Basic CB radio buyers guide - Jeep Wrangler Forum
Jeep Wrangler Forum

Go Back   Jeep Wrangler Forum > General Jeep Discussions > Communications and Electronics

Join Wrangler Forum Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on WranglerForum.com
Old 09-01-2012, 06:38 AM   #1
Jeeper
 
Smitty4x4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 392
Basic CB radio buyers guide

This guide is a basic comparison of pros and cons of the readily available and most popular CB’s among Jeepers. This is just to answer some of the most common questions. It does not cover all radios by any means. All of these radios are 4 watts and good quality. The antenna is what makes the difference in distance. Noise cancelling microphones are a plus in noisy rigs especially you travel the highway with a group to wheeling spots. Keep in mind that some limitations can be addressed by those that are so inclined. Most of this is for those new to off-roading and just want to be able to talk with the group they ride with.
FULL SIZE RADIOS:
PROS: most features, usually include SWR meter, best sound quality
CONS: large chassis can be obtrusive to some
These radios will have the best sound quality and all the features you could reasonably want in a CB. The newer LCD radios give a modern non-trucker look but can be difficult to mount in a way that doesn’t stand out. Mounting them in a compartment or under a seat makes using the features you chose the radio for difficult
.
Midland 9001z
Cobra 29LX also other 29 series
Uniden 880 also 980 and all PC78 series
Galaxy 929 also 919, 939, 949, 959, 979
 
MID SIZE RADIOS:
PROS: smaller than full size radios, similar/same sound quality as a full size
CONS: less features than a full size, usually does not have a built in SWR meter, can still be obtrusive compared to other options
These radios are a compromise between full size and compact radios. The sound quality is as good as the full size units with a slightly smaller and easier to mount chassis. There are a few features that are removed such as the SWR meter and a few others. Overall these are for those that want a higher end radio but just can’t squeeze the full size chassis in the desired mounting area.
Midland 5001z
Cobra 25LX also other 25 series
Uniden 680 and all PC68 series

COMPACT RADIOS:
PROS: small and easy to mount, can be hidden for security, most affordable
CONS: the least features, no SWR meter, poor sound quality
These radios can be mounted almost anywhere. Do enough searching the web and you will find all kinds of mounting ideas. Due to the small size and low cost, the speakers and microphones are generally poor quality. This can usually be addressed with an external speaker and noise cancelling microphone but to most trail riders it works well enough not to bother. If you have never had a better radio and only get one for the trail I doubt you’ll even notice.
Midland 1001WX also 1001Z and CB1
Uniden PRO505XL also PRO510XL and PRO520XL
Cobra 19 DX IV also 18 WX ST II (close to DIN size can be mounted with a DIN size radio in a double DIN dash opening)

SUBCOMPACT/HANDHELD:
PROS: easy to mount or install, best for security, not obtrusive at all, least interior modification, can be removed with little if any evidence it was there
CONS: small speaker and microphone are not the best quality or limited by size, small display can be difficult to read compared to the larger LCD units, control can be inadvertently changed while using the mic
These radios offer many benefits and each is considerably different from the other. The Cobra 75 has a very small module that can be tucked almost anywhere. The module has connectors for power, antenna and an external speaker if better sound is desired. The microphone cable is the only visible cable that plugs up to the hide away module. This radio is no frill but has everything you need. All of the controls are in the handheld mic/speaker module. Find a place to mount the mic and you’re set.
The Midland 75-822 is unique. It can operate similar to the Cobra 75 but can also be used as a handheld. As a handheld it operates like all handhelds…poorly. Don’t get me wrong handhelds work but they are only for the short distance. Think yards instead of miles. The antenna is too small to be efficient in any way but the Midland unit has a trick up it’s sleeve. The battery and short antenna can be removed and an adapter goes in it’s place that includes a power plug and full size antenna connector. Like the Cobra all the controls are with the microphone/speaker. I installed one of these for a friend of mine. He has a 4’ Wilson Flex antenna on the spare tire carrier. The adapter was hardwired to 12V power and routed under the passenger seat along with the antenna cable. When he isn’t using the radio the adapter and cables are tucked under the seat.
Cobra 75
Midland 75-822

Smitty4x4 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-01-2012, 05:13 PM   #2
Jeeper
 
SafetyThird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 84
Some radios, like the cobra 75 include NOAA weather. It's useful when out of cell range.

