A little bit o' help with CBs and a few choices

Discussion in 'Fabrication' started by epyon, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. epyon

    epyon New Member

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    Hey guys, I've got a couple of quick questions for those of you who know CBs.

    As my intro post stated, I'm a new owner of an 06 Renagage, and was looking into putting a basic CB in it. I'm most likely not going to be off-road in the middle of nowhere, so I don't really need an ultra high powered rig. I'm primarily looking for something simple with a 2-3 mile LOS range. I've read up on a bunch of stuff, and understand the basic concepts of CBs, how to tune them, etc. I selected a bunch of stuff, and I'd like some opinions (Go, no-go, etc). If I need to make changes to my plans, I will. Any help would be appreciated.

    CB:
    Uniden Bearcat 680 (mostly chosen for the simplicity and size)
    Mounting: Either in a slot cut into the worthless tray next to the cigarette lighter, or on the side of the shifter on passenger side, in front of the seat

    Antenna:
    Firestik 2 (4ft)

    Antenna mount:
    Firestik SS204A (chosen because I wanted the antenna on the rear of the vehicle, not blocking the operation of the rear hatch or the door). I also looked into roof rack mounts, but didn't see anything super reliable.

    Coax cable:
    Firestik (noticing a pattern yet?)

    PA Speaker:
    Haven't decided yet, I don't need a lot of throw to it. I'd be happy with people being able to hear it clearly at about 30 yards away. I'm looking at some rugged 15a units, but could use some suggestions.

    I've read something about grounding, and I'm assuming that the vehicle itself will be the ground, seeing as though the antenna is mounted to the body of the vehicle via the mount above. Could anyone correct me or educate me a bit more on this? Thanks!
     
  2. sevenhelmet

    sevenhelmet Full Access Member

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    It sounds like you're on the right track. I just got done installing a CB in my rig yesterday. My setup:

    Cobra 75WXST, because it's small and just a hand mic unit with all the controls on the hand mic, and everything else is hidden. It is a little more expensive than your basic CB though.

    I've got a firestik II 4' antenna mounted to the rear swing gate, right behind the spare. It's not an ideal location, but it works. it's grounded through the mounting bolts and I ran an extra grounding wire to the spare tire carrier to get the SWR down to reasonable levels.

    I also got a quick-disconnect for the antenna so I can take it off when I'm not using the CB since it gets in the way of the flipper glass when closing the gate (opening is no problem since the gate swings clear.)

    For wiring, an RG8 or RG58 coax works just fine, that's what came with my kit.

    I got a 4x4 radio kit from Right Channel Radios that had everything I needed except the quick-disconnect. My kit included the SWR meter, which helps you tune your antenna and recognize potential grounding issues so you don't blow your CB. Trust me, you want one of those (they're cheap.) Instructions are included, so don't worry if you have no clue what I'm talking about. A couple of learning points from my install:

    Learn how to de-solder/solder a P259 connector. The connector is WAY bigger diameter than the coax antenna cable, and taking one connector off will make routing the cable MUCH easier. Plus, you can drill a smaller hole in your Jeep which makes it look cleaner and easier to seal.

    I used RTV sealant instead of the supplied grommets to seal the coax where it goes through the body on the swing gate. The grommets kept ripping, and the RTV will last longer/easier to re-seal if needed.

    That's all I have time for now. I hope it helps!
     
  3. Ry' N Jen

    Ry' N Jen Banned

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    Better check on the legality of a PA.
    Here private citizens apparently are not permitted to have them.
     
  4. trent.brown

    trent.brown Full Access Member

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    I just squeezed my radio between the passenger seat and the center console where the internal speaker is pointing right into my cupholder. I also drilled a hole through the rear quarter panel for my antenna. It lets my whip do its thing and not hit the paint most of the time. You definetly need a swr meter or a shop to test your SWR. High SWR is reflected RF energy while transmitting, energy that turns into heat and fries the electronics in your cb. In laymans terms, high swr will break your cb. In reality, your vehicle acts as the grounding plane for the radio and all antennas have to be tuned to it to transmit correctly.

    I am no expert, I just learned as much as I could from the internet when I bought mine. There is alot of info out there that is misleading and alot of people that dont understand the concepts but think they are experts. Do your research and good luck.

    simple setting swr--- Procedure for setting CB antennas

    I might catch flak for this but you dont need an 18' cable. ---http://www.stu-offroad.com/misc/myth-1.htm
     
  5. Rennagade

    Rennagade Full Access Member

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    I too just wedged the cb between the passenger seat and the console. I made an antenna mount out of an old 1" x 1" steel tube I had laying around in the garage. Spray painted it black. The wire simply goes under the rear door and into the panel. No holes and you never see it. I put a spring on the antenna so all I have to do is pull the antenna back when I am flipping the glass open. No need to unscrew it.

    I have a Uniden 520xl pro
    5' Wilson Silver load antenna (replaced the firestik)
     

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  6. Ry' N Jen

    Ry' N Jen Banned

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    Just make sure you don't crush the coax cable from the antenna or you'll be shit out of luck
    if you kill it.
    Better yet, buy a flat coax jumper cable made for going between windows and doors.
    Those are crush proof.
     
  7. sevenhelmet

    sevenhelmet Full Access Member

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    My antenna is in the same place. I grounded it to the spare tire carrier with a short wire. The Cobra 75WXST is nice because it is just a handset. I mounted the small radio box inside the flip-down panel underneath the steering wheel and fed the power wires through the firewall directly to the battery.

    When I get a new Jeep, the radio and antenna are coming with me.
     
  8. Rennagade

    Rennagade Full Access Member

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    I started out with the cobra 75wxst. I do miss the weather stations but I wanted to be able to hook up a PA horn so I put in the Uniden.
     
  9. jeeper4life

    jeeper4life Full Access Member

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    Where did you guys get the antenna mounts?
     
  10. trent.brown

    trent.brown Full Access Member

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    radio shack
     
  11. Rennagade

    Rennagade Full Access Member

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    I made mine. Mounted it to the spare tire carrier.
     
  12. Rennagade

    Rennagade Full Access Member

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    I made mine. The antenna connector and wire is from firestik.