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Old 12-02-2013, 01:42 PM   #1
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Uniden 520 xl, bearcat 880, or...?

Looking into CB radios. The only experience I have is from the late 70's and early 80's on my family's rigs.

I need reliability and simplicity. I don't need whistles and bells, but noise reduction features and weather channel would be worth the extra if it worked well. It may not see regular use but will be relied upon for emergency if needed and must perform at an appropriate level for that need.

I was looking here: http://www.rightchannelradios.com/un...ad-cb-kit.html

Any experience and input would be greatly appreciated, just keep in mind that I told you I know nothing about this.

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Old 12-02-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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I researched a lot before settling on the Uniden 520XL. I originally was looking at the CB radio-mic-speaker all in one but opted to not go that route after several words of advice. Most of the advice was centered around driving while trying talk and listen at the same time etc.

I know this probably doesn't help much, but at least it's some form of feedback

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Old 12-02-2013, 08:07 PM   #3
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I bought the Uniden 520XL for the Jeep and liked the way it performed so well that I replaced the old "all-in-the-handset" Cobra one in our motor home with another Uniden as well.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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X3 on the Uniden 520XL recommendation, aka Pro-520XL. It doesn't include the WX band but it's a reliable and inexpensive compact radio. I've had that model CB in both of my TJs and it has been a great radio.

The radio on top is my Yaesu 2m ham radio.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:10 PM   #5
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I can't complain about my 520. Does everything it needs to and fits in a small unused part of my dash.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:10 PM   #6
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I also have the Uniden 520, happy with it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:47 PM   #7
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Alright, I can't argue with that. So can anyone chime in on the link and it's "package" with the upgrade to the 520xl and whether or not to go with the firestick antenna or the other option (I've never heard of them)? I was planning on the 4' antenna either way. Is it worth it for the package or is it better to buy it separate somewhere? Anyone have a place to recommend? I just pulled that link up with google so I'm open.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by UFOtestpilot View Post
Alright, I can't argue with that. So can anyone chime in on the link and it's "package" with the upgrade to the 520xl and whether or not to go with the firestick antenna or the other option (I've never heard of them)? I was planning on the 4' antenna either way. Is it worth it for the package or is it better to buy it separate somewhere? Anyone have a place to recommend? I just pulled that link up with google so I'm open.
That's the kit I ordered years ago but I wish I'd went with a 3' or maybe a 2' firestik. The 4' sticks up too high and hits too many branches. I had it somehow get stuck in my soft top a couple of times from it whipping around.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:00 PM   #9
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Just to give you an idea on how high the 4' FS is when mounted to a taillight bracket...

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Old 12-03-2013, 08:05 AM   #10
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a guy i used to work with was a big cb nerd.(no offense meant) he was also coincidentally a jeep guy. but anyway he told me that for a cb to work to its full potential that 2/3 of the length of the antenna needs to be above the highest point of the vehicle. makes for a very long antenna. that being said a firestick fiberglass antenna would prolly just get ripped off by branches and everything else that it hits. i have one on my truck but its pretty much just a work truck. very little offroad. anyway for this application my opinion is one of those thin really long antennas would be the best bet. i'm been told that flexing them over and tying the tip down somewhere is ok as long as the tip isn't in direct contact to the vehicle and you don't bend it over at a steep angle. now whether any of this is true or not i don't know. just what i've been told. the firestick i have on my truck isn't as long as my friend suggested and it works great. but i still like the idea of the thin one for anything offroad even if its not as long because its less likely to break off.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #11
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For most of our wheeling needs, you don't need the long range of a trucker. You only need to be able to reach out for a few hundred yards most times to communicate with your group and usually no more than a mile or two to reach base camp (We use cell phones for that). For those reasons, I prefer them to be shorter. We have a guy in our group that has an 18" antenna and never had a problem hearing him transmit. Your softop isn't going to block all that much of the signal and i doubt a hardtop will block that much either. Truckers need that ability to reach out though so their situation is different. If you want to tell truckers dirty jokes, get two antennas and swap back and forth and tune them.

I've seen FS antennas break from limbs so I use a spring on mine so it doesn't get caught up. there are different spring rates depending on the length antenna you use so keep that in mind.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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If you decide that you want the weather band, I've really been impressed with this radio. I installed it for a friend, and liked it so much that I bought one and installed it in my wife's JKU.
Amazon.com: Midland 1001LWX 40 Channel Mobile CB with ANL, RF Gain, PA, and Weather Scan: Car Electronics
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:26 AM   #13
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CB nerds don't usually ever get much right about their radios, most of what they spout as the gospel is just what they heard from some other CB nerd.

My 2' Fiberglass Firestick FS-2 antenna doesn't reach up past the top of my roof & my stock 4 watt CB can reach out several miles in the right terrain. And no, a Jeep's fiberglass hard top doesn't block the CB's signal.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:54 AM   #14
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CB nerds don't usually ever get much right about their radios, most of what they spout as the gospel is just what they heard from some other CB nerd. My 2' Fiberglass Firestick FS-2 antenna doesn't reach up past the top of my roof & my stock 4 watt CB can reach out several miles in the right terrain. And no, a Jeep's fiberglass hard top doesn't block the CB's signal.
2' you say? Several miles? I'm interested in a setup like that. Any easily translated tips or links to the factual information so I can educate myself? Thanks!

