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Old 06-03-2011, 05:16 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, 10:09 PM
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KF4LNE KF4LNE is offline
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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, 10:19 PM
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CrypticCRICKET CrypticCRICKET is offline
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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, 12:24 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, 12:45 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.
Old 06-05-2011, 09:25 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

If you are going to set up a base station I have heard great things about the imax 2000:

For vehicles, again I would recommend visiting a truck stop

Last edited by Sky1950; 06-05-2011 at 09:44 AM.. Reason: last line
Old 06-05-2011, 10:37 AM
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Sky1950 Sky1950 is online now
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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:


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