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Old 07-29-2017, 11:00 PM
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Simple solution to a CB??

I want a cb radio for communicating on club rides, but don't want to spend a ton on it, or get boggled in wiring and tuning and all the fancy words and acronyms! Range isn't too big of a concern. So whats the cheapest and most user freindly set up that isn't complete garbage???

I was looking at the midland 822 handheld, and like the simplicity of it. (does it need to be tuned since it has the antenna attatched??)

Also the cobra 19 with a 4' firestick.

Thoughts??

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Old 07-30-2017, 08:38 AM   #2
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I want a cb radio for communicating on club rides, but don't want to spend a ton on it, or get boggled in wiring and tuning and all the fancy words and acronyms! Range isn't too big of a concern. So whats the cheapest and most user freindly set up that isn't complete garbage???

I was looking at the midland 822 handheld, and like the simplicity of it. (does it need to be tuned since it has the antenna attatched??)

Also the cobra 19 with a 4' firestick.

Thoughts??
I have the Midland handhelds and they are really only good for 2 people communicating on foot within close range ( i.e. Hunting or hiking). Get a Uniden 510 which is small and cheap. I went with a 2' fire stick on the spare tire and it works fine.

You'll have to suck it up and do the antenna tuning. It's easy. You can install everything in a couple of hours even if you take your time. I think I spent around $150 for my radio, antenna and all instal parts including the tuning meter.
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Old 07-30-2017, 02:52 PM   #3
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Right Channel Radio's

Take a look at this sight. The link is to the package I bought. It comes with everything you need. Mine came with an SWR meter as well, but I don't see it listed here. Lots of people will tell you it's too expensive, they bought the same thing from Joe Blow for $50 cheaper, etc. etc. Some folks will buy one part here, another part there and so on. I'm glad I bought the complete setup. Maybe a little more, but it's complete.

I put the little gray box in the bottom of the console and then a small piece of plywood over it. I leave the mic in the console until needed and then hang it on the clip.

They also have other brands beside the Cobra 75 you might want to look at.

I've never had much luck with a hand held and stopped using them sometime ago.
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Old 07-30-2017, 04:47 PM   #4
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When I go out with folks, I mount a 2' firestick on my front fender with 9' of RG8x and install a 510xl on a quick disconnect. When not in use the wires tuck up under the center console then I undo the two thumb screws and the CB goes on the shelf with the rest of the trail gear. Easy in/Easy out.
https://www.quadratec.com/products/96080_212.htm
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Old 07-31-2017, 08:47 PM   #5
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The handheld cb works alright. It will overheat if you talk on it too much, so most like the "box with heat sink" type.

The handheld antenna is garbage. The antenna *is* the radio. The box you connect to it makes much less impact on how it works then the antenna.

CB wants a 16 foot tall halfwave antenna for "full performance". An 8 foot quarter wave antenna is about as long as is practical for a vehicle. As you go shorter, the performance drops off quickly.

The shortest that people are generally ok with is a 2 foot antenna. A 4 foot antenna will work twice as well as the 2 foot. An 8 foot antenna will work twice as well as the 4 foot.

Since a 2 foot antenna on a handheld isn't practical, you want to mount it someplace.
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Justintb96 View Post
I want a cb radio for communicating on club rides, but don't want to spend a ton on it
As others have said, avoid the handheld radios completely. Instead, go with a standard unit with a proven track record of dependability and simplicity: the Uniden PRO 510XL. The one in my Jeep was purchased back in 1994 and it continues to perform perfectly (it has been mounted in many different vehicles over the years).

Last time I checked, you can buy a new PRO 510XL + a 3' FireStik antenna + an antenna cable to connect the two, all for about $60. That is a great deal in my opinion.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Justintb96 View Post
I want a CB radio for communicating on club rides but don't want to spend a ton on it or get boggled in wiring and tuning. . . . Range isn't too big of a concern. So whats the cheapest and most user friendly set up. . . ?
A CB installation need not be expensive or complex. However, range is always a concern otherwise what is the point of having a CB? You need to be able to hear everyone in your group and everyone needs to be able to hear you.

As mentioned above, Uniden markets inexpensive compact CB transceivers with decent performance, namely the Pro510XL and Pro520XL. The Cobra 75wxst all-in-one is a good choice when there isn't a good mounting location or if you don't want a CB visible when you aren't using it.

