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Old 06-10-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
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Complete Entry Level CB Set Up?

Folks,

Looking at getting a CB set up to have on hand for Jeep Jamborees and maybe just group wheeling generally.

BUT . . . . I don't know squat about these devices. To me, the following looks like a complete entry level set up:

(1) CB Combo Kit (based around a Uniden PRO 510XL)
(2) Mounting bracket

Who can comment on whether anything else is required? Is this stuff just low level junk that I should replace with better components (such as . . . )?

Keep in mind the whole set up would only run about $175--I'd rather not spend $500+ on a CB set up to use a handful of times per year.

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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Old 06-10-2011, 12:09 PM   #2
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I spent half that...Radio Shack CB for $49 (or Cobra I think on Amazon-check them out), Firestix antenna and spring mount for the antenna. CB came with mounting bracket, anntenna came with basic mount and cable-all I did was buy the spring.
Installed on my YJ and my TJ
Amazon.com: firestik cb antenna kit: Electronics
Amazon.com: firestik cb antenna kit: Electronics
Midland CB on sale for $29!!!

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Old 06-10-2011, 12:13 PM   #3
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I spent half that...Radio Shack CB for $49 (or Cobra I think on Amazon-check them out), Firestix antenna and spring mount for the antenna. CB came with mounting bracket, anntenna came with basic mount and cable-all I did was buy the spring.
Installed on my YJ and my TJ
Amazon.com: firestik cb antenna kit: Electronics
Amazon.com: firestik cb antenna kit: Electronics
Midland CB on sale for $29!!!
Well hell, that's good news.

But I gather that the premise of the Q-tec kit is essentially correct--all I need is the radio/mic, the antenna, the antenna mount, and some cable? Is that right? There's no (expensive) other mystery parts required to operate a CB radio?
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:30 PM   #4
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Go to any truck stop and they will have everything u need. Buy a cheap cb for around 30 bucks it will come with cb, mic, mounting bracket, and the hot and ground wires needed. You then need some coax cable to run to your antenna and then buy a cheap antenna. You don't need to reach 5 miles with your setup so u don't need expensive stuff. You might however want to find a cb shop nearby so they can set your swr's. They will get it peaked and tuned for pretty cheap and that way you can get the most out of your set up.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:34 PM   #5
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You might however want to find a cb shop nearby so they can set your swr's. They will get it peaked and tuned for pretty cheap and that way you can get the most out of your set up.
Swr's?

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Old 06-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #6
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Short Wave Radio
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:56 PM   #7
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I'm confused. I thought everyone in NC already had CB radios and that was the main form of communication. Are you sure you don't have one hanging under your dash next to the 8-track player?
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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I'm confused. I thought everyone in NC already had CB radios and that was the main form of communication. Are you sure you don't have one hanging under your dash next to the 8-track player?
No no, you're thinking of SOUTH Carolina.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:21 PM   #9
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I think he lives far enough away from the Appalachians to not be third world. On the other hand, what does that say about me living at the foothills.

I better be quiet
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:23 PM   #10
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:25 PM   #11
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Before you settle on getting a "stiff as all hell Firestick" check out the Wilson Flex antenna, way better and I guarantee it will not break itself or the mount as is the case with the Firestick.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:33 PM   #12
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My firestick sticks about 1.5' above the top and I've run into many things with it, and the only one that broke was cut by some idiots with a pair of pliers one night when I wasn't home...
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:39 PM   #13
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Huge help fellas, thanks. Scouring Amazon . . . learning . . . learning . . .
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:47 PM   #14
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One more option...I went with this:

