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Old 06-03-2011, 06:16 PM
NocturnalGuy NocturnalGuy is offline
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Default best cb radio setup?



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I am wanting to use a cb in my home travel trailer. Whats the best setup for clear local and long range? I am looking to communiate with family in the local area, as well as ones who are far away. I was looking about a ham radio, but you have to have a license for that, and no one in my family has a ham license or wants to get one. I currently have a 40 channel Cobra 19 LTD II. What kind of antana and power setup should I have? Any help would be great.
Old 06-04-2011, 11:09 PM
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We have a saying in the ham radio world and it is just as applicable in any other communications service. For every dollar you spend on your radio, spend two on your antenna.

For your CB radio questions, what I recommend is getting a good power supply, at least 10 amps, good, low loss coax and an antenna installed as high as you can get it. CB is 27 MHZ and has a wavelength about 36 feet long so any antenna you get for a fixed station will be pretty tall, usually about 16-20 feet. Your radio is fine. All CB radios are legally limited to 4 watts transmitter output. You can improve your transmitted signal with a better microphone or having a qualified technician fine tune and align your radio however it is illegal to operate a CB radio that has been modified to operate outside its original FCC certification although such modifications will probably enhance the radios communications ability.

My other recommendation. Since your family doesn't want to get Amateur Radio licenses maybe you could consider getting a GMRS license. For $85, you and your family will be covered under a single system license for 5 years. GMRS equipment is comparable in cost to CB equipment and offers the benefits of repeaters, higher power and since its UHF it isn't prone to noisy skip conditions like regular CB is. In my area we have a GMRS repeater that covers parts of NC, TN, VA and KY. With GMRS, you can either install your own mountain/building top repeater system or use a repeater that is already in place, but GMRS repeaters often require than you get permission from the owner and in some cases you may have to pay a membership fee to use a repeater. This is a small price to pay to have reliable communications with the potential of being the same quality as public safety communications.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NocturnalGuy View Post
I am wanting to use a cb in my home travel trailer. What kind of antana and power setup should I have? Any help would be great.
Here's what I did...

My power supply is a 6 watt 120AC to 12 volt power converter from a pilot truck stop. (about $35)

My antenna is a Radioshack 102" SST whip ($20) with two 108" copper ground plane radials below the whip. I tuned the antenna really well and grounded everything.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:24 AM
madmike madmike is offline
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If you want to communicate over long distances... get a HAM.. period, end of story... don't waste your time and money on a cb... NOT WORTH IT! CB is good for vehicle to vehicle, over maybe a couple of miles... some people will say otherwise, but that is only because they have spent a lot of money on a CB rig that STILL won't touch a HAM setup.

I speak from experience, and I am now looking into getting set up with a HAM license. You don't even have to know Morse Code anymore. But I highly recommend it anyways...

good luck buddy.


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Old 06-05-2011, 01:45 AM
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The best CB's ever made use the MB8719 PLL chip. The OLD Cobra 148 GTLs and 148 DXs (late 80's and down), the Cobra 200GTLs (again late 80's and down), and the Uniden Grants all use that platform. If you want a serious piece of bare bones basic equipment that can compete with the quality of the best HAM rigs, there is no substitute.

To the comment on a CB not being able to touch a HAM, I have confirmed contacts through the exchange of Q cards with Great Britain and Australia off my CB and 150 watts. The unit was freaqued to operate on the Ten Meter Novice sub band. The contacts were performed by a friend with a General license using his beam and 10 meter mobile amp. This was back in the late 1980s.

In addition to that I have seen CBs moded into the 10 meter band that worked flawlessly on FM as well. I actually have one I bought from a freind many years ago that is just plain crisp in it's performance. Unfortunately that rig has not been used since it's previous owner due to me never getting my license.

it's all in how good your building skills are.
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by KF4LNE View Post
For every dollar you spend on your radio, spend two on your antenna.
Not just a saying, it is the supreme truth in radio.

The OP asked the following: "Whats the best setup for clear local and long range?" I kinda chuckle because everytime I hear that it is usually followed by "I have a $250 budget"

It's been said previously on this page if you want RELIABLE independent, simplex, long and short distance, two-way communication then you have to go with a HF ham rig with a multiband antenna (usually wire dipole) set about 30-35 feet up in the air (usually tree-to-tree). this set-up will give you regional (0-350 mile) two-way on 40 meter (daytime) and 80 meter (night time) commo. Change frequencies and you can talk long distance (500-worldwide) on 20 meter wavelength. Everybody knows that occasionally CB will skip long distance, due to variations in the upper atmosphere, but I wouldnt want to count on "occasionally".

