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Old 12-03-2010, 09:28 AM   #1
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Exclamation Beware the stainless steel whip!!

I wanted to give some of my fellow JEEPERS the heads-up in case you were gonna put a CB on your Jeep. First of all....DO NOT USE A STAINLESS STEEL WHIP! I bout the 102" whip because I like the hummer look of it when it's bent down, BUT the SWR's sucked and I have a decent radio. I tried my buddy's Fiberglass "Firestick" 4' antenna with tunneable tip and WAMMO!! I was staying at about 1.2 SWR consistantly on channel 20, 1 and 40. I hope someone thinking about gettting a whip like that will read this before they buy, I know I spent $65 on my whip I don't want anyone else to make the mistake.

BTW....I have talked to several people who have had Jeeps with the SS Whips and they came to the same conclusion as I now have, SS does not play well with the wranglers, fiberglass with the tuneable tip is the way to go.

Hope this saves someone some money!

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Old 12-03-2010, 09:46 AM   #2
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X2, not to mention that most 4x4 clubs and organized 4x4 events long-ago banned 102" whips for safety reasons. 102" whips have a nasty habit of breaking free of their tiedown and nailing someone standing a little too close.

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Old 12-03-2010, 09:57 AM   #3
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I won't use a firestick in the woods....I use a stainless whip, but mine is a 36" version with a coil.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:31 AM   #4
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I have run 102" SS whips for over 30 years and have had NO problems with them. I have great Trans/Rec, I have never hurt anyone with it and they are darn near indistructable. I have used firesticks and other fiberglass antannas, some work, some not so good, but the 102" SS has always worked for me. (My .02, My observations, My opinion)
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:04 PM   #5
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4' Fiberglass with a tuneable tip as well. I tuck it under the wiper arm if I'm wheeling in trees.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:08 AM   #6
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Then i must be doing something wrong with mine. As soon as i put my buddies firestick on the swr was great. I wasnt trying to dis the whip cuz like i said, it looked sweet, i just want ppl to do research first
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Old 12-04-2010, 03:02 AM   #7
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The long whip will actually give better radiation and reception, but it's much harder to tune. The longer area has more surface to radiate from, and it has more chance of grabbing those weak or distant signals.
But - the coax running to it becomes part of the tuning. The whip is 1/4 wavelength, long, (102" with a spring, 107" without,) the coax has to be another 1/4 wave long. But - that long a coax probably will get coiled somewhere - and it's not a straight shot from the radio to the antenna. Coils and curves all serve to decrease the radiating ability.

The loaded whips, fiberglass etc, have coils that simulate the 2 1/4 waves, but the loaded coil part doesn't radiate or receive signals. Less actual antenna surface area is available, causing less performance. They are easier to match, but matching isn't everything. What actually "gets out" does. (Matching is just getting the radio and antenna to transfer the most energy, - you could get a near 1:1 match with a light bulb, but it would not "get out."

Use a Field Strength Meter a short distance away to compare the types.

The advantage is the loaded shorties are more "plug and play".
And they don't "WHIP" bystanders - or break your windshield!

Of all those I've used, I like the Firestick - broken several, but they are cheap.
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:38 AM   #8
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I had a 4' firestick, it worked well...until the car was ate it! I know, what was I doing going through the car wash
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:09 PM   #9
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The long whip will actually give better radiation and reception, but it's much harder to tune. The longer area has more surface to radiate from, and it has more chance of grabbing those weak or distant signals.
But - the coax running to it becomes part of the tuning. The whip is 1/4 wavelength, long, (102" with a spring, 107" without,) the coax has to be another 1/4 wave long.
Electrically speaking Rich, there is exactly zero difference between a 102" whip and a 2', 3', or 4' whip antenna like made by Wilson or Firestick. all of which are considered "unbalanced" antennas. All appear to be the same length antenna by the CB transmitter, the 102" length not seen on the shorter antennas is made up by extra wire wrapped around the antenna or into a top or base loading coil. And the coax cable length does not enter into the equation at all either because of that type antenna's "unbalanced" design. Again, there is zero (!) electrical difference in how a 102" whip appears to the transmitter vs. a 2', 4', etc. whip antenna. So the coax cable length, again, does not enter into any of this and it is not affected by the use of a 102" whip over a shorter style antenna.

