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Old 09-24-2010, 10:48 PM   #1
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CB Radio Ground

Hey guys, I bought a CB kit from RightChannelRadio.

Uniden Pro 510XL
Wilson FLEX 4' Antenna
Teraflex JK Spare Tire Mount

Was wondering how to properly ground the antenna? It has a lead for grounding. I tried attaching it to the 1/2 bolt that attaches the mount and tire carrier to the back of the jeep. I had it on there solidly but I am still getting 10+ SWR readings on the meter when I try to calibrate... I would think the bolt going into the gate would be grounded, but maybe the gate itself isn't grounded properly?

For kicks, I raised the antenna a bit and the SWR did not even change, as a matter of fact, the SWR reading is the same on channel 1 and 40, so based on everything I am reading, I am just going to assume a bad ground at the antenna.

I read another post in this forum that said someone is using the coax going from the antenna to the radio as the ground. I'm just wondering how that was connected? The pictures in the other topic are all broken and just show up as gray images on the forum right now...

If the coax ground option isn't something you recommend, does anyone have any suggestions for nearby grounding points on the tire carrier that I might be able to use without having to figure out how to get a ground strap from the frame of the jeep to the antenna?


Thanks!!
Jeff

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Old 09-24-2010, 11:26 PM   #2
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Ignore the little wire on the wilson antenna. That is more or less for mounting it on a fiberglass surface. Did you grind off some paint behind the mount so it gets good contact with the jeep body? I'm not to familiar with that type of mount you have but on the TJs i know that spare tire mounts don't make a good ground to the jeep. The hinges and latchs are poor grounds to make that connecton. Some people have used a ground strap from the endgate to the body or frame to make a good ground. Also check your antenna set up .. make sure it looks like one of these setups. Its a good chance your antenna is shorting out at the mount itself .. its a common mistake.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:45 AM   #3
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Thanks! The spare tire mount on the JK is made of what I'm guessing is some kind of hard plastic (I guess it could be steel with powder coating on it? Not really sure...). I was hoping the screws would ground it, but if the coax into the radio will work... that's even better, I'll just zip tie the ground wire somewhere to keep it from wiping around.

As for the diagram, I will print it out and look at it closer. I have the antenna screwing into "H" in the first picture. Then below that is the locking washer and the plastic washer that touches the mount... just like in the diagram... then on the bottom, "G" goes through the mount, washers, and the antenna screws into the top. The coax goes into the bottom. I used a wrench to tighten G to H, it's solidly connected. Possibly too well connected?

So I will double check everything again, but I am pretty sure it's connected properly. Could the ground problem be how I have it connected to the power supply? I went to Radio Shack and got a 9V DC connector that lets me plug into the cigarette lighter (not an electrical guy so I am not comfortable splicing into the wiring). The radio powers up fine... could the "hot" and "ground" wires be reversed in that connection? The leads coming from the back of the radio seem to suggest that it could be done either way, I think I made it a positive ground... I guess I could always try negative? Radio Shack had two versions for sale, a 7.5Amp and a 10Amp , I am using the 7.5Amp and it's powering fine, the specs do not specify amperage requirements, only that it needs DC current.

Also, I am using the 18 foot cable that came with the kit. It's actually just about the right length. I could probably take about 6 inches off, but it's not much longer than needed so I really don't want to buy a different cable.

Sorry to use the G and H, I don't know how to describe the parts other than to say the setup looks identical to that. I must have something messed up somewhere. Will double check it again in a couple minutes.

Thanks again for your help!!