Amazon.com: Midland 75-822 40 Channel 2 Way Radio: Electronics

This is really simple as you can opt to use the antenna that comes with it. The range is not nearly as good- basically I can hear other people fine they just can't hear me as well. However, you have the option of hooking up to external antenna and then it is as good as the antenna. You can also use it with batteries like a walkie talkie.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:53 PM   #15
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My antenna (Firestix) is mounted on a tab welded on my rear swingaway tire carrier, with the SPRING MOUNT for it. This way there is nothing that can break that antenna...and on our other jeep forums, no one has ever reported breaking a firestik antenna-seems to be the antenna of choice. 4' stick mounted on the REAR (for optimum performance) and I have thrown conversations across a couple miles of hills and forests when no one else could hear the other trail guide. SWR setting? Never bothered...have been running CB's since 1972 and never had to 'tune' an antenna....
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:00 PM   #16
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Mine doesnt need a spring

It flexes like a fishing rod! I'd go wilson flex, you will spend the same amount on a firestik and spring.

I have a cobra 25ltd classic, with wilson 4' flex mounted above my left taillight on a antenna tab.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:26 PM   #17
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Okay folks--how about:

(1) Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio'
(2) Firestik Coax with low-profile fire ring and stud
(3) Wilson Flex Antenna
(4) TeraFlex mount

Comes out to about $110 plus shipping.

Also, will the Firestik coax work with the Wilson antenna, or are the connections manufacturer specific?
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:32 PM   #18
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One more option...I went with this:

Amazon.com: Midland 75-822 40 Channel 2 Way Radio: Electronics

This is really simple as you can opt to use the antenna that comes with it. The range is not nearly as good- basically I can hear other people fine they just can't hear me as well. However, you have the option of hooking up to external antenna and then it is as good as the antenna. You can also use it with batteries like a walkie talkie.
I used this one for a few years and loved it.. Great radio for offorading.. Both in it's mobile form and hooked up form.. Awesome if your a trail head.. Lets you stay in comunication with everyone even when your out of the Jeep. Happy to say now that I haven't been offroading in some time now and won't be again until this upcomming winter I sent my midland 75-822 to someone who will be able to use it and apreciate that she has a way to comunicate with the other vehlicles in her group..

In short.. Awesome radio that I would recomend to anyone..
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:42 PM   #19
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Swr's?

Standing Wave Ratio.

Basically, you are adjusting the output power against how much is being "reflected" back to the CB. Typically a 10:1 (forward:reflected power) is good, but with some "tweaking" you should be able to get it lower, 10:0.5, or so.

Also, tune it using the primary channel you will be using. Down here. we use channel 12.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:53 PM   #20
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Okay folks--how about:

(1) Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radio'
(2) Firestik Coax with low-profile fire ring and stud
(3) Wilson Flex Antenna
(4) TeraFlex mount

Comes out to about $110 plus shipping.

Also, will the Firestik coax work with the Wilson antenna, or are the connections manufacturer specific?
Hi MTH,

I checked out all of your choices and think them solid. I say this knowing quite a bit about what I'm talking about. I hold a ham radio Extra class license, General Class commercial radio-telephony Federal License and Master Electronics Technician license in MA. Plus licensed to teach Electronics in MA. You can take what I say to the bank. I don't claim to be a no-it-all and as with anything, there are personal choices to make.

I'll start at the top of your list.

1. Any 40 channel AM only CB radio sold as is new and over the counter (not modified in any way) puts out the legal limit in terms of power which is 4 watts. This is covered under Eligibility in this link. Some CBs claim higher power but if you read the fine print you will see they are referring to audio output not output at the antenna jack. Your choice will work as well as any other of higher price. Most of the higher price is smoke and mirrors.

2. Your coax cable will work fine with the Wilson antenna and it is the antenna I would choose if I didn't want the 1/4 wave whip that I have now. Follow this link and under fiberglass antennas check out #5 that speaks about coax length. My understanding is that the firestick requires 18 feet of coax because it is necessary to match the impedance of the antenna at the feed point. On a firestick, the coax should not be trimmed from this length, rather the excess should be coiled up and stored in an inconspicuous place. I'm not sure if the same applies to the Wilson antenna. The Wilson antenna is a straight line antenna (not a coil type antenna like the firestick) and is, according the the Wilson web site a top loaded antenna. That should mean that the top loading makes up for the fact that it not quite 1/4 wave in length and should match the impedance of the coax at the feed point. Long story short, the length of the coax should not matter as much on the Wilson. I would still leave it at 18 feet just in case you may want to try out a firestick at some future date. My coax is 18 feet even though I am certain that it's length doesn't matter in my installation.