Enough about HAM, but you asked about long distance. All commo is useful and CB can be very useful, it all depends on line-of-sight and ground wave for distance. but dont think you are going to get 50 miles range CONSISTANTLY with CB unless you will be on a mountain top. Again it's all in the antenna and it's height. You may want to visit a major truckstop on an interstate, those guys know more about milking CB's than anyone else


P.S.
If you are going to set up a base station I have heard great things about the imax 2000:
http://www.walcottcb.com/solarcon-im...nna-p-356.html

For vehicles, again I would recommend visiting a truck stop

Last edited by Sky1950; 06-05-2011 at 10:44 AM.. Reason: last line
Old 06-05-2011, 11:37 AM
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I had a further thought which may be of assistance. you can rig anchor rings along the side of your travel trailer at the roof and at the floor levels for when you pull over and set up for the night. Using some 10' lengths of 2" PVC and couplings, you can get that IMAX 2000 up about 50-60 feet. If your relatives have the same setup, you should get reliable commo out to 20 miles over flat terrain. Remember to affix 3 rope guys about 2/3 the way up the mast. If you dont ground this setup, make darn sure you bring it down when bad weather threatens. Check this line of sight calculator: http://www.qsl.net/kd4sai/distance.html
Old 09-03-2014, 11:39 PM
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Default CB line of sight?

I keep seeing these posts connecting CB's with Line of sight, which is wrong! CB is in the 11 meter band, which is a HF band and not limited to line of sight restrictions. As for range, a barefoot Uniden Grant using a roof mounted SolarCon "A-99" antenna will talk 20 miles in 4 watt AM mode regardless of skip conditions. In 12 watt SSB mode, I've had regular contacts at 58-60 miles without any skip rolling in. So much for "Line of sight" crap. Only VHF & UHF are subject to line of sight limitations and therefore use repeaters. CB's are true HF radios.

With that said, you are still at the mercy of your family. Because being able to reach them is useless if they can't return the favor. They might hear you but you won't hear them unless they have an equal setup. A SSB rig with a great antenna is the best you can hope for to obtain max range with a CB. Add an illegal linear amp and you can talk "State to State". In most situations I would never recommend running a linear amp to boost signal. But you need to know "How to it" in case of emergencies (in which case its perfectly legal to do so). And this is a SHTF thread, in which case I would use a linear as well.

NOW, if you are not familiar with SSB, there is a small learning curve. People sound different on SSB compared to CB or phone. You have to use the "Clarify" knob to adjust the other persons voice for the best clarity. And your family will have to do the same thing on their end to adjust the way you sound to them. With SSB you lose some quality in how people sound. But you gain about 8 times the distance! even without using a linear amp! And there is no license required.

One comment on here was correct in saying that a Ham radio is best for maximum range, that I agree with. But in the absence of a Ham license, the next best thing is a CB with Single Side Bands (SSB) and the best antenna you can get your hands on (I recommend the "Super Penetrator" from MFJ, listed in their catalog as the SPT-500 Antenna, for $149.99). And here's a warning. If you call MFJ to order this antenna, if you mention that its for a CB radio, they will then refuse to sell it to you! So if they ask, tell them its for a friend with a Ham license and a 10 meter radio. The SolarCon A-99 is another "decent" option, also available from MFJ or a dozen other suppliers for about $110. And the SolarCon is legal for CB's. Whatever antenna you buy, get that bad boy as high in the air as possible. The legal limit is 60' above ground but I've got trees around me taller than that. So I say "at least 20' above the tree tops".

The best piece of equipment for maximum range is that chunk of meat between your ears. Take the time to study and learn as much as you can about things like SWR, antenna tuning, taking advantage of skip rolling in, etc. Then you can setup not only your radio system, but that of your family's as well. Then all they have to learn is how to use the clarifying control on their radio.

Now getting back to the use of a linear amp, mainly because my comment above is bugging even me! If you have to use a linear, don't go hog wild and use a 1500 watt kicker! In keeping with the code of a true Ham, only use as much power as needed to make the communication possible! I have never used more than 200 watts PEP. My "Go To" amp is just a 70 watt kicker that I've talked over 250 miles away with. The more power you use, the greater the odds of drawing unwanted attention. More importantly, you probably won't have unlimited electricity to run a amp in a mobile setup. A 70 watt amp is much less taxing on your battery than a 1000 watt beast. I have a brother that regularly pushes 800 watts on normal CB channels. When the grid goes down, he fires up a big generator. You may not have that option in a travel trailer. But even if you do, 800 watts is way WAY too much power on SSB.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KF4LNE View Post

For your CB radio questions, what I recommend is getting a good power supply, at least 10 amps,
Why buy a ten amp power supply when his radio only consumes one amp?
Old 09-04-2014, 02:50 AM
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Do not use a linear on CB. It is illegal and for many very good reasons.

CB linear amps typically do not have bandpass/lowpass filters and improper biasing so they splatter horribly generating lots of interference.