Jeff
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:46 AM   #4
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I'm going through exactly the same thing with the identical equipment. I ran a 12 ga. ground wire from the tub to one of the antenna mount bolts but I think it needs connecting to the mounting stud at some place. Is this thinking correct?
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:10 AM   #5
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Grounding the power of the radio and antenna ground are two differant animals. If your radio powers up your ground for the radio is fine ... I also have mine going to the cig lighter for power. But for the antenna a 12 ga wire is still not a good enough ground for the antenna. This is why they recommend a grounding strap instead of a wire. You need more of a surface to make a good ground. I am guessing you will need one of these straps. In the past i tried a mound on my tire carrier, but like i said before ... the hinges and latch are not good enough connections to the body to make a good ground. I gave up on the tire carrier mount and went with a body mount ... that solved all my swr problems when i mounted it to the body. One mount i would advice to get that makes a good ground is one that is mounted behind your rear tail light. That is a very popular mount. Also the mount you have is probably metal just painted with a heavy coating. some of that paint will have to be scrapped off to make a connection.
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:15 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies... so I will return the tire mount and get the right tail light mount instead. I wonder if I can find it locally so I don't have to wait a few days?

Anyway, I was doing some more troubleshooting a few minutes ago and a few things I did have wrong.

1. I had the washer touching the top of the mount and then the plastic washer on top of that. According to the picture you posted, it should be the other way around. I fixed it.

2. I tried reversing the + and - on the cigarette lighter adapter, doing that caused the radio to not power up at all... but lead me to discover #3...

3. I didn't have the connections on the cigarette lighter adapter connected all the way, so it was not a good connection. Still powered it up, however.

4. Now that the connection is made properly to the power source, the 4 bars that I used to get on the transmitter now only light up 2 bars... weird.

The SWR readings are still high though so the troubleshooting was for nothing but at least I can confirm everything else is correct right now. I'm going to head out to Pepboys or Autozone and see if I can find any mounts for the tail lights. Maybe I'll get lucky...
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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I have now added a ground strap between the tailgate and tub, have scraped away paint around those connection points and also where the bolts for the antenna mount and the spare tire mount is. I should have everything solidly grounded now and will head out to the open field to check the SWR as soon as I finish this coffee! Stay tuned...Ha!
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:10 PM   #8
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Well, now I'm down to 1.8 and 2 on channels 1 and 40 so this is probably as good as it's gonna get. Any other ideas?
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:02 PM   #9
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We must think alike because I just did the same thing... see picture. I filed the paint off of the mount around where the 1/2 bolt/washer connects it to the frame, went to Pepboys and bought some wire, and crimp connectors, went to the screw that holds the mount in place. -- I then chissled off the paint where the bottom portion of the antenna connector touches the mount. From there, I unscrewed one of the lower spare tire bolts that is not associated with the mount. I chisled some of the paint off of that, attached the strap from the mount to the bolt and then bolted it back on. I used a multi-meter and the circuit is closed with 0 resistance. I checked the radio, and I am down to about 1.6 SWR!!!!!!!!!!!

I did a quick check in my driveway and channel 40 is higher than channel 1. Of course I am right next to two houses. Have to go into a parking lot nearby to get a really accurate reading. Will keep you posted!!
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:05 PM   #10
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The only place I didn't remove paint was below the mount where the antenna touches. I'm going to do that now as my final shot. After that, there's nothing else I can do.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:19 PM   #11
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You guys are going in the right direction. 1.6 swr isn't bad. I don't have the wilson flex, I have the wilson FGT 2. But i think they both have the adjustable tuning tip. If your SWRs are low on channel 1 and high on Channel 40 your antenna is to long ... lower the adjusting tip a little and retest your SWR. Be sure you replace the rubber cap because this will affect your SWRs In some cases if the antenna is still to long after lowering the adjusting tip all the way in the antenna try removing it totaly and see if that helps.

If your SWRs are high on channel one and low on channel 40 your antenna is to short .. do the same thing but raise the adjusting tip little by little till you get a good SWR. My SWRs on my wilson is 1.4 on channel 1 and channel 40. Channel 20 which is in the middle of the band is at 1.1 the SWR needle barely moves.
You can also test your SWRs on channel 20 and when you get your lowest SWR you should be about equal on channel 1 and 40.

