CB radio questions

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Mark D

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I have been running CBs for years. I just ordered a new radio but I can never seem to get the signal out very far. I can talk to my friends as we head down the trail but a soon as we get separated they are gone. I've set the SWR, have a good antenna. So??? Is there anyone in the Southern California area that knows radios?
 

stoney126

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How far is the separation? I'm pretty new to cb's but from what I've read broadcasting on a stock powered cb isn't going to go very far depending where you are located and what you are surrounded by.
Also antenna location is important. I too used a swr meter to tune it and got it at 1.5 and 2.0 . However it's on the back of my jeep.

On the freeway I can usually talk with truckers up to 2 miles ahead of me. Last trip nobody was more then a half a mile but it was pretty quiet on the radio
 

Mad Garden Gnome

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CB is a funny mode. It's in the 11 meter band, so it has the potential for good long distance work, which is why illegal amps are so popular. But CB's are so low power that benefit is not realized as much. Then, because CB is longer bandwidth, you may be able to talk up the trail, but short to medium range can be iffy because of it's long range characteristics of bouncing. You may not get your buddy down the valley but you may get someone in the next state.
 
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Laughing Otter

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I have a tweaked, tuned, and aligned Cobra 29lx with a 102" stainless steel whip and have never had issues. just from my driveway I am talking across the water to our friends in Canada, and to people in the neighboring towns 5 + miles away. On the trail, I always hear my people and they always hear me. I'm not a radio "technical" expert, but I know tuning is just one part of the equation...antenna placement, type of antenna, it all comes into play. I also have an 8 watt dual band handheld Ham radio and a GMRS radio, in my rig.
 
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Lars

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Let's start with the basics.... where is the antenna on your truck? (Photos are king, but a good description will do.)

Second, while it's not uncommon for people to "peak and tune" CB radios, it is technically illegal, and can carry a pretty heavy fine from the FCC. I'd tend to shy away, as many "Peaked" radios just spread across two or three channels while transmitting.

I suspect antenna type/location to be the likely culprit. This goes for your buddies as well.
Second suspect would be excess coax in the truck coiled.
Final suspect would be that the receiver just isn't up to the job. Are they also not hearing you, or are you just not hearing them?
 

Lars

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With regards to antennas. The higher the better. Smack dab in the middle of the roof is king.
Since that's usually not practical, try to keep it away from significant metal structures (A,B,C Pillars)

Longer antennas work better than shorter antennas.
a 102" whip is one of the best options honestly but that's 8' long and kind of obnoxious. The trails I drive on, that simply doesn't work.

I look at CB as a pretty significant compromise. The receivers have exceptionally wide front ends, which makes them susceptible to all sorts of noise. They rarely have an RF Gain control so if your truck generates a lot of RF, it's easy to lose a valid signal as your noise floor is elevated. Finally it's hard to think of a worse mode for 4watts of power than AM.

All that aside. If you look up a Ham Radio Club in your city, and go with an open mind. You're likely to find one or two guys who are willing to put your CB on a watt meter, and maybe even a spectrum analyzer for you. This will tell you for sure if the radio is doing what it's supposed to. Those same hams will likely evaluate your antenna, and offer suggestions.

Don't be discouraged if some of the hams you talk to are put off by the idea of working on a CB. The truth is most are willing to help. If you were near Austin I'd be happy to help, but that's a hell of a commute. :)
 
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