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Advice for shooting skip with power?

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blakews2217

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alton il
So I got my swr as low as it can go (1.2:1 @1 and 40) and got rm Italy amp it's a 100 watt am/ssb without preamp. It's got a 10 GA run from the battery and frame grounded. I've been able to talk power to the local towns. ( I live in Alton. I can regularly make it to cottage hills and wood river in bad wether. Like pouring rain so hard you can't see) so I was wondering how much luck do you think I could get shooting skip with it. My neighbor has a base setup ( don't know what radio) with a 40 foot tower antenna and no power I can't hear him past 5 miles in town. The radio I have is a midland 1001z. It's got rf gain and squelch along with the normal volume and channel knobs. Nothing fancy. It's got the feed from the cigarette lighter all itself. If I get the money I'm going to get a better radio but being in a jeep Cherokee I'm limited on space. I've got the midland on the dash right now.


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methusaleh

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I see all of those words about an amp and radio...but nothing about the antenna.

Antenna performance is responsible for at least 90% of your station's ability to communicate.

What can you tell us about your antenna, coax run, any compromises made for mounting, etc.?
 

prcguy

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Antenna is as important as the power. 5w to 100w is a 13dB increase. Going from a 2ft loaded antenna to a 9ft whip can buy you about 6dB and is much cheaper than an amp. Going from 5w and a short antenna to 100w and a big antenna can be impressive.

Also conditions on CB/10m have been lousy lately so if there is no propagation, no talky skip.
prcguy


I see all of those words about an amp and radio...but nothing about the antenna.

Antenna performance is responsible for at least 90% of your station's ability to communicate.

What can you tell us about your antenna, coax run, any compromises made for mounting, etc.?
 

mmckenna

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A couple of ideas before you buy a new radio….

Power your radio directly off the battery. This will help eliminate some sources of noise. Modern vehicles have a lot of computers that can generate a lot of RF noise. Tapping into existing wiring or cigarette lighter sockets is a great way to get all that unwanted noise into your radio.
That noise/interference is going to make it hard to hear the weak stations. So, if you want to talk skip, don't forget that it works both ways, you need to be able to HEAR as well as TALK.

A preamplifier might be a good idea. It'll boost weak signals a bit and get them to your radio. If asked, I would have said that you shouldn't buy an amplifier without a preamp.

And, as methusaleh said, it ALL about the antenna. You take a $20 radio and a $50 antenna and it'll probably work way better than a $200 radio and a $20 antenna. Without a properly installed, mounted and tuned antenna you might as well get rid of the amplifier.
1. NO mag mounts. If you are serious about making this work, drill the hole and mount the antenna where it needs to be. That is, top and center of the vehicle roof. Anything else is a compromise. If you want this all to work well, but cut corners on your antenna install, you're just wasting electricity.
2. No gimmick antennas. Antenna design is governed by the laws of physics. NO manufacturer has a secret way around those laws. Doesn't matter what the package says, what your buddy says, etc. If you want it to work well, mount it as I said about, and use a full 1/4 wave antenna. 102" whip with the 6" spring. Base loaded antenna will work, but none of them will work as well as a real 1/4 wave whip.
3. Clean power. As I said above, power everything directly off the battery with properly sized wiring, fused, grounded, etc. If you are getting RFI (radio frequency interference) into your radio via the power feeds, it's going to wipe out some of your receive capability.
4. Grounding, grounding, grounding. Ground everything correctly. Ground the - power. Ground the radio chassis. Ground the amplifier chassis.
5. Decent coaxial cable with properly installed connectors. RG-58 isn't bad for CB use. There are better choices for mobile use, like LMR-200. Use -just- the length you need. If some guy starts telling you that you 'must' use 18 feet, 3 feet or some other length, ignore him. These are old wives tales spread by guys that barely know what end of the radio to speak into. Use -just- the length of cable you need.
Also, no twist on coaxial connectors. Use either crimp on or solder on connectors. If you do not know how to install them yourself, there isn't any shame in buying your cables pre-terminated.
6. Tuned antenna. Get a decent SWR meter. Don't rely on the ones built into the radio, they are often very inaccurate and low resolution. If needed, pay someone with a good meter to tune the antenna for you.
7. Avoid the noise makers. While I'm not on CB very often, the thing that annoys me the most is the echo boxes, roger beep, etc. Skip that crap and focus on clean audio.