Only in some balanced antenna systems does the feedline length enter into the antenna where the length does indeed become critical. The correct length of RG58 or RG8x cable to use is the length it takes to connect the CB and antenna together and routed so it's out of the way. I leave 2-3' excess coax cable length for those future times I will need to cut the connector off for some reason. That way I have enough extra coax length left to install a new connector after whatever modifications I needed to do are complete.

There is a rumor pushed by some that you need 18' of coax to get a low SWR for the type of antenna we use on our Jeeps but that's just an old wive's tale.

Exposing the 18' CB Coax Myth
The Ultimate Guide to 11 Meter CB Antennas
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:30 PM   #10
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RG8? Bet that makes your carpet stand up lol
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:36 PM   #11
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RG8? Bet that makes your carpet stand up lol
Yep RG8 definitely would lift up the carpeting but not the RG8x I mentioned. If you're like me, you would miss that little 'x' if you weren't wearing your cheaters.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:42 PM   #12
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Yeah I did....never use that at work...just 58, 8, etc etc etc
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:45 PM   #13
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Our CBs certainly don't need or benefit by using anything bigger than RG58 but for some the normal RG58 isn't good enough so they insist on using something bigger like RG8x to get that .073 dB gain over RG58.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:58 PM   #14
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The way I look at it, rg58 is good enough for professional radio so its more than fine for a childrens band radio lol (what my grandpa used to call it)
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Old 12-05-2010, 02:33 AM   #15
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"""""Electrically speaking Rich, there is exactly zero difference between a 102" whip and a 2', 3', or 4' whip antenna like made by Wilson or Firestick. all of which are considered "unbalanced" antennas. All appear to be the same length antenna by the CB transmitter, the 102" length not seen on the shorter antennas is made up by extra wire wrapped around the antenna or into a top or base loading coil. And the coax cable length does not enter into the equation at all either because of that type antenna's "unbalanced" design. Again, there is zero (!) electrical difference in how a 102" whip appears to the transmitter vs. a 2', 4', etc. whip antenna. So the coax cable length, again, does not enter into any of this and it is not affected by the use of a 102" whip over a shorter style antenna.""""""

Correct - the crux of what you said """""Again, there is zero (!) electrical difference in how a 102" whip appears to the transmitter vs. a 2', 4', etc. whip antenna."""""

Correct, to the transmitter there is no difference. The power transmits to the load (antenna) the same amount. Measuring the power output of the transmitter will prove that. But the energy radiated (talk power) is not near the same. There is not near as much RADIATING SURFACE. you could put a coil inside a grounded coffee can, then cut it to where the SWR is right. It too would be a near complete power transfer, but it wouldn't "get out." Even hanging a light bulb on the coax works, it light up fine - but doesn't "get out."
Use a Field Strength Meter to actually see how much is really radiating. Most SWR meters come with a small antenna to make it into a Field Strength Meter.

By the way, the total 1/4 wave is 108 inches, the 102 is used only when a 6 inch spring is used, giving a total radiating length of 108".


"""""Only in some balanced antenna systems does the feedline length enter into the antenna where the length does indeed become critical. The correct length of RG58 or RG8x cable to use is the length it takes to connect the CB and antenna together and routed so it's out of the way. I leave 2-3' excess coax cable length for those future times I will need to cut the connector off for some reason. That way I have enough extra coax length left to install a new connector after whatever modifications I needed to do are complete.""""""

Correct again BUT only IF the coax is grounded at the antenna base. If it's not properly grounded, it becomes part of the antenna, radically affecting the Standing Wave Ratio.
The shielded coax is certainly not a good radiator of power. Unless of course the shield
is connected to the center conductor and not grounded at the radio.



