New to CBs, a few beginner questions

Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#1
Hi everyone! As in the title I'm new to CBs. I have a Midland 75-882 and a Wilson Little Will. I tried upgrading to a Firestick II, but the magnet didn't hold at highway speeds and fell off and dragged the tip along the concrete. :) My only other experience is using an SWR meter. I tuned my Little Will to 1.3:1.3 (which I think you say 1:1 at 1.3 or something). I have the antenna mounted on the center of my Subaru Forester with a sunroof. Anyway, a few questions.

1) Does it make much of a difference if I tuned it at my house in the suburbs or would I have noticable results driving out to the county to do it?

2) I have very poor reception. And I'm wildly guessing I mostly get about .5 miles. I gave a traffic constuction warning out and someone who actually came in clear said they were probably just a few hundred feet behind me. (besides one guy, see below). I know it's a really vague question but is there anything I can do to icrease reception and eliminate the terrible satic? I'm right in the corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago so I would expect more radio traffic on the interstate to come in clear.

3) There is some guy who has such a thick southern accent and talks really fast to the point that I can only hear maybe 1 out of 15 words, that broadcasts up to 50 miles away. I've heard him over an hour away from where I think he is. He sometimes comes in very clear, but I just can't understand him. I also hear him on channels 6, 11, 28, and I think one other. He also bleeds on to other channels a lot. I heard him mention 50 watts before. Or someone on the channel said it. Is he a Ham operator on the wrong frequency or is he really hitting all of those CB channels? Is what he is doing illegal? Should I do anything about it? I don't even know what to do. It's extremely annoying. It wouldn't be so bad but he just rambles on to himself 24/7. Yes, anytime I'm driving, day or night, he is on there yelling at his microphone.

Sorry for all of the questions. I'm still brand new and find CBs very interesting and fun. Thanks everyone!
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#2
Tested it more today and I somehow picked up some people on the interstate a few miles away. So I guess it's hit or miss since the terrain is pretty flat.
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2015
Messages
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Location
WV
#3
Other people will probably jump in with better advice but I have it on good authority that the little will is produced to compete at a price point with generic junk. A willson 500 or better is built for real performance.

I invested in a great radio and had it professionally tuned installed and antenna trimmed and tuned and placed by a professional with expensive testing equipment and he's a ham expert too, works on all types of radios. I have discovered the same problem that even with top shelf equipment set up by the experts, other people's junk is still junk and you can't add any more range to other people's junk. The routes I drive are quiet as can be certain times of the day but if there's traffic or weather conditions out of the ordinary radio traffic is nonstop.
 

edweirdFL

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Dec 10, 2004
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Daytona Beach, FL
#4
1 Tune the antenna mounted to the car, with the doors and hatchback closed. It doesn't matter whether the car is in the country or the city as long as there no large metal objects right next to the antenna, other than the car.

2 Does the static change depending on how fast you drive, or whether the car's motor is on or off? I found that high levels of noise made it difficult to hear distant signals.

3 Sounds to me like a CB'r that is using more than legal power, perhaps a large antenna, and seeks to communicate over long distances and/or dominate other users of that channel.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
44
Location
alton il
#6
Solid info here. As for the static, is it there with the engine off? How’s your power connection? How is your radio grounded? Often it’s the fuel pump, radiator fan and ignition system making all the RF noise we hear when using them in a car.


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jaspence

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Mar 21, 2008
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1,619
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Michigan
#7
CB range

The solar cycle has little to do with point to point (car to car, etc) range, especially at CB frequency levels. The big factors are antenna quality, antenna height, and a good coax match plus a properly aligned radio.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#8
Other people will probably jump in with better advice but I have it on good authority that the little will is produced to compete at a price point with generic junk. A willson 500 or better is built for real performance.
Yeah, I think investing in a better antenna would be a good idea. I'm concerned about the height. I've drove into my garage more than once with the Little Wil still on top. :D But it is something I will consider.

That brings up another question. I put the magnet mount in the same spot every time, but I do remove it when I'm done using it and store it in the back of my car. Will it make a huge difference by removing it and replacing it each time?