Don't fall for the gimmick stuff. It doesn't work, and doesn't help. Focus on a good clean installation, clean power, tuned antenna. That'll make the biggest difference.

Amateur radio operators can talk around the world on 5 watts because they use the things I pointed out above. It works, it's been proven. Focusing just on RF power output won't help things. There's so much more than just running power.
 

blakews2217

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Thanks everyone. I should have mentioned I do have a 102"whip with spring mounted and isolated (except for the shield and a ground wire) to a custom rear bumper. How much RFI can an relay make? I love the failsafe of the key on relay. Or even use the fuel-pump trigger for a relay feed to send power to the radio and amp. That way it will only run while the engine is running. Another thing, how would an electrical filter do on this rig? I hear so much engine noise through the radio it's bad. Amit an s9 with the rf gain all the way up.
I have borrowed my neighbors astatic pdc7 swr meter and it shows 1.2:1 all the way around. As for the coaxel. I don't have the equipment/ability. I don't wanna beat a dead horse here but I think 5 miles is good range for this setup. I need to get on the highway and see what I get. I can get that without power.


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hamstang

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E skip everyday

Antenna is as important as the power. 5w to 100w is a 13dB increase. Going from a 2ft loaded antenna to a 9ft whip can buy you about 6dB and is much cheaper than an amp. Going from 5w and a short antenna to 100w and a big antenna can be impressive.

Also conditions on CB/10m have been lousy lately so if there is no propagation, no talky skip.
prcguy

E skip every day and evening recently here in NC.
 

mmckenna

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Thanks everyone. I should have mentioned I do have a 102"whip with spring mounted and isolated (except for the shield and a ground wire) to a custom rear bumper.
Good choice on the antenna. Mounting on the bumper can be problematic since it will result in some power being reflected by the vehicle body and the offset ground plane is going to result in it being slightly directional.


How much RFI can an relay make?
A bit when they are energized and de-energized.

I love the failsafe of the key on relay.
Use a high current relay. Run the power from the battery to the radio through it. Use an ignition controlled circuit in the car to trigger it. That will allow you to have the key on/off function but still provide plenty of clean power from the battery.

Or even use the fuel-pump trigger for a relay feed to send power to the radio and amp. That way it will only run while the engine is running.
Electric fuel pumps are often a big source of RFI. I'd strongly suggest not using that as your trigger source.

Another thing, how would an electrical filter do on this rig?
They might help hide the effects of a poor install, but they often won't fix everything. It's cheaper and more effective to route power directly off the battery and make sure everything, including the radio and amp chassis are properly grounded to the vehicle body. Do NOT rely on the - power wire as your RF ground.

I hear so much engine noise through the radio it's bad. Amit an s9 with the rf gain all the way up.
You need to find out how that noise is getting into your system. If you've done the install correctly, and still have S9 noise, then try disconnecting the antenna. Did it go away? If it did, noise is getting in through the antenna. Try relocating the antenna.
If that doesn't fix it, try powering the radio off another power source than the car. If the noise goes away, it's getting in through the power wiring and that will need to be fixed.

I have borrowed my neighbors astatic pdc7 swr meter and it shows 1.2:1 all the way around.
That's good, however low SWR isn't an indication that everything is working correctly. You can connect a 50Ω dummy load to your radio/meter and get low SWR, but it won't radiate enough energy to do anything for you. A coaxial cable issue might show good SWR but the performance will suck.
1.2:1 is a good number, what you need to know is how well it works.

As for the coaxel. I don't have the equipment/ability.
Not an issue, nothing wrong with per-terminated cables. Just make sure they are good.

