Jeep Wrangler Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Normally you would be thrilled if your SWR was 1.0 on ch 1-40... But I'm thinking it's an error..

Gear:
Bearcat 980
Rugged Ridge Rear Tire Mount (powder coat grinded off)
3' Firestick Antenna
Amazon RG-58A/ U Coaxial cable
Firestik heady duty spring
NO extra ground wire

Story:
I purchased and installed the Bearcat 980 on Wednesday while visiting family in Colorado. I convinced the lady it was "prudent" to have for our drive back to California!

The built in SWR Meter started off at 1.6 on Chan 1 and 1.3 on Chan 40. After adjusting for 3 min (rotating the top screw out) I had the SWR at 1.0 across all channels.

I got excited, put the spare tire back on and went to dinner.

Fast forward to the last two days / ride home:

I grew up playing with CB's as a kid. Father was a driver... My first thought was "There is not nearly enough chatter going on". But it is 2016 and maybe the amount of CB talk has quieted down.. Nah that's not the case. There were 100 trucks every 20 minutes passing by on hwy 40. I did multiple radio checks and received confirmation on most but it still seemed like something wasn't right..

So the point.. The SWR is 1.0 but I'm convinced the signal is beyond weak. There was hardly any clear communication except for one; I could hear one side of a conversation for 10 miles.

I know I need to get an actual SWR meter, but has anyone else had the internal meter seem that far off, or had that poor of reception? Maybe I'm just paranoid because I like finding problems so I can fix them... But I'm thinking the range is really poor and don't have a way to check how good the broadcast is..

Sorry for the long post, but i would love some ideas!!

Oh, and last note. Once the spare tire was placed back on, I noticed the spring antenna pushes against the tire.. Not sure if that coils cause an issue?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
You need to tune the antenna with the spare on and all the doors closed. The built in meter should have told you if putting the spare on changed your SWR, but hard to say how accurate those are.
 

·
Commercial Member
Joined
·
2,223 Posts
Built in meters usually aren't very accurate at all. Always tune with antenna in final format (this case spare tire mounted, etc). Also there's no way you were actually getting 1.0 on all channels from 1 thru 40. Ideally you will want to get as close to, if not at, 1.0 on channel 19. It's almost the middle of the range, and is where most CB chatter is done. Also, ideally you should run 18ft of quality coax. The coax is an integral part of the TX/RX of the unit, and quality AND length are critical.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
You need to tune the antenna with the spare on and all the doors closed. The built in meter should have told you if putting the spare on changed your SWR, but hard to say how accurate those are.
thanks. It didn't change the SWR reading once the tore was on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Built in meters usually aren't very accurate at all. Always tune with antenna in final format (this case spare tire mounted, etc). Also there's no way you were actually getting 1.0 on all channels from 1 thru 40. Ideally you will want to get as close to, if not at, 1.0 on channel 19. It's almost the middle of the range, and is where most CB chatter is done. Also, ideally you should run 18ft of quality coax. The coax is an integral part of the TX/RX of the unit, and quality AND length are critical.
Yep, I agree which is why I wrote the post! I'm at 1.0 on 19.
Doors closed, tire on!
 

Attachments

·
Commercial Member
Joined
·
2,223 Posts
You should check it with a meter (if you want to know where it's really at/want to dial it in). The power output for CB's is regulated by the FCC. So, you're limited primarily to getting your antenna set up right (including coax). I say this because in your first post you had concerns about not transmitting or receiving like you felt you should be able to.

Also bear in mind that many of the folks you did hear on the road were truckers. Not all, but many of them have "peaked and tuned" radios. They don't operate like an "out-of-the-box" radio because they have been tweaked. Their vehicles are higher, and therefore the mounting points for their radios, and so on. Basically someone in a automobile, Jeep in your case, isn't likely to get the same results when it comes to transmitting and receiving, and that's even with unmodified radios.

I would just suggest that you pick up an SWR meter (they're pretty inexpensive) and get yours set up as good as you can. Don't coil your coax. And, enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
You should check it with a meter (if you want to know where it's really at/want to dial it in). The power output for CB's is regulated by the FCC. So, you're limited primarily to getting your antenna set up right (including coax). I say this because in your first post you had concerns about not transmitting or receiving like you felt you should be able to. Also bear in mind that many of the folks you did hear on the road were truckers. Not all, but many of them have "peaked and tuned" radios. They don't operate like an "out-of-the-box" radio because they have been tweaked. Their vehicles are higher, and therefore the mounting points for their radios, and so on. Basically someone in a automobile, Jeep in your case, isn't likely to get the same results when it comes to transmitting and receiving, and that's even with unmodified radios. I would just suggest that you pick up an SWR meter (they're pretty inexpensive) and get yours set up as good as you can. Don't coil your coax. And, enjoy!
Thanks DVN. My father was a long haul trucker and always had his radios modded out. Like most, he prided himself on the distance and "clarity" he was able to receive. Haha

I ordered up an SWR meter so I can get a real reading. I was more so curious if anyone else had experienced their internal SWR meter showing 1.0 across all channels and if so, was it wildly inaccurate or fairly correct.