"""""There is a rumor pushed by some that you need 18' of coax to get a low SWR for the type of antenna we use on our Jeeps but that's just an old wive's tale."""""
True, but again only if the coax is grounded properly at the antenna base.

Didn't you have to pass a test to get your Ham license? If so, you've studied antenna theory and have been tested on it. Or have they changed now it so all you do is pay a fee?
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Old 12-05-2010, 02:56 AM   #16
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BTW - to demonstrate how antenna length acts with reception - almost everyone has a boom box with a telescoping antenna. How well does it pick up distant stations with the antenna collapsed vs. fully extended? The longer the better (more surface to catch the signals said the wolf to red Riding Hood.)

Some of us old guys remember TV "rabbit ears" antennas. We had to fully extend them and even experiment with the proper position to get the best reception. Whether receiving or transmitting it works the same.
Sometimes just a long wire thrown over the roof worked the best.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:15 AM   #17
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Some of us old guys remember TV "rabbit ears" antennas. We had to fully extend them and even experiment with the proper position to get the best reception. Whether receiving or transmitting it works the same.
Sometimes just a long wire thrown over the roof worked the best.
yea, stand right there and don't move-the pic is perfect

you forgot the tin foil 'flags' on the ends to add more surface(receiving) area.
unfortunatly i'm old enuf to rem 4 stations, and the stations 'signing off' at nite. ahhhh the 'good ole days'
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Old 12-05-2010, 08:05 AM   #18
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Ha Ha - I'd forgotten about the tinfoil - and the colored screen overlay to make it a color TV.
But I do remember watching the test pattern until the station came on the air, then the Groucho Marx Show had our attention for the next 3 hours.

Good old days? Chic Sales, Glad Irons, X-Raying shoes, Lucky Strikes - best as just faint memories,

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Old 12-05-2010, 11:25 AM   #19
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"""""Electrically speaking Rich, there is exactly zero difference between a 102" whip and a 2', 3', or 4' whip antenna like made by Wilson or Firestick. all of which are considered "unbalanced" antennas. All appear to be the same length antenna by the CB transmitter, the 102" length not seen on the shorter antennas is made up by extra wire wrapped around the antenna or into a top or base loading coil. And the coax cable length does not enter into the equation at all either because of that type antenna's "unbalanced" design. Again, there is zero (!) electrical difference in how a 102" whip appears to the transmitter vs. a 2', 4', etc. whip antenna. So the coax cable length, again, does not enter into any of this and it is not affected by the use of a 102" whip over a shorter style antenna.""""""

Correct - the crux of what you said """""Again, there is zero (!) electrical difference in how a 102" whip appears to the transmitter vs. a 2', 4', etc. whip antenna."""""

Correct, to the transmitter there is no difference. The power transmits to the load (antenna) the same amount. Measuring the power output of the transmitter will prove that. But the energy radiated (talk power) is not near the same. There is not near as much RADIATING SURFACE. you could put a coil inside a grounded coffee can, then cut it to where the SWR is right. It too would be a near complete power transfer, but it wouldn't "get out." Even hanging a light bulb on the coax works, it light up fine - but doesn't "get out."
Use a Field Strength Meter to actually see how much is really radiating. Most SWR meters come with a small antenna to make it into a Field Strength Meter.

By the way, the total 1/4 wave is 108 inches, the 102 is used only when a 6 inch spring is used, giving a total radiating length of 108".


"""""Only in some balanced antenna systems does the feedline length enter into the antenna where the length does indeed become critical. The correct length of RG58 or RG8x cable to use is the length it takes to connect the CB and antenna together and routed so it's out of the way. I leave 2-3' excess coax cable length for those future times I will need to cut the connector off for some reason. That way I have enough extra coax length left to install a new connector after whatever modifications I needed to do are complete.""""""

