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Old 02-18-2012, 01:42 AM   #1
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is owning a CB as much of a PITA as it sounds

I been thinking of getting a CB, for trail riding, something other than the radio to listen too, etc.

after reading all the posts about CB's, antennas and mounts are they all really that bad to set up?

Looking at a Uniden 520xl or maybe Cobra C19DXIV (nothing set in stone, i got this urge about 2 days ago, but not breaking the bank on anything over 60 bucks for the radio)

All I read about is the necessary coax length, the antenna mount placement (I'd like to go behind the pass taillight) antenna length (prefer 4' or less) etc and people not being able to tune them to work for anything. Frying the radios, needing new antennas even though the ones they have are new. Obviously people are running them on their jeeps with success.

SO....

Shhh...are they all idiots (I wont tell) or is it really a pain in the to set one up correctly and have it work out of the box?

I just want a compact unit that will fit on the mount you can get for above your left vent, (until I save up for a tuffy overhead, which will probably be never) let's me talk on the trails to jeepers around me, talk on the highway (mile or two of tx/rx would be nice) hook up a PA speaker so I can yell at the kids/wife/brother-in-law/nephews when we are camping without getting out of the jeep, and maybe run an external speaker, only because I bought a 03 console with the sub woofer opening and there is no speaker in there but a perfectly good place to put one, and i think the cheap units i am looking at will probably need it.

SO....PITA, or no-biggie?

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Old 02-18-2012, 02:36 AM   #2
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No big deal, the most important part is tuning the antenna to the radio, there are plenty of write-ups about it and if you're still not sure look for a truck stop, there is usually someone around that works on radios. Good grounds & good connections are also important. The biggest PITA is finding the $$$ to pay for the parts,LOL

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Old 02-18-2012, 02:46 AM   #3
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I wasn't sure if it was the wrangler in general that was hard to get right, or just cb's in general.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:00 AM   #4
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CB's are simple to instal, set everything up then go to your nearest 4x4 shop or truck store and most will tune it for free. Great thing to have for trail ridding
My set up is in my build thread in my sig
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
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I haven't set mine up in my jeep yet, (hopefully project for this weekend) but I have to set mine up in multiple vehicles and all my friends up for years. It really isn't that bad if you get a tuneable antenna a quality mount a good ground for the antenna. Quality coax and a see meter doesn't hurt either. That being said a little patients and its not hard. Where are you located, I'd bet a WF member would be willing to help ya if you had problems.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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Pay the extra 2 or 3 bucks for the Firestick (or other) Tunable antenna. I installed my Uniden 520 in about an hour. Most of that time was running the coax under the carpet so it wouldn't show. Make sure your antenna and radio are grounded well. Check your SWR, adjust a couple of times and you are done.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:28 PM   #7
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i think I am going to bite and get one...sounds like a no brainer...and I aint scared to drill some holes...my jeep actually enjoys it...it tells me so by rusting those bolts so I cuss later
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:37 PM   #8
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I have a Firestick and mounted it on the tire carrier with no problem. Just hook up the swr meter between the radio and the coax and tune it with the tuneable tip antenna! Easy process and took me maybe 45 min to do the whole thing!
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevbz View Post
I been thinking of getting a CB, for trail riding, something other than the radio to listen too, etc.

after reading all the posts about CB's, antennas and mounts are they all really that bad to set up?
The short answer is "no". Most of what you see here are those that have major problems. There are probably a dozen trouble-free CB installs for every problem post you see here.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:04 AM   #10
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can I ask you guys this...I found a craigslist ad where I can get two cb's, two antennas, and two coax cables for 40 bucks, and they came out of a TJ. Am I asking for trouble using used antenna and coax?

an on that note I have been reading about antenna placement. I like the idea of back by the rear taillights, but a 4' whip will be over my soft top, making the garage a bit hard to get into. Can you mount down by the embossed JEEP on the tub, on the front of the tub by the doors? wasn't sure if that is to close to the radio antenna, or if the whip "action" would be banging against the door mirrors.

and I know how to splice coax, depending on placement can I cut the coax to fit or do I need a certain amount of length for reception?
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:09 AM   #11
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I dont know about your first question but as far as splicing the coax, when i did the research to install mine people were saying it is best to have a good distance between the radio and the antenna. Also that if you have excess cord to roll it up and stick it under the seat or somewhere out of the way. They were saying the longer cable is good for it. Hope that helps you a bit
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:19 AM   #12
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If you mount it down low part of the antenna will be too close to the body and you will have trouble tuning it. It will also limit the operation, the body is blocking the signal. Mount it higher and find a quick disconnect so you can remove the antenna for garage parking.

