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Old 02-28-2017, 12:52 PM
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Default Is my base station antenna that bad???

Ok i am a newbee here and just started getting into CB. I have a Uniden Bearcat 980SSB with a small kicker set up as a base station. For an antenna i have the Tram 1499 mounted on the roof of my home 20 or so feet up. 50 feet of RG8X coax. I also have a swr meter set up. I know my antenna choice is probably not ideal but for 3 weeks i have been scanning and trying to receive some traffic but i get nothing. I went out and bought a small Midland 75-822 with a midland 18-2442 antenna for my truck to have the ability to test my station out. I can get out about a mile but thats it. I can pick up the weather stations off of my CB so i know things are hooked up correctly. I would assume that my next step is a serious upgrade to my antenna. Looking for some thoughts and advise. I guess i would have thought i could have gotten more out of my current rig. Thanks guys.
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by nfernaays View Post
Ok i am a newbee here and just started getting into CB. I have a Uniden Bearcat 980SSB with a small kicker set up as a base station. For an antenna i have the Tram 1499 mounted on the roof of my home 20 or so feet up. 50 feet of RG8X coax. I also have a swr meter set up. I know my antenna choice is probably not ideal but for 3 weeks i have been scanning and trying to receive some traffic but i get nothing. I went out and bought a small Midland 75-822 with a midland 18-2442 antenna for my truck to have the ability to test my station out. I can get out about a mile but thats it. I can pick up the weather stations off of my CB so i know things are hooked up correctly. I would assume that my next step is a serious upgrade to my antenna. Looking for some thoughts and advise. I guess i would have thought i could have gotten more out of my current rig. Thanks guys.
Forget the Tram 1499! You'd be way better off if you just bought an A-99 antenna, or even built an 11 meter ground plane yourself!!!
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:59 PM
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That's what i was afraid of...Price point was there an i was anxious to get on the air...should have researched some more i guess...Am i really going to see that much of an improvement with the A-99 i know it is a taller antenna, i just don't want to get burned again.
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Old 02-28-2017, 1:28 PM
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I have worked stations world wide that were using the A-99.
The solar cycle is approaching the minimum. That means a mile is probably ok.
Check space weather on the Internet for daily conditions. Occasionally even at the minimum 10 and 11 open up for good propagation on side band.
This a good step to find out about ham radio.


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Old 02-28-2017, 2:26 PM
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Originally Posted by nfernaays View Post
That's what i was afraid of...Price point was there an i was anxious to get on the air...should have researched some more i guess...Am i really going to see that much of an improvement with the A-99 i know it is a taller antenna, i just don't want to get burned again.
The A-99 is a BIG improvement over the small Tram 1499! I would just get an A-99, and sell the Tram. You can get the A-99 for a good price online. Copper Electronics, Inc. | Copper Electronics has them for around $65 now.

Last edited by TheSpaceMann; 02-28-2017 at 2:33 PM..
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Old 02-28-2017, 3:42 PM
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The A-99 is a BIG improvement over the small Tram 1499! I would just get an A-99, and sell the Tram. You can get the A-99 for a good price online. Copper Electronics, Inc. | Copper Electronics has them for around $65 now.
The more 'iron in the sky', maybe aluminum, as the A99 has, will defiantly improve reception and transmitting. But the antenna must be at least physically 1/4 wave to work well, and have a counterpoise/groundplane.
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Old 02-28-2017, 4:29 PM
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The more 'iron in the sky', maybe aluminum, as the A99 has, will defiantly improve reception and transmitting. But the antenna must be at least physically 1/4 wave to work well, and have a counterpoise/groundplane.
I believe the A-99 is fiberglass with metal running through it! I had one up for over 15 years.
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Old 03-01-2017, 3:32 PM
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Ok so i was looking into what new antenna i should get and then cross referencing my local zoning laws...Problem is the town zoning states that antenna cannot be more than 15ft taller than the roof of my house or taller than 50ft if it is a freestanding antenna mast/tower. I would like to keep my antenna on my roof if at all possible. Would cost less to buy a news mount and antenna then to buy everything to build a mast. Plus coax is already ran to the roof... are there any 11meter antennas that perform good at or under 15 feet in length?