I don't wanna beat a dead horse here but I think 5 miles is good range for this setup. I need to get on the highway and see what I get. I can get that without power.
5 miles with no amplifier is pretty good. Sounds like it's working.
I'd focus on getting the noise issues resolved. That will let you hear the weaker stations. Remember, if you can't hear them, you can't work them.
 

Chronic

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All I want to know is who is this "Skip" guy and why does everyone want to shoot him ?
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Regarding preamps in the RM Italy amps, they have no bandpass filtering, just a transistor looking at the world through a 102 inch whip. Now I see that Minicircuits sells a small bandpass filter that covers the CB band. I would recommend soldering one of those into the preamp.
 

blakews2217

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alton il
Good choice on the antenna. Mounting on the bumper can be problematic since it will result in some power being reflected by the vehicle body and the offset ground plane is going to result in it being slightly directional.









A bit when they are energized and de-energized.







Use a high current relay. Run the power from the battery to the radio through it. Use an ignition controlled circuit in the car to trigger it. That will allow you to have the key on/off function but still provide plenty of clean power from the battery.







Electric fuel pumps are often a big source of RFI. I'd strongly suggest not using that as your trigger source.







They might help hide the effects of a poor install, but they often won't fix everything. It's cheaper and more effective to route power directly off the battery and make sure everything, including the radio and amp chassis are properly grounded to the vehicle body. Do NOT rely on the - power wire as your RF ground.







You need to find out how that noise is getting into your system. If you've done the install correctly, and still have S9 noise, then try disconnecting the antenna. Did it go away? If it did, noise is getting in through the antenna. Try relocating the antenna.

If that doesn't fix it, try powering the radio off another power source than the car. If the noise goes away, it's getting in through the power wiring and that will need to be fixed.







That's good, however low SWR isn't an indication that everything is working correctly. You can connect a 50Ω dummy load to your radio/meter and get low SWR, but it won't radiate enough energy to do anything for you. A coaxial cable issue might show good SWR but the performance will suck.

1.2:1 is a good number, what you need to know is how well it works.







Not an issue, nothing wrong with per-terminated cables. Just make sure they are good.







5 miles with no amplifier is pretty good. Sounds like it's working.

I'd focus on getting the noise issues resolved. That will let you hear the weaker stations. Remember, if you can't hear them, you can't work them.


I've noticed the beam effect from the people I talk to. It is somewhat inline with the vehicle. So where the front points, that's where the power is going



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mmckenna

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Yep. And as long as you know that, you can use it to your advantage. Point the car in the direction you want to talk.
 

wyShack

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Just checked this thread-Skip is the guy who said more power means more distance-I think he said if you double the power you talk twice as far. Yes, now everyone wants to shoot him...
 

blakews2217

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Just checked this thread-Skip is the guy who said more power means more distance-I think he said if you double the power you talk twice as far. Yes, now everyone wants to shoot him...


I knew I had to shoot him. What a shame.


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gordonbrittas

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Back in the day we used to used mikes with echo units and sound modulation due to transmitting on AM (amplitude modulation) many times the needle wouldn't budge put a loud voice could be heard.

Ho i used to love my stalker 9fdx.
 

prcguy

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In the mid 70s I would regularly talk from So Cal to Australia with a stock 4W AM CB using a 4ft tall Antenna Specialists base loaded antenna on the car trunk lid. If the skip is in hot and heavy and you find a quiet channel you can work quite a distance with mediocre equipment.
prcguy

Skip use to be a really great guy back in the '60s and '70s. But he got so bad in the last couple of decades that now everybody's' wanting to shoot him!!!
 

FiveFilter

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I use the CB for communicating highway information to and from other vehicles on long highway trips. Skip is no friend to me.

The nominal four watts of legal CB power is usually all I need, but I got a little Italy RM 203P amp which I turn on in difficult transmission conditions. Many times I have to turn it on because of that guy Skip.

Thanks a lot, Skip.
 
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