RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Commercial, Professional Radio and Personal Radio > CB Radio Forum


CB Radio Forum - Discussions regarding Citizens Band Radio (CB)

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2018, 12:04 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 52
Default First CB setup; Can't Fix SWR; Help?

Just setup my first CB radio. I am using a mobile CB radio as a base station in my home office. Getting very high SWR (over 3.0) with my preferred antenna. Here's the components:

RADIO: UNIDEN Bearcat 980SSB setup inside home office indoors on 2nd floor of home.

POWER: MegaWatt® S-400-12x 36 Amps 430 Watts 9.5 to 15 Volts Adjustable Ham CB Radio Power Supply 13.8V 12V https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._detailpages00

CABLE TO ANTENNA: MPD Digital 18-Feet Double Shielded Coleman RG-213/U Cable with Silver PL259 Connectors https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ilpage_o08_s00

SWR METER: Driver's Product SWR Meter for CB Radio Antennas https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ilpage_o04_s00

ANTENNA: RADIOWAVZ DBZCB CB Double Bazooka 5KW CB BASE ANTENNA

USING DOUBLE BAZOOKA: Indoor mounted. SWR above 3 or higher no matter where positioned. SWR will go down to 2 if I am holding the SWR meter in my hand. Otherwise, 3 or higher. This antenna does bring in signal, and I have had contact with other CBers who confirmed they can hear me.

ALTERNATE ANTENNA: I hooked up a Wilson 1000 Series Magnetic Mount CB Antenna https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...rch_detailpage Same SWR (3 or higher). When I hold the magmount antenna in my hand, the SWR goes down to 1 to 1.5. When I put magmount antenna on a metal base, SWR goes down to 1.5 to 2. BUT I cannot hear CBers, and have not gotten any confirmation that CBers can hear me transmitting with the Wilson.

FYI, the BEARCAT 980SSB internal SWR matches the external SWR readings 100%.

I'd like to find a way to use the RADIOWAVZ DBZCB CB Double Bazooka antenna since I paid for it, and with it I can actually hear local CBers and have confirmation of transmission. But I can't get the SWR down to safe levels, no matter where I have positioned it today.

I can get the WILSON Magmount down to safe SWR (1.5) but can't get the same reception, and haven't gotten anyone to confirm they can hear me using it.

Any/all feedback is appreciated! I took the plunge and I hope I can get these problems worked out soon.

David
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2018, 12:31 PM
prcguy's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 6,792
Default

You need to put the antenna(s) outside. Most buildings, even if all wood, have wiring in the walls, ducting in the ceiling, etc that will detune and shield an CB antenna inside the building. I live in a stucco house for example, which is completely covered with metal hardware cloth over the studs, shielding the entire house. You will also have noise generated from computers, routers and other things inside the building that can interfere with reception.

The Radiowaves antenna should be hung vertical and as high as possible to work with local base stations and mobiles. If you want to shoot skip horizontal is ok but it still needs to be outside, high in the air and away from large metal objects.

The mag mount needs to be sitting on a large flat metal surface like a car roof. It needs a lot of metal under it, otherwise it will not match and will do exactly what you are experiencing. You could sit it on top of a large section of chicken wire, like a 4ft wide by 10ft chunk will probably be ok. Using it indoors even with lots of metal under it will be grim at best.
prcguy

Last edited by prcguy; 01-20-2018 at 12:36 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2018, 12:39 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 52
Default

Thank you kindly.

My radio is setup within 2 feet of a PCs, multiple monitors, etc. Do you think I need to relocate the radio itself away from these home office components?

I had planned to mount the double bazooka in my top 3rd floor indoors, as shown here. No room for your base antenna? Try a dipole

If I need to put the antenna outside, and get coax into the house, I might as well relocate the radio itself to the top 3rd floor of my house (no PCs or electronics on that floor).

