that I have, but there are other options. Keep in mind that most of these will be ham radio antennas designed to cover 10 and 12 meters (CB is 11m) so you'll need a SWR meter to guide you to cutting the antenna to the right length. If you're going to be a sissy and use a mag-mount, I recommend the Wilson Little Will. It's got a silver whip, so you'll have to paint it black once you cut it to length based on the SWR readings (EVERY antenna will have to be tuned to your specific setup). Like I told the other poster, a SWR meter is something you can "borrow" from RadioShack, so long as your setup never changes.

If you're a real man, you'll drill a hole and put an actual NMO mount into the sheet metal of the roof or trunk (roof is better, but only somewhat). If you're a sissy boy, you'll want a mag-mount in the same place.

CB-wise, the Midland 1001Z is cheap, easy to find, and easy to operate for a n00b. It performs pretty well and has all the necessary features without any costly bells and whistles.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:33 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chino_says View Post
what would have a better range, the lil wil or the k30 mag antenna?
Assuming they're equally well built (and those two are) the longer antenna (for CB) is always going to preform better.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:24 AM   #61
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And it's important to say that the SWR may change based on where you place the mag-mount antenna. If you put it on the roof one day and on the trunk another, it'll be different.

I just borrowed my pal's SWR meter to tune my through-roof NMO mounted antenna in the rally car. I had to trim 1.5" (!!!) off of the antenna to get a 1.1 SWR reading. This was because the antenna USED to be on a mag-mount and is now effectively 1" lower.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:20 AM   #62
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Here's my past WRX, and my current STi and Justy.


I hope these ideas help!
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:50 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by DeathSStar View Post
Chicken and ROFL's to the guy who said no ground will cause the radio to fry. It will work like **** but the radio won't "fry". I guess all the no-ground plane antennas that are used in the industry must cause a whole lotta damage.

The guy who said no ground will fry the radio wasn't talking about a CB - the quote was one I pasted from another conversation about HAM. I know nothing about HAM and I doubt the radio will fry immediately, but I have heard that not grounding properly in some cases can cause damage.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:18 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
Yes, it's possible to monitor police radio frequencies and to detect proximity to police TrunkTracker systems. However, that's not what I'm talking about. In the Citizen's Band, Channel 19 is commonly used for general communications on the road. If you monitor Ch19, you will almost never pass a cop that you didn't hear someone else talking about before you got within a mile of it. In fact, when I ran the CB all the time for about 6 months, I think I literally never once passed a cop I hadn't heard about before hand.
+1 for this, I drove from new hampshire to alaska and then to florida, and did not pass one cop that I didn't know about before hand. not to mention finding out about traffic jams, having entertainment during traffic jams, getting directions, and a whole host of other things that were great about having a cb. This thread really has me wanting one in the subie, so what is the smallest radio out there. I was just looking at one of those all in the mic radios from cobra, which I'm thinking would be good mated to that antenna posted back on the first page that went through the trunk, so when I'm just around town, I can have the antenna off, and the mic stowed away, but then for longer trips I can hook everything up.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:30 PM   #65
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I do a lot of cross country rallies (think gumball), the CB is relied upon just as much as my V1.

Nick
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:37 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H-Dtech View Post
This thread really has me wanting one in the subie, so what is the smallest radio out there. I was just looking at one of those all in the mic radios from cobra, which I'm thinking would be good mated to that antenna posted back on the first page that went through the trunk, so when I'm just around town, I can have the antenna off, and the mic stowed away, but then for longer trips I can hook everything up.
The all-in-mic CBs are complete and utter crap. Don't waste your money.

The absolute smallest radio I know of that actually works well is the smaller of the two RadioShack brand ones. It'll actually fit down between the side of the seat and the tranny tunnel. However, you pay quite a premium to get that slightly smaller case.

The Midland 1001Z, Cobra 19DXIV, and Uniden 510/520 are all barely bigger than the RS model and all work about equally well. However, the Midland costs considerably less than the Cobra or Uniden. Any of them will work.

As far as your antenna, yeah, putting an NMO mount in the lid of the trunk or in the roof would be your best bet for "stealth" and performance together. When you're not running the radio, take off the antenna and put the little rain cap on and no one is going to notice it.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:47 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathSStar View Post
Chicken and ROFL's to the guy who said no ground will cause the radio to fry. It will work like **** but the radio won't "fry". I guess all the no-ground plane antennas that are used in the industry must cause a whole lotta damage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cMags View Post
The guy who said no ground will fry the radio wasn't talking about a CB - the quote was one I pasted from another conversation about HAM. I know nothing about HAM and I doubt the radio will fry immediately, but I have heard that not grounding properly in some cases can cause damage.
You're both a little wide of the mark. The same rules about antennas apply to Citizens Band (CB), Amateur Radio Service (Ham radio), and professional radio. If the SWR is greater than 1, some portion of the output power of the radio is being reflected back at the output stage of the radio. If enough power is reflected back, the output stage will burn up ("fry"). Most modern radios include protection devices that automatically reduce the output power if they detect a high SWR.

