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Old 06-09-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
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CB Advice

My next purchase for my rig is going to be a CB. I am wanting to find out which model would be a good pick for the $$$. I am wanting to try to get a package deal if possible or to know what the best combos are. Any and all opinions and experiences are welcome. Thanks.

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:33 AM   #2
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When all else fails, go COBRA. They have been making them for so long that they've worked out all the technical bugs years ago. Most of the Internet CB sites (Walcott's, Clay',s GI Joe, Premiere) all have a combo packages that are a 1 stop set-up. Just make sure you talk to them as opposed to ordering blindly over the web. Every application, and vehicle, has those little 'bug's' that need to be understood when you order to get the results you want, not what the sites want to sell you. Remember the old 'buying a pig in a poke' saying. This is the reason you research and not just take what your given at face value.

And as much as I am probably going to be 'screwed' here, I'll go 1 further. When you call the vendor, tell them you want to talk to someone in either service or the tech shop. It has been my experience (FWIW) that those folks are the one's who are most able to give you a real world answer to the ?'s you have. They have seen all the problems come home, as it were, and are in a unique position to answer those specific questions with a real world, situation specific, answer. And old military saying here is most appropriate; "Work with who knows what they're doing and know's what is happening as opposed to who's in charge". Sound advice, given these times and especially for what your trying to do.

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Old 06-10-2011, 07:09 AM   #3
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:43 AM   #4
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The first response to your question is a very good one.

I'll add a different perspective.

One of the factors to consider is that the quality of the antenna can make a crappy CB sound good and a great CB sound like crap.

Firestik and Wilson are considered the best ones out there. Truck stops will usually carry a variety of sticks and lengths. Do NOT go with a Radio Shack antenna.

Another small consideration for offroad: Some people have antenna issues when they mount it near the sides of their rigs. Some mount over taillights or between tailgate and lights. On the edge like that, you can easily catch it on trees and branches. It may or may not be an issue for you, but just something to keep in mind.

CB Size will also be a factor. Many run the small Cobras or Unidens. I run the Cobra 75WxSt unit that has all functions in the handset/mic and has a remote mount box that I've stuffed behind my dash. My TJ has limited space and I didn't want it sitting out in the way of my GPS or anything else.

I mounted the box behind a second switch bezel. It looks fairly factory and reduces space that is taken up outside the dash.



And where I mount it normally...



It does have a few drawbacks. It is NOT loud so I installed an external speaker on my bar over my head but far enough away I don't smack it offroad. It doesn't have a built in SWR meter so I had to find a separate meter to properly tune the antenna for my application.

What I love about it:
- compact
- easily removable when not being used
- weather stations.

That last one is HUGE for me. When you're out wheeling, it is nice to flip to the weather and see if the weather is going to get ugly. Between that and the barometer reading on my GPS, it helps me know what I can expect. Additionally, after the April tornadoes in Alabama (with the F5 3 miles from my house and less than 1 to PDK's house), I won't be in a car again w/o a weather radio.

Nothing sucks more than hearing sirens going off when you're out and about and not know where it is and where it is going.

If you have a XJ, ZJ, or something like that, you can get one of the bigger CB's like the Cobra 29 or Cobra 25. The 25 doesn't have the SWR meter and is a bit smaller. Both are available with or without radio. There are versions of the 29 that have Bluetooth for your cell phone and some versions that have extra features, but they jump to over 200 real quick.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:06 AM   #5
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I've got a 75WXST and I really like it.

I've got two full size CB's sitting in the garage I'd love to sell if interested
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boar View Post
My next purchase for my rig is going to be a CB. I am wanting to find out which model would be a good pick for the $$$. I am wanting to try to get a package deal if possible or to know what the best combos are. Any and all opinions and experiences are welcome. Thanks.
Rightchannelradios.com is the place a lot of people get their complete set up. You may want to check this out before you buy.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:36 AM   #7
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I've got a 75WXST and I really like it.

