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Old 08-31-2016, 11:38 PM
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What CB Radio to get?

I was hoping someone can tell me a good cheap CB radio for when going off-roading. I see a lot and am not sure about which to get.

I was looking at Cobra 19DXIV 40 Channel Mobile Compact CB Radio - Will I need an antenna? Any suggestions?

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Old 09-01-2016, 12:04 AM   #2
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That's a good little radio, so is the similar sized Midland radio about the same price.

Of course you need an antenna. Depending on your vehicle the easy way to go is get a magnetic mount antenna with a good strong magnet. Wilson is a good brand, there are others.

The performance of your CB is all about your antenna. The radios are generally equal. For the best performance find a CB shop and pay to have an antenna permanently mounted and tuned. A badly out of tune antenna can fry your radio. CB shops still exist and are usually located adjacent to a truck stop.

Make sure it's really a CB you want because I just heard that Jeepers are switching over to FRS/GMRS walkie talkies for communicating off road. I prefer them myself for that purpose. A properly installed CB is capable of much greater distance though depending on current atmospheric conditions.

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Old 09-01-2016, 09:41 AM   #3
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Ill throw in my vote for the Uniden 520XL. Can be had for around $50. Small and compact, loud speaker, 40 channels. Paired with a 3' firestik I get great reception and my swr is 1.3. Firestik is easy to tune, literally dial it in with a nut/stud combo. Terraflex makes a taillight mount for the TJ. On the driver side the brake wiring runs thru the tub and many people run their cable thru that and to the antenna.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:41 AM   #4
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a few months back I was on my search for a radio and after my research I came up with the Midland 1001LWX This little radio has a lot of features that similar radios of its size don't have, such as rf gain, and my favorite option...weather band!!! I live in a crazy weather mountains region and the NOAA weather radio is a need.. For its size and for under 50 bucks with shipping from amazon, it's a great deal, and it preforms flawlessly, check it out...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0017...o7L&ref=plSrch
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Old 09-01-2016, 11:11 AM   #5
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I have that Cobra19 and love it, but the other 2 referred to are also good.
X2 on tworley suggestion of the 3' firestik and the terraflex taillight mount. Thats the setup I run. It was an easy install with a little patience on the coax
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:24 PM   #6
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:07 PM   #7
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I'd rank Uniden and Midland about the same in terms of quality but Uniden is about the most popular. A Uniden Pro520-XL has been in my Jeep for 20 years and it's commonly available for $50 or under. The Pro-510-XL is the same radio but doesn't include the rarely needed RF Gain control or PA (public address) function. Midland has similar radios.

My opinion of Cobra is that their quality has slipped a lot since the 60's and 70's when it was the #1 brand.

Yes for sure you'll need an antenna, a Firestik is a good brand. If you go with a Firestik, make sure to get the "tunable tip" version which is their FS series. A FS-2 or FS-3 (2' vs. 3') is all you need for trail use. Taller than 3' and they start running into things and you won't notice the performance difference between them on the trail. Also place the antenna mount up at about the tail light level. Bumper mount antennas don't work as well since they're too close to the steel tub which negatively affects how well they work.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:56 PM
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I'd rank Uniden and Midland about the same in terms of quality but Uniden is about the most popular. A Uniden Pro520-XL has been in my Jeep for 20 years and it's commonly available for $50 or under. The Pro-510-XL is the same radio but doesn't include the rarely needed RF Gain control or PA (public address) function. Midland has similar radios.

My opinion of Cobra is that their quality has slipped a lot since the 60's and 70's when it was the #1 brand.

Yes for sure you'll need an antenna, a Firestik is a good brand. If you go with a Firestik, make sure to get the "tunable tip" version which is their FS series. A FS-2 or FS-3 (2' vs. 3') is all you need for trail use. Taller than 3' and they start running into things and you won't notice the performance difference between them on the trail. Also place the antenna mount up at about the tail light level. Bumper mount antennas don't work as well since they're too close to the steel tub which negatively affects how well they work.
Any chance you can recommend me a good antenna if I get the UNIDEN?

EDIT: Sorry not antenna - a good mount*
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:45 PM
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I see the firestik you're talking about but what else would I need with this? I see that it's just the antenna. What holder would I get for this? Do you mean FL because I do not see FS, could be looking in wrong place.