The connection between this and ground is that an ungrounded antenna will have a very high SWR. Period. Again, we run into the problem of using the same word for electrical ground and RF ground. Having no electrical ground will always result in a high SWR.

The antennas "used in industry" alluded to by DeathStar are more properly called "No Ground-Plane Antennas". All this means is that they have been creatively designed to have a low SWR even when they're not attached to a large metal sheet to act as the RF ground plane. For instance, you have to use a No Ground Plane Antenna to put an antenna on top of your fiberglass motor coach. What these antennas do is to use the outer braid of the coax for a specific length to act as the "other half" of the antenna. In this usage, the bit of feedline that's radiating as the "other half" of the antenna is usually called a counterpoise. The presence of the designed-in counterpoise gives the antenna enough of a RF ground to reduce the SWR to the point that the radio can operate at full power without hurting itself. The drawback is that these No Ground Plane antennas are hugely inefficient and will always perform worse than an antenna above a proper ground plane.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:52 PM   #68
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Ty, the Cobra WX75ST I'm using has performed flawlessly and RF-wise works quite well for being a handheld unit. The RF portion is deatched from the control head and has never given me any problems. I'm able to talk to anything withing range (when using my NMO27B), so I wouldn't paint all the handheld units with the same hatebrush.

Quote:
The antennas "used in industry" alluded to by DeathStar are more properly called "No Ground-Plane Antennas". All this means is that they have been creatively designed to have a low SWR even when they're not attached to a large metal sheet to act as the RF ground plane. For instance, you have to use a No Ground Plane Antenna to put an antenna on top of your fiberglass motor coach. What these antennas do is to use the outer braid of the coax for a specific length to act as the "other half" of the antenna. In this usage, the bit of feedline that's radiating as the "other half" of the antenna is usually called a counterpoise. The presence of the designed-in counterpoise gives the antenna enough of a RF ground to reduce the SWR to the point that the radio can operate at full power without hurting itself. The drawback is that these No Ground Plane antennas are hugely inefficient and will always perform worse than an antenna above a proper ground plane.
I was trying to stay non-techy with my explaination, but since we "went there" here comes more techy stuff.

Ty is right, the no-ground plane 1/2 wave antennas frankly suck compared to a properly-installed antenna with a ground plane, but sometimes there is no choice as the antenna is mounted on a vehicle that has no metal. CB antennas are a 1/4 wave design, meaning the physical antenna length is 1/4 the total electrical wavelength...in this case, the proper 1/4 wave antenna would be 108 inches tall. I doubt most of you would use a ball mount with a 108" whip on the side of your Subaru

The antenna that Ty and I use for CB, the Larsen NMO27B, is a base-loaded 1/4 wave, meaning there is a coil of wire in the tall back base electrically makes up for the missing ~60 inches of antenna. The radio still sees the correct antenna electrically, but it's only 49" long. The FireStik antenna does that as well, which is readily visible by the looking at the thin wire that wraps up around the inner fiberglass whip. Same concept.

Bottom line is without a proper antenna on a good groundplane, your comms gear (CB or otherwise) will work for crap.

Last edited by DeathSStar; 05-27-2009 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:55 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathSStar View Post
Ty, the Cobra WX75ST I'm using has performed flawlessly and RF-wise works quite well for being a handheld unit. The RF portion is deatched from the control head and has never given me any problems. I'm able to talk to anything withing range (when using my NMO27B), so I wouldn't paint all the handheld units with the same hatebrush.
Well, we've got your 1 positive review amongst dozens of negative ones in CB forums and 4-wheeler forums. When I was picking out a CB, I was going for a mic-style one until I read about how bad they were. Sounds to me like you got lucky and got one that's happy in your setup.
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:09 PM   #70
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Well, we've got your 1 positive review amongst dozens of negative ones in CB forums and 4-wheeler forums. When I was picking out a CB, I was going for a mic-style one until I read about how bad they were. Sounds to me like you got lucky and got one that's happy in your setup.
Well, I always wonder if the people who write the reviews have installed it correctly with a proper antenna setup. I'm willing to bet that most don't and then complain it sucks

RF is a fickle beast.
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:14 PM   #71
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But you probably don't want to strip your car to that level
FT-8800R or 8900R?
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:59 PM   #72
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FT-8800R or 8900R?
8800R
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:56 PM   #73
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What in the world is this? Is it tunable like a firestick? If it is I would much rather have something like this on my wagon, I don't really need ALL 40 channels.

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Old 05-27-2009, 11:00 PM   #74
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All antennas are tuneable. Firestick just tries to trick you into thinking theirs are special. Actually Firestick tries to trick you about a lot of this.

How many channels you receive has nothing to do with the size of the antenna.

That little stub, if it can be tuned to the 11m band at all, would have crappy performance compared to a longer antenna. My guess is that's actually a UHF (70cm) antenna. It's about hte right length for that. Or perhaps a scanner antenna, if the person wasn't too concerned about performance.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:04 PM   #75
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omgz! so many CB noobs lol
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