David
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2018, 12:43 PM
buddrousa's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: NW Tenn
Posts: 4,532
Default

Plus you do not want all of that RF in the house with you.
__________________
Support your local FIRE & EMS. PRO197-18-107-668:PSR-410 X2: BC8500XLT 785d BCD436HP SDS100 BCD536HPx3 BCT346 BCD996P2 x3 BCT15x2 BCT15X2 TRX-1 TRX-2 EFJ51SL MTX8250 TK2180 MD380x4 NX5300 NX5200
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2018, 1:34 PM
prcguy's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 6,792
Default

You have a nice radio and antenna, if you put the antenna outside you will get the most from your investment. Keep in indoors and its kind of a waste.

I don't know how long your antenna is but if you can hang it vertically from the roof away from the building with the coax going sideways for 10ft or more it should perform well. That should also allow you to keep the radio downstairs and the coax should not be too far from the first floor since it attaches to the middle of the antenna.
prcguy

Edit: Your question of moving the radio away from the computers is TBD. Getting the antenna outside and setup for either vertical for local or horizontal for skip is the primary problem. Having the radio next to computers and noise generating equipment can induce noise onto the coax and carry it to the antenna where it gets picked up and shows up in your receiver.

Once the antenna is set up outside you can then evaluate if you have noise pickup directly from the computer stuff or if its getting onto the coax and being carried to the antenna. Direct radiation from computer stuff to the antenna can be difficult to fix but reducing it from traveling up the coax is fairly cheap and easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidrfeeney View Post
Thank you kindly.

My radio is setup within 2 feet of a PCs, multiple monitors, etc. Do you think I need to relocate the radio itself away from these home office components?

I had planned to mount the double bazooka in my top 3rd floor indoors, as shown here. No room for your base antenna? Try a dipole

If I need to put the antenna outside, and get coax into the house, I might as well relocate the radio itself to the top 3rd floor of my house (no PCs or electronics on that floor).

David

Last edited by prcguy; 01-20-2018 at 2:09 PM..
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2018, 1:46 PM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: WTVLCA01DS0
Posts: 9,059
Default

You've been given some good advice.
Using antennas indoors is going to be an issue. As stated, lots of noise sources and too much surrounding metal to allow the antenna to work efficiently. You need to get your antennas outside. Anything else is going to be a compromise. All your testing points to the same thing.

There isn't anything you can do to make it work well indoors, short of removing -all- conductive material in the home and all noise sources.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2018, 4:44 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Western NJ
Posts: 323
Default

My first CB station was in an apartment with a simple back-of-set antenna and I was able to communicate over a few miles with that modest station. But that was in a city and back in the 70's when CB was booming.

You are in Bucks County, PA, familiar with the area and it is not a big city area so a lot less CB'ers to hear you or to be heard.

The previous posters were correct to get your antenna outside for better reception. You'd still have to check your SWR though.

An interim fix would be to purchase a CB antenna matcher and adjust for the lowest SWR. That does not necessarily mean your antenna would perform better though. Outside is better, higher is better is the rule.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2018, 11:48 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 52
Default First CB Base Setup UPDATE: SWR Fixed, Double Bazooka Mounted Indoors

First CB Base Setup UPDATE: SWR Fixed, Double Bazooka Mounted Indoors

Folks, thanks for the great advice, I am listening and experimenting. Here's an update:

1) I fixed the SWR issue with the Double Bazooka dipole through experimentation.

I ziptied the antenna mount and antenna lines to a long thin piece of wood trim.

It is oriented horizontally on my top 3rd floor, still indoors, as high as possible and as far away from electrical items/metal as possible. My CB base is on the 2nd floor and connected with an 18 foot coax cable.

The SWR fix came when I looped part of the ends of each antenna line back on itself (I had read about doing this in another article about dipole antennas, so I tried it). The SWR dropped from 8+ to 1.5 (measured with the radio's internal SWR meter and an external meter. SWR is consistently 1.5 across Channels 1, 40, 19, and all channels I have tested.