Example: https://www.amazon.com/FireStik-FL3-...words=firestik
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:50 AM   #10
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What year and model Jeep do you have? Then a recommendation for the mount can probably be made.

Edit: I figured out you just bought a 2004 TJ, great choice.

This is the antenna mounting bracket I personally would go with... https://www.quadratec.com/products/9...GIEaAi4t8P8HAQ

That mounting bracket isn't cheap and there are cheaper mounts all over the place but that particular mount has several redeeming properties. The biggest benefit is that it is all stainless steel. Cheaper mounts are usually powder coated which means the powder coating must be ground off in several places so the antenna mount can provide the required ground connection to the antenna mount. Then they can rust where the powder coating had to be ground off. And you have to grind it off in the right locations. This rust-free stainless steel mount eliminates that worry and makes the whole installation a lot simpler and worry-free.

Plus it is easily installed under the rear tail light. There are three bolts under the tail light's lens that hold it to the tub. Remove those & insert this mount. Couldn't be simpler.

This is the FS3 3' version of the FS series I recommended... https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=Firestik+fs3

The Firestik FL3 Firefly antenna you found is too whippy/flexible for much offroad use, it will always be swaying around and banging into the Jeep.

You also need this... this mounts the antenna to the antenna mounting bracket. Make darned sure it gets assembled & installed exactly as the instructions describe, especially the white nylon insulated shoulder washer's location as it is there to insulate the antenna from ground.

https://www.amazon.com/FIRESTIK-RADI...+antenna+mount

You also need the cable like at https://www.amazon.com/RG-58A-Coaxia...=CB+coax+cable

Finally, this is the 2' version of the above antenna which is what I use and recommend over the 3'. It has a good height for when it is mounted at taillight level and won't bump into garage doors or low-hanging parking garage roofs. Mine works as well as my previous 4' then 3' antennas for getting out in the large groups I wheel in or lead. It works as well for offroading as the taller antennas, I've never been tempted to go back to a taller antenna. You'll never have to remove it to get into a garage, if you park in a garage.

I hope this helped...
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:31 PM   #11
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The quadratec mount that Jerry linked to is similar to the terraflex, just in stainless steel.....terraflex is only about 5 bucks cheaper...but that design is what I use and it works great for keeping the antenna out of the way and allowing good reception and BC..just tune the antenna...Dont know that you really need the stainless steel, I have never had any grounding or rust issues, but I live in sunny So Cal, but I guess it for 5 bucks more it can't hurt
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
What year and model Jeep do you have? Then a recommendation for the mount can probably be made.

Edit: I figured out you just bought a 2004 TJ, great choice.

This is the antenna mounting bracket I personally would go with... Quadratec Exclusive Stainless Steel CB Antenna Mount for 76-06 Jeep® CJ & Wrangler - Rear Driver Mount | Quadratec

That mounting bracket isn't cheap and there are cheaper mounts all over the place but that particular mount has several redeeming properties. The biggest benefit is that it is all stainless steel. Cheaper mounts are usually powder coated which means the powder coating must be ground off in several places so the antenna mount can provide the required ground connection to the antenna mount. Then they can rust where the powder coating had to be ground off. And you have to grind it off in the right locations. This rust-free stainless steel mount eliminates that worry and makes the whole installation a lot simpler and worry-free.

Plus it is easily installed under the rear tail light. There are three bolts under the tail light's lens that hold it to the tub. Remove those & insert this mount. Couldn't be simpler.

This is the FS3 3' version of the FS series I recommended... https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=Firestik+fs3

The Firestik FL3 Firefly antenna you found is too whippy/flexible for much offroad use, it will always be swaying around and banging into the Jeep.

You also need this... this mounts the antenna to the antenna mounting bracket. Make darned sure it gets assembled & installed exactly as the instructions describe, especially the white nylon insulated shoulder washer's location as it is there to insulate the antenna from ground.

https://www.amazon.com/FIRESTIK-RADI...+antenna+mount

You also need the cable like at https://www.amazon.com/RG-58A-Coaxia...=CB+coax+cable

Finally, this is the 2' version of the above antenna which is what I use and recommend over the 3'. It has a good height for when it is mounted at taillight level and won't bump into garage doors or low-hanging parking garage roofs. Mine works as well as my previous 4' then 3' antennas for getting out in the large groups I wheel in or lead. It works as well for offroading as the taller antennas, I've never been tempted to go back to a taller antenna. You'll never have to remove it to get into a garage, if you park in a garage.

