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Old 03-02-2012, 10:18 AM   #1
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@#!$%!^#@ #$@@ CB radio!

Okay, I don't think of myself as a dumb person, in fact, I do some fairly advanced math as part of my daily job but dammit if this CB thing isn't the most complicated thing I have come across. I swear I'm ready to drive the Jeep off a cliff just to cast the evil of that radio out of my life for good.

As a last ditch before doing that, I thought I'd post one more time about the problems I'm having and what I think might help just to see if I'm on the right track or there's better advice.

First, the setup...Midland 75-822 radio with a 3' Firestik II, 18' of PL-259 terminus coax, a K4A stud, and homemade mount (just a steel plate with two holes drilled). I mounted the plate to my spare tire carrier which may be the problem as its aluminum and thus a very poor ground if at all. My SWR readings are pegged on 1, 19, and 40 as you might imagine. I get pretty confused as to what I should actually be testing for continuity and exactly how I should do that (for instance, is the coax only to be disconnected at one end when testing). With my limited understanding, I did unhook the coax at the antenna end and placed a multimeter probe on the mount itself and the top connector of the stud and there is continuty (not good, right). Also checked at the radio end and there is no continuity between the barrel screw and center point on the coax (good, I think)...same holds true on the antenna end. This is leading me to think there is no issue with the equipment but that my system simply isn't grounded. I did double check my stud install and everything looks to be in the right order there.

All that said, does anyone have a definitive link on exactly how to test the system's continuity? Basically, CB for idiots or something along those lines. Also, does it sound like I have a correct diagnosis? I was thinking of simply wrapping some copper wire around the bottom part of the stud mount (on the stud itself, not touching the barrel of the coax) then bolting it to the frame somewhere as a ground. I'm just not sure if that's the right thing to do or just and exercise in futility. Bear in mind that again, I know very little about wiring so if you have a thought on this, make it in simpleton terms so I can even understand it.

Thanks very much. I'm hitting the trails in the morning with a big group and it would really be great to be able to talk during the ride. Worst case, I put some batteries in it and use it as a handheld but I'd really like to get things working as they are supposed to if possible. FYI, I have (at times) been able to hear some clear communications on the radio so maybe that's just a fluke but it seemed worth mentioning.

Best,
Scott

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Old 03-02-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
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I am on my phone so I can't link it but goto firestik.com and look for there tech articles. One of the articles has a colored picture of what needs continuity and what should not. I'll link in in an hour or so when I get home if you can't find it. Firestik.com has tons of reading on antennas and tuning, kinda hard to find on the web site though

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Old 03-02-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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I am on my phone so I can't link it but goto firestik.com and look for there tech articles. One of the articles has a colored picture of what needs continuity and what should not. I'll link in in an hour or so when I get home if you can't find it. Firestik.com has tons of reading on antennas and tuning, kinda hard to find on the web site though
Appreciate it bud. I know the exact article you are referring to. My problem (duhmas that I apparently am) is that I honestly don't know how to test it. Touch what to what to determine if the circuit is open or closed. I think I get it but honestly need one practical example so I know if I'm doing it right.

I'll go back there again and see if there's something I didn't read up on yet. I did call Firestik the other day and the guy I got on the phone seemed pretty put out by the fact that I had some questions on how to use their products.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:16 AM   #4
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shooting a video now! gimme a few
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:23 AM   #5
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while its loading to youtube.... basically to top of your antenna and the bottom of your antenna should not have continuity. The tub, mount and outside nut of the coax should all be the same. The inside pin of the coax and top part of the antenna should have continuity. there's really no good way to check the inside pin when it is hooked up but if you are not beeping between the top of the antenna and the bottom nut of the coax, you should be good.

in the video I mentioned that there is a star washer, between the mount and the part of the antenna that pokes through the mount...they cant touch, the star washer has to be centered just so that its not touching the threaded part of the antenna
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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while its loading to youtube.... basically to top of your antenna and the bottom of your antenna should not have continuity. The tub, mount and outside nut of the coax should all be the same. The inside pin of the coax and top part of the antenna should have continuity. there's really no good way to check the inside pin when it is hooked up but if you are not beeping between the top of the antenna and the bottom nut of the coax, you should be good.

in the video I mentioned that there is a star washer, between the mount and the part of the antenna that pokes through the mount...they cant touch, the star washer has to be centered just so that its not touching the threaded part of the antenna
Kev, you are going above and beyond man, thanks so much!!

I did speak with a guy at Firestik again (very helpful this time around) and he thinks it might be a short in the stud due to the fact that I possibly didnt drill the stud mount hole large enough to fit the shoulder washer lip inside the hole. Makes sense that if that's the case, I'd have metal on metal between the lower part of the stud and the inside of the mount where it should be insulated. If it is a short, obviously the SWR will be offf the charts. I can't wait to see your video since it sounds like you might be suggesting something similar in how you describe aligning the washer and antenna.

Again, thanks much. Many, many karma points to you for this one!!!
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:49 AM   #7
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Antenna - YouTube

Antenna - YouTube

video man I am not!
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:52 AM   #8
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unfortunately the sound isnt synced with the video very well, hope it comes across well
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
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unfortunately the sound isnt synced with the video very well, hope it comes across well
That was great, thanks for taking the time to give me a hand. My plan now is to unscrew the assembly, drill the mount hole slightly larger, reinsert and carefully position the nylon shoulder washer being sure that it won't allow the stud mount bolt to touch metal, then use you vid to test again for continuity. really hoping that fixes things and I can move to tuning the antenna and be all set.