I've got two full size CB's sitting in the garage I'd love to sell if interested
What are they?
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:41 AM   #8
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Great advice lots of good setups on that website. Thanks want to order one and not as expensive as I thought.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:26 PM   #9
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WOW!
I have been out and just checked in. Thanks for all the info, I'll get cracking.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:45 PM   #10
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I would look into the Uniden's over the Cobra's. Years ago Cobra was the CB to have which is back when Uniden made all the main boards for them. Uniden stopped making boards for Cobra and started making their own radios. Cobra's quality has went down hill ever since. If its for a trail only the Uniden 520 Pro is hard to beat.
Uniden PRO520XL Compact Mobile CB Radio

If you are after a bigger radio the PC 68/78 Elites are the thing to go for.
Uniden PC68ELITE Professional 40 Channel Bearcat CB Radio

If you want to go even higher end there are some very nice radios out there, but they get up there in price as well.

If you are after something to use on the road or trail I would stay away from the all in one things like the cobra 75/midland 75. In very short ranges (like in a trail grouping) they are just fine. Beyond that, not so good.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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I have a cobra in the jeep and 1 in the tahoe, on the tahoe not going off road like the jeep I have a fiberglass 4ft antena. on the jeep I have a wilson trucker 2000 antena (flexible whip) that I mounted on my front fender, yes it bounce right and left but when get caught in branches it just fold and come right back in straight.

look for CB shop near you, they can install it for you , they'll also have the cable for the antena, mount etc.. they (usually) know what they're doing and are cheap (but make sure you give a tip )
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:06 PM   #12
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that how I installed it ;





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Old 06-10-2011, 10:13 PM   #13
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This is definitely on the top of my list for next purchase. Though the cobra 75 isn't loud and not the best out there, the fact that I can pull it out in two seconds when I'm in a bad neighborhood outweighs the rest for me. Anyone who didn't enjoy their cobra 75 is welcome to let me take it off your hands . Was looking to pick one up cheap just in case I do decide it really isn't for me.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:18 PM   #14
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I see the one I want. The Uniden PC 68/78 Elites! Looks like it's worth the extra $.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:21 PM   #15
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anyone know where to get a cb all set up for me in the cleveland area? the main things idk how to do well would be hooking the cb straight to the battery and tuning the antenna! idk i would just feel weird doing it and would mess it up...
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:19 PM   #16
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I see the one I want. The Uniden PC 68/78 Elites! Looks like it's worth the extra $.
Both are nice.

I used to run the PC78 Elite. Peaked and tuned and would swing about 25 watts.



The 68 Elite I run now.

Had the finals changed, swings in the 40-50 watt range.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:22 PM   #17
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Premier screwed me, I would recommend staying away from them and take your business somewhere else. JMHO
I like my Cobra 29LTD, since they are all coming out with the new night-glow knobs, a used radio can be had for as little as $ 50.00 or so.. I bought mine off eBay and it is a great radio at 50 bucks.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Scoob

Both are nice.

I used to run the PC78 Elite. Peaked and tuned and would swing about 25 watts.

The 68 Elite I run now.

Had the finals changed, swings in the 40-50 watt range.
Where'd you get the overhead console ?
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:44 AM   #19
Knows a couple things...

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Two more CB radio brands to look at include Uniden and Midland, both have sterling reputations for quality. I personally don't think Cobra is as good as they were back in the 60's and 70's when I first got involved in CB and ham radios.

The most popular models I see on the trail are the Uniden Pro510XL (under $40) and Uniden Pro520XL (under $50). I've been using the Uniden Pro520XL for pretty close to 15 years and it's been a solid workhorse even though it has been covered in dirt and grime from offroading most of that time.

Here's a few things to keep in mind when installing a new CB...

Power the CB directly from the battery, as it is the cleanest and most noise-free source of power on the Jeep. Many power sources on the fuse box have electrical noise from the alternator or fuel pump on them so you don't want to get power from them which would be picked up by your CB. The battery is naturally a big noise filter too. Powering your CB directly from the battery can really help giving your CB a good clean sound when transmitting as well as making signals you receive free of noise from your ignition system, alternator, and fuel pump which are common sources of electrical noise. Use an adequate gauge of wire too, 12 gauge is fine between the CB and battery. Too small of a wire gauge can not only cause problems with power and heat, it can actually cause noise on the CB too.