I hope this helped...
YES!! This does help a lot, I really appreciate it. I ended up getting a lil Wilson magnet mount for now and a car charger converter for the CB (Uniden Pro520XL). I will loose leaf it until I get my steel center console and make a compartment for it there.

Any ideas how the mount to the tail light works with a soft top and having the top down? Would it interfere with it much?

Jerry thanks for the info, it really helps a lot.
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rio lobo View Post
terraflex is only about 5 bucks cheaper...but that design is what I use and it works great for keeping the antenna out of the way and allowing good reception and BC..just tune the antenna...Dont know that you really need the stainless steel, I have never had any grounding or rust issues, but I live in sunny So Cal, but I guess it for 5 bucks more it can't hurt
The issue with any powder coated antenna mounting bracket is the powder coating insulates it where it shouldn't/can't be insulated. You have to know where to grind the powder coating away so the antenna mount gets its required RF ground connection to the Jeep. If you know enough about that requirement and grind the powder coating away in the right areas, they work fine but not as they come out of bag... the powder coating absolutely must be ground away in two areas so the required RF ground is obtained so a good low SWR can be obtained.

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Any ideas how the mount to the tail light works with a soft top and having the top down? Would it interfere with it much?

Jerry thanks for the info, it really helps a lot.
The taillight mounting bracket does not come close to or interfere with the hard or soft tops (up or down) at all. It's one of the most popular mounts for the Wrangler as it works well without interfering with anything.

PM me when you're ready to install it and I'll give you a few installation hints that will make getting the antenna tuned easier.

Oh, one more thing... if you don't know of anyone with an SWR meter which is used to adjust the antenna length so it works properly and puts out as much power as the CB is capable of providing, you need to buy one. Or make the drive to me in north San Diego county or to someone closer who does have an SWR meter so it can be tuned.

If you want to buy the SWR meter, it's not hard to figure out how to use to tune the antenna. I can help you on it.

Here's an inexpensive SWR meter at Amazon... https://www.amazon.com/METER-Radio-A...s=cb+swr+meter

That little 3' jumper cable included is used only during the tuning process. You can sell the SWR meter afterward or keep it around to help others who are always looking to borrow one or help them tune their antenna.
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:12 AM   #14
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This is the mpunt I went with, It gets the antenna higher and I like the look of the antenna behind the spare tire.. The shipping was fast and the equipment was perfect.. Very happy with it.. check out the link
http://www.arizonarockyroad.com
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:12 PM   #15
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Anyone done with their SWR meter and want to pass it along to the next guy?
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
What year and model Jeep do you have? Then a recommendation for the mount can probably be made.

Edit: I figured out you just bought a 2004 TJ, great choice.

This is the antenna mounting bracket I personally would go with... Quadratec Exclusive Stainless Steel CB Antenna Mount for 76-06 Jeep® CJ & Wrangler - Rear Driver Mount | Quadratec

That mounting bracket isn't cheap and there are cheaper mounts all over the place but that particular mount has several redeeming properties. The biggest benefit is that it is all stainless steel. Cheaper mounts are usually powder coated which means the powder coating must be ground off in several places so the antenna mount can provide the required ground connection to the antenna mount. Then they can rust where the powder coating had to be ground off. And you have to grind it off in the right locations. This rust-free stainless steel mount eliminates that worry and makes the whole installation a lot simpler and worry-free.

Plus it is easily installed under the rear tail light. There are three bolts under the tail light's lens that hold it to the tub. Remove those & insert this mount. Couldn't be simpler.

This is the FS3 3' version of the FS series I recommended... https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=Firestik+fs3

The Firestik FL3 Firefly antenna you found is too whippy/flexible for much offroad use, it will always be swaying around and banging into the Jeep.

You also need this... this mounts the antenna to the antenna mounting bracket. Make darned sure it gets assembled & installed exactly as the instructions describe, especially the white nylon insulated shoulder washer's location as it is there to insulate the antenna from ground.

https://www.amazon.com/FIRESTIK-RADI...+antenna+mount

You also need the cable like at https://www.amazon.com/RG-58A-Coaxia...=CB+coax+cable

Finally, this is the 2' version of the above antenna which is what I use and recommend over the 3'. It has a good height for when it is mounted at taillight level and won't bump into garage doors or low-hanging parking garage roofs. Mine works as well as my previous 4' then 3' antennas for getting out in the large groups I wheel in or lead. It works as well for offroading as the taller antennas, I've never been tempted to go back to a taller antenna. You'll never have to remove it to get into a garage, if you park in a garage.