Correct again BUT only IF the coax is grounded at the antenna base. If it's not properly grounded, it becomes part of the antenna, radically affecting the Standing Wave Ratio.
The shielded coax is certainly not a good radiator of power. Unless of course the shield
is connected to the center conductor and not grounded at the radio.



"""""There is a rumor pushed by some that you need 18' of coax to get a low SWR for the type of antenna we use on our Jeeps but that's just an old wive's tale."""""
True, but again only if the coax is grounded properly at the antenna base.

Didn't you have to pass a test to get your Ham license? If so, you've studied antenna theory and have been tested on it. Or have they changed now it so all you do is pay a fee?
I'm not sure why you keep repeating my answers are correct only when the coax shield is grounded to the antenna base but, of course, any of the mounts we typically use for our CB antennas ground the coax shield at the antenna base mount and at the CB itself. You can't properly even install a PL-259 or NMO connector or properly install a fire ring mount without grounding (connecting) the coax shield to the antenna base mount which grounds it.

And yes, I studied antenna theory and design when I was an electrical engineering student many years ago and I have designed a number of antennas. The Technician class ham test only covers how to figure antenna lengths, my General class covered a little more antenna theory but not much.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:33 AM   #20
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I'm happy with my K40 bumper mounted antenna.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:48 PM   #21
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Some of the mounts we typically use are grounded, but many are not. Many look like they are, but the connector is insulated from the bracket with a nylon washer or sleeve. Then there's also the problem of what it's grounded to, like painted surfaces, rust etc. It's a simple check, once it's mounted use an Ohmmeter to make sure it's getting good contact.

It's just part of getting your CB to reach as far as possible. Both in transmitting and receiving. It's certainly not rocket science, but there are so many wives tales it gets muddled up.

I was an Electronics Major in college, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Tech in Pasadena. I was specializing in wave propagation - antennas.

I had to drop out after 3 years due to financial reasons, - glad I did. Ended up doing other things that were far more rewarding than wearing thick glasses. a white shirt and narrow tie with a pocket protector.

I got my Novice in 9th grade, my General in 10th grade. As I remember there was quite a few questions about antenna design and RFI (and the dreaded 25 WPM code test.) That's part of what got me interested in becoming an EE.

When it's properly grounded the driven element is just the antenna, the coax becomes an extension of the driver (radio.)
If it's not grounded, then the coax also becomes part of the driven element and has to be "tuned" to a multiple of a 1/4 wave.

I use a Firestick, the mount is on the swing out tire rack, not a good ground. I have a separate wire running from the mounting bracket to the body - it really does make a big difference. The Field Strength Meter verifies that (and it picks up less noise.)

I used the long whip for many years (ungrounded mounts, tuned coax, but when it whipped down and broke my windshield I went with the loaded sticks. Not quite as good but far more convenient, and much safer!
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:25 PM   #22
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Pocket protector and thick glasses? Hmmm guess I don't fit your criteria lol
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:46 PM   #23
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I was about to pick up a cb and plug it in.....Now im not so sure it will even work
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:17 AM   #24
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I wanted to give some of my fellow JEEPERS the heads-up in case you were gonna put a CB on your Jeep. First of all....DO NOT USE A STAINLESS STEEL WHIP! I bout the 102" whip because I like the hummer look of it when it's bent down, BUT the SWR's sucked and I have a decent radio. I tried my buddy's Fiberglass "Firestick" 4' antenna with tunneable tip and WAMMO!! I was staying at about 1.2 SWR consistantly on channel 20, 1 and 40. I hope someone thinking about gettting a whip like that will read this before they buy, I know I spent $65 on my whip I don't want anyone else to make the mistake.

BTW....I have talked to several people who have had Jeeps with the SS Whips and they came to the same conclusion as I now have, SS does not play well with the wranglers, fiberglass with the tuneable tip is the way to go.

Hope this saves someone some money!