Don't splice coax, it's really never done. Most will put connectors on the ends and use a barrel connector to join them. For the lengths in a mobile install, just buy new, it's not that expensive. If it's too long excess can be loosly coiled.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:44 AM   #13
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I think I will just go high on the rear tub then with a disconnect. The stuff I am buying may be shot anyway, and may have to buy new pieces to the puzzle.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:22 PM   #14
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Do a Google search on "antenna quick disconnect". There is a couple of models out there starting at $10. I like the Hustler, but they should all work.

This also lets you change antannas easly if you have more than one.

Note: these add to the length of the antenna (only 3" or so but it matters) and must be in place before tunning the setup.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:25 PM   #15
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Easy way go to any truck stop and slip a bored trucker $20.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kevbz View Post
can I ask you guys this...I found a craigslist ad where I can get two cb's, two antennas, and two coax cables for 40 bucks, and they came out of a TJ. Am I asking for trouble using used antenna and coax?

an on that note I have been reading about antenna placement. I like the idea of back by the rear taillights, but a 4' whip will be over my soft top, making the garage a bit hard to get into. Can you mount down by the embossed JEEP on the tub, on the front of the tub by the doors? wasn't sure if that is to close to the radio antenna, or if the whip "action" would be banging against the door mirrors.

and I know how to splice coax, depending on placement can I cut the coax to fit or do I need a certain amount of length for reception?
Here's a mount I came up with for cheap. The bracket came from the hardware store fo $4.95.
CB antenna mount option
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:28 PM   #17
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well, I picked my stuff up today. got a cobra 19 DVIX and midland 1001z, two antennas and two coax cables, a external speaker and a PA speaker. 40.00 bucks for everything

most of it is used and shows it (except for the CB's themselves). The PO was a twist wire and electrical tape kinda guy so i fixed the inline fuse and ground wires. I liked the cobra better so I mounted it (after I made that bracket, 40 bucks didn't get me much) by the passenger left knee. power from behind the glovebox and ground at the tub, coax along the pass floor and rocker to the rear corner. Took the tail light off and made a bracket out of steel plate and sandwiched it behind the light after I sanded the paint off behind the light, used the three original grounding screws on the tail light to mount it and one self tapper to keep it from flexing to much.

ran the coax just through the rear zipper for now to a mount adapter I got at radio shack. I fired it up and headed for the highway. I picked up light garbled chatter for a few seconds but then nothing. Asked for a radio check a few times and nothing. I went to a local truck stop and looked around for a SWR meter since radio shack didn't have one. Nothing there but I ended up buying a Wilson FGT-3 tunable antenna because the antennas he gave me were not easily tunable and were not in the best of shape, alot of electrical tape and i couldn't tell if maybe the wire was broke underneath all that.

I am going to have to go get tuned tomorrow at a CB shop I guess, but i think I am heading in a better direction since I got rid of his junky stuff.

a few pics of what I did. I guess the meter will tell if I got it grounded good enough.

Was hoping I'd be one of those "worked out fine first time" guys
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:42 AM   #18
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I was going to say that I think there is a c.b shop someplace in your area.It would make your life better to just go to one and let them deal with it.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:42 AM   #19
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Sounds good though I would recommend you run your power wire direct to the battery, rather than pick up power behind the glove box or at the fuse block.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:18 AM   #20
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Sounds good though I would recommend you run your power wire direct to the battery, rather than pick up power behind the glove box or at the fuse block.
ok, right now I am just jumpering off the radio 12V power. These things need a good direct 12+ volts
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:47 AM   #21
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Good job on the bracket. Sounds like you have a good solid ground. Find the CB shop and let them tune the antenna or borrow a meter. If you are still haveing problems, consider replacing the coax. Too much flexing / rubbing and it can wear mechanically.

Good luck with it.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:28 AM   #22
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Good job on the bracket. Sounds like you have a good solid ground. Find the CB shop and let them tune the antenna or borrow a meter. If you are still haveing problems, consider replacing the coax. Too much flexing / rubbing and it can wear mechanically.

Good luck with it.
thanks!