I hope this helped...
Hello Jerry,
Did you use Antenna spring on your set up?
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:55 PM   #17
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Hello Jerry,
Did you use Antenna spring on your set up?
No never, I consider antenna springs to have two problems. 1) They can allow the antenna to sway excessively on some trail conditions. 2) They add to the antenna's electrical length which can make it impossible in some cases to get the antenna properly tuned to the lowest possible SWR.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:22 PM   #18
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What CB Radio to get?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
No never, I consider antenna springs to have two problems. 1) They can allow the antenna to sway excessively on some trail conditions. 2) They add to the antenna's electrical length which can make it impossible in some cases to get the antenna properly tuned to the lowest possible SWR.


Thanks Jerry!
I was doing mine CB homework when this post comes true. Your info is very appreciated.



Replay while Happy Jeeping!!!
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Old 10-27-2016, 08:35 AM   #19
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I have had several over the years one i regret getting rid of badly. I was giving uniden 520 pro and i really like it and had it peaked and tuned puts out 35 watts. I wasn't the one I wanted but I used it with a 4 foot firestik worked really good. The 148 was my main choice since the set up I had years ago gave me over 400 channels and about 375 in watts. the guy that set this up for me had a didget scan on it. oh well, it was one of the last great 148 out the mic mounted on the side. The jeep is limited on room and i bought the cobra 29 looks like the 148 but a little better toughness to it. I have a little work done and its putting out 151 watts. I like it and enjoy talking on the cb, park on a hill somewhere and talk all around s. cali with no problems. I know some don't like the harsh talking out there but its fun, its part of the game you can actually have great coversations with people for hours on end. I have meet several people here recently. JUst take it for wants its worth entertainment. never take what goes on on the cb personally and its a great place to let off so steam if needed too lol. If you were close to me Id help you set up your swr, but i wont give you mine...I really want to get some more power behind my radio and putting a hot box under my seat doesnl't impress me too much but I may just have to do that. Id liked to move up to 500. I can sit in my driveway talking for hours and having fun
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:00 AM   #20
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I call BS to all of it.
No way those radio's will put out that much power. The finals just won't handle it.
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Old 10-27-2016, 02:54 PM   #21
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I call BS to all of it.
No way those radio's will put out that much power. The finals just won't handle it.
X2, the CB shop that claimed it got 35 watts out of a Pro520XL was lying or smoking something.

Not to mention boosting the transmitter power like that is illegal. The CB's max output power is limited to 4 watts due to the CB channels being so closely spaced together that much more power than that will cause the signal to bleed over into adjacent channels. I can't count the number of times I've had to move 3-10 channels away from some frigging hick-yahoo running high power just so I could use the CB without him interfering with me.
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Old 10-27-2016, 03:09 PM   #22
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I suspect a troll....New member...posts nonsense...hmmmmm...or maybe he just wants to get noticed as a newbie. If this is the case, I would welcome you, but know there are better ways to get noticed
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:57 PM   #23
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I'd rank Uniden and Midland about the same in terms of quality but Uniden is about the most popular. A Uniden Pro520-XL has been in my Jeep for 20 years and it's commonly available for $50 or under. The Pro-510-XL is the same radio but doesn't include the rarely needed RF Gain control or PA (public address) function. Midland has similar radios.

My opinion of Cobra is that their quality has slipped a lot since the 60's and 70's when it was the #1 brand.