1 Tune the antenna mounted to the car, with the doors and hatchback closed. It doesn't matter whether the car is in the country or the city as long as there no large metal objects right next to the antenna, other than the car.

2 Does the static change depending on how fast you drive, or whether the car's motor is on or off? I found that high levels of noise made it difficult to hear distant signals.

3 Sounds to me like a CB'r that is using more than legal power, perhaps a large antenna, and seeks to communicate over long distances and/or dominate other users of that channel.
1) Ok cool. I've done both and haven't seen a major difference. In fact when I last tuned it a month or two ago I got think I got better results when I tuned it in my driveway.

2) Sometimes I can hear the acceleration on certain channels when I'm driving. I haven't tested it with my car off yet. I have it plugged into the cigarette lighter and am aware that that can interfere, but I'm not advanced enough to connect it to the battery directly and don't foresee doing that in the future.

3) This guy is really annoying and is taking up multiple channels which interferes with me driving on the interstate and we have some SERIOUS construction going on since they are expanding I-94 to an 8 lane highway I think. Roads are torn up, exits closed, lane closures. I think it's actually a safety concern by taking up so many channels.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#9
Solid info here. As for the static, is it there with the engine off? How’s your power connection? How is your radio grounded? Often it’s the fuel pump, radiator fan and ignition system making all the RF noise we hear when using them in a car.
I've only tested when the engine is on. I'm probably just barely too far from the interstate to get much traffic. I can pull into a truck stop though and test it with the car off for a little while.

My power is from the cigarette lighter, so I know that can cause a host of problems.

It's not physically grounded. It's just a magnet mount on the top of my car. I'm not sure how to properly ground something like that. And since I constantly have to remove the antenna for clearance reasons I'm not sure if that's a possibility.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
257
Location
North Texas
#10
Take your time use the radio see what you can hear at random times of the day see who is on what channel
See if you can talk to them . If you would like a few links I will be glad to send you a few.
There is lots of info in the form .
As for your antenna it is not a bad antenna and having it on the roof is great.
Have fun and learn .
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
44
Location
alton il
#11
Yeah, I think investing in a better antenna would be a good idea. I'm concerned about the height. I've drove into my garage more than once with the Little Wil still on top. :D But it is something I will consider.



That brings up another question. I put the magnet mount in the same spot every time, but I do remove it when I'm done using it and store it in the back of my car. Will it make a huge difference by removing it and replacing it each time?







1) Ok cool. I've done both and haven't seen a major difference. In fact when I last tuned it a month or two ago I got think I got better results when I tuned it in my driveway.



2) Sometimes I can hear the acceleration on certain channels when I'm driving. I haven't tested it with my car off yet. I have it plugged into the cigarette lighter and am aware that that can interfere, but I'm not advanced enough to connect it to the battery directly and don't foresee doing that in the future.



3) This guy is really annoying and is taking up multiple channels which interferes with me driving on the interstate and we have some SERIOUS construction going on since they are expanding I-94 to an 8 lane highway I think. Roads are torn up, exits closed, lane closures. I think it's actually a safety concern by taking up so many channels.


I got tired of my mag mount antennas flopping over. I also built a rear bumper for my jeep. The choice was obvious. I added a provision for an antenna. I now run a 1/4 wave whip on a midland 1001z ( super cheap. I’ll try my bearcat 980 in there next).
How’s the antenna cable routed? Route it away from any big power wires, motors, fans, pumps etc. I wouldn’t change antenna location if it’s performing ok.

As for a test I’d try to listen while in the driveway with it running, note the amount of static. Now turn the engine off and check the static. If it’s lower then there are electric motors inducing static. For something to try, run an additional ground and power wire ( for testing purposes only. Make sure it’s clear of all moving parts. Try to route it away from any fans, motors, pumps, ignition components, anything that moves) to your radio. Now be careful. This connection is non-fused and any short could result in fire and or burns. Check the static with it running and without. Did it change?