CB is mean to be a short range communications system. Suppose you have 30,000 towns and cities in the US and your range is limited to your town/city. Then 40 channnels will allow 1.2million simultaneous conversations. Now suppose your range is the whole state. Now 40 channels only cover 2000 conversations. Now suppose your range is the whole country. Now you can have 40 conversations. A handful of criminals can make an entire service unusable for millions. It is a tragedy of the commons.

CB user have not had the training to be radio operators and don't have a callsign so they can be held accountable and have absolutely no business with long distance two way radios.
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:34 AM
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Why buy a ten amp power supply when his radio only consumes one amp?
Why buy a power supply for a travel trailer. Dont you already have 12v systems in the trailer.. Dont change voltages if you dont.
Old 09-04-2014, 08:30 AM
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Why buy a power supply for a travel trailer. Dont you already have 12v systems in the trailer.. Dont change voltages if you dont.
Good point.
Old 09-04-2014, 08:39 AM
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CB user have not had the training to be radio operators and don't have a callsign so they can be held accountable and have absolutely no business with long distance two way radios.
"Have not had training"?...Broad generalization... I am a CB radio operator and I held a First Class FCC Radiotelephone Technician's License. I was licensed to not only operate but also REPAIR any transmitter including commercial TV stations in the US. I'm not sure why anyone needs "training to be radio operators". CBs are pretty simple to operate.

How does a lack of call sign prevent accountability? I can find ANY transmitter in my area in thirty minutes.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by KJGS41821 View Post
I keep seeing these posts connecting CB's with Line of sight, which is wrong! CB is in the 11 meter band, which is a HF band and not limited to line of sight restrictions. As for range, a barefoot Uniden Grant using a roof mounted SolarCon "A-99" antenna will talk 20 miles in 4 watt AM mode regardless of skip conditions. In 12 watt SSB mode, I've had regular contacts at 58-60 miles without any skip rolling in. So much for "Line of sight" crap. Only VHF & UHF are subject to line of sight limitations and therefore use repeaters. CB's are true HF radios.
ALL radio, HF, VHF, UHF, SHF, all of it, all do better with line of sight, some bands REQUIRE line of sight, some only become more dependable with line of sight. No one in this thread (a very old thread) that I can see has said CB was only line of sight. Two people mentioned it and specifically discussed line of sight and reliable or consistent communications with regards to CB. With line of sight CB becomes more reliable than without it, period.

CB (and Ham 10 meters) is located at the upper end of HF, and has properties of both HF and VHF, just as Ham 6 meters is in the lower end of VHF and has properties of both.

CB is approximately limited to line of sight when the band is not open, and you cannot count on the band being open. You may be taking “line of sight” to literally, I have regularly made SSB 70cm simplex contacts in excess of 100 miles, are you saying that 70 cm (definitely UHF) is not generally accepted to be line of sight? So reliable communications with CB are indeed essentially line of sight, that does not mean there are never reflections, refractions, scattering, or ground wave that can extend the range.

Your comment above regarding range could be misunderstood by a person who has not used radio. It sounds like you are saying that a 4 Watt legal AM radio and an A-99 will talk 20 miles regardless of conditions. That really is not true. In some locations such a setup will do 20 miles no problem, and in other locations it simply will not. Since CB does have line of sight properties if there is a significant obstruction (say a hill or mountain) between the stations the potential for establishing a link is less.

And then there is the other problem, what about when the skip is in? When the skip is in the channels are often very crowded, I have seen situations were even with an amplifier you can’t talk local for more than a few miles, but you can get across country just fine. Again, for many people it is not what is possible counts, but rather what is reliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KJGS41821 View Post
With that said, you are still at the mercy of your family. Because being able to reach them is useless if they can't return the favor. They might hear you but you won't hear them unless they have an equal setup. A SSB rig with a great antenna is the best you can hope for to obtain max range with a CB. Add an illegal linear amp and you can talk "State to State". In most situations I would never recommend running a linear amp to boost signal. But you need to know "How to it" in case of emergencies (in which case its perfectly legal to do so). And this is a SHTF thread, in which case I would use a linear as well.
The primary argument against CB is in the above paragraph. Sure, CB can work, it might work, and in some cases it will definitely work. However under many conditions it will not work, for reliable communications, unless you break the law (illegal power to increase range, illegal frequencies to get away from crowding, etc). Yeah, in a SHTF kind of thing maybe who cares, but before then you must practice and prepare. If your use of CB (or whatever your comm plans are, not just talking about CB here) requires illegal activity you either are less likely to actually practice and check things out, or every time you do so you take the chance of unwanted attention.

If your planned comms techniques are legal then you can practice all you want, hammer out those bugs, make sure it WILL work, reliably, to help you survive, without issue. If there are no issues in practice / training then you are more likely to actually try it out, build skills, so that it becomes a valuable tool if need be, instead of just an extra hunk of junk to deal with.

