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Old 09-29-2017, 4:42 AM
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Default HELP!!! - Volume maxed, squelch wide open, & nearly no static

I've been off the air for almost 15 years. Put my radio (Uniden PC122XL) in my truck with new coax, stakehole mount and 48" FireStick on Monday. Drove to/from work every day this week, and either no one is talking or there is something wrong.

My last setup was the same radio with a K40 (trunk mount).
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Old 09-29-2017, 8:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Ravenkeeper View Post
I've been off the air for almost 15 years. Put my radio (Uniden PC122XL) in my truck with new coax, stakehole mount and 48" FireStick on Monday. Drove to/from work every day this week, and either no one is talking or there is something wrong.

My last setup was the same radio with a K40 (trunk mount).
I'm waiting to tune my antenna, until I get this issue solved and I find/install my spring. I'm going to ohm check my cable to make sure that I didn't damage the "K40 end" while I was routing it from the forward right stakehole, down the hole, along the right frame of the truck, and up into the cab to the radio, in my center console.

When I key the mic, my internal meter shows 3 of 5 lights.

My volume issue may be that my RS scanner is mounted right up against the bottom of my CB, may readjust them for a small gap between them. But, I live 8 miles from either state route, and have driven to/from Bakersfield without a peep on the radio.

Running:
Uniden PC122XL
K40 K4018FME 18' Super Mini-8 CB Antenna Cable
Firestik SS-194A Stake-Hole CB Antenna Mount
Firestik SS-3H Stainless Steel Heavy Duty CB Radio Antenna Mount Spring
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Old 09-29-2017, 9:37 AM
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I'd suggest an external speaker for your CB radio. Yes, a gap between the radio and the scanner would help but external speakers usually sound better. And louder.

But more importantly: If you have volume at max and squelch wide open but no noise, and the output meter showing less than full power, I strongly suspect a short in the coax. Remove the antenna and check at the radio end of the cable. I could certainly be wrong, but having looked at many problem installations with the same symptoms, I almost always find a shorted coax cable. If you put the PL259 (radio end connector) on yourself, that would be the first suspect.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:04 AM
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Along with checking your cable for a short, swap out the mike if you have another one. If one or
more of the small wires inside the mike jack connector break you will lose receive audio.
Something else to check is to look at the pins on the audio chip. If the chip is mounted on
the metal chassis with the pins soldered to the circuit board it is not uncommon for the solder
joint on the pin(s) to fracture and lose contact with the board. Of course, the audio chip
itself may have gone bad.
One rare case I have come across is the antenna itself was bad. Apparently the internal
wire which connected to the antenna base came loose. I'm guessing the antenna was
hit by something and the vibration broke off the internal wire or it was just a bad solder job at
the plant which failed.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k7ng View Post
I'd suggest an external speaker for your CB radio. Yes, a gap between the radio and the scanner would help but external speakers usually sound better. And louder.

But more importantly: If you have volume at max and squelch wide open but no noise, and the output meter showing less than full power, I strongly suspect a short in the coax. Remove the antenna and check at the radio end of the cable. I could certainly be wrong, but having looked at many problem installations with the same symptoms, I almost always find a shorted coax cable. If you put the PL259 (radio end connector) on yourself, that would be the first suspect.
I have a pair of 3" speakers, from when I used these radios in my Grand Ams and in my Ridgelines. I'm devising a way to clamp them to the driver's headrest. Was also noticing that I didn't have any RF static indication on my meter, on the way home from work. I'm suspecting the radio end it bad, from fishing it through the truck bed and along the frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBill View Post
Along with checking your cable for a short, swap out the mike if you have another one. If one or
more of the small wires inside the mike jack connector break you will lose receive audio.
Something else to check is to look at the pins on the audio chip. If the chip is mounted on
the metal chassis with the pins soldered to the circuit board it is not uncommon for the solder
joint on the pin(s) to fracture and lose contact with the board. Of course, the audio chip
itself may have gone bad.
One rare case I have come across is the antenna itself was bad. Apparently the internal
wire which connected to the antenna base came loose. I'm guessing the antenna was
hit by something and the vibration broke off the internal wire or it was just a bad solder job at
the plant which failed.
Unfortunately, I do not have another mic, but I know where I can get a new one for 50% off (closest Radio Shack is closing in 3 weeks). I think I have a "stubby" antenna for our CR-V in the garage that I can check the radio out with. Is there a way to check my antenna with an OHM meter? My antenna has smacked a few parking garage supports, since the last time I used it and installing it on this truck.