I also don't have a ground wire currently which it looks like many have needed to fix their high SWR readings. I would like to avoid if possible as it's much cleaner without it.

Do to the size of the spare tire, the antenna spring is rubbing on the tire as well. Will be curious to see if that is causing any sort of issue.

On a side note, I looked at your build thread. Dig your ride. Did you ever figure out why your jeep came with the power dam hood?!?!
 

·
Commercial Member
Joined
·
2,223 Posts
Thanks DVN. My father was a long haul trucker and always had his radios modded out. Like most, he prided himself on the distance and "clarity" he was able to receive. Haha

I ordered up an SWR meter so I can get a real reading. I was more so curious if anyone else had experienced their internal SWR meter showing 1.0 across all channels and if so, was it wildly inaccurate or fairly correct.

I also don't have a ground wire currently which it looks like many have needed to fix their high SWR readings. I would like to avoid if possible as it's much cleaner without it.

Do to the size of the spare tire, the antenna spring is rubbing on the tire as well. Will be curious to see if that is causing any sort of issue.

On a side note, I looked at your build thread. Dig your ride. Did you ever figure out why your jeep came with the power dam hood?!?!
Haha. I was truckin for a bit when I got out of the Army. That's where I learned what little I know about CB setup. I never had a radio like yours, where the entire display is digital. Could possibly be that the SWR reading is close, although I suspect it still isn't nowadays...will be interesting to see!

Never did nail down how it came to be that my Jeep has that hood. I chalked it up to a factory mistake. Just speaking for myself, I don't like that hood anymore or less than a regular one. It makes a fine bird bath after a good rain.

Have a good one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
So I own the same radio and I knew I had a problem with SWR but the built in meter still showed low 1.s. I would not trust the built in meter in that radio. I have an external SWR that was showing very poor readings. It turned out my cable to the rear of the vehicle center pin was not actually touching the mount (be aware of the ProCom Stainless Steel CB Antenna Mount could have issues).

Once my mounting problem was resolved my builtin SWR didn't improve much but my external meter sure did.

Use your external meter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
So I own the same radio and I knew I had a problem with SWR but the built in meter still showed low 1.s. I would not trust the built in meter in that radio. I have an external SWR that was showing very poor readings. It turned out my cable to the rear of the vehicle center pin was not actually touching the mount (be aware of the ProCom Stainless Steel CB Antenna Mount could have issues). Once my mounting problem was resolved my builtin SWR didn't improve much but my external meter sure did. Use your external meter.
Thanks! Good to know I'm not crazy and that the built in meter isn't accurate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,029 Posts
Yea, my 980 SWR has always been around 1.50. I can't speak for long distance, but with a 3' fires stick its always gotten the job done. I guess I need to order a real SWR meter to see where I stand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Yea, my 980 SWR has always been around 1.50. I can't speak for long distance, but with a 3' fires stick its always gotten the job done. I guess I need to order a real SWR meter to see where I stand.
Interesting.. Sounds like your internal meter is more accurate than mine is.. I was out today and could hear people chatting but haven't had the opportunity to test of the distance with someone.

I still need to order that metal MOLLE system you gave me the link to. The mount I have gets the job done but yours is a much better look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
333 Posts
I've been a commercial driver for 20 years now. 1st of all, internal SWR meters are prone to being iffy. 2nd, very few truckdrivers use the cb anymore. With cell phones and sat radio, they have plenty of information and entertainment without having a cb. This is why you didn't hear very much. Often times, you may hear "skip" more than anything else.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,542 Posts
As Hickey said there just isn't the BS chatter on the CB that there used to be. If you come across a wreck or other such hazard things will usually pick up exponentially though. As far as the accuracy of the internal meter on the 980, it is more accurate than most here would have you believe. Mine and others I've checked against my Midland meter are pretty much right on the money as long as everything is installed correctly such as proper grounding and placement of the antenna. My personal 980 works extremely well and better than a lot of other radios I see in use. The distance one can expect to converse with another is subjective of course but this radio works extremely well even when compared to larger more expensive radios.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top