Your antenna will make or break your CB installation. It is more important than the radio itself. The longer the antenna and the higher it is mounted the better. In my opinion a 2' antenna is too short - range is minimal and 2' antennas are hard to tune. If you are worried about not being able to get in and out of your garage with a 3' or longer antenna then use a quick disconnect and put the antenna on only when you intend to use your radio.

Since you want to keep things simple my advice is to contact rightchannelradios.com or another online vendor and buy a kit that includes everything you need.

No matter what CB or CB antenna you choose, your antenna will need to be tuned. That's just the way it is - pre-tuned antennas are a myth, they will be "close enough" to keep you from frying your output circuit when you transmit but you won't get good performance. If you don't want to tune your antenna yourself get a fellow club member to help you or find a CB shop and pay them to do it for you. Brick and mortar CB shops are becoming increasingly rare, but you can often find them near major truck stops.

Best of luck.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:13 PM   #8
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what do you need to get the Cobra 75wxst running? does it need an antenna or anything like that. Or does it plug into the cig lighter and u are good to go?

Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:31 PM   #9
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what do you need to get the Cobra 75wxst running? does it need an antenna or anything like that. Or does it plug into the cig lighter and u are good to go?
You need:

Antenna mount and antenna;

Coax from Antenna to Remote Connector Box; and

Power connection, either wired directly to the battery (preferred) or to a power source under the dash (typically with a fuse tap). This radio is not powered via a cigarette lighter or 12v power plug.

The manual for the Cobra 75wxst, which includes installation instructions, is here: http://www.cobra.com/sites/default/f...%20WX%20ST.pdf

Once everything is connected the antenna needs to be tuned. [See, https://www.rightchannelradios.com/b...g-instructions
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:51 PM   #10
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I bought this set up and mounted the radio on the removable panel under the steering wheel. I paid about $114 total. Even if you purchase a different radio, skip the pre-built kits. Buy separate and save your money for something else.
Antenna mount
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Antenna
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Antenna stud
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Coax
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
SWR
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Uniden 510xl
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here is the mounted location. Wire were not hidden at the time I took the pics, they are now.

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Old 08-03-2017, 01:11 PM   #11
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thanks for putting that together.
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:05 PM   #12
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I do have to say I wish there was a physical store here in north nj I can just go pick all this up. Buying on amazon wont be here on time.
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:08 PM   #13
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I do have to say I wish there was a physical store here in north nj I can just go pick all this up. Buying on amazon wont be here on time.
Where in NJ?
A Radio Shack stand alone store should have it all. But they are scarce these days. If you don't mind a ride the White Dotte in South Jersey should have it all but at a cost

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Old 08-03-2017, 02:28 PM   #14
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they just shut the one down by me in west orange. I love radio shack its a shame.
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:44 PM   #15
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The below is just one of several reasons I'd never use or recommend a CB like Cobra's 75WXST that places all of the controls on the mic housing.

When you can even find the cord, they sell for over $20 which is too close to the $38 cost of a brand new complete Uniden Pro-520XL CB at Amazon.com. I actually just did a search for a replacement Cobra 428001 mic cord and they were out of stock at a dozen different sites.

Heck I can buy a generic $10 mic & cord for my Uniden at nearly any truck stop but you won't find a mic & cord there for Cobra's 75WXST.

That's just not a radio I'd ever recommend...
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Old 08-03-2017, 03:20 PM   #16
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sorry im new to this whole CB thing Do I need to get a SWR? Can I just buy a CB that has it already in it. If I decide not to go with the cobra?
Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2017, 03:27 PM   #17
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sorry im new to this whole CB thing Do I need to get a SWR? Can I just buy a CB that has it already in it. If I decide not to go with the cobra?
Thanks.
SWR meters typically cost about $25 with the 3' coax patch cord you need to hook it up. However, you don't need to buy a SWR meter if you have a friend who already owns one who is willing to help you or if you can borrow one from someone in a jeep club, etc.

Another option is to pay a CB shop to tune your antenna for you. You can often find CB shops at or near major truck stops.

Speaking of truck stops, in a previous post you expressed a desire for a retail location close to you because you don't have time for Amazon. Truck stops often have a good selection of CB radios, antennas, brackets, etc.

