CB radio & related information

Discussion in 'Audio Tech' started by 08 Ranger Sport 4X4, May 10, 2012.

  1. 08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    I am looking into getting a CB radio set up in my truck. I don't know much about them or the antenna's. I know Cobra's are very popular but I have no idea which models. Are there other brands people recommend? Post some pics of your set up too if you can. Looking for one that has different colored LED or at least one I could change out for a different color. Also for places to mount it since I have a double din Pioneer radio. Thanks in advance for any help!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2012
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  3. Brinker88

    Brinker88 Black sheep o' the family

    I love my Cobra 29 LX with its LCD display. It tunes fairly easy and they're under $200 new. The stock handle sucks as usual so I would suggest a nice noise cancelling one.
  4. OP
    08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    That's awesome. That's exactly what I was looking for Brad. Any suggestions on types of antenna's or lengths? And what would be a decent/good handle?
  5. OP
    08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    Anyone hear anything good about the Uniden Bearcat 880?
  6. Cobra 29 Nightwatch with weather. $205 brand new, top of the line. Great radio.
  7. Brinker88

    Brinker88 Black sheep o' the family

    They are nice, but I LOVE my 29 LX. You have 4 different backlight colors to choose from too :) Only thing I like about the nightwatch that the 29LX doesnt have is the backlit buttons. That can be a PITA in the dark.

    Any good Cobra noise cancelling one will do.

    As for antennas, use only a SINGLE antenna without it being tuned. I prefer firestiks 2.5-3' tall. They are around 20 bucks each. I stole someone elses Idea on TRS and used a firestick splitter ($15 amazon) and replaced the stock antenna with a 2.5' firestik. Now the CB whip is both my radio AND CB antenna. Gives it a cleaner look I think.

    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  8. OP
    08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    Thanks for the info Brad. I definitely like the one you suggested. It's basically exactly what I'm looking for. Want green LED background. When I looked it up, the only other one that showed up was the Uniden Bearcar 880. Which has the same different colors for backlights (more actually). But is it as good as the Cobra? Also for the antenna's, I'm probably going to mount them to by tool box. I would like to have a dual set up, but I can just have one be a dummy until I can get it tuned. That double antenna is a great idea.
  9. Brinker88

    Brinker88 Black sheep o' the family

    IMHO, nothing is as good as a cobra.
  10. ob269

    ob269 New Member

    I do know(well guess it's more, "have read" then "know") that dual antenna on a Ranger is a bad idea. They need to be something like 9.5 feet apart and IDK bout you but my Ranger sure as hell isn't 9' wide.. Now again this was just something I once read, and I have seen people with dual antenna's so who knows, maybe it isn't true..
  11. Brinker88

    Brinker88 Black sheep o' the family

    They need to be 1 wavelength apart (~9 feet) UNLESS theyre tuned.
  12. Scrambler82

    Scrambler82 Old Guy User

    CBs of today are mostly the same short of a few option on one or the other.
    Cobra CBs are holding on to a rep that they received a long time ago and it has paid off for them.
    Uniden or now Uniden-Bearcat has been around as long if not longer than Cobra and in the 70/80s Uniden made all of the main mother boards in all CBs.

    With that said, IMHO buy a Uniden 520(XL); this is a small radio, put out the legal limit and is simple to operate, not too many knobs, it just works. this radio can be had for around $60 at Walcott’s - http://www.walcottcb.com/uniden-pro520xl-compact-cb-radio-with-pa-jack-p-532.html?cPath=340_377_379.

    For Antennas, Firestik has been around and perform well and the Wilson series of CB Mobile Antennas are good or if not the best on the market today.
    You can get anything from a base loaded light weight to a Wilson 5000 base load to a Flex-i-Whip, a tapered, flexible fiberglass antenna, that can be purchased in 3, 4 or 5 foot design. $25 for the 3 footer.

    Remember you need the best antenna and coax that you can get so spend any extra money on them not on the CB. Then take anything left over and buy a radio, inexpensive is not alway bad.
    Coax - Belden is the most popular and available AND one of the best on the market today.

    First decide what you need the CB for, then how much you want to spend, Walcott will talk about a package deal for any thing you want so talk to them.

    Started rattling too much.
    Luck with the choices.

    Dual Antennas, do not work as well as they should if spaced less than a ¼ wave length, yes 9 feet.
    Also, if you do go the Dual route, tune one antenna at a time using a separate piece of std coax, the same length as the special dual antenna harness.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  13. Brinker88

    Brinker88 Black sheep o' the family

    Great info Scrambler!
  14. OP
    08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    Thanks for the tips Scrambler.

    And Brad, sorry for being a super noob but what do you mean by tuning your CB? What all does that entail? And as I said, I wouldn't mind having two sticks up but I could just have one be a dummy if I don't get it tuned.
  15. Brinker88

    Brinker88 Black sheep o' the family

    I personally couldnt tell you that. I know it involves tunable whips, special machinery, and lots of knowledge to do it. It's a pretty costly mod, but a lot of people have it done, especially in the fleet industries (big rigs)
  16. OP
    08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    Gotcha, Thanks again to everyone for all the info.
  17. Brinker88

    Brinker88 Black sheep o' the family

    I might make this a Sticky if we keep adding info.
  18. OP
    08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    I was going to suggest that to you actually. There isn't really a whole lot of CB info out there in other threads. And with what Scrambler put in there, that's awesome information.
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  19. to tune your cb to the antenna , you need an swr meter you can pick them up on ebay even, you connect it between the ant, and the cb and then key the mic and then you adjust your antenna. the swr meter comes with inst. but you can get the instructons on line " how to use an swr meter " probably a u tube video is out there


    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2012
  20. OP
    08 Ranger Sport 4X4

    08 Ranger Sport 4X4 New Member

    Thanks Craig! Now this definitely needs to be a sticky.
  21. Scrambler82

    Scrambler82 Old Guy User

    Not to contradict anyone but the process,is called "Tuning the SWR" or setting the standing wave ratio.
    You tune the antenna to the system/vehicle, if you change vehicles and move the antenna to the new one you will need to at least check the SWR.

    If you add more output to the CB your SWR will go out of wack.

    The SWR OR Stanrding Wave Ratio, is a measurement of the power going out of the CB trying to get to the Antanna and the Reflected power trying to work it's way back to the CB, not a ground, just reflected power on the same wire. You need to get this ratio as close to 1 to 1 as you can hence the SWR Meter and tuning the Antenna; 1 to 1.5 is ok to some but you will lose some power and if you are using a stk CB then that 4 watts will end up being 3 or less.

    Tuning a CB, well that is another story, but you need to get inside of the CB and rework things a little, ending in more output power. This process can be costly and may not result in a hugh gain unless the Technician changes parts.
    The only problem with some of the "tuning" is that the Receive side of the radio is opened up also, to hear better, and what you end up with is more noise coming in and you HOPE that you can adjust for it but most of the time you can't.

    Before buying the CB decide what you want to do with it, do you need a small unit that can be put almost anywhere or a bigger unit with a lot of bells and whistles, do you want to talk across the state to across the US, THEN you buy what you need and try it out.

    There are things like Power Microphones to help you get out better if you need to, relatively inexpensive, around $50.

    Most people do not need a high powered unit BUT again if you think you need it there are CBs out there that can put out 200 or more watts.
    Last edited: May 8, 2013

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