I may just buy a meter. The only CB shop in my area has some of the worst reviews I've ever seen. Not there during posted business hours, attitude towards customers, crazy high price gouging on un-knowing people...lol, they are actually funny to read. Short of online buying he's the only place I will be able to get a quick disconnect, so either I catch him on a good day, or I buy online and get me a "CB's for dummies book".
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:33 AM   #23
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ok, right now I am just jumpering off the radio 12V power. These things need a good direct 12+ volts
A direct line to the battery will cut down on "noise" picked up from other "car" oops jeep electronics.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:17 AM   #24
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A direct line to the battery will cut down on "noise" picked up from other "car" oops jeep electronics.
gotcha...thanks
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:25 AM   #25
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I was going to say that I think there is a c.b shop someplace in your area.It would make your life better to just go to one and let them deal with it.
I went by yesterday, has a sign hanging in the door that said "Closed Sat, be back noon on Monday" I was there at 1:30, Monday afternoon, all locked up. Called this morning after 9 am, no answer, called every 20 minutes, no answer. Search "St. Charles MO CB Shop"

there's about 10 reviews spread out on three or four sites that say he is notorious for not being there when supposed to, hates installs, jacks his prices up, etc. I know CB shops aren't bustling with business everyday, but come on you gotta be available to make that dollar!

I'm just gonna stay untuned and buy a meter online (no one close has one) and tune it myself. Might be a worth while investment seeing as if I'm haveing this problem, someone else must be too in the area.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:38 AM   #26
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I went by yesterday, has a sign hanging in the door that said "Closed Sat, be back noon on Monday" I was there at 1:30, Monday afternoon, all locked up. Called this morning after 9 am, no answer, called every 20 minutes, no answer. Search "St. Charles MO CB Shop"

there's about 10 reviews spread out on three or four sites that say he is notorious for not being there when supposed to, hates installs, jacks his prices up, etc. I know CB shops aren't bustling with business everyday, but come on you gotta be available to make that dollar!

I'm just gonna stay untuned and buy a meter online (no one close has one) and tune it myself. Might be a worth while investment seeing as if I'm haveing this problem, someone else must be too in the area.
Sorry to hear about your troubles with that shop. Some guys just don't have a real good business sense. We have a SWR meter with a 3' length of coax to help you tune your antenna. The meter is $19.99 and shipping is only $5.95 Give it some thought. Here is the link to the meter. Opek SWR2T SWR Meter
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:39 PM   #27
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Local jeep guy on Facebook hooked me up with a meter. We could not get the swr on 40 down below 3. Ch1 is at 1.4, ch20 is at 1.6. They were all over 3 until we used the ground lead from the antenna and swapped in a new cable. Got dark so gonna try again some other time. Ugg... Lol
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:10 PM   #28
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Good Luck, bud. Kepp us advised.

I had a local audio shop install mine--they recommended a bumper mount. I tuned it myself, and it came out at 1.5 even, so I was happy.

I'm considering re-mounting my antenna (Firestik Firefly) on the tail light, just to get the extra foot and a half or so of height to aid reception, Any thoughts on if this is worth it from anyone?

Also, any thoughts on how important the length of the coax is? I know some here have said it doesn't matter, others have said 18'. I ask because my installer used about nine feet of (what appears to be really high quality) coax.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:44 AM   #29
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Good Luck, bud. Kepp us advised.

I had a local audio shop install mine--they recommended a bumper mount. I tuned it myself, and it came out at 1.5 even, so I was happy.

I'm considering re-mounting my antenna (Firestik Firefly) on the tail light, just to get the extra foot and a half or so of height to aid reception, Any thoughts on if this is worth it from anyone?

Also, any thoughts on how important the length of the coax is? I know some here have said it doesn't matter, others have said 18'. I ask because my installer used about nine feet of (what appears to be really high quality) coax.
Coax is definitely an important part of the CB install. Basically, make sure you have enough to reach from the antenna to the radio (obviously), try to do this without having a lot of extra hanging around. If you do have extra, wrap it in a fairly large loop and cable tie it somewhere out of the way. And also high quality coax is the way to go! Spend the extra little bit of money to get Firestik or Belden coax. You will be much happier than having to take all of it out again because the coax was cheap.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:15 AM   #30
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Coax is definitely an important part of the CB install. Basically, make sure you have enough to reach from the antenna to the radio (obviously), try to do this without having a lot of extra hanging around. If you do have extra, wrap it in a fairly large loop and cable tie it somewhere out of the way. And also high quality coax is the way to go! Spend the extra little bit of money to get Firestik or Belden coax. You will be much happier than having to take all of it out again because the coax was cheap.
It was kinda funny--at first I thought it was some sort of speaker cable they used. Turns out, it is Belden Mini 8 cable, which I hear is pretty good.

So, not to hijack any more than I have, 18' of cable is not necessarilly a must if you don't need it?

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