Oh ... i doubt you will find a rear taillight mount locally ... i looked here too. thats why i decided with the body mount. Guess i was to impatient to wait for ordering it.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:25 PM   #12
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That uniden pro 510xl is the same radio i have ... thats a damn good little radio.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:07 PM   #13
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I tried calibrating it in a parking lot with nothing around me (well, nothing within 300 - 400 feet). The SWR reading went down slightly, however I can not lower the adjustable portion of the antenna any lower. I was at 1.6 on channel 1 and 1.9 on channel 40. I clipped a bit of the antenna off, and was able to get down to 1.5 / 1.8. I am going to try to calibrate again in upstate NY where there are less people, less buildings, and less interference.

I have to rewire the power to the radio anyway, I am getting really, really bad engine noise from the cigarette outlet. The instructions do say that can be eliminated by going right to the battery. I will do that, didn't want to, but I guess I don't have much of a choice since the noise is making hearing anyone almost impossible. Now I just have to take the dash apart to run the wire through the firewall and to the battery... I'm definitely learning a lot about this truck with all these projects...

Jeff
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmartz View Post
I tried calibrating it in a parking lot with nothing around me (well, nothing within 300 - 400 feet). The SWR reading went down slightly, however I can not lower the adjustable portion of the antenna any lower. I was at 1.6 on channel 1 and 1.9 on channel 40. I clipped a bit of the antenna off, and was able to get down to 1.5 / 1.8. I am going to try to calibrate again in upstate NY where there are less people, less buildings, and less interference.

I have to rewire the power to the radio anyway, I am getting really, really bad engine noise from the cigarette outlet. The instructions do say that can be eliminated by going right to the battery. I will do that, didn't want to, but I guess I don't have much of a choice since the noise is making hearing anyone almost impossible. Now I just have to take the dash apart to run the wire through the firewall and to the battery... I'm definitely learning a lot about this truck with all these projects...

Jeff
Here's a way to route the power straight to the battery but still have it keyed on/off with the ignition (assuming the cig lighter is keyed on/off which I think it is...?). Go get a $5 12v relay from Autozone. Wire from Battery + to common connection on the relay. Wire from switched connection (some only have 2 connections not including the coil connections) to cb power wire. Connect cb ground wire to a good ground. Splice a wire from your cigarette lighter power wire to one side of the relay coil. Route the other side of the relay coil to a good ground. Now when your cig lighter is powered on, it'll power up your relay and your cb will turn on. And when you shut the vehicle off, it'll power the cb off...so no worries about forgetting to turn off the cb when you get out.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:36 PM   #15
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OK...here's the latest...I've ground off paint at all the metal to metal touch points. Even ran a new antenna wire to the radio. Have .4 ohms resistance from stud to chassis (?) and a solid continuity throughout the entire ground system. Haven't gotten to re-read the SWR but, I'm not sure there's anything else I can do to optimize this at this point. Any additional thoughts from anyone are welcome and thanks to all for the input so far.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:07 PM   #16
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You may have to raise the antenna up a little higher. If you are using the stock tire carrier and have a bottom loaded antenna, then the antenna is not getting the full signal. Also you may need to use a larger gauge wire for the ground. I had to use 2 twisted 10 gauge wires for a ground to get a good enough ground on my TJ. Also just the use of an antenna spring seems to help as well.

I have been chasing CB antenna issues for some time now. I think I finally have solved my issue, but then again this is on a TJ.

My friend has a JK and he did the above things and is getting SWR's just above 1.
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:01 PM   #17
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With nothing around for 3 or 4 hundred feet that should be good enough for checking SWRs. Did you check the SWRs on channel 20? As for the little wire you ran for the ground. That will not be good enough for a ground ... You need a Grounding Strap NOT a piece of wire. I bought my grounding strap at NAPA. The grounding strap also has to go from the endgate to the body of the jeep. Any parts store should have one. But if your gona get a taillight mount then i would forget about it till you get the new mount.