sounds like all the good antennas are longer
A-99-18ft
Imax 2000-24 ft
Gain master-23ft

Let me know what you guys think i should do.
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Old 03-01-2017, 4:14 PM
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Originally Posted by nfernaays View Post
Would cost less to buy a news mount and antenna then to buy everything to build a mast. Plus coax is already ran to the roof... are there any 11meter antennas that perform good at or under 15 feet in length?
No. Shortening an antenna physically degrades its performance in direct proportion to the degree of shortening.

Buy a mast. Roof mounts are more likely to leak, and more likely to cause damage if they do, compared to a mast attached to the side of the house. If you have thunderstorms in your area, a roof mount will attract lightning toward the interior of your home, while a mast will direct the lightning away from your house.

Height is key. Getting your antenna up 50 feet instead of 15 feet above roofline will make a huge difference in range unless you live in the middle of a flat empty plain with no trees for miles.
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Old 03-01-2017, 4:24 PM
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Sound advise...looks like it's a master for me...I guess I needed another project...since am limited to a 50bft ceiling should I still go for the a-99 or try the imax200 or gain master? I figure my masters will only be going up 30 feet or so the the antenna to stay in code...is this height sufficent?
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Old 03-01-2017, 4:43 PM
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Default Bad antenna

I would just put up the A-99 on your roof the same way. If someone comes by tell them "I don't know" you want to go up and measure it. Sounds like a way to keep CBers off the air.
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Old 03-01-2017, 4:48 PM
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Originally Posted by nfernaays View Post
Sound advise...looks like it's a master for me...I guess I needed another project...since am limited to a 50bft ceiling should I still go for the a-99 or try the imax200 or gain master? I figure my masters will only be going up 30 feet or so the the antenna to stay in code...is this height sufficent?
60 feet is the FCC limit. I would go with a 5/8-wave ground plane, and get the top of it 49.9' AGL.
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Old 03-01-2017, 6:43 PM
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60 feet is the FCC limit. I would go with a 5/8-wave ground plane, and get the top of it 49.9' AGL.
Town zoning is different 15 on the house 50 freestanding
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Old 03-01-2017, 7:32 PM
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...which is why I said 49.9'...
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Old 03-03-2017, 11:07 AM
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I'd get an IMAX-2000, and put it on a free standing 25 foot mast!
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:34 PM
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I just got into CB a few months back with the same 980SSB.

Personally I learned the hard way and instead of trying to save $50 I went all out and got the IMAX 2000, with ground plane, it's a great antenna. Of course then I got a Galaxy 959 as well.

However, now I already am looking at getting Y-Quad to get max coverage of the town 10 miles away. That's where I think I am going to just consider the smaller one first. A 2 element costs $200 whereas if I go all out it runs close to $1000.

I guess my point is, that the bug will hit once you get hooked up good and the money is going to start flying out the 11 meter window, lol.
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Old 03-12-2017, 3:26 PM
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Originally Posted by swen_out_west View Post
I just got into CB a few months back with the same 980SSB.

Personally I learned the hard way and instead of trying to save $50 I went all out and got the IMAX 2000, with ground plane, it's a great antenna. Of course then I got a Galaxy 959 as well.

However, now I already am looking at getting Y-Quad to get max coverage of the town 10 miles away. That's where I think I am going to just consider the smaller one first. A 2 element costs $200 whereas if I go all out it runs close to $1000.

I guess my point is, that the bug will hit once you get hooked up good and the money is going to start flying out the 11 meter window, lol.
Oh yeah, it can really add up. I knew a guy in California who bought a whole bunch of CB rigs, and even some ham rigs to use on 11 meters! He also put up a big tower in his back yard with beam antennas on it! Within a year, he spent close to $10,000 on his CB hobby!!!