Edit: what about using the 3' and inverting the taillight bracket to mount under rather than over?
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:02 AM   #15
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I've been running a 2' antenna for years, starting in probably '98 with my first TJ. That size works well when mounted at tail light height as mine are mounted.

I made the two mounts you see but Teraflex makes similar mounts that are bolted on underneath the tail lights. www.teraflex.biz

Yes I know the antenna switched sides on the red TJ, I had to do that when I added the 2m ham radio later. That's the 2' antenna the American flag was zip-tied to.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:15 AM   #16
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I've been running a 2' antenna for years, starting in probably '98 with my first TJ. That size works well when mounted at tail light height as mine are mounted.

I made the two mounts you see but Teraflex makes similar mounts that are bolted on underneath the tail lights. www.teraflex.biz

Yes I know the antenna switched sides on the red TJ, I had to do that when I added the 2m ham radio later. That's the 2' antenna the American flag was zip-tied to.
I hate to jack this thread but what sliders on your red tj Jerry
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:45 AM   #17
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I hate to jack this thread but what sliders on your red tj Jerry
That's about a 10 year old photo from when I was stil running 4XDoctor's steel rocker guards. Their problem was weight and that they had begun to bend and cave in from wheeling in rocks. I replaced them with Savvy's aluminum and steel rockers shortly afterward.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:51 AM   #18
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So regarding the setup from my original link, is there any reason to not go with the 3' firestick and a teraflex taillight mount with a spring? I run a hardtop and will most likely not be wheeling through super low branches regularly. I will take it out and push it at some point but this is mostly a remote access recreation and utility vehicle not a dedicated trail/rock rig.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:27 PM   #19
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I have the 4' firestick and a teraflex taillight mount with a spring and have had no issues riding trails.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #20
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Have you decided where you're going to mount the cb yet? I made a mount out of a bracket from Home Depot ($3).

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It's much easier to hear with it mounted that way, and you don't have to drill any holes in your jeep.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:57 AM   #21
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I haven't decided where/how I'll be mounting it yet. I'll probably figure it out after I get it so I can see exactly what I'm working with. I think going to go with the 520xl and the 4' firestik. I see amazon has prices that are similar to the package I found but I would have to order it separately so I may go with the company I linked just for convenience and a one-stop customer service for post-purchase support.

Thanks for the idea though, I plan to order next month and I'll post up a pic of what I end up doing for mounting.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:05 AM   #22
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When using a mount that places the antenna at tail light height like mine is, be wary of using an antenna taller than 3'. I started with a 4' which would hit the roof in some parking structures, not to mention I had to remove it to get into my garage. Then I went to a 3' and it still hit some of the overhead ducting, plumbing etc. of a couple parking structure roofs and I still had to remove it to get into my garage. That's how I got to the 2' antenna so quickly and have been at that height ever since.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:51 PM   #23
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When using a mount that places the antenna at tail light height like mine is, be wary of using an antenna taller than 3'. I started with a 4' which would hit the roof in some parking structures, not to mention I had to remove it to get into my garage. Then I went to a 3' and it still hit some of the overhead ducting, plumbing etc. of a couple parking structure roofs and I still had to remove it to get into my garage. That's how I got to the 2' antenna so quickly and have been at that height ever since.
Good point Jerry, I didn't think about that because I park outside at home and work.
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:02 PM   #24
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I don't park in covered parking often either, but it does happen.

If I get the quick release and/or a spring mount with the 3' and mount at the taillight I should be good yes?
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:25 PM   #25
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Something happened this week that made me think about this thread again. Earlier in the week, I went to a meeting out of town and took the Jeep. I had to park in a garage and as I was about to enter, I saw the height limit PVC tube at the entrance. 6'8" was marked on it. As I eased into the garage, my softop barely brushed the PVC so I figure I'm about 6'9". Anyway, once I pulled in further realizing there was a little more height, I heard the thwack, thwack thwack from my 4' firestik slapping the concrete support beams. With people waiting behind me, I had to pull in another 30' before I could get to where I wasn't impeding the entering traffic to remove my antenna. That night I ordered a 2' firestik. It came in the mail today and I've already installed it. Looks much better, won't catch as many trees, and I don't have to worry about garages.

Get the 2' stik!
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:34 PM   #26
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I'm hoping that 2' is plenty. I read the ranges for the different lengths and I basically want the 4' range in the 2' antenna. I'll just hope that I don't actually end up stranded in a remote enough locale that the 2' isn't enough. I guess I could always buy both and use the 4' for my way up in the mountains trips but I don't know about tuning and whether or not that's possible.

Thanks for your input everyone, I'll post up when I get it next month.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:39 PM   #27
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My 2' Firestick FS-2 antenna works extremely well. I have never been in a situation where I wished I still had the 3' or 4' antennas I used to run before my TJ got too tall to fit into the garage with them.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:31 PM   #28
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Hey UFO, Did you get your CB yet?
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:43 PM   #29
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Hey UFO, Did you get your CB yet?
Not yet.

I bought a front track bar and I got a rear track bar coming that I wasn't expecting in addition to my wheels and tires coming in about a bill more than I intended to spend. I will be getting it ASAP though!
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:38 PM   #30
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Galaxy makes a good radio , the one I have is about 25 years old. But midland and cobra are right up there for what we do. I'll have to do some digging but I have some pictures of my Galaxy with 108" whip + 250 watt amp ,lighting up an 8' fluorescent bulb.

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