If it turns out to be my radio, YES, a great reason to go CB shopping, and get the one I have been eyeing for several months now, with Bluetooth. (Stupid hands-free laws)

Heading outside to investigate further.
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Old 09-29-2017, 1:08 PM
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OK, I just got done fixing the problem. I hooked up the stubby CB antenna and the internal speaker and meter came alive. OHM'd out my antenna cable, showed no issues for the whole length in the core, nor in the shielding. Connected my cable back to the radio and touch the cores of the cable and the stubby together, STATIC!!! Touched the core of my cable to the end of my antenna, STATIC!!! Connected the cable and the antenna to the elbow on the mount bracket, nothing. Went digging in the garage for the original straight connecter that came with the bracket, replaced the elbow, connected everything back up, STATIC!!! The STUPID ELBOW was causing the problem. OHMd out the elbow, it would only check good if the lead in the female end was all the way in, touching only the sidewalls would show OPEN. Going to drop some solder down in the hole, one of these days, got other important things to do.
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Old 09-29-2017, 1:28 PM
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Check the SWR. That is an older radio that was sitting idle for 15 years, so it may have some issues. Many times they can be fixed for a reasonable price!
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Old 09-29-2017, 1:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSpaceMann View Post
Check the SWR. That is an older radio that was sitting idle for 15 years, so it may have some issues. Many times they can be fixed for a reasonable price!
Yeah, I'm going to tune the antenna, after I find my spring for it, and get it in the mix.
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Old 09-29-2017, 9:29 PM
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Curious as to how well it will function as it seems to bolted through a vinyl box side lip cover. Not much of a ground plane IMHO.
Pics can be deceiving though. Good job of finding the issue and good luck with the radio. :-)
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroradio View Post
Curious as to how well it will function as it seems to bolted through a vinyl box side lip cover. Not much of a ground plane IMHO.
Pics can be deceiving though. Good job of finding the issue and good luck with the radio. :-)
Only the top is plastic, metal down the hole. When I cut the cover open, I scuffed the bottom lip of the hole, some grounding there. Seemed to run fine when I ran to Edwards to pick my son up from school.

Anyone know where I put my spring? Spent a couple hours looking in the garage, I'm sure that it's out there, somewhere.
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Old 11-02-2017, 6:00 AM
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Default All That is Left....Tuning the Antenna

Started my day, after work, yesterday, by cleaning the garage. FOUND my damn spring, went to install it, and then had to find the 90, for the mount, and fix it. Had temp installed the original straight post that came with the mount bracket. Dropped a couple of drops of solder down the chute of the female (cable) connector. I'm going to head out around 8am, to the top of one of the nearby buttes, to tune my antenna. I'll push a radio check after I get it dialed in, on 22, or 19 (if no luck on 22).

My Uniden PC122XL has U/L SB, if anyone wants to help me make sure that those are working too. I'll check back in, here, before I head out.
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Old 11-02-2017, 9:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenkeeper View Post
Started my day, after work, yesterday, by cleaning the garage. FOUND my damn spring, went to install it, and then had to find the 90, for the mount, and fix it. Had temp installed the original straight post that came with the mount bracket. Dropped a couple of drops of solder down the chute of the female (cable) connector. I'm going to head out around 8am, to the top of one of the nearby buttes, to tune my antenna. I'll push a radio check after I get it dialed in, on 22, or 19 (if no luck on 22).

My Uniden PC122XL has U/L SB, if anyone wants to help me make sure that those are working too. I'll check back in, here, before I head out.
WELL, I was going to go home, grab my SWR meter, some tools, and go tune my antenna after breakfast.

I jumped into my truck, started it, and got a reminder text from my daughter about her Honor Roll assembly this morning.
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:23 AM
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Well Raven, there's ALWAYS something to get in the way of a man doing what has to be done for his hobby!!! lol
Once you tune it on the 22 or 19, see how it looks on 1 and 40. They should be good, but some times flukes happen.
That's what I like about the 122XL, the sideband. Do you get up on 36L or 38L any?
BTW, hope you have a good time with your daughter at the Honor Roll assembly. My one daughter (out of 3), was reconized in '82; we gave her a prize, a rotty, she'd been want one for ages...lol
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Old 11-02-2017, 1:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC4RAF View Post
Well Raven, there's ALWAYS something to get in the way of a man doing what has to be done for his hobby!!! lol
Once you tune it on the 22 or 19, see how it looks on 1 and 40. They should be good, but some times flukes happen.
That's what I like about the 122XL, the sideband. Do you get up on 36L or 38L any?
BTW, hope you have a good time with your daughter at the Honor Roll assembly. My one daughter (out of 3), was reconized in '82; we gave her a prize, a rotty, she'd been want one for ages...lol
I’ll be using 1/40 to tune my antenna, I’m always listening to 19, but will switch to 22 to talk openly. I tried to call out to “DesrtDog“ on my way home from my daughters assembly, on 38L, no luck. Doubt I’ll reach FL from Antelope Valley, CA. Looks really smoky around where DesertDog lives.