Again thanks, UDAMAN for sure!
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:20 PM   #10
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no prob, glad I could help. I know you said you had the K4A stud but this is what I got with my stud mount...maybe the diagram will help also

I know I needed a 1/2 hole for the nylon washer to slip in it. The whole "star washer" seems kinda wild to me, you have to make sure its not touching, but no sure fire way other than making sure its centered as possible to do that...and other than a meter on it there no good way to find out
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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really hoping that fixes things and I can move to tuning the antenna and be all set.
they are not kidding about being in an open area, closing the doors and being inside, test, get out, tune the tip, put the rubber tip cover back on and everything, then get back in and try again.

My first attempt at tune we were standing outside of the passenger door, someone standing next to the antenna, ect. SWR's were all over the place. 45 minutes later and still crappy SWR

Finally was by myself a week later, in an open, un-built up subdivision (just a street in a field really) test on 1, test on 40 , got out, moved the tip appropriately, got back in, test, got out, tip tune another 1/8th inch, test...done SWR close to 2.2...10 minutes tops...but I couldn't believe how sensitive the tuning was. 1/8th" at a time.

But take it all with a grain of salt, I just posted a thread about how no one can hear me...lmao
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:45 PM   #12
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they are not kidding about being in an open area, closing the doors and being inside, test, get out, tune the tip, put the rubber tip cover back on and everything, then get back in and try again.

My first attempt at tune we were standing out side of the passenger door, someone standing next to the antenna, ect. SWR's were all over the place. 45 minutes later and still crappy SWR

Finally was by myself a week later, in an open, un-built up subdivision (just a street in a field really) test on 1, test on 40 , got out, moved the tip appropriately, got back in, test, got out, tip tune another 1/8th inch, test...done SWR close to 2.2...10 minutes tops...but I couldn't believe how sensitive the tuning was. 1/8th" at a time.

But take it all with a grain of salt, I just posted a thread about how no one can hear me...lmao
Yeah, I planned on testing down near the lake so its wide open and I'd probably be doing it alone. Hopefully I get the short out of the system (and hopefully thats the only problem. If that doesnt work, I'll probably grab some copper 12g and wrap it around the bottom part of the stud (or is it the top?), shrinkwrap it there, then bolt that ground to my frame close by.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:56 PM   #13
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Kev- I would also like to Thank You I will be redrilling mine when I get home.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:10 PM   #14
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Kev- I would also like to Thank You I will be redrilling mine when I get home.
I was doing this about two weeks ago...its all so fresh!
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:23 PM   #15
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If that doesnt work, I'll probably grab some copper 12g and wrap it around the bottom part of the stud (or is it the top?), shrinkwrap it there, then bolt that ground to my frame close by.

Bottom if if comes to that

I'd check the mount to tub first, when thats right (meaning the are connected or have continuity) I'd check it off my list

then the mount to outer thumb nut of the coax, should have continuity

then thumb nut of coax to threads on the stud and star washer

that STOPS where things should be grounded. The part of your antenna that has threads on it should not have continuity with the antenna mount.

easiest was to think of it I guess is the stuff above the nylon washer should not beep continuity, with the stuff below the nylon washer beeping continuity.

another check you can do is on the cable itself. inner pin on one end and inner pin on the other should beep and inner pin to any of the outer "thumb nuts" on the coax should not.

And to think when I started installing mine all i wanted to do was go down Hwy 55 and say "breaker 1-9, breaker 1-9, south bound on the Double Nickle, wheres Smokey the Bear been hibernating lately?" And now I am the blind leading the blind...lol...CB's are a pain!!
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:38 PM   #16
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I'll be sure to post back once I'm done so that hopefully someone else can benefit from my ignorance and your help Kev. Now that I think about the ground..I think I'm just going to run the ground wire from the bolt holding the mount to the tire carrier to the frame and leave the stud part as is (apart from drilling a larger hole so the should washer slips inside). Fingers crossed but I should be doing this shortly.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:59 AM   #17
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Okay, update time. Things aren't trail tested yet but definitely much better. Still have a very minor continuity issue due to a weak ground from the spare tire carrier. I'll run a ground wire from the mount to the body just inside the tailgate to finish that fix. Everything else checked out exactly as Kev demonstrated.

Turns out the problem was exactly as thought, the mount hole I drilled was too small to allow the shoulder of the top side nylon washer to sit inside and properly insulate things thus creating a short. I pulled that mount off and I'm going to redrill I'll it but I decided to grab a mirror mount with preinstalled stud from a nearby truck stop for $9 and then made some minor mods to make it work on the spare carrier. It snugged up very nicely and is rock solid. Stoked so far but now to see what happens when I tune the Firestik. After some trial and error, I think I got it fairly well tuned. Definitely glad I listened to everyone who said to use really small increments as I was shocked at just how sensitive these things are to tiny adjustments. In the end, I wound up getting CHS 1 and 19 just a fuzz over 1:1 and CH 40 just about 1.6:1. I absolutely had more RX traffic and it was much clearer after this. I will post back if there are any improvements after the additional ground and after trying it on the trail tomorrow. With no response to any TX today, I have no confirmation that anyone can hear me but I'd assume they can since I RX okay now and the SWR readings are good finally.

Thanks again for all of the help today Kev. I owe ya one.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:46 AM   #18
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glad to see it worked out!

I do believe I am going to put CB's up there in the top 5 of "Most Finicky"
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:24 PM   #19
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Trail report to close this up...basically, everything worked perfectly. Clear teansmissio and reception so it looks like the demons have been expelled from my system.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:39 PM   #20
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Trail report to close this up...basically, everything worked perfectly. Clear teansmissio and reception so it looks like the demons have been expelled from my system.
awesome!

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