I know this thread is old but I think it's still relevant today


A 102" whip is the absolute best CB antenna you could use on a mobile. This is a true 1/4 wave antenna that is optimal on both TX & RX and if installed correctly it will have an SWR of 1.1 across all 40 channels (I've had one of these installed for many years with flawless results.

These antenna's are not suppose to be bent over (even though it looks cool) because it changes the SWR because the antenna is close to the body of the vehicle when bent over and in fact changes the ground plane. You might as well lay it on the ground. Also SWR has nothing to do with the brand of radio but everything to do with the antenna & it's installation.

The best thing to do if you have one is to secure it in it's vertical position with a non conductive bracket (plastic) or tie down like string/rope or any tie down that will work for your particular application to keep from swinging back and forth while in rough terrain.

This antenna always has & always will out perform anything on the market period. There is no coil loaded antenna that is even close in performance.

Now that's not to say that other antenna's don't work well like the Firestik, K40 or Wilson because they are good performing antenna's too that have there place.
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:41 AM   #25
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It sounds like you're approaching the 102" whip as strictly how it performs as an antenna.... OF COURSE a 102" whip will give better performance than a smaller antenna. Really? Duh.

What it doesn't sound like is that you have experience as an offroader where it's common knowledge that a 102" whip is not desirable. Most 4x4 clubs and organized offroad events banned the 102" whip many years ago due to the injuries they caused while offroading.

Right, you said to hold the tip down with a plastic bracket or string... which was long ago discovered to not be a satisfactory solution and is why 102" whip antennas are not allowed on most organized 4x4 events even when held down with either of those. Because they are well known to fail/break/come loose while in use in an offroad environment where the terrain causes shock, vibrations, the antenna gets snagged, etc.

So if you want to push 102" whips in a CB forum, great, they work well for street vehicles where CB enthusiasts don't take their CBs offroading. But in an offroad forum, recommending a 102" whip is just not a good thing to do. They're banned in my club and they won't pass tech inspections either... we'll ask those running them to remove them.

No, my 2' Firestick antenna doesn't work as well as a 102" whip but on the other hand, it works so well that I'm surprised I've never been tempted to go back to the 3' or 4' antennas I used to run. It works so well that it never fails to get solid 5x5 signal replies from those in the back of my sometimes very large wheeling groups.

Do I know antennas? As well as anyone here likely. Been involved with 2-way radios since the 1960's... CB, military, ham (N6TAY), and commercial. Designed more than a few too. Built my first CB and ham radios back in the 60's too.

So let's not forget this is a Jeep forum where most of us use our CBs and ham radios for offroading. It's not a CB forum.
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:43 AM   #26
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I know this thread is old but I think it's still relevant today


A 102" whip is the absolute best CB antenna you could use on a mobile. This is a true 1/4 wave antenna that is optimal on both TX & RX and if installed correctly it will have an SWR of 1.1 across all 40 channels (I've had one of these installed for many years with flawless results.

These antenna's are not suppose to be bent over (even though it looks cool) because it changes the SWR because the antenna is close to the body of the vehicle when bent over and in fact changes the ground plane. You might as well lay it on the ground. Also SWR has nothing to do with the brand of radio but everything to do with the antenna & it's installation.

The best thing to do if you have one is to secure it in it's vertical position with a non conductive bracket (plastic) or tie down like string/rope or any tie down that will work for your particular application to keep from swinging back and forth while in rough terrain.

This antenna always has & always will out perform anything on the market period. There is no coil loaded antenna that is even close in performance.

Now that's not to say that other antenna's don't work well like the Firestik, K40 or Wilson because they are good performing antenna's too that have there place.
Yes, and that place is on a Jeep. The 102" whip is too darn tall to be dragging through the woods. Plus most of us only need short range communicatins and these other antenna types work great for us.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:00 AM   #27
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It sounds like you're approaching the 102" whip as strictly how it performs as an antenna.... OF COURSE a 102" whip will give better performance than a smaller antenna. Really? Duh.

