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Old 03-17-2010, 02:14 PM
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Lightbulb CB antenna recommendation

im looking for a 3' cb antenna. What is a good one? Wilson,Firestick........?

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:33 PM   #2
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I preferred the much less "whippy" Firestick over the very whippy Wilson. The particular Firestick I recommend is the FS-3 which is a 3' tall antenna that has a tunable tip which makes it easy to tune. Not all Firestick antennas have a tunable tip which makes those others more difficult to tune.

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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I am running the same one Jerry Recommended,So far no complaints
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:25 PM
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can you explain the the tunable part of the antenna i keep seeing that.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:29 PM   #5
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Firestick's tunable tip has a brass tuning screw underneath the vinyl tip cover. Remove the vinyl cap & turn the brass tuning screw until the antenna is tuned for minimum SWR/maximum power output.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:34 PM   #6
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I have a Fire stick but not a tunable one it works for me
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 89PBR96 View Post
I have a Fire stick but not a tunable one it works for me
Never said they don't work, they are just more time consuming to tune. Plus if you cut the tuning wire inside too short, you're screwed so far as getting it properly tuned. You did tune yours, right?
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:43 PM
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ok so getting a manual tune one is better? i should go with a tunable one?
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #9
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Just got what they had at Radio Shack. Works fine for the one time a year I go wheeling and actually use it.




If you're going to use it more often (be honest) then listen to Jerry....
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #10
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Never said they don't work, they are just more time consuming to tune. Plus if you cut the tuning wire inside too short, you're screwed so far as getting it properly tuned. You did tune yours, right?
It was tuned then I added a spring in between the stick so it would not rip off the tub when in the trees.

It is a old CB nothing to brag up but it works for what I use it for that is what I was saying about my fire stick not talking the tunable one down I personally don't no much about CB radios I just no mine works lol
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #11
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ok so getting a manual tune one is better? i should go with a tunable one?
How did you get out of this exchange that a "manual tune" is better? Both styles are manually tuned anyway. The tunable tip version is just easier & can be retuned again later if your antenna mount location gets changed or modified.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:50 PM
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oh i thought one tunes itself and the tune tip one you have to tune. such every time i go on a trip
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:57 PM   #13
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It was tuned then I added a spring in between the stick so it would not rip off the tub when in the trees.
Adding that spring completely de-tuned your antenna by making the antenna significantly longer. It needs to be retuned after installing that spring.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:58 PM   #14
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Both types are "tuneable" and the difference is that:

Type Jerry indicates has a set screw to adjust the antenna length. Easy to set and if you ever change the radio/mounting location, you can just tune it again (or, re-tune if you like).

The second type has a coil of wire in the top. You need to check the SWR and keep clipping wire off until the antenna is the proper length. If you ever re-mount the antenna and it's too short, well tough. Buy a new antenna.

The wilson antenna's have a set screw also and I installed one of those on my Son's jeep. I ended up removing the 2" of adjustable antenna out of it to get it to the proper length.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:59 PM   #15
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oh i thought one tunes itself and the tune tip one you have to tune. such every time i go on a trip
No CB antenna tunes itself, a tunable tip just makes the job easier.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:32 PM   #16
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Adding that spring completely de-tuned your antenna by making the antenna significantly longer. It needs to be retuned after installing that spring.
I figured it needed to be re done I will by a newer one before I tune it I only use it for weather radio until I go to the woods with friends thanks for the heads up Jerry
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:35 PM   #17
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Glad to find this thread. i've been wondering the same thing, which antenna to go with. Picked up an unused Cobra CB out of Dad's garage, just need an antenna. Anyone care to share how they have their CB/antenna mounted? Pics would be appreciated.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:36 PM   #18
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I have the Wilson Flex or as some put it " Wimpy " , to each his own . I prefered the lighter, thinner one knowing it would be beating the back of my cab when in thick woods and brush . It adjusts with a set screw at the tip for tunning and it can be tuned as flat as any when mounted correctly. Haven't broke it yet but I am sure I will eventually.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:57 PM   #19
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My job is communication. the best possible location for an antenna in in the very center of the vehicle and above all interference. Though that is almost impossible in a Jeep. The spot most picked that is good would be in the rear center. No one can tell you what length you should get, it depends on where you mount it. The top of the antenna should be higher than any other point on your jeep. Higher is better but at many faults as obstacles(trees, parking garages) come into play. You can never buy a "pre-tuned" antenna if it uses the vehicle as the ground. There are some "floating ground" antennas that are pre-tuned but do not transmit as well as a grounded antenna.