You don't need a huge antenna for your CB to work well on the trail. Even my well-tuned 2' tall FS-2 Firestick antenna, purposely short to clear my garage door, works very well on the trail. And near as I can tell, effectively as well as anyone else's 3-4' antenna while on the trail. I'd try to select an antenna height that wherever it is mounted, its tip is about level with or just over the Jeep's top height to prevent it from banging into garage doors, low underground parking garage ceilings, etc.

Take your time installing the antenna as it is the most important part of getting a CB to work well and communicate over long distances. The most important part is getting the antenna's mount properly assembled per the directions (!!!!!) and insuring the mount has a good bare-metal connection to whatever it is mounted to like the tub or bumper. The mount must have a large surface bare-metal-to-bare-metal connection to the tub or bumper so the antenna can work effectively and be tuned so it can put out the most possible power. A $500 CB with a poorly installed/untuned antenna will work like crap.

The most important thing to keep in mind when assembling the antenna mount is that if you don't assemble it correctly, odds are very high that the antenna will be shorted to ground as indicated by a very high SWR by the SWR meter that is used to tune the antenna (set its length). Pay close attention, if the antenna's mount has a small plastic insulating "shoulder" washer, to place that washer exactly where the drawing says to. If you don't, the antenna will be shorted to ground and it won't work.

Tuning the antenna so it puts the most possible power out is done by setting its length to match the CB band's frequency. An antenna that hasn't been tuned (had its length adjusted) will actually reflect some of the transmitter's power right back at the transmitter, kind of like a mirror. Every watt of power that has been reflected back by an untuned antenna is a watt that isn't being radiated out of the antenna. Using a SWR meter will allow you to adjust the antenna's length will allow the antenna to transmit all the power your CB is capable of. A well tuned antenna produces a very low SWR (1:1 is perfect) so when tuning, you tune it for the least amount of SWR which the SWR meter will indicate. No worries, an SWR (<$20 at Fry's or online) meter includes simple directions for how to do all this. Rather than try to tune the antenna for minimum SWR on both channel 1 and 40, I just tune it on channel 20 which is the mid-point of the CB band. That's a quicker way to tune the antenna that will produce good results all the way across the entire band.

Finally, the maximum legal transmitter power a standard AM CB can run is 4 watts which works fine on the trail, so I would avoid having a radio modified or adding an external amplifier to run more power than that. The FCC may not hunt you down any more for running too much power but too much power from a CB's transmitter can bleed over ointo adjacent channels and screw up other CB'rs who are running legal amounts of power.

I was supposed to find a friends late one night via a particular CB channel when I was out in the middle of the desert. Some yahoo 3-4 channels away running big power and an echo mic nearly prevented us from ever hearing each other, his signal was bleeding over a total of 8 channels... 4 on either side of his channel... due to the amount of power he was running. The more power you transmit with, the "wider" your signal is.

Plus if you're running higher than legal power to "get out further", how can you ever hear those running the normal/legal 4 watts if they try to answer you? To me, I say if you want to run big power, get a ham license and do so legally. Up to 1000-2500 watts depending on the mode you're operating.
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Old 06-11-2011, 12:42 PM   #20
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To add to Jerry's battery power comments, be sure to add a fuse right there at the battery connection. Especially before the wire gets routed through any body panels. Without the fuse, if the wire rubs and shorts out, you will have a very hot wire under the hood.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:10 PM   #21
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Many thanks. It's been a very long time since I've heard that.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:18 PM   #22
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Sceeribes
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:23 PM   #23
Knows a couple things...

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I'd see the doc for that right away, a little penicillin will fix you right up.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:32 PM   #24
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Can't afford it. Think a cutting torch would do the trick? Pb blaster first?
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Old 06-11-2011, 02:08 PM   #25
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Can't afford it. Think a cutting torch would do the trick? Pb blaster first?
No need for the PB, sawzall will work just fine.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:24 PM   #26
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You can't buy knowledge like this! I'm just about to the point to buy my CB! I know everyone has had them for years but I have always wanted one and never had the $ or the vehicle for that matter to do it . (getting the chills ... Think I have Jeep hives)
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:00 AM   #27
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Scoob, what'd you do with your old Uniden?
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:00 PM   #28
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Scoob, what'd you do with your old Uniden?
Sold it on JU.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:03 PM   #29
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Cobra always have made the BEST cb's get a 29ltd one of the best AM radio's ever made . try looking on ebay
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:06 PM   #30
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