What it doesn't sound like is that you have experience as an offroader where it's common knowledge that a 102" whip is not desirable. Most 4x4 clubs and organized offroad events banned the 102" whip many years ago due to the injuries they caused while offroading.

Right, you said to hold the tip down with a plastic bracket or string... which was long ago discovered to not be a satisfactory solution and is why 102" whip antennas are not allowed on most organized 4x4 events even when held down with either of those. Because they are well known to fail/break/come loose while in use in an offroad environment where the terrain causes shock, vibrations, the antenna gets snagged, etc.

So if you want to push 102" whips in a CB forum, great, they work well for street vehicles where CB enthusiasts don't take their CBs offroading. But in an offroad forum, recommending a 102" whip is just not a good thing to do. They're banned in my club and they won't pass tech inspections either... we'll ask those running them to remove them.

No, my 2' Firestick antenna doesn't work as well as a 102" whip but on the other hand, it works so well that I'm surprised I've never been tempted to go back to the 3' or 4' antennas I used to run. It works so well that it never fails to get solid 5x5 signal replies from those in the back of my sometimes very large wheeling groups.

Do I know antennas? As well as anyone here likely. Been involved with 2-way radios since the 1960's... CB, military, ham (N6TAY), and commercial. Designed more than a few too. Built my first CB and ham radios back in the 60's too.

So let's not forget this is a Jeep forum where most of us use our CBs and ham radios for offroading. It's not a CB forum.





No don't get me wrong, I'm well aware and agree with you about having a short antenna in rough terrain but the original poster was saying something a bit different. He said "stay away" from a 102" stainless steel whip because it's got a horrible match & bad performance and yes he stated he had his antenna bent over.

Apparently his club or where he 4x4's doesn't have any restrictions because he was referring to the antenna being installed but wasn't happy with the performance.

I was just stating the fact that it's not the antenna or radio but the installation & position of the antenna which was the problem.

So I don't disagree with either one of you about what your preference is concerning antenna's or the fact that the 102" whip is banned.

I hope that clarifies my earlier comment.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:19 PM   #28
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I wanted to give some of my fellow JEEPERS the heads-up in case you were gonna put a CB on your Jeep. First of all....DO NOT USE A STAINLESS STEEL WHIP! I bout the 102" whip because I like the hummer look of it when it's bent down, BUT the SWR's sucked and I have a decent radio. I tried my buddy's Fiberglass "Firestick" 4' antenna with tunneable tip and WAMMO!! I was staying at about 1.2 SWR consistantly on channel 20, 1 and 40. I hope someone thinking about gettting a whip like that will read this before they buy, I know I spent $65 on my whip I don't want anyone else to make the mistake.

BTW....I have talked to several people who have had Jeeps with the SS Whips and they came to the same conclusion as I now have, SS does not play well with the wranglers, fiberglass with the tuneable tip is the way to go.

Hope this saves someone some money!
Did you have a spring between the Antenna and the mount? or a quick disconnect?

I know adding a Spring or Quick disconnect, it increases the antenna length and then requires greater adjustment to compensate for the additional length. Also some times it is possible the spring is not conductive and will affect the SWR.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:23 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobiletech View Post
No don't get me wrong, I'm well aware and agree with you about having a short antenna in rough terrain but the original poster was saying something a bit different. He said "stay away" from a 102" stainless steel whip because it's got a horrible match & bad performance and yes he stated he had his antenna bent over.

Apparently his club or where he 4x4's doesn't have any restrictions because he was referring to the antenna being installed but wasn't happy with the performance.

I was just stating the fact that it's not the antenna or radio but the installation & position of the antenna which was the problem.

So I don't disagree with either one of you about what your preference is concerning antenna's or the fact that the 102" whip is banned.

I hope that clarifies my earlier comment.
That made perfect sense, thanks for clarifying that.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:22 PM   #30
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If I want to just talk across the parking lot I use a 510 and a firestik.
If I really want to reach out I'll use my General Lee and the 1 oh 2.
There is a time and place for each.


End of story.

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