SafetyThird is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-01-2012, 11:25 PM   #3
Jeeper
 
Smitty4x4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 392
BASIC RUNDOWN OF CB RADIO FEATURES FOR NEWBIES


SQUELCH: Suppresses the audio output until a signal of sufficient strength is received. Think of it like a signal gate. Select how strong of a signal you want to receive. Only the signals that strong or stronger will be heard. This keeps you from going insane due to constant static. If you're having difficulty hearing someone you can turn this all the way down and the RF Gain all the way up if available. There will be a lot of static but you may still be able to communicate.


RF GAIN: Radio Frequency Gain - Adjusts the sensitivity of the receiver. This can be useful when you are only talking to others close by in a group. Some people like to turn the squelch down and use the RF gain to quiet the static. It sounds like a softer squelch gate found on higher-end radios. It does not increase or amplify the signal. If the radio does not have it just consider it all the way up all the time.


MIC GAIN: Microphone Gain (AKA Dynamike) - Volume control for your microphone. Like the RF Gain this does not amplify, it is used to turn down the mic if others in the group complain about your volume or you have a mic that picks up excessive background noise. If you have 1000 watt lips this feature is a must . If you don't have this just consider the mic always at full.


SWR CAL: Standing Wave Ratio Calibration - Allows you to tune an antenna without a separate meter.


TALKBACK: Allows you to hear your transmissions over your radio.


ANL: Automatic Noise Limiter - Suppresses impulse noise like that of "dirty" circuits in the area, some vehicle noise, driving by certain lights and signs, etc... There is really a more in-depth explanation of wideband
AM noise but remember this is just layman's basics.


NB: Noise Blanker - Similar to ANL but works differently. Suppresses high signal spikes. It basically quickly mutes the radio. Used for spark plug noise, lightning, etc... If you have this on and someone very close keeps dropping out for a second, try turning this off.


CHANNEL SCAN: Just what it says. Scans through all the channels until a signal strong enough to break the squelch is detected. It will stay on that channel until the signal is no longer received then continue scanning.


PA: Public Address - Allows you to connect a public address speaker. This usually can also be used to monitor CB receive while outside the vehicle or ticking off your wife by barking in it while she is digging in the trunk of her car.


NOAA WEATHER CHANNELS: Allows you to monitor National Weather Service channels.


WEATHER SCAN: Scans for the strongest/closest weather alert signal


WEATHER ALERT: Scans the weather channels in the background and interrupts the CB in the event of an alert. On some radios this feature will continue to function when the radio is off as long as it has constant power.


EXT SP: External Speaker - The built in speakers are limited mostly by the size of the chassis. In general an external speaker will be of better quality and may allow you to understand someone better with less overall volume than the built in speaker. This also helps when the radio is mounted in an area that muffles the built in speaker.


CLARIFIER: Used to fine tune the frequency. It only adjusts the receive section on CB's. This control is more important for SSB than standard CB.


SSB: Single Side Band - A method of transmitting that only uses part of the channel bandwidth. Using this mode you can only be heard by someone else using an SSB radio. This feature is generally not used in the off-road community.
Smitty4x4 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-02-2012, 06:31 PM   #4
Jeeper
 
lolpetewtf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Sudbury, MA
Posts: 1,953
Awesome, thanks.
__________________
2012 Cosmos Blue JK
Galaxy DX-99v2/Sirio 5000

S Package/Auto/Dual Top
Custom Stereo/20% Tint
lolpetewtf is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-08-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
Jeeper
 
CherryJeep21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Pacific Northwest Washington
Posts: 44
Images: 6
Great post for newbies like myself, thanks!
__________________
Life's short....drive a Jeep!
CherryJeep21 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-10-2012, 11:21 AM   #6
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 25
yes , Great post for newbies like myself, his information is very helpful for me.
Thank you for sharing, I learned a lot.
jointmedias is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-10-2012, 10:36 PM   #7
Jeeper
 
YJPete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: New River Valley, VA
Posts: 97
Somebody turn this into a sticky please
__________________
2.5" on the suspension, 1" on the shackles, 2" on the body, 4.88 Superior Gears, 35" Goodyear MT/R with Kevlar, MSD-6 Offroad ignition box, Flowmaster Exhaust, Warn 9.5Ti Winch, Detroit Tru-Trac Front, Detroit Locker Back

"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself." -Han Solo
YJPete is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-11-2012, 08:42 PM   #8
Jeeper
 
BlueRidgeYJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 4,917
What is SWR, why do I care, and what do I do about it (for beginners)?