____________
P.S. - Don't try to use a built-in SWR meter in a CB radio to tune your antenna. It will be a frustrating experience and you won't get accurate results.
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Old 08-03-2017, 03:58 PM   #18
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. . . [A Cobra 75WXST is]. . . not a radio I'd ever recommend. . . .
The Cobra 75WXST has never been my first choice for a CB. I destroyed one in 1999 from bouncing it off the bare steel floor of my CJ-7 at Moab and vowed that I would never have another. However, since that time I've had several "overlanding" vehicles that did not have anyplace to mount a conventional CB and the Cobra 75WXT was the only practical choice. I just made sure that I didn't let the radio bounce around and avoided slamming the console and glove compartment doors on the cord. I currently have a Cobra 75WXST mounted in a 4WD SUV that has performed without fault for many years and shows no sign or wear or damage. It has worked well in that application and for many people in a similar situation the Cobra 75 is a good choice.

That being said, I am not considering the Cobra 75 for the LJ Rubicon I recently purchased. My LJ has several mounting options for a conventional CB radio rendering the all-in-one feature of the Cobra unnecessary. In addition, my LJ will see tough trails so it needs a durable CB radio that is inexpensive to replace when it fails. [Notice I didn't say "if" it fails. In my experience all CB radios mounted in jeeps that see heavy trail use eventually fail or at least need replacement microphones, cords, etc.]

My choice of CB for the LJ is the Uniden Pro520XL mounted overhead next to my Yaesu FT-90 2m/70cm Ham radio on an Arizona Rocky Road radio mount. It is a simple, compact no frills radio with a reputation for durability that can be "peaked and tuned" for optimum performance and still cost less than the Cobra 75.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:48 AM   #19
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I do have to say I wish there was a physical store here in north nj I can just go pick all this up. Buying on amazon wont be here on time.
Did you take a look at Advanced Specialties in Lodi? Haven't been there myself and there website looks like it's from the 90's but that may be an option.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for all the great info! I think I'm gonna go with the uniden 510xl or the 520xl. Is the 520xl worth the extra $20?

Can we agree that one of those, and 4-foot antenna on the spare tire rack will be enough to communicate on a trail ride (<2miles)?
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:34 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the great info! I think I'm gonna go with the uniden 510xl or the 520xl. Is the 520xl worth the extra $20?

Can we agree that one of those, and 4-foot antenna on the spare tire rack will be enough to communicate on a trail ride (<2miles)?
That will be fine. Though if there is any reason that you will put your jeep in a garage then either get a quick release for the antenna or go with a 3'. With mine even a 3' hits the frame. So when I plan on storing in the garage I switch to a 2' for a bit. I have used both on the trail and sometimes on the Turnpike and have no issues with communication.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:55 AM   #22
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Advanced Specialties in Lodi would be a great option. Thanks for finding that!!
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:24 AM   #23
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. . . I think I'm gonna go with the uniden 510xl or the 520xl. Is the 520xl worth the extra $20. . . ?
The Uniden Pro520XL has a RF Gain control and PA capability. Other than those two additional feathers, the two transceivers are the same. Only you can decide whether these features are worth the price difference.

I chose the Pro520XL over the Pro510XL. I don't need or want the PA function, but I thought the RF gain was worth the extra few dollars.

What the heck is RF gain you say? Read this explanation from CB World

Quote:
What is RF Gain on a CB Radio?

RF is used as a synonym for "radio," in this case a CB radio. It describes the wireless communication of signals through the air rather than through wires like a plug-in home phone. Noise interferes with signals and it comes from the atmosphere, other nearby channels that overlap slightly, and environmental surroundings. To counteract noise, RF gain acts as a sensitivity filter. It reduces noise in the receiver without reducing reception power as a CB radio squelch does.

What Does RF Gain Do On a CB Radio?

Without getting technical, CB RF gain can be thought of as another way to "squelch" noise without using the CB squelch, or in conjunction with the squelch. When you crank up the squelch, you'll hear only the signals closest to you - the ones that are the strongest. That means you'll hear less "noise" - usually the most distant signals will disappear.

So, if you want to hear a transmission from farther away, keep the gain almost wide open. If you want to focus on the transmissions closest to you, turn the CB radio RF gain clockwise until only the strongest (closest) signals remain.

Some truckers turn the squelch on a CB radio all the way off, turn the RF gain on a CB radio all the way on, then dial back the RF gain control until almost all the noise disappears. That eliminates the choppy signals that a squelched radio produces, but it still allows the distant signals to come in. As vehicles travel closer to you, the signals will get stronger and louder due to their proximity. To maintain a conversation with someone whose signal is fading, you can turn the squelch down and also turn the gain up to give you a somewhat longer range to finish your talk.
See https://www.wearecb.com/what-is-rf-gain-cb-radio.html
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:44 PM   #24
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Thats good info @Mr. Bills and was sort of what I expected from fiddling around with the RF gain on my 520 for the last couple of weeks. I originally thought I had a crap ton of guys near me using their radios, but it seems like it's dead silent almost always for local stuff. I've been pulling in distant transmissions from who knows where.