Yes for sure you'll need an antenna, a Firestik is a good brand. If you go with a Firestik, make sure to get the "tunable tip" version which is their FS series. A FS-2 or FS-3 (2' vs. 3') is all you need for trail use. Taller than 3' and they start running into things and you won't notice the performance difference between them on the trail. Also place the antenna mount up at about the tail light level. Bumper mount antennas don't work as well since they're too close to the steel tub which negatively affects how well they work.
I believe this was about the time they merged and as far as I know are both made by Uniden now unless they have been sold again.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:02 PM   #24
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I have had several over the years one i regret getting rid of badly. I was giving uniden 520 pro and i really like it and had it peaked and tuned puts out 3.5 watts. I wasn't the one I wanted but I used it with a 4 foot firestik worked really good. The 148 was my main choice since the set up I had years ago gave me over 400 channels and about 3.75 in watts. the guy that set this up for me had a didget scan on it. oh well, it was one of the last great 148 out the mic mounted on the side. The jeep is limited on room and i bought the cobra 29 looks like the 148 but a little better toughness to it. I have a little work done and its putting out 1.51 watts. I like it and enjoy talking on the cb, park on a hill somewhere and talk all around s. cali with no problems. I know some don't like the harsh talking out there but its fun, its part of the game you can actually have great coversations with people for hours on end. I have meet several people here recently. JUst take it for wants its worth entertainment. never take what goes on on the cb personally and its a great place to let off so steam if needed too lol. If you were close to me Id help you set up your swr, but i wont give you mine...I really want to get some more power behind my radio and putting a hot box under my seat doesnl't impress me too much but I may just have to do that. Id liked to move up to 500. I can sit in my driveway talking for hours and having fun
These in red would be more realistic without an amp.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:11 PM   #25
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I believe this was about the time they merged and as far as I know are both made by Uniden now unless they have been sold again.
I would go with a uniden if I was buying new. I like supporting companies that actually put money in to R&D and developing cool new stuff. Their new modern SSB CB's and their scanners prove they arn't just phoning it in and living off the past.

Cobra went from being OK to total junk when they switched to China from Malaysia.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:19 PM   #26
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I would go with a uniden if I was buying new. I like supporting companies that actually put money in to R&D and developing cool new stuff. Their new modern SSB CB's and their scanners prove they arn't just phoning it in and living off the past.

Cobra went from being OK to total junk when they switched to China from Malaysia.
I believe at the time they had Cobra and President then they merged and now are the same company I think the just Kept the Cobra name for sales!
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:53 PM   #27
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The finals just won't handle it.
Final. No "S".
The radios he mentioned are single final radios.
Uniden 5xx uses a C2078 final. It was made to do nothing more then 4watts. If you don't care about cooking it then you could maybe get 7-10 messy watts out of it.
The 148 uses the common C1969 which can do 20watts tops.

In the 148 I guess you have the room and could do some major surgery and change out the final stage... but who would waste the time to do that on such low end radios?
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Old 10-28-2016, 08:56 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by BeachGeezer View Post
These in red would be more realistic without an amp.
Ya I was gonna say...375 watts?! That's a damn AM radio station not a CB.
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:43 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by ConnecticutJunkMan View Post
I would go with a uniden if I was buying new. I like supporting companies that actually put money in to R&D and developing cool new stuff. Their new modern SSB CB's
I run SSB on my ham radio but I dunno why anyone would pay extra for SSB on a CB radio. SSB is very rarely heard on the CB bands any more and only people with SSB radios can even understand SSB. If you have a standard CB radio, SSB will sound like Donald Duck talking... it will be completely unintelligible. In other words, a SSB CB cannot communicate with a standard AM CB radio. I haven't heard SSB on the CB bands in many years, not since the CB craze died out years ago. Sure there are some CB enthusiasts/hobbiests running it but not very darned many. It's been probably 15 years since I have heard SSB on the CB.
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Old 10-29-2016, 01:13 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
I run SSB on my ham radio but I dunno why anyone would pay extra for SSB on a CB radio. SSB is very rarely heard on the CB bands any more and only people with SSB radios can even understand SSB. If you have a standard CB radio, SSB will sound like Donald Duck talking... it will be completely unintelligible. In other words, a SSB CB cannot communicate with a standard AM CB radio. I haven't heard SSB on the CB bands in many years, not since the CB craze died out years ago. Sure there are some CB enthusiasts/hobbiests running it but not very darned many. It's been probably 15 years since I have heard SSB on the CB.
Next time 10 is open spin down to the top of CB. I hear tons of it here on this side of the country. Lots of guys working DX in and out of the Caribbean on this side also.
Probably about the same level of activity as 10 on a non-contest day.

Ive definitely noticed an uptick when Uniden came out with this radio
https://www.amazon.com/Uniden-BEARCA.../dp/B007B5ZAES

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