CBs are simple, they are relatively cheap, they can be found everywhere. IF they meet your needs they are a superb way to go. But they are significantly limited, and people need to be realistic about these limitations, and they must understand what to expect and how that fits into their potential plans for RELIABLE communications.

T!
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:01 PM
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Default This is NOT CB vs HAM!

The original question here was "What is the best CB radio setup?". Not, "What is the best radio setup?". And I still say that, in terms of range, the best CB setup is an SSB rig with the aforementioned Penetrator or A-99 antenna. Then I went on to explain that the guy needs to learn about low SWR's, antenna matching, getting the antenna above the trees, etc. I even explained a little about how SSB is different from the regular 40 CB channels. As for the "line of sight" issue, I wanted to make the point that CB is NOT limited to line of sight like FRS walkie talkie's are.

And in a SHTF situation, MOST available 2-way communication will be CB's because they far outnumber all other radios, period. I am NOT promoting CB's over Ham radios. But the question was about CB's only. The guy even said that he didn't want to go with a Ham radio in his original post! And still the plug for Hams was inserted. I guess the question should have been, "If CB is the ONLY option, what is the best setup?". But even then I'm sure that somebody would make a push a Ham rig! Because some hams just can't take no for an answer!

If the guy had said, "What's the best radio setup?" Then I would have bowed out and let the Hams have it. But he asked specifically about CB radio and made it clear that he wasn't interested in a Ham setup. What part of that was not understood simply amazes me. Now can we please get back to the original question? What is the best CB setup for maximum range? Can any of you hams answer that? After all, you are the experts here!
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:43 PM
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Some (additional) thoughts on CB

So much of the range capability of CB involves the mode, the quality of the antenna, the height of the antenna, the quality of the coax, and the mounting and adjusting of the antenna.

And that does not take into account atmospheric conditions.

For me, the following elements will be what I will acquire if I am ever able:

Cobra 148GTL SSB/AM CB mobile radio
http://www.universal-radio.com/catal...adio/4634.html

or

Uniden Bearcat 980SSB AM/SSB CB radio

Best mobile antenna if suitable:
102" stainless steel whip antenna http://www.wearecb.com/102-inch-cb-w...?sef_rewrite=1

18’ coax cable w/terminal ends x UHF connector
http://www.wearecb.com/firestik-k8-1...oax-cable.html

Hustler SSM-1 ball and spring mount
http://www.wearecb.com/hustler-ssm-1...nt-spring.html

Other great mobile antennas:

Wilson 5000 Roof B mobile CB antenna
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cbants/3583.html

Laird CWB27S black base load with spring & 49" rod 500 watts
http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalo...oducts_id=5586

Base power supply with battery backup option:
Samlex SEC-1223BBM switching power supply with battery backup module
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamps/3382.html

And vertical base antennas:

Solarcon I-Max 2000 CB vertical w/ground radials 5,000 watts
http://radioproshop.com/solarcon/max2000.htm

Solarcon A99 vertical w/ground radials Base CB antenna
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cbants/1001.html

For those tough base to base longer range comms with SSB CB a beam antenna will make a huge difference.

Gizmotchy
http://gizmotchy.com/index.html

Mosely
http://www.mosley-electronics.com/pa...owermaster.htm

Maco
http://www.macoantennas.net/Antennas.html

or you can build your own. It isn't that difficult or expensive.

You will need a good tower (Rohn 25 is fine if guyed [reasonable], US Tower if unguyed [very expensive])

Just my opinion.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:03 PM
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Listen to JDY. He knows his way around communications.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:18 PM
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Jerry,

I would suggest you look for one of the NOS Motorola balls instead of the Hustler. I have had two of the Hustlers strip the threads for the big bolt that tightens the two halves of the ball. I was able to save the day by getting a longer bolt to put all the way through the ball then put a nut and lock washer against the the outside of the ball.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by KJGS41821 View Post
Now can we please get back to the original question? What is the best CB setup for maximum range? Can any of you hams answer that? After all, you are the experts here!
Midland 23-channel AM/SSB radio with a 100 watt BlackCat amplifier feeding a set of Moonraker 6's at 50' agl...

I had that setup "back in the day" and could easily talk anywhere in the southern/south-eastern US that I wanted.

Of course, I could do the same with my Amateur Radio, too, but it was fun to "play" on the CB while being "serious" on the HAM bands.
Old 09-05-2014, 02:53 PM
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Jerry,

I would suggest you look for one of the NOS Motorola balls instead of the Hustler. I have had two of the Hustlers strip the threads for the big bolt that tightens the two halves of the ball. I was able to save the day by getting a longer bolt to put all the way through the ball then put a nut and lock washer against the the outside of the ball.
Thanks. I know. I just have not found a source. You have a good link?

Just my opinion.
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