I'm really wondering how far I can receive a signal with a 2 ft firestick if the conditions are right. One of the channels I use has 2 guys that seem to be always on. Either they are stationary or they drive the same route all day. One time I could pick them up when I was about 30 miles from home. They can't seem to hear me, but I can always hear them. My gain has been set pretty high.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:11 PM   #25
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Thats good info @Mr. Bills and was sort of what I expected from fiddling around with the RF gain on my 520 for the last couple of weeks. I originally thought I had a crap ton of guys near me using their radios, but it seems like it's dead silent almost always for local stuff. I've been pulling in distant transmissions from who knows where.

I'm really wondering how far I can receive a signal with a 2 ft firestick if the conditions are right. One of the channels I use has 2 guys that seem to be always on. Either they are stationary or they drive the same route all day. One time I could pick them up when I was about 30 miles from home. They can't seem to hear me, but I can always hear them. My gain has been set pretty high.
Just keep your RF Gain turned all the way up, then turn up the Squelch control until the hiss just silences. Rarely would turning the RF Gain control down ever be required and that would only be needed if someone close by was transmitting with too much power and overloading your CB's receiver circuitry. Keeping the RF Gain turned all the way up as its normal setting will keep your CB at its most sensitive setting so it will receive the weakest possible signals.

Turning the Squelch up higher than what is necessary to shut the hissing off will make it so you won't hear weaker signals. Turn the Squelch control up just enough to shut the hissing off and it will be set correctly.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:29 PM   #26
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So here is what I bought: I think I got everthing needed for this install except the SWR(Correct me if im wrong)

Thanks.

Cobra 75WXST
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...=A2Y7LLQC87RDQ

Firestik SS-3H
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

18' RG-58A/U Coaxial Cable With Pl-259 Connectors
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Car Spare Tire CB Antenna Mount For 2007-2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Firestik (FS-3BK) Black 3' 650W Tunable Tip CB Antenna
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Firestik K-4A Stud with Screw-On Coaxial Termination
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:48 PM   #27
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Those all look fine though personally, I would not buy or install the spring. Springs can make it harder to tune the antenna due to them making the antenna electrically longer. And they can also allow the antenna to whip around too much on a rough trail and bang into the top etc.

Be prepared to grind much of the powder coating off from the mount or the K-4A Stud will not be properly grounded which will make it impossible to tune the antenna.

I wish I could talk you out of that Cobra 75WXST and into a conventional CB like a Uniden Pro-520XL. I'm no fan of that particular Cobra. The speaker in its microphone is only about 3/4" in diameter so it's incapable of putting out enough volume in a noisy Jeep. It really also requires an aux external speaker so it can be heard well. And if its mic or mic cord goes bad, you won't be able to find an inexpensive $10 generic replacement like you can for a conventional Uniden, Cobra, or Midland CB.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:02 PM   #28
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Jerry,

Thanks for all the advice. I will install with out spring and return it then. I will keep that all in mind. If I don't like the speaker I can return it from amazon with no issue and then I can try my hand at the Uniden Pro. I think the main reason I am trying the cobra is the form factor. I also got this for a pretty good deal on amazon because they had an open box one. Hopefully it wont be a mistake.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:06 PM   #29
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You need this sooner rather then later right?
I have the spare tire bracket that I won't be needing anymore. I have an HD carrier and ended up making a new mount.
If you can find a way down to bordentown this weekend it's your for 50% cheaper then new

It's the tentacle bracket btw. Already grounded down for you

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Old 08-04-2017, 03:00 PM   #30
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Just keep your RF Gain turned all the way up, then turn up the Squelch control until the hiss just silences. Rarely would turning the RF Gain control down ever be required and that would only be needed if someone close by was transmitting with too much power and overloading your CB's receiver circuitry. Keeping the RF Gain turned all the way up as its normal setting will keep your CB at its most sensitive setting so it will receive the weakest possible signals.

Turning the Squelch up higher than what is necessary to shut the hissing off will make it so you won't hear weaker signals. Turn the Squelch control up just enough to shut the hissing off and it will be set correctly.
Thanks, and that's pretty much what I've been doing, but theoretically how far away might I be receiving signals from with the RF gain cranked? I don't have any mountains or major water around me, just small rolling hills.

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