Last edited by TheSpaceMann; 03-12-2017 at 4:12 PM..
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:03 PM
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At some point with every hobby a reality check is in order. The way I see it, the CB hobby is severely restricted by FCC rules and regulations. You can get to a certain level with high end legal CB radios, huge antennas, the best feedline, power mics or studio mics and racks full of audio processing, etc, but at some point to progress any further everything is now illegal.

You can only do so much with a legal CB and even with the biggest (POS in my opinion) super lazer 500 dual pol beam with 40ft boom, the tips of the antenna can't exceed 60ft off the ground or you are illegal.

Its kinda like buying a top fuel dragster that's impossible to license for the street and there are no drag strips in your country, they do not exist. So every time you take our your top fuel dragster its subject to confiscation and you can go to jail for driving it on the highway, even if you don't exceed the speed limit.

If your that far into the hobby, why not just get a ham license where you can use big power, have any kind of antenna at any height, have tons of bands and frequencies you can use instead of just 40ch, talk around the world every day of the year and make the most of your $10,000 expenditure in radio stuff?

When I was about 14yrs old my first radio that transmitted was a 1.5w 3 channel Radio Shack CB walki-talki. Before long I had it running on a power supply at more voltage than it was supposed to run on so I could get more power out, then came the external mic and bigger antenna and before long I knew the this hobby could easily bankrupt a 14yr old.

By my mid 20's I had probably done anything and everything that could be done on CB with the technology at that time and had owned at least 50 different radios including the great Motorola CB555 and the fantastic CPI CP400 with all available accys that I purchased new.

Fast forward 40 something years and I'm so happy I got a ham license and there have been a few years where I easily blew $10k on ham radio toys. But they are bad a$$ toys that are so far advanced than anything I could ever do on CB and my fun factor is light years past what I could ever do on CB.

I still appreciate certain things about CB like the guys running 10kW amplifiers in their vehicles and I would like to pour over one of those some day just to say I touched one, but beyond a 10kW amplifier which would be costly, if you were to spend $10k on CB equipment, what would you have actually accomplished? What can you really do with $10k of CB equipment that is within the law?

You can impress a few CB'rs with that but look around at some of the people on CB you would be impressing. A clean pair of shoes or full comprehension of the English language would be impressive to some of them. At some point just get a ham license and have some real fun.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSpaceMann View Post
Oh yeah, it can really add up. I knew a guy in California who bought a whole bunch of CB rigs, and even some ham rigs to use on 11 meters! He also put up a big tower in his back yard with beam antennas on it! Within a year, he spent close to $10,000 on his CB hobby!!!
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Old 03-13-2017, 5:19 AM
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I am happy with my 4-Watt-legal CBs with my magnetic antennas on the roofs of my mobile vehicles so I can get and give information on road problems within a few miles of where I'm at any given time.

I actually like the FCC restrictions on the CB band so I don't get as much interruption from distant stations that are talking about things I am not interested in and don't want to hear.

I consider CB more of a tool than a hobby.

I guess I fit within the category of what the FCC had in mind back in '58, or whenever it was when they set the rules of this useful little radio.
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Old 03-13-2017, 7:28 AM
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It's rare that I even get on the 11 meters any more. But one thing for sure is that CBs have their place in our society. There are jerks who jam the frequency with their high power linears, use profanity, etc. (same goes for the amateur bands).
But for the traveler, there is a need/use. Back in the late 60s through the mid 70s, CB came in handy many a times.
Also there are times that some one wants to talk locally or maybe hit skip.
One thing I've noticed in my years in communications is that many hams got their start by being CBers. It's fun and can come in handy when the situation warrants it.
So get one of the better antennas as others have mentioned and you'll do fine.
Also, the A-99 is a really good antenna. Know a couple who use theirs and it gets their signal out.
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Last edited by KC4RAF; 03-13-2017 at 7:34 AM..
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