SWR, or Standing Wave Ratio, is a measure of how well your radio, coax, antenna, and vehicle are matched. It measures the amount of current that your radio wants to send, its maximum, against what is actually sent, by looking at the minimum (left over). Not properly setting swr can damage your radio.

What is a radio station (for our purposes)?
A power source, transmitter, coax, antenna stud, antenna mount, antenna, ground plane wired together, in that order.

Some antenna basics:
Every transmitting antenna has to be tuned to its system for proper performance. Antennas can only be tuned for 1 frequency; Citizens Band contains 40 (ea. channel=1). The good ones are built to be broad band enough to allow good swr on the extremes of the band. Because your vehicle IS part of your radio system, it cannot be out-of-the box tuned, it must be tuned in place. Your vehicle forms the ground plane of the system, which acts as a reflecter of the signal radiated from the antenna. Think of it as the other half of your antenna. Ideal ground planes are large, flat, square pieces of metal - like the hood or trunk. Unfortunately for radios, jeeps aint got trunks.
Never key a radio (push to talk buton) without an antenna attached, it will damage the radio. Best to not turn em on without an antenna attached.

Basic install:
Using a clean power source, direct from the battery with a fused line, is always perferred to a dirty source, like the cig lighter or fuse panel. Using dirty sources will cause "whine" on your radio.
The coax is an important part of your system, it must not have any shorts or opens to allow proper operation and prevent radio damage. The coax should attach from the radio to the mount or stud, and should not have sharp bends in it. If you are left with too much coax, coil it loosely (12") and set it under some carpet (ha, carpet in a jeep). When connected, the center pin of the coax at the radio should have continuity with the antenna, and should NOT have continuity to common ground, or to the shielding (collar) of the coax. The sheilding at the radio should have continuity with common ground, if it doesnt suspect the ant mount or part of the vehicle it is mounted to not being grounded. Make sure when installing that all grounds have good metal on metal contact, not paint on metal.
The mount holds the stud. The mount is grounded, the outside of the stud where the coax screws on is grounded, and the coax collar or sheilding is grounded, but the inside and above mount part of the stud, coax center pin, and antenna are not. It is crucial that a nylon or nonconductive washer is installed immediately ABOVE the mount, insulating the antenna mast from shorting to ground. Noteworthy that this is for PL259 and similar screw on stud mounts, lug style studs do not ground at all.

Testing SWR:
This requires a SWR meter, relatively inexpensive to get, or ask in your 4x4 club if somebodies got one you can borrow. It must be a meter for CB band (27mhz).
Install the swr meter wih a jump wire at the radio end of your system. Set the FWD switch on the meter, set the radio to ch 1, key the PTT button. Adjust the adjust knob until the needles line up, then flip the REV switch. Write down the swr for ch 1. If it is above 3 stop, you have a serious installation problem, like a shorted or ungrounded system. Transmitting above 3 will damage your radio. If 3 or less, repeat for ch 19, then 40. You want 19 to be lowest, with 1 and 40 matching each other and under 2.
2 to 3 indicates a coax problem, bad ground or bad groundplane. Above 3 is usually a short (nylon washer not on antenna or shorted wire).

If ch 1 is lower than 40, your antenna is too long. Some antennas must be trimmed while others, like the Firestik II and Firefly have tunable screws. Refer to your antenna manufacturer for tuning procedure.
If ch 40 is lower than 1, your antenna is too short. Try adding a spring or quick disconnect to lengthen it.

If you focus on one particular channel, like 4, you can tune your system to that specific channel.

All swr testing needs to be done with the jeep in the condition it will be under radio use, like doors closed. You should not be in a garage or parking deck, and away from any high frequency source, like power lines or a transmitting antenna.