Now that SWR is "safe", I spent the afternoon today transmitting for radio checks, and got 2 confirmations. No conversations today. As someone mentioned, I am in Bucks County, PA with less users and radio traffic, but at least the SWR is acceptable, I can hear transmissions, and have some confirmation that my signal is getting out.

My next step is to experiment with better indoor mounting of the Double Bazooka. I think with rope, zip ties, and a longer coax cable, etc I can mount it higher in the 3rd floor (we have a tall 3rd floor which is the highest point in the house).

Also thinking how I can get the antenna outside, but that will take more planning. I have windows on 3rd floor that I might use, and am looking at the following window passthrough panel for the coax https://www.amazon.com/MFJ-Window-fe...ef=pd_ybh_a_11

But being cheap, I think I could make a passthrough panel for the window with a 2x4, a drill, and some weatherstripping.

Now that I have SWR down to safe levels, I need to understand how to use SSB on my CB radio? All of my listening/confirmations from other CBers have been on AM band, no idea how to use "USB" or "LSB" bands on my radio (Uniden 980SSB Bearcat).

Anyway, thanks for the advice, hope to talk at you someday soon!

David
Bucks County, PA 19047

PS I will try to attach some pictures of my antenna setup!
Attached Images
    
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2018, 4:40 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Camden County South Jersey
Posts: 318
Default

That's actually not a bad radio you have there. A few guys
in my area seem to like the Bearcats.
I would look into a cheap Antenna Matcher. You can get some
for around $30 - $60. What that does is, tunes the matcher to
your radio and antenna. It stops the reflected signal (from a
high SWR) from going back into your radio. It essentially
fools your radio into thinking it is perfectly matched to your antenna.
Thus, doing less damage to your radio.

As for USB and LSB here is the scoop (locally anyway)
Most people usually go to 36 LSB or 38 LBS when skip is in.
You will know skip is in when you hear the noise level triple.
You will hear people talking from all over the US and your
S Meter will be fluctuating up and down as they talk but they
don't seem to fade in and out.
Just go to 36 or 38 LSB and start shouting "CQ, CQ DX" followed
by your Sideband ID numbers (simply numbers you picked out of the air)
ie. 227...... "CQ CQ CQDX 227 in Pennsylvania calling"

Good luck and have fun. If ever on 38 LSB during skip, I am 351 in NJ.
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2018, 5:10 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Shawnee Kansas (Kansas City)
Posts: 1,179
Default

Most CB signals would be vertically polarized. Your antenna is horizontally polarized. There can be a10 to 25 db loss when cross polarized. Try making your antenna vertical for better reception and transmission.
BB
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2018, 5:32 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 52
Default Double Bazooka SWR down to 1.5; 2 Radio Checks; Here's my Bearcat...

Got the Double Bazooka antenna down to 1.5 SWR by folding part of the ends of the antenna back on itself. Hooray!

Gonna experiment with indoor mounting in vertical vs. horizontal tomorrow. Still researching getting the coax out through 3rd floor window, then an outdoor mount for the Double Bazooka...

Meanwhile, just listening and talking on AM Band Channel 19, two more radio checks today, one from Mount Holly NJ so the signal is getting out.

David
Bucks County, PA 19047
Attached Images
 
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2018, 8:18 PM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: WTVLCA01DS0
Posts: 9,059
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidrfeeney View Post
Meanwhile, just listening and talking on AM Band Channel 19, two more radio checks today, one from Mount Holly NJ so the signal is getting out.
Good deal. Getting the antenna vertical will help. Horizontal antenna like yours can be directional, so that's likely not helping you, unless the people you want to talk to are in the lobes of the antenna. Mounting it vertically and in the clear will make it omnidirectional, which may allow you to contact more people.
Will be interesting to see what your experience is.
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2018, 8:53 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 52
Default Google Map of CB Users

Found this Google Map form that lets you share info about your CB location, handle, rig, etc...

Add yourself to the Google Map at...