3. I currently have a 1/4 wave whip. It is 102 inches long and contacts all low flying objects and is a pain in parking garages so I have to tie it down when in the city and planning to park. The 1/4 wave whip is the best performing antenna for CB on a moving vehicle. Land stations may use a 5/8 wave antenna but that is not reasonable for a moving vehicle. Moving to shorter antennas from the 1/4 wave are all compromise antennas and the general rule of thumb is that the shorter the conductor of the antenna below 102 inches, the less effective it is. The Wilson, even though I could find no facts on gain on the Wilson site, should perform better than the firestick. I'm planning on getting one to test it out. I have a firestick and never use it.

4. The mount point is a matter of personal choice for the most part. The one that you have chosen will work well. For what is pictured, a bent piece of metal with some holes drilled in it and painted rather than stainless the price seems a little high. But absent an alternative at a lower price, it is acceptable.

The package price seems reasonable for all of the items that you have selected.

After you get the installation done you should bring it to a place that installs radios and have them check the SWR. They will know what to do. If you plan to do it yourself then here is some information. Antennas are a resonant device meaning that under ideal conditions, they operate at peak performance in the very center of the band and for CB that is approximately channel 20 give or take a small amount (the frequencies are not consistently spaced from 1 to 40).

SWR stands for Standing Wave Ratio and is the ratio of voltage maximums to voltage minimums along the length of the feed line. Pretty complicated huh? The ideal standing wave ratio is 1 to 1 meaning that the voltage is the same along the entire length of the feed-line. The best SWR in practice is considered to be 1.1 to 1. Standing waves occur in any medium in which sine waves may be traveling in opposite directions. This happens in oceans when the wind is traveling in the opposite direction from the water (tide). While swimming in the water there will be places that you will be moving up and down a lot (a place of maximum amplitude) and other places that you will see the water moving up and down but you are not moving up and down (a place of minimum amplitude). Maybe you have experienced this in a boat? In an antenna circuit any place where there is an impedance mismatch is a place where signal sent down the line is reflected back at the source. The most typical place where this occurs is at the place where the antenna connects to the feed line. The feed line is built to have an impedance of 50 ohms. All antennas that connect to transmitters in the US (for the most part) are built with a 50 ohm output and a 50 ohm impedance coax is connected to it and a 50 ohm antenna is connected at the other end. And when that happens, all is good and the SWR is 1.1 to 1. The antenna sometimes has to be trimmed to create this balance on channel 20. So, the swr meter is placed in the line at the transmitter. The transmitter is keyed (transmit button on microphone is pressed) and the SWR is measured on channel 20. If it measures approximately 1.1 to 1, you are done. If it is not 1.1 to 1 then it needs to be determined if the antenna needs to be shortened or lengthened. It the antenna has an easy method of adjusting this you just use trial and error to correct its length.

The reason this has to be checked is that if there is too much signal being reflected back at the source (high SWR), heat will build up in the final amplifier of the transmitter and eventually the circuit will fail and in today's market that will mean replacing the transmitter because that will be cheaper than having it serviced to replace the broken part.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #21
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Being an "X" cross country truck driver, I prefer a Galaxy CB. I looked at the newest they have and it is a little pricey, but it goes alot further than a $30.00 CB. If you spend that on a CB, I hope someone is within 1 mile of you, cause nobody else will hear you. Ok for "Gang Bangin' " the trails, but if your alone and trailin', I would like to have some range....jmo....
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:26 PM   #22
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My cheap $30.00 CB gets me 2 to 4 miles depending on granite. Good enough for trail communications.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:16 PM   #23
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Wowzer JK'n--thanks. I'm going to need to digest all that and then come back with questions.

