What type of antenna do I need?

That is a pretty broad question. It depends upon which type of installation you are going to be using. A home installation basically has two types of antennas available to you 1 is an omindirectional and 1 is a directional beam. The omnidirectional antenna sends and receives signals with equal strength in all directions (360 degrees).

A beam on the other hand will concentrate the signal in a particular direction. This will give you better range in whatever direction you have the beam pointed But not good if you are in a crowded local area with a lot of local radios Just remember that with a beam it would be necessary to constantly "rotate" the beam in the direction of the station you are trying to contact.

For overall ease of operation, the omnidirectional antenna in most cases would work just fine.The new super penetrator http://www.dxengineering.com/parts/hgn-spt-500 is the best antenna on the market today for base antenna use.

Mobile antennas come in a wide variety and several styles, There are magnetic mounts, gutter lip mounts, trunk lip mounts, mirror mounts and permanent puck style mounts. All of the mounts have their advantages and dis advantages it all depends on your particular needs and circumstances.

The best place to mount the antenna is in the center of the roof of the vehicle for a good 360 degrees coverage for transmit and receive and if that does not work out for a truck put it on your front fender or in the bed on the center of your tool box or on one side at least 8 inches from the cab or any other metal surfaces then on a car the center of the trunk will work well .

Try to get antenna of a 5/8`s wavelength. No shorter then 5 feet or 60 inches long. Mounting the antenna in other locations on the vehicle will tend to make it directional (much like a beam). The dual firestick whips will make it very directional front to back and are a poor choice for any setup period!  You must use a high quality double sheilded coax cable such as lmr@ 240 flexible coax cable for best results and max power to antenna and best swr and allways use anphenol cable ends soldered by someone who knows how to install them properly or you will have issues.

A magnet mount cb antenna is only good for up to 250 real wattage handling input power and anything above that will not work with a magnet it has no physical ground to bond the antenna to the vehicle`s body and will cause arcing and burned paint and a blown up radio can occur, it must be a puck style mount through the roof of your vehicle or a trunk mount or in a truck a bed rail or ladder rack mout. Use common sense and make sure you swr or standing wave ratio is 1.5 to 1 or better, also do not allow water to penetrate into the coax braid it will corrode over time and cause several issues, the dual whip trucker type antennas are for big trucks only because they are very directional and focus your signal in 2 directions forward and back only and off the sides you recieve and transmit will be greatly reduced.

How far can I reach on my CB?

Once again this is a pretty open question. All things being the same you can expect anywhere between 3 and 8 miles between mobile units with the factory output of 4 watts. There are all sorts of variables, including terrain, how crowded the channel is and how much amplified power people are using around you, or even types and numbers of buildings around the transmitting / receiving units.The signals for cb have to be reciprocal power output to hear and or be heard.

Base stations can expect about 5 to 10 miles between base and mobile and 10 to 30 miles between base units.

You must use a good external amplifier to be heard more then 10 miles reliably of 100 true watts not 100 watts pep or peak audio power fake watts to make a 1 s unit difference at 5 miles on the receiving end  An amplifier can be mounted to the bottom of the radio or under your seat or under the dash and can affect the cars computer in some cases if the power level is too high. Rf radio waves will penetrate the computer and cause it to make your car idle weird or make light`s come on on the dash etc etc. But it is feasible to use an amp if the antenna system is grounded properly and you use high quality coax cable. with an amplifier the wiring must be run from the battery and be of the proper guage to handle the amperage draw on it or it will melt and start a fire. rule of thumb is 10 amps per 100 watts in a perfect world in the inefficent cb world of amplifiers you need 20 amps per 100 watts

For best results you must run the power cord from your radio directly to the battery with a fused hot line to the battery. The normal cb radio does 4 to 6 watts depending on the tune up and only requires 18 guage wire to handle the 2 to 5 amps draw on it.

What is Channel 9 all about?

CB channel 9 has been designated by the FCC as an emergency contact channel. However, this designation is only valid in the United States and other countries do not have this "official" designation for the channel, so it would not be uncommon to hear stations conducting non-emergency radio traffic on this channel when skip is in. There are stations across the country, including many police and rescue agencies that actively monitor this channel for those who have a problem ranging from medical emergencies, accidents, vehicle breakdowns, to being lost.

What is skip?

Normally CB radio transmissions are "line of site", or considered to be short range. However, there are times when the earth's atmosphere acts as a mirror and will bounce signals to distant locations. Remember your CB signal also goes up as well as out and away from your antenna. When the conditions are just right, it is possible to bounce the radio signal (or skip) it off the atmosphere and it will land hundreds to thousands of miles away. Therefore it is not impossible for someone using a CB in New Jersey to communicate with another person in California.

Am I allowed to use a linear amplifier?

That is up to you, a basic CB radio is only about 4 watts out. Using any additional power is a gray area but done by thousands of people everywhere and can many times cause interference to your neighbor's electronics appliances including such things as TVs, VCRs, Stereos, and Telephones. It will not make you popular with your neighbors to say the least, and since you are operating with an amplifier they could file a complaint against your operations. Most cb amps are not of very high quality with minimal filtering and do produce harmonics which does cause interference but it is the only way to be a " BIG RADIO" in the cb world and be heard a decent distance especially locally. If you are only using a radio for short distances under 10 miles no amp is needed. Snake Radio Customs reccomends Texas star or Fat Boy or RM Italy amplifiers for am and sideband radios. When you run an amplifier you must have a dedicated 20 amp line coming in from the battery of your vehicle straight to the linear amp If you cannot do this yourself a car stero shop can do it for you the 20 amp line is for amplifiers of 250 watts or less.

Is Channel 19 an official channel like Channel 9?

Channel 19 is an "unofficial" trucker's channel. The FCC has not designated this as an "official" trucker's channel, however truckers are about all you will hear on this channel. When traveling this is a good channel to monitor in order to keep up on traffic jams, accidents and traffic enforcement.

Where can I get accessories?

On the internet just do a google search with the proper term or key word your looking for, Google or Ebay is your best friend for mics antennas cords toys etc etc.

What does the squelch do?

The squelch quiets the background radio noise when there is no signal present. Simply turn the squelch until the noise goes away. The background noise can get pretty annoying after a while and the squelch will keep the receiver quiet unless there is a signal present.

What is sideband?

Sideband, known as single sideband (SSB) is a more effective use of the existing channels on a CB radio. If you think of the standard AM CB channel as a flood light, think of sideband as a spotlight. It will travel further on a narrower beam just like the lights do. When you use this mode you must also use the clairifier control and it must be open unlocked and the transmit and receive frequency of the radio tied together  in order to tune in the person on the other end to where the sound natural or like they would sound in person to you, The reason for this is there is no carrier frequency on ssb like on am. That being said, you will get a greater distance using SSB as compared to AM.

Copyright © 2000 National Communications Magazine


Monday the 26th 2017