I didn't tell you why the spare tire mount doesn't work so well. Most people think its a great place because the hinges are attached to the body of the jeep. But the hinges itself are filled with grease and a bushing so the tailgate can swing open. This makes it hard to get a good ground to the body of the jeep, and the latch for keeping it closed also doen't make good enough contact. Now somepeople don't have a problem with grounding because of maybe the hinges don't have as much grease in them so more contact is provided, but its probably hit and miss like mine was. When i had the spare tire mount sometimes i had a good ground and sometimes i didn't. I was tired of messing with it thats why i mounted it on the body. there's no way im not gona get a good ground now.
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:31 AM   #18
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With this mount you don't have to ground it to the antenna.

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Old 11-08-2010, 06:08 AM   #19
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I didn't have to ground mine with the teraflex bracket. I dunno why mine worked aqnd another guys I did we had to ground it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:51 PM   #20
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If your SWR reading is 2:1 or less you are fine. It will work without any problem or damage.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:51 PM   #21
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for ground dtrap, i actually bought some battery cable,it works well.
i mounted the antena on the top of the front fender where, i think, i would get better reception has there is nothing blocking it.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:27 PM   #22
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Jeep Wranglers are the WORST grounded vehicles I've ever come across in my life. I can tell you that even if you use a ball mount and cut a hole in the body you will NOT get a good/usable ground for any transmitting antenna. The worst thing is that you can put a magnet mound against the body and it WILL provide a good ground plane but not if you have bounded the antenna ground to the body (to the metal). I've never seen anything like it and still have no real solution. Obviosly a mag mount is not acceptable as a permanent solutuon so I'm still looking for a way to make the ball mount work (BTW I also have a tire rack mount (same problem) and the ball mnt is on the back right quarter panel around the same spot that the gas tank hose/cap is in. Without a good ground the performace will suck and your rec. will be noisy and if you are running an amp you'll probably blow it up!
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:12 PM   #23
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I run the ground directly to the chassis (by the brake line), that should be enough..
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:51 AM   #24
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I have two ball mounts, one on each side on the panel behind the door and ahead of the wheel well. Solid ground, no problems matching the antenna's. No extra noise receive or transmit.

Make sure you are using the mount grounding screw and everything is tight.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:26 PM   #25
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I have it grounded at the body using one of the ball mount screws and I have a ground strap from the ground ring (steel ring inside) to the opposite body panel inside the rear back brake light space. Still the ground sucks and the I can't get a a flat (true resonance) anywhere on the band. I am getting a ground it's just not a good enough ground. I could put the same antenna on garbage can and get a better ground plane!

Thanks for the reply all...
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:38 AM   #26
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this is how I mounted it , made a bracket for the antena, removed paint where it was needed, inside the fender where I bolted it, I used a battery cable that I bolted to the chassis using one of the screw of the brake line.
I'll take a pic of the battery cable tomorrow. but for sure a 16G wire for ground isn't enough.

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Old 01-26-2011, 12:39 AM   #27
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did you clean the powdercoat out of the mounting holes of the bracket?
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:20 AM   #28
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I had mounted mine to the bumper with a vanco mount and a vanco 4' antenna. The sw was hitting 5 to 7. I tried messing with the ground for a few days, then I tried mounting it to mt spare tire mount. I used the nylon washer that came with the mount and a pice of rubber to for the bottom nut. I checked the sw before I grounded it and had sw readings of 1.5 to 2.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:07 AM   #29
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one thing, do not trust the swr of the radio, they.re everything but accurate. go to a cb shop + the guy will help you.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:24 AM   #30
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I disagree, about the radio's SWR meter. I have a cobra 29 wx/nw/st with the SWR meter, a CB guy told me the same thing about the meter not being worth anything. Mine read the same as his SWR tester. Make sure you're using a good quality coaxle & the proper length too.

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