Given the relatively low cost of getting in on the ground floor here, I think my best option is to pick a reasonable base set up and just give it a go. Questions will follow naturally after that, and I may very well end up swapping out one part for another etc. down the line. If you approve of my current proposal for the basics, then that's what I'll go with.

I agree with you on the TeraFlex mount. I think it's ridiculously priced for what it is. Looks like a $5 to $10 part tops to me. However, I wasn't able to find a cheaper, no-drill, JK specific option (thereby ensuring that, even in my topical ignorance, it would work). Wilson's CB (I believe) had a JK "package" (with a Cobra 25) that included a near identical mount for $5 MORE.

Perhaps some more time on Amazon is in order. I suppose I could fab something up too.

And really--thanks everybody. I started today knowing nothing about CBs and am feeling a lot better about it now.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:43 PM   #24
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The mount seems a little on the high side for what it is but I would purchase it given that, if you did find one cheaper, it probably won't be half that price and the amount of time you will spend finding it may not justify the cost differential. The mount point in front of the spare is acceptable. That is where my ham radio mounts are on an Arizona Rockie Road mount. That mount puts the antenna up a little higher. For a CB antenna, it may be better a little lower. But people do put them on that mount. I have the dual mount set up on mine.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:58 PM   #25
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The mount seems a little on the high side for what it is but I would purchase it given that, if you did find one cheaper, it probably won't be half that price and the amount of time you will spend finding it may not justify the cost differential. The mount point in front of the spare is acceptable. That is where my ham radio mounts are on an Arizona Rockie Road mount. That mount puts the antenna up a little higher. For a CB antenna, it may be better a little lower. But people do put them on that mount. I have the dual mount set up on mine.
What do you use for a 2m antenna?
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:05 PM   #26
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I used these guys long ago. Jeep & Off-Road CB Radio Kits
Real helpful and even looked at my order and knew i forgot a stud and threw it in. I had mine mouted on the windshield in my 2007 using the small Uniden or was it Midland or Cobra. All pretty much the same. Project JK kind of outlined it for me and was easy to follow in the install. Project-JK.com - Jeep JK Wrangler Resource » Affordable Jeep JK Wrangler CB Radio SolutionMidland Model-1001Z

probably don't need it anymore, but thought it might help.

cass
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:21 PM   #27
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I'm confused. I thought everyone in NC already had CB radios and that was the main form of communication. Are you sure you don't have one hanging under your dash next to the 8-track player?
yeah, and we-uh carry handhelds, too, so we can radio da others when we see another yankee we gotta take out ...


.... now where'd I put that Conway Twitty 8-track ... I was hoping to play that in my new 8-track player install I just completed on the Rubi ...

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Old 08-30-2011, 08:41 PM   #28
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hey, what did you guys do with you extra coax? loop it under the seat in the back? Just wondering.

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Old 08-30-2011, 10:20 PM   #29
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hey, what did you guys do with you extra coax? loop it under the seat in the back? Just wondering.

cass
The length is critical on the firestick so don't cut it. Yes, loop it under the seat or other inconspicuous place.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:23 PM   #30
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What do you use for a 2m antenna?
Antenna specialists 6, 2m, and 70 cm co-axial by Antenna Specialists. I think they make great antennas. I also have their quad band but it is a bit long and less forgiving when it comes in contact with something. I only use that when I want to use the 10m capability of my ft 8900.

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Participate in life....Keep movin'....Go there....JK'n it.........Do it! Jeep #1: Red Rock 08 JK Rubicon 4dr, 6 sp manual, Stock Mud Tires, MyGIG Upgrade, Hard Top, after sale BestTop SunRider Soft Top, Congo Cage Rack, Mopar slush mats Jeep #2 Black 08 JK Rubicon 2dr, 6 sp manual, both tops, some chrome...uggg (my wife's jeep) Jeep #3 White 92 YJ (my son's jeep) A great quote from a good friend: "All hail click clack and master jk'n." Click and clack are my idols!
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