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1F...F3_Sg/viewform

View the Google Map at...

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...0.04970555&z=3

David
Bucks County, PA 19047
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2018, 4:38 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Western NJ
Posts: 323
Default

Glad you are making contacts but as the guys have pointed out, orient the antenna vertically if you want to work other stations locally. Line of sight for CB comms is with vertically polarized antennas. Have fun.
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2018, 4:45 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 52
Default

Thanks much! Yes, I am planning how I can setup the Double Bazooka in a vertical orientation, first indoors and soon, out the 3rd floor window. I will keep updating!

David
Bucks County, PA 19047
Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2018, 6:27 AM
jonwienke's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: PA
Posts: 8,856
Default

Since most CB antennas are vertical, having yours horizontal is going to reduce signal by as much as 20dB compared to what you'd get with it vertical. Low SWR doesn't guarantee good antenna performance.
__________________
Uniden scanner internal GPS installations--making mobile scanning work the way it always should have.
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2018, 3:40 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 806
Default

Aside from a horizontal antenna creating issues, because it WILL be directional, you also lose an often significant amount of signal strength when "everyone" else is using vertically polarized antennas and yours is horizontally polarized. (Or vice versa.) So while what you've got is working, hams have been known to make aluminum lawn chairs, fence posts, and light bulbs all "work" as antennas. That's not the same as working WELL.

A simple vertical antenna with an adequate ground plane (or radials) will probably outperform anything else you have, and as noted if you can get it high and outside, much better still.

I can't see any reason for a 5-kilowatt antenna with any legal CB. That's ludicrous macho marketing. As is the "double BAZOOKA", an antenna designed long ago for very different reasons. You made it work, which is good. But conventional solutions will work much better.

Something you need to know about SWR, is that all it says is "This much radiation was pushed back at the radio". It does NOT tell you how much radiation was consumed by the coax, or consumed by the antenna, or (most importantly) how much radiation is being radiated, transmitted out from the antenna. And that last figure, the actual amount transmitted out, is the only one that really matters for performance. (Although a high SWR can blow your radio, to be sure.)

So you may have a great SWR, but that doesn't mean you have great *performance*. Lots more to explore.
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2018, 6:50 PM
Ravenkeeper's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Antelope Valley, CA
Posts: 116
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpugEddy View Post
That's actually not a bad radio you have there. A few guys
in my area seem to like the Bearcats.
I would look into a cheap Antenna Matcher. You can get some
for around $30 - $60. What that does is, tunes the matcher to
your radio and antenna. It stops the reflected signal (from a
high SWR) from going back into your radio. It essentially
fools your radio into thinking it is perfectly matched to your antenna.
Thus, doing less damage to your radio.

As for USB and LSB here is the scoop (locally anyway)
Most people usually go to 36 LSB or 38 LBS when skip is in.
You will know skip is in when you hear the noise level triple.
You will hear people talking from all over the US and your
S Meter will be fluctuating up and down as they talk but they
don't seem to fade in and out.
Just go to 36 or 38 LSB and start shouting "CQ, CQ DX" followed
by your Sideband ID numbers (simply numbers you picked out of the air)
ie. 227...... "CQ CQ CQDX 227 in Pennsylvania calling"

Good luck and have fun. If ever on 38 LSB during skip, I am 351 in NJ.
"Sideband ID Numbers"??? That's the first I have ever heard of that.
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2018, 9:09 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 806
Default

An antenna "matcher" aka 'tuner' is really like sweeping dirt under the rug. It is out of sight--but it is still there. Better to actually match the antenna system to the radio, and you'll be putting more power OUT through the antenna, and getting better range.
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 01-24-2018, 8:01 PM
KC5AKB's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: North Texas
Posts: 236
Default

A old link to look at
https://forums.radioreference.com/cb...se-ssb-cb.html
For the mag mount find the largest close to car size metal object to stick it on . It needs a ground plane to work . Try new things this is what makes radio fun.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 2:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2015 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions