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CB Radio Forum Discussions regarding Citizens Band Radio (CB)

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-07-2013, 11:46 PM
   
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Default CB radio without an antenna

I just bought a Cobra DX 19 III, wired it up and tried to use it. I received nothing, thinking nobody was out there. I came back and did some research and it seems that CB radios NEED antennas to work. I also read that using a CB without an antenna will in fact fry the radio. How true is this, or is this one of those things where "dry firing a gun will destroy the firing pin"? I've probably dry fired my guns hundreds of times without any damage. Thanks.

And yes I was... attempting to transmit for around five minutes.
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Old 11-08-2013, 9:00 AM
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Yes, any radio has to have an antenna to work. Your car radio has an antenna, your TV has/did have an antenna, a police officers radio has an antenna. Why wouldn't your CB need an antenna???

No antenna, no reception.
No antenna, no transmitting signal is going out.
No antenna while transmitting, you'll probably need a new radio.

Welcome to RR forums! Please browse around the Wiki section, there you'll find lots of info that can help you understand how radios work.
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Old 11-08-2013, 9:49 AM
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Default All radios needsan antenna

Some firearms will break the firing pin with even limited dry firing. You have been lucky or haven't had one that cannot be safely dry fired.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:21 AM
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A gun that hasn't fired a bullet (by dry firing) hasn't actually done anything. Why would you expect "dry firing" a CB radio to produce any results? Do you drive your car without wheels?
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:28 AM
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Hello Oostin: Yeep ya got to have a antenna on a CB radio.

Where you going to use it, in mobile or base?

For Mobile antenna s I like the Wilson 1000 or 5000 magnetic mount antennas.

Its a possibility that you may have damaged the radio for transmitting without a antenna for 5 min's, but maybe not. Hook it to a antenna and find out. Seems like I have damaged a few radios transmitting without a antenna, and some didn't get damaged. Depends on the quality of the radio. But that is a inexpensive radio. Good luck.

I dry fire guns all the time, no problem. The problem is when ya think your dry firing and its loaded. (humor)

Jay in the Mojave .......just down the road ah ways from the fillin station
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:49 PM
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Default Antenna Needed

For the first time, I am almost with words. I thought you were talking about a hand held CB. I was wrong. I looked up the radio in question. There is a round-looking metal thing on the back of the radio. Typically, people insert a PL-259 into this area with the other end attached to a tuned CB antenna.

I've also heard something else from a radio tech. You can fry the finals in your radio by transmitting without an antenna.

If you want to buy an antenna, provided it still works, I suggest either Wilson or K40. Both are fine antennas.

Good luck.
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Last edited by Ensnared; 11-08-2013 at 1:03 PM.. Reason: rewording
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Old 11-08-2013, 1:16 PM
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@4CS--

Well, depending how the radio is designed (and how strong the incoming signal is) you can still *sometimes* get reception without an antenna, albeit generally very, very poor reception. But yeah, transmitting without one would be another story!
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Old 11-08-2013, 2:17 PM
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How many different ways can the same answer be given?

And remember kiddies, Cellphones don't have visible antennas anymore, neither do lap tops, or numerous other wireless devices, and if that is the OP's only exposure to RF devices guess what.. He or she could be led to believe that ALL radios work without visible antennas..
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Last edited by n9mxq; 11-08-2013 at 3:07 PM..
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Old 11-08-2013, 2:31 PM
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No one has mentioned impedence mismatch. That is why antenna tuners are so popular with hams running 100 watts and more. QRP is not likely to do damage *depending* on the mismatch. If he was keyed up for 5 solid minutes without an antenna yes, I think the final transistor probably put up a good fight but likely lost. We all know heat is the enemy. Does it still have a carrier? If he was going Hello, radioooooooooooooo check and only doing it for seconds at a time maybe no damage.
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Old 11-08-2013, 4:46 PM
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I would think most cb nowadays have either heat sensed foldback or a limited directional coupler that shuts down the pa if the SWR goes above 3:1, I've seen that in later units. Also mosfets in newer units have reverse thermal characteristics then transistors and don't thermally runaway.

Nothing surprises me though. I did a service call once to a condo where the building manangement and security had handlelds and the in-house repeater antenna system was limited to leaky coax down the eleveator shaft and terminated..Radax I think they still call it to limit the communications in building. I'm seeing these guys walking around with uhf handhelds with no antennas. Somebody discovered that the system was sensitive enough and the handhelds worked without an antenna just by chance, so a lot of guys ditched the stubby helicals on the handhelds. It still worked, and luckily those handhelds had thermal foldback as part of the pa module design. You can't blame them, they seen something work just as well without the antenna and used it. Nobody ever gave them a lecture about SWR and unterminated equipment would be damaging and no reason to castigate them for it if they didn't know better.
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Old 11-08-2013, 5:15 PM
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Rather than telling the OP to buy something, lets turn this into a teaching experience.