Last edited by Ravenkeeper; 11-02-2017 at 1:44 PM..
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Old 11-02-2017, 2:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenkeeper View Post
If it turns out to be my radio, YES, a great reason to go CB shopping, and get the one I have been eyeing for several months now, with Bluetooth. (Stupid hands-free laws)

Heading outside to investigate further.
You're in California. Thanks to the efforts of a group of dedicated hams, the new hands free law has been amended to exempt ham, CB, and other mobile radios with wired mics. You still can't use an HT in a vehicle, however.

Last edited by k6cpo; 11-02-2017 at 3:05 PM..
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Old 11-09-2017, 2:52 PM
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Finally, I tuned my antenna today. Glad that I didn't use my radio a whole lot between then and now.

Initial readings:
1 - 1:3.5
40 - 1:2.8

After some adjusting:
1 & 40 - 1:2.9 (matched)
19 - 1:2.45(ish) (short of 2.5)

While I was checking my SWR on 19, there was some chatter going on, had my volume down and squelch closed until I was ready to talk, but by time I turned it up and opened it up, the chatter was gone. Made a couple calls for a radio check, no answer.

For now, I'm comfortable with my SWR, but will be looking into bettering it. At least I got the antenna tuned before a couple of friends of ours, my wife and I go up to the Big Bear area this weekend. Maybe my buddy and I will make contact with someone, or several someones on the way there and back, while the wives are in the backseat talking with each other.
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Old 11-09-2017, 3:30 PM
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Could just be me but thsts one heck of an SWR curve. I have never seen that in decades of playing radio. I usually tune to 20 as I really dont use anything below that. Do you really need channel 6....lol

Probably due still to lack of a proper ground plane.
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Old 11-09-2017, 3:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroradio View Post
Could just be me but thsts one heck of an SWR curve. I have never seen that in decades of playing radio. I usually tune to 20 as I really dont use anything below that. Do you really need channel 6....lol

Probably due still to lack of a proper ground plane.
Curve? More like, flat-line. I may switch to a NGP antenna. I'm wondering what all of the Jeeps around here are getting with their 4-5' FireStik antenna. I had a K40 on top of my 91 Nissan King Cab, but when I sold it, I removed my setup and there was a rust ring under the magnet. I used my K40 on both of my Grand Ams (93 & 99), trunk mount, loved it, other than having to take the upper half off each time I opened the trunk. I'm NOT up for drilling into my truck either.

Last edited by Ravenkeeper; 11-09-2017 at 3:55 PM.. Reason: Change word/phrase
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Old 11-09-2017, 8:48 PM
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Thats actually quite a curve. Check it the firestick page as there is a graph on it showing the way you tuned it. I have always tuned at 20 and went from 1-1 to never higher than a 2-1 across the band. That was with wilsons etc. Mag mounted dead center of the roof of the car or truck. Good ground planes. Was never into drilling holes either. I wont operate a radio over 2-1 but that's just me.

Off Center tuning

I see lots of trucks with the 4' whip mounted on the bumper or the spindly rack behind the cap or the plastic mirrior covers and wonder why....
Looks like you are on the right path to getting this to work for you and I hope it works out for you. :-)
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Old 11-10-2017, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroradio View Post
Thats actually quite a curve. Check it the firestick page as there is a graph on it showing the way you tuned it. I have always tuned at 20 and went from 1-1 to never higher than a 2-1 across the band. That was with wilsons etc. Mag mounted dead center of the roof of the car or truck. Good ground planes. Was never into drilling holes either. I wont operate a radio over 2-1 but that's just me.

Off Center tuning

I see lots of trucks with the 4' whip mounted on the bumper or the spindly rack behind the cap or the plastic mirrior covers and wonder why....
Looks like you are on the right path to getting this to work for you and I hope it works out for you. :-)
This "Off Center Tuning" is if you live on channel 10, 30, or some other channel other than 19 or 20. I'll gander around FireStik's website some more, later today to see what I can find something to make my SWR better. I saw where you were trying to go with this, but their document was more for "off center" channel used, not mount location.

I have found their High SWR Curve document, I may have a mount to chassis ground issue. Will look into this in the next week or so.
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