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Firstgenfanatic

CB Radio 101.......someone educate me

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Ok, I have used cb radio's in work trucks before and understand the basic operation of them. I just bought a radio unit for my pickup and would like to know what I need for an antenna, coax cable, etc? I have been told that the length of your antenna makes a difference in radio signal.......true or false? I'm pretty lost on CB radio stuff.:confused: Can everyone explain the basics of CB radio use and installation? I'm planning on installing mine soon (1st gen club cab) Thanks.

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YMMOT,

Thanks for the CB radio link. I read through most of it and understand a little more. Some things are still kinda fuzzy to me and I'm wondering if my antenna and radio are compatable for my setup. I do not have one of those SWR meters to check the antenna. I'll check locally to see if I can find a local radio dealer.

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In very basic terms, the higher up you can get the antenna the better it is. Mounted on the cab or hood is better for reception then bed mounts because the grounding is supposed to be better. The shorter the coax the better reception it will get, the signal degrades with length.

It's well worth the money to take it to a shop and have it tuned, not expensive and they have the equipment and know how to make it right. It's also best to use the stereo fuse for power since it has a noise filter built into it. This keeps backgorund noise from other components of your truck from carrying over through the radio..

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The shorter the coax the better reception it will get, the signal degrades with length.

Interesting that you mentioned that. I talked to a friend earlier today that has a Cobra radio in his 99 CTD. He told me that 12-18 FT of coax is recommended (coil the excess and stuff it under the hood). He explained that the idea behind it is that the long length has the ability to absorb more radio waves to the reciever. He mentioned that some time ago he had a Uniden CB radio in his Dodge that got fried. Basically he was traveling and recieved a strong signal from a "hopped-up" radio. He keyed the mic and herd a pop..........radio broken. He blamed this problem on not having enough coax length. ????? I'm no CB radio expert and I am just trying to learn the basics. :confused:

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I'm just relaying info, so I'm not gonna say he's wrong about the coax but it's the first time I've ever heard of it. I've just fought enough battles with my own in big and little trucks and this is what I've always been told.

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Interesting that you mentioned that. I talked to a friend earlier today that has a Cobra radio in his 99 CTD. He told me that 12-18 FT of coax is recommended (coil the excess and stuff it under the hood). He explained that the idea behind it is that the long length has the ability to absorb more radio waves to the reciever. He mentioned that some time ago he had a Uniden CB radio in his Dodge that got fried. Basically he was traveling and recieved a strong signal from a "hopped-up" radio. He keyed the mic and herd a pop..........radio broken. He blamed this problem on not having enough coax length. ????? I'm no CB radio expert and I am just trying to learn the basics. :confused:
I've heard you can have trouble tuning an antenna if your coax isn't long enough, but I've also heard it is bad to coil antenna cable. It's usually considered better to run it around to take up the excess length. Here are a couple of good links:

http://www.firestik.com/FAQ.htm

http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs.htm

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Your antenna will either make or break your CB's performance. A good antenna can make a cheap radio sound really good and a bad antenna can make a really good radio sound really bad. There are several good antennas on the market ranging from the Wilson 1000 and 5000 (both available as roof mount and mag mounts) and the Predator 10K (which is pretty radical but works extremely well).

Before you use your new setup, you need to get the SWRs checked and set. If they are too high, you can burn up your radio in short order. You can buy an adequate SWR meter at about any radio shack.

The better your coax, the better the performance will be. Most good antennas come with 18' of coax. DON'T coil it up in a small coil. You can make big loops if you have more than you need, but most experts don't advise to cut the length down. If you need more than 18' it's usually best to have a coax custom made for you. The good radio shops can do this for you. FYI, 18' will get you from the back of the cab on a CC, through the roof (or through the third brake light), along the underside of your headliner, down the B-pillar, under the carpet and to a radio mounted on the center hump.

Hope that helps!

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Thanks for the help and suggestions everyone. I just bought 18ft of Coax cable and a 90* elbow bracket for my antenna. The idea is to modify this 90* bracket so it will fit between the fender and hood seam. I really like the "fender mount setups" I'd really like to see close up pictures of how folks did their fender mounts. I was a little reluctant to buy 18ft of cable (kinda overkill in length for my application). My good friend told me I wouldn't be sorry I bought that much and that more length protects my radio from stronger radio wave signals that may damage mine. The truck stop I bought this stuff from sells the coax cable in 9ft and 18ft lengths. I'm starting to think if buying the longer length was unnessesary (only going from the front fender-through the engine compartment-through the firewall-and into my cab. Any ideas? :confused:

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