Oostin... You're new. Welcome. I'm not going to sell you on ham radio. I am going to sell you on antenna/feedline theory, which seems to be why you're here.

Lick your wounds, get up and learn about this stuff. I'm sure most of us (myself included) have seemingly dumb looking first posts on this forum. Not many people nowadays are remotely interested in why "it" works. If you want, we can recommend books or online pages that are very well written for beginners. A quick source of information would be visiting your local library and looking up the ARRL Handbook (doesn't matter what year, but 2000-current is better). Printed text always seems to explain objects more accurately instead of "refer to http://www.......... for more information". Anyways, this book will have a fountain of information you can thumb through and begin to catch on concepts.

BTW, radios have the equivilant of a "snap cap" for guns. They're called a dummy load and have a SO-239 input you can directly connect your radio's coaxial cable to it. It's typically a 50 ohm resistor rated at a given wattage. Larger wattage resistors are soaked in oil to keep them cool. Modern days, these have their place on a technician's work bench to test transmitters, among many other useful tests. Years ago when tube radios ruled the earth, radio operators would tune up into a dummy load to (again, same major principle of modern technicians) tune their transmitters to optimum output against a perfect 50 ohm load.
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:17 AM
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Scientific fact: CB radios work better without an antenna.
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:55 AM
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Troll.
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Old 11-09-2013, 1:14 AM
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Scientific fact: so do HAM radios. The higher the output power level and the longer the keyup, the better!
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Old 11-09-2013, 9:52 AM
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I cant believe anyone is that naive...go ahead use it without an antenna...you get what you deserve
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:18 AM
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Back in my CB repair days I purposely tried to burn up many radios by placing a rubber band around the mic PTT button with no antenna on the radio for very long periods of time. I tried this with many brands of radio and not one was ever damaged. So, it may be possible to damage a CB radio by transmitting without an antenna but it's very unlikely.
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Old 11-09-2013, 2:03 PM
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Maybe naive, but there are also people with college degrees who think the numbers scale starts at "1". Think about it.
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Old 11-09-2013, 3:35 PM
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Welcome to Radioreference Oostin. I recommend you send your radio over to MrTim as SnakeRadioCustoms SnakeRadioCustoms - Home. He does excellent work and I would never buy a radio (new or used) without having him at least look over it first. If you operated your radio without an antenna, I'd have him look over it just to make sure you didn't burn anything out.
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Old 11-09-2013, 4:54 PM
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I don't know how long ago your college days were, but a great deal of 23 channel sets were not only intolerant to swr over 2:1, but would simply burn up if the guy was a ratchetjaw. Many of those used mini to-3 type 2sc799 or 1239's that usually were much better heatsinked then later T0-220 tabs bolted on the chassis or sub chassis compartment in 40 channel sets. Many of those just went even under optimum conditions with good antennas and conservative duty cycles from my experience back then. It didn't take much effort to kill one.

I've only started doing restorations primarly on the early 40 channel big bases and out of all of them primarly using 2sc1969 and 2sc1307 finals, only a single sears roadtalker model had any type of power foldback that was part of their swr alert. Only one model out of several that even had that feature looped it the power control of the finals. That set BTW had a dead final for what the protection was worth.

While I understand that SWR protection, both thermal and bridge sensed had come into vouge later and transistors as the above which is are a bit huskier then those used in previous sets continued to just recently, lots of them are dead, usually open. There's a whole subindustry of replacing them with mosfets and mosfet modules, so somebody must be burning them up without really trying hard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prcguy View Post
Back in my CB repair days I purposely tried to burn up many radios by placing a rubber band around the mic PTT button with no antenna on the radio for very long periods of time. I tried this with many brands of radio and not one was ever damaged. So, it may be possible to damage a CB radio by transmitting without an antenna but it's very unlikely.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:43 PM
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My CPI 2000 has SWR protection. And OP's radio the cobra dx19 iii says in the specs something about 'variation" and 40-200 ohms as possibly being OK for an antenna.
I have no idea what that spec "variation" really means......drift? stability?

Last edited by ind224; 11-10-2013 at 12:46 PM..
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