Good job with the write ups; I thought Id add a bit.
__________________
“Coming of age in a fascist police state will not be a barrel of fun for anybody, much less for people like me, who are not inclined to suffer Nazis gladly and feel only contempt for the cowardly flag-suckers who would gladly give up their outdated freedom to live for the mess of pottage they have been conned into believing will be freedom from fear.”
BlueRidgeYJ is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 09-27-2012, 10:24 AM   #9
Jeeper
 
B4Real's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 596
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty4x4
This guide is a basic comparison of pros and cons of the readily available and most popular CB’s among Jeepers. This is just to answer some of the most common questions. It does not cover all radios by any means. All of these radios are 4 watts and good quality. The antenna is what makes the difference in distance. Noise cancelling microphones are a plus in noisy rigs especially you travel the highway with a group to wheeling spots. Keep in mind that some limitations can be addressed by those that are so inclined. Most of this is for those new to off-roading and just want to be able to talk with the group they ride with.
FULL SIZE RADIOS:
PROS: most features, usually include SWR meter, best sound quality
CONS: large chassis can be obtrusive to some
These radios will have the best sound quality and all the features you could reasonably want in a CB. The newer LCD radios give a modern non-trucker look but can be difficult to mount in a way that doesn’t stand out. Mounting them in a compartment or under a seat makes using the features you chose the radio for difficult.
Midland 9001z
Cobra 29LX also other 29 series
Uniden 880 also 980 and all PC78 series
Galaxy 929 also 919, 939, 949, 959, 979
 
MID SIZE RADIOS:
PROS: smaller than full size radios, similar/same sound quality as a full size
CONS: less features than a full size, usually does not have a built in SWR meter, can still be obtrusive compared to other options
These radios are a compromise between full size and compact radios. The sound quality is as good as the full size units with a slightly smaller and easier to mount chassis. There are a few features that are removed such as the SWR meter and a few others. Overall these are for those that want a higher end radio but just can’t squeeze the full size chassis in the desired mounting area.
Midland 5001z
Cobra 25LX also other 25 series
Uniden 680 and all PC68 series

COMPACT RADIOS:
PROS: small and easy to mount, can be hidden for security, most affordable
CONS: the least features, no SWR meter, poor sound quality
These radios can be mounted almost anywhere. Do enough searching the web and you will find all kinds of mounting ideas. Due to the small size and low cost, the speakers and microphones are generally poor quality. This can usually be addressed with an external speaker and noise cancelling microphone but to most trail riders it works well enough not to bother. If you have never had a better radio and only get one for the trail I doubt you’ll even notice.
Midland 1001WX also 1001Z and CB1
Uniden PRO505XL also PRO510XL and PRO520XL
Cobra 19 DX IV also 18 WX ST II (close to DIN size can be mounted with a DIN size radio in a double DIN dash opening)

SUBCOMPACT/HANDHELD:
PROS: easy to mount or install, best for security, not obtrusive at all, least interior modification, can be removed with little if any evidence it was there
CONS: small speaker and microphone are not the best quality or limited by size, small display can be difficult to read compared to the larger LCD units, control can be inadvertently changed while using the mic
These radios offer many benefits and each is considerably different from the other. The Cobra 75 has a very small module that can be tucked almost anywhere. The module has connectors for power, antenna and an external speaker if better sound is desired. The microphone cable is the only visible cable that plugs up to the hide away module. This radio is no frill but has everything you need. All of the controls are in the handheld mic/speaker module. Find a place to mount the mic and you’re set.
The Midland 75-822 is unique. It can operate similar to the Cobra 75 but can also be used as a handheld. As a handheld it operates like all handhelds…poorly. Don’t get me wrong handhelds work but they are only for the short distance. Think yards instead of miles. The antenna is too small to be efficient in any way but the Midland unit has a trick up it’s sleeve. The battery and short antenna can be removed and an adapter goes in it’s place that includes a power plug and full size antenna connector. Like the Cobra all the controls are with the microphone/speaker. I installed one of these for a friend of mine. He has a 4’ Wilson Flex antenna on the spare tire carrier. The adapter was hardwired to 12V power and routed under the passenger seat along with the antenna cable. When he isn’t using the radio the adapter and cables are tucked under the seat.
Cobra 75
Midland 75-822
Thank you for providing this information!

__________________
2013 JKUR AEV350RS AKA DD... The Dozer Dame

DD's Journal: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f60/the...me-200434.html
B4Real is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Jeep Wrangler Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Download our Mobile App

» Network Links
»Jeep Parts
» Featured Product

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:43 AM.



Jeep®, Wrangler, Liberty, Wagoneer, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee are copyrighted and trademarked to Chrysler Motors LLC.
Wranglerforum.com is not in any way associated with the Chrysler Motors LLC