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Old 11-16-2019, 06:02 PM
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CB antenna length?

Apologize if this has been beat on before, but does size matter...CB antennas that is. I just installed a CB with a 4' firestick and wish Id have bought a 3'. I was thinking the 4 with a FStick spring would allow for easy tipping down when pulling into the garage. That Firestick "HD spring" is pretty light and a 4' antenna and spring will be whipping all over and beat the soft top to death along the bow so I took the spring off. So now its a 4' and no spring, works great but to tall. Would a 3' really degrade transmission quality out in mountain forested areas?

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Old 11-16-2019, 07:20 PM   #2
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Generally speaking, the more metal in the air, the better it is when it comes to transmitting and receiving.

The quarter wave whip is about the largest that can be -easily- attached to a vehicle. A quarter wave at CB frequencies is 108 inches or about 9 feet. The common practice is to use a 103 foot stainless whip and attach that to a 5 inch spring to make up the 108 inches.

Fortunately, antennas can be made smaller. Instead of having wire going straight up, you can wind the wire in a coil around a form. (Like you can see on the Firestik). Very simply put, the coil tricks the signal into thinking the antenna is longer than it is. It's not as good as a full quarter wave antenna, but it's much more convenient when going into parking garages etc.

The four inches you took off shouldn't make that much difference. Small changes in length are more likely to upset the SWR. But if your SWR is still good without the spring, then you should be OK.

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Old 11-16-2019, 08:09 PM   #3
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I run a 4’ firestick on the SS spring. Have had a few issues but nothing worth changing it out. So far I like my set up just have to be mindful that it’s there.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:03 PM   #4
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I went from a 4' to a 3', then to a 2' as my TJ got bigger in order to clear my garage door and overhead obstacles in some parking lots.

My 2' works great, I really never noticed any difference or felt any need to go back up to even a 3'. I frequently lead sometimes large groups out in the desert canyons and I never have any problems communicating with anyone, even all the way to the rear when the group has gotten well spread out.

Yes the taller the antenna the better it will work but don't think for even a second that a 3' or 4' antenna is required for good communications while offroading with friends or in groups.

My 2' works great even in desert canyons like this one, my American flag is zip-tied to the top of my 2' Firestick FS-2 antenna.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:06 AM
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Hey Jerry, I do 95% solo or with 1 friend maybe exploring up in the White mountains here in AZ. 9500' elevation give or take, with lots of tall pines and mountainous type terrain. My hopes are for max transmission capability outta the area if needed. Cell service is spotty and I do carry a survival pack if I have to walk out. When the monsoon storms roll in and the mud here is unbelievable. Had to abandon in place my dual sport once due to that. Its literally impossible to stand up in the gumbo clay areas for the slipperyness. Typically when a person goes missing here its the SAR out and looking for them as there is thousands of acres and hundreds+++ of miles of dirt roads to get lost on. Maybe a satellite PH would be a better choice? Regardless, the 4' firestick is really to long going in and out of the garage. I added a spring so I can kinda hook it under the edge of the softop,but the spring sseems awful weak and will be whipping all over and back. I was thinking buying a 3' FS which would perfect with no spring but was reluctant to degrade CB performance.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:47 AM   #6
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First, I never recommend wheeling alone... especially in remote areas like you're talking about. Too many possibilities of something going wrong.

For those conditions I'd go with a 4' CB antenna while I'm in those remote areas but my primary radio would not be a CB, it'd be a 2 meter ham radio. Odds are very good you'd be able to communicate well up there with all the ham radio repeaters scattered all around Arizona. The odds are not so good you'd be able to raise anyone with a CB during the day with even a 102" whip.

It takes less than a day to learn enough to pass the most basic Technician ham radio test so you could run one. ARRL | Licensing, Education & Training | Getting on the Air

Look at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=gordon+we...b_sb_ss_i_3_12 for various courses, I'd go with Gordon West's book plus software course. His audio courses are fun, he has a good sense of humor and they're fun to listen to. He's how I got my General class ham radio license.
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:28 PM   #7
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What Jerry said. If you are going to be remote and alone or just one other person (like Jerry, I don't advocate wheeling alone) the longer your CB antenna is, the better. I also would recommend getting your ticket and go with a ham radio.

Gordon West's materials are top notch. I did Technician and General with just on line study guides but used Gordo's Extra materials to pass my extra.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:21 PM
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Thanks for the information guys, I'll be looking into your recommendations.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:08 PM   #9
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Re differences in performance between 4' and 3' Firestik antennas:

I currently use a 2' Firestik II antenna around town when I need to get in/out of my garage, parking structures, etc. I use all brass quick disconnects from breedlovemounts.com so I can easily switch to a 4' antenna.

I have observed that there is a performance difference between the 2' and 4' lengths which is why I continue to switch to the 4' length when out on a run rather than just stick with the 2' length for all purposes.

I have a roof top CB antenna mount on a non-jeep 4x4 I own. The 4' Firestik II antenna was just too stiff, even with a medium duty spring, so I stopped using it on that vehicle and replaced it with a 3' Firestik Firefly which is so flexible that it really doesn't need a spring at all (although I still have a medium duty spring on that mount because I'm too lazy to re-tune the 3' antenna without the spring in the system). Unlike the noticeable difference between the 4' Firestik II and the 2' Firestik II, the difference in performance between the 4' Firestik II and the 3' Firefly is almost too small to discern without instruments.

Re CB vs. 2m ham for backcountry communications:

CB is still the common denominator for jeepers so you really need to have one, but the range is so short that it is not an effective tool for emergency communications. Two meter ham is better for that. I have both in all of my offroad vehicles.

What is best for that SHTF emergency situation?

Spot locator or Garmin inReach. Satellite text capability to/from anywhere in the world with a GPS locator. Those of us who have reached the age where prompt medical attention may make the difference between surviving a "heart episode" and becoming a fond memory to our families should never travel in remote areas alone without one.

I just purchased a Garmin inReach Explorer+ to carry on an upcoming overlanding trip to Cabo San Lucas MX:

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Old 11-29-2019, 04:19 PM   #10
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CB antenna length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bills View Post
I just purchased a Garmin inReach Explorer+ to carry on an upcoming overlanding trip to Cabo San Lucas MX:

I have one of these, and it works very well, I particularly like the weather forecasts when ive been out of cell range for a week. But for the money, the user interface really sucks.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jo3gee View Post
I have one of these, and it works very well, I particularly like the weather forecasts when ive been out of cell range for a week. But for the money, the user interface really sucks.
"Garmin has the most intuitive user interface" said no one ever.

As a Garmin user of many years I'm used to it so it no longer bothers me.

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