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Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#12
For the first part, the cable just comes down through the the hatch back and over my back seat to the center console where I keep the radio. It's uh... not a pretty setup. I'm still experimenting.

For the second part, I really don't know what any of that means lol. Not sure how to ground anything and I don't know how I'd add an additional power wire. Like I said, it's just plugged into my cigarette lighter.

I'll have to test it with my car off soon and see what happens with the reception.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#13
I can't edit my post since it still has to be moderated approved, but how is a 1/4 wave whip different than the Little Wil whip that I have? Is it just smaller? Does it still provide the same reception?
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#16
The 1/4 wave whip is about 109 inches long.
Oh. Well that's kinda big.

I'd still like to be able to keep it in the back of my car. I guess it isn't a huge deal since I can just unhook the antenna cable and store it in my garage, but I like just being able to throw it in the back of my Subaru when I'm not using it.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
44
Location
alton il
#17
Oh. Well that's kinda big.



I'd still like to be able to keep it in the back of my car. I guess it isn't a huge deal since I can just unhook the antenna cable and store it in my garage, but I like just being able to throw it in the back of my Subaru when I'm not using it.


I’m not saying get one. I’m saying that’s what I did. Did you try to check how much a Tati. You get with the engine off?


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Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
379
Location
Western NJ
#18
Channel 6 AM usually has some pretty strong signals, hear them up here in NJ when the band is open. It's kinda' normal for that channel, and yes sometimes it "bleeds over" to the adjacent channels. Channel 11 is another one that can be a zoo when the band is open. Best approach is just to use the other 38 channels.

CB is a fun band and what you hear and who you talk to will vary from location to location. E.g. here it's kinda' dead most of the time. Not true when the band opens up; then signals across the US can be heard. Keep the faith and listen while tuning the channels. It's nothing like it was in the 70's but ops can be heard, you just have to keep spinning that dial.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
169
#19
The three-foot Lil Wil magnet mount antenna is as good as any other antenna with a three-foot-long stinger. Foot-for-foot, most antennas give about the same performance, unless there is a defective one in the mix somewhere.

With a standard 4-watt CB radio, your three-foot Lil Wil should be able to communicate perhaps three miles give or take one or two. If you want to talk farther, get a Wilson 500 which tunes at about 56 inches long or a Wilson 1000 which is good at about 62 inches. These longer antennas will provide more distance, perhaps up to six or eight miles under good conditions, maybe even farther under favorable conditions, with the prevailing conditions making all the difference.

I use a magnet mount Wilson 500 on a small sedan and a magnet mount 1000 on a pickup truck. I take them off the roof when I'm not using them. They work really good. I've never found a speed or wind condition that will cause them to move on the roof or, the horrors of it, fall off. Once on there, they stay.

About your question of grounding the antenna: a magnet mount will properly ground itself by virtue of the fact that the magnet is holding onto the metal ground plane counterpoise. No additional ground is needed.

However, you might consider grounding the radio's metal chassis case in the cabin. I do this by using a short wire with two alligator clips: one side is clipped to a convenient place on the radio, the other side is clipped to a seat hold-down bolt that is secured into the vehicle's chassis. The purpose of this wire is to ground the radio's chassis to the vehicle's metal so that any common mode currents that might be running along the antenna's coax are bled off to ground.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
9
#20
Thanks everyone so much for all of the informative replies. I have another question. If I'm reading my SWR meter correctly, my Midland 75-822 is transmitting at just over 2 watts. From what I understand it should be around 4 watts. Can this be caused because I'm just using a cigarette lighter for the power? It's a handheld so I'm really not interested in wiring it directly to the battery. I have a Subaru Forester so I don't really have much room for a larger CB. I mean, I could get creative but it would take up a lot of room and I'd have to do some drilling, etc. in order to mount it. Plus I like being able to have the CB in my lap so I can hear better.

To be honest, I'm not overly concerned about the transmit power since I mostly like to listen, but if it's a problem that can be solved I'm all for it. I'd just like my CB to function fully. Thanks again everyone.
 
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