To tune the antenna you need to have a SWR meter. I wouldn't buy one, a local amateur radio store can set you up though they like it if you buy the antenna there. The tunable antennas that were mentioned are very much recommended, as they can be moved around and retuned. Otherwise you pretty much have to chuck it if you want to move your mount and can't give it to a friend. Remember to tune your antenna with the cap on and your doors closed and with any metal object you are taking with you on when you tune(i.e. winch, metal cargo racks, etc.). I won't go into more detail as the SWR meter should have the instructions or the guy doing it should know also that can be covered in a book.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:59 PM   #20
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Oh and I recommend using firestik. I use the firefly model.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #21
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X2 .......Firestik
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #22
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Remember to tune your antenna with the cap on
That bears repeating for one reason... that the SWR of the antenna will change with the cap on & off.

To tune the antenna, you have to remove the vinyl tip cover to get to the tuning screw but with the vinyl cap off, you actually have to adjust the length to slightly one side of the point of minimum SWR (make the antenna slightly longer). That way, when you replace the vinyl cap, reinstalling the vinyl tip will bring it back down to the minimum SWR. It's a trial & error process.

The reason for all this is that the vinyl tip adds a bit of electrical capacitance to the antenna which lowers its resonant frequency.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:24 PM   #23
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Man Jerry you know alot about everything. I freaking teach classes on building antennas and can't find anything wrong with what you said.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:31 PM   #24
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I freaking teach classes on building antennas and can't find anything wrong with what you said.
I hope not, that's my background. I could repeat the formula for resonant frequency in my sleep. I can't remember anything important though.
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:07 AM
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Ok im going with the firestick Thank you everyone, thanks steven and jerry for explaining it to me.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:52 PM   #26
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Glad to find this thread. i've been wondering the same thing, which antenna to go with. Picked up an unused Cobra CB out of Dad's garage, just need an antenna. Anyone care to share how they have their CB/antenna mounted? Pics would be appreciated.
No pics but,

I have a magnetic base antenna. I run the cable from the CB, through the cab on the floor, out the back window/door seal, and have the antenna on the rear left of my bumper. Works fine. The CB is held in place on the console right in front of the shifter with a bungee. After I come back from wheeling, I disconnect it all and put it in the garage until next time. Power comes from the power point (lighter). Been on some pretty crazy rocks & bumps and it has not fallen off or even moved. Reception is good with the other vehicles I travel with. Have never tested for long distance.

It all depends on what you need. This is all I need.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:11 PM   #27
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Ah. found the place I got mine from a year ago(Arizona Rocky Road). Sadly it doesn't fit right now that I have the High Rock tire carrier installed. I will have to mod it and drill and tap a hole in my tailgate to fit it on again. I also used the mount for work as I use VHF/UHF antennas, they drilled the hole larger for me so I could use a so-259 stud, and got a converter.(Yes I tuned the antenna with it on). Need thing is that you can set up a dual antenna system with the mount, though I would call it overkill for what we use it for.

I don't have a close up picture off it so this is all I got. And my antenna is not mounted as I didn't leave it up all the time. You can't see how it is mounted that well in this pic but it uses the tire carrier mounting holes. Since I attached the connector on myself I just widened the gromet for the tail lights and ran it in through there. If you want more pics follow the link.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:11 PM   #28
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Mag-mount antennas can work very well, I've seen some magnetic base antennas that were so strong, magnetic-wise, that it nearly took a gorilla to pull them free. The couple inductively to the steel roof for their required ground plane and can work surpisingly well. They are a better fit for vehicles with steel roofs but I actually used a mag-mount 2m ham antenna mounted on my TJ's inside rear fenderwell, above the rear tire and it worked really well. I later made an external mount for a taller 2m ham antenna that was better in weak signal conditions but the previous mag mount worked fine so far as the mount itself goes.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:12 PM   #29
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Just found another pic from the back and the antenna on while I was at a meet.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:54 PM   #30
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I can't talk for how those magnetic base antennas work as far as signal goes on a Jeep...but if you've got a good metal base for them to stick to, they won't fall off very easily at all. I had a cheap $10 one on my truck for a while (up on top) and it only came off twice...once on a SUPER windy day while driving against the wind at around 60mph and once when I was pissed off and doing triple digits on an empty open road late one night.

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