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  #61  
Old 08-29-2014, 09:51 PM
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I did an experiment the other day with range on my radio. I was heading home from 30 miles away. I stopped at about the 20 mile mark on top of a hill. I could clearly hear our base station radio, but I couldn't make the trip back. My carrier made it, (barely) but there was no modulation. So I started driving again and kept calling in. I made contact from about 15 miles.

Not bad for my setup. All I have is a cheap 3ft mag mount antenna on top my cab. The radio is a stock cobra 29. I want to get a wilson 1000 antenna. That should help out quite a bit. Basically almost doubling antenna size.
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  #62  
Old 08-29-2014, 10:21 PM
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It helps to measure the SWR and field strength of a given antenna and radio. Radio shack made a decent one for the money. Basically a mechanism that "tunes" by cutting the exact length of the antenna to the CB itself making sure all the power you have available is utilized. This makes a tremendous difference in range both tx and listening. Even 1/8th in makes a measurable difference on a SWR meter. If the antenna is really mismatched the CB itself can be damaged, burning out components.

My F100 had a Kraco DeLuxe 4020 installed in it. They are kinda fun to listen to now and then and was still useful several years ago for long drives. No idea about now. It seems like it could be handy in emergency if cell service is lost, maybe.
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  #63  
Old 08-29-2014, 10:29 PM
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I got it tuned pretty good. SWR is below 1.5 across the board. It's just a cheap $19 antenna is all. Small too. I know the radio is strong, it just needs a bigger better antenna to get out.
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  #64  
Old 08-29-2014, 11:04 PM
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Ok. So, all things being equal, a longer antenna always gets out better? Didn't know that.
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  #65  
Old 08-29-2014, 11:20 PM
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ALL things equal? Possibly. It just depends on where the line is in relation to output power and where too big for the radio is.

For example, we have a 5/8 wave hy gain hustler antenna on top of a 40ft tower for our base antenna. No matter what radio we hook up to it, it talks better and farther than any other antenna we have.

Antennas can make or break a radio. Get a good antenna and you make a Cracker Jack radio sound and perform awesome. Get a Cracker Jack antenna and even the best radio won't do well.
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  #66  
Old 08-29-2014, 11:36 PM
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Well antenna is key, sure. I was using a short antenna, maybe a foot long. Lots of coiled wire inside. It was damaged over the years, so bought a new antenna, it's basically a 3 or 4 feet long, like a car antenna. Will it get out better w/ same CB, installed in the same spot on the roof, same SWR?
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  #67  
Old 08-29-2014, 11:40 PM
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It has been my experience that longer masts generally get out better. For instance, we have a cobra 18 in our super duty. For a long time we ran a 4ft antenna, and it worked well. Then we replaced it with a 102"whip. It gets out a lot farther with more clarity.

When replacing an antenna you will have to re-tune the SWR. Each antenna will be slightly different. Once they are below 2, no more tuning is needed, although the lower the better.
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  #68  
Old 08-29-2014, 11:47 PM
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Seems to me I used to get a LOT of noise when driving the truck, I think from the generator or maybe the regulator? Higher RPM = higher pitch noise. Have cleaned up a lot of things electrical since then but haven't checked that it's still a problem. Are the noise suppression capacitors I've seen in the manuals, where do they help the most in this situation?

Yep, just got the RS SWR meter in the mail today in fact. Waiting on a patch cable is all, to hook it up. It's just a cheap crappy old CB, but I enjoy making things work as advertised, know what I mean?
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  #69  
Old 08-30-2014, 12:12 AM
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Make sure everything is grounded. you can use a ferrite coil around your power wire. That will help cancel out some noise. Most filters will go around the power wires. The radio filters signal noise through the squelch circuits and some have an ANL/NB. Such as My radio has an Automatic Noise Limiter and a Noise Blanker built in, so I just flip the switch.
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  #70  
Old 08-30-2014, 01:00 AM
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Ok. Thanks! will check those ideas out. Seemed to be intermittent. Sometimes it was totally unusable I remember that, but I recall having some good conversations on the highway too, so it wasn't all the time. Maybe just at idle or off idle? Will check it out.
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  #71  
Old 09-02-2014, 03:19 PM
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Well I tested the SWR on the new antenna today. First test showed chan. 40 waaaay into the red and chan 1 about 2.5, something like that. Antenna too long.

So cut down antenna w/ hacksaw in 1/4" increments, and eventually was able to to get both channels roughly the same and below 1.5, had to lop off about 3/4" or 1", total. At one point the meter showed chan 1 to be about perfect, but 40 was still a bit high. Just kept cutting to where it was almost too short, and made up the difference as necessary in the range provided in the base.
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  #72  
Old 09-02-2014, 03:58 PM
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Good deal, what kind of antenna is it?
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  #73  
Old 09-02-2014, 04:23 PM
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Heck, I dunno. Just some $25 eBay special w/ a magnetic base. The antenna itself is just like a car antenna basically. Reception is improved too, after getting the length just right.

edit: it's the Hustler IC 100B 41" w/ magnetic base (now about 40")
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  #74  
Old 09-02-2014, 04:32 PM
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Haha, yea I've got one of those $20 truck stop specials too, for now anyway. What I really want is a Wilson 1000 mag. 62" whip, said to be the best on the market.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/290701249197
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  #75  
Old 09-02-2014, 08:55 PM
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Well, this one is a good pair up with my cheap CB. Just handy to have sometimes even in the cell phone age. When we were out in Utah and Colorado, up on the mesas and slickrock it would really pull in some stuff. Seems to me some folks run just a tad more than the legal five watts, cuz they were a few states away, easy. I haven't tuned it up or anything, but did replace a large electrolytic capacitor in there, that seemed to perk it up quite a bit.
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