• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

    Please do not make requests for copies of radio programming software which is sold (or was sold) by the manufacturer for any monetary value. All requests will be deleted and a forum infraction issued. Making a request such as this is attempting to engage in software piracy and this forum cannot be involved or associated with this activity. The same goes for any private transaction via Private Message. Even if you attempt to engage in this activity in PM's we will still enforce the forum rules. Your PM's are not private and the administration has the right to read them if there's a hint to criminal activity.

    If you are having trouble legally obtaining software please state so. We do not want any hurt feelings when your vague post is mistaken for a free request. It is YOUR responsibility to properly word your request.

    To obtain Motorola software see the Sticky in the Motorola forum.

    The various other vendors often permit their dealers to sell the software online (i.e., Kenwood). Please use Google or some other search engine to find a dealer that sells the software. Typically each series or individual radio requires its own software package. Often the Kenwood software is less than $100 so don't be a cheapskate; just purchase it.

    For M/A Com/Harris/GE, etc: there are two software packages that program all current and past radios. One package is for conventional programming and the other for trunked programming. The trunked package is in upwards of $2,500. The conventional package is more reasonable though is still several hundred dollars. The benefit is you do not need multiple versions for each radio (unlike Motorola).

    This is a large and very visible forum. We cannot jeopardize the ability to provide the RadioReference services by allowing this activity to occur. Please respect this.

CB radio installation in a 1998 Volvo wagon

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
49
Hello everyone,

I am gathering the materials to do a glovebox mount in my 1998 Volvo V70.

I have a Uniden ProXL550 which will be mounted in the glovebox. I intend to run the antenna cable out the back of the glovebox and up the passenger side door pillar. My plan is to use a 3/4" or 3/8" NMO base mount.

Here are some of my concerns:

1. To power the CB, I intend to relocate the rear 12v power socket from the back of the rear console to just below the glovebox. There is enough wire to do this, as the wiring extension that leads to the rear console is split off of the shift area, being routed from front to rear. I could just cut the 12v plug from the back of the radio and hardware it to the car though. I like the idea of not cutting into the cars wiring and would like to have the option of simply rerouting the 12v outlet back to the console again if I sell the car at a later date. Will running the CB off of the 12v outlet be less optimal as apposed to hardwiring directly to the car? I will have to do some tests before I make anything permanent, but please let me know what you think as well.

2. Antenna mount and cable: i live in an older apartment complex and I have an underground parking space. The clearance is very low, so most of the time I will not have the antenna mounted. This is why the NMO mount appeals to me, as it is easy to keep the antenna in the car and simply mount it before a rod trip and unmount it when I get back. Some people have said that NMO style antenna mounts won't work with CB but maybe I'm not hearing that from knowledgeable people. And I am not knowledgeable enough myself. So any advice on this would be helpful.

3. Antenna itself: I am leaning toward installing an NMO to 3/8" style adapter to the car and then either buying a Firsticl or some other 3-4' antenna. Does this combination of antenna, NMO mount and radio seem like a good combination?

Thanks for any help!
 

FiveFilter

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
186
I always have had good luck plugging my radios into the 12V "cigarette lighter" ports. I am prepared to wire directly to the battery if any interference is experience like some have reported with theirs, but so far so good for my vehicles.

I can't comment about your antenna questions. I only use magnetic antennas with lengths from 3-feet to 5-feet depending on garage clearance conditions. The value of magnetic is the ability to move it to the best position on the vehicle (usually the middle of the roof) and the ability to remove it completely for storage in the vehicle when it's not needed any more.
 

Rred

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
829
Why destroy the car's existing 12v rear socket? There should be at least one fuse panel up front, with at least one spare fuse location that you can tap for your power. If this is too technical for you, any auto electric shop or car audio shop can properly tap the fuse panel and run two power wires into the glove box for you. This is not a complicated job, just beware the "car stereo" places that like to do everything quick and cheap. Make sure whoever does it, uses adequate gauge wire.

For occasional trip use, I hate to say it but again, why not keep things simple? Get a good magnetic mount, throw it on top when you need it, be done with it. They work just as well for many people over many years.

If you want to install a permanent NMO mount, understand that you don't just drill a hole in the roof, either you use a special punch or drill a very careful hole to make the right contacts and seal. And, you need to know what is under the headliner, you can't always just make a hole and drop a cable. Either way, you don't want to screw around with adapters, just get an antenna that will screw into the NMO mount directly. Keep it simple and clean.

A different option might be to install the radio under the passenger seat, if the controls are on the mic and the cord is long enough. That allows the glove box to remain unobstructed too.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,346
Location
Texas
If you can, power the radio directly from the battery (less noise generally) though ground anywhere on the chassis (closer to the radio the better). Don't hack the harness apart, if you want easy, go to Autozone and get a simple fuse tap and use that (not the best solution but it's less work compared to what you wish to do) and still ground the negative lead to the chassis.

For the NMO mount, 3/4" is actually easier as it doesn't require removing the headliner (just having the ability to see the area where you will be drilling and catching the coax). Many shops will do this for under $100…so if you aren't comfortable with it, have it done.

As far as antennas go, don't use a NMO to 3/8" adapter. CB antennas are heavy and when paired with the adapter often put un-needed stress on the mount and sheet metal. A better solutions would be to use a low band NMO antenna such as the Larsen NMO27 (a few others will suggest Laird variants and those are good as well). Just make sure the bandwidth of the antenna actually covers 27 MHz. You will have to cut/tune a commercial low band antenna (again the shop will do this for you as part of the install if you choose to do it that way).
 

lucky43113

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
377
Location
Central Ohio/Pickaway County
You may get a little noise it varies but what I have done is simply got a cheap cell phone car charger cut the end off wire it to your radio and plug it in very easy but your results may vary.
 

jonwienke

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
9,280
Location
PA
You may get a little noise it varies but what I have done is simply got a cheap cell phone car charger cut the end off wire it to your radio and plug it in very easy but your results may vary.
This WILL NOT work to power a CB radio. Phone charges output 5V not 12V, and do not output enough current to operate a CB radio.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
49
Thanks for all the feedback.

As far as the power jack is concerned; by relocating the power jack nothing will be permanteny altered. The wire harness is long enough so that nothing has to be cut. I have no need for 12v power in the rear seats so there really is no worry to me in moving it.

As far as the antenna is concerned, I really don't like the idea of a magnetic mount I've had them before and they just look sloppy. I want this install to have a very neat appearance. I have already removed two headliners from this vehicle type as well as installed them, so I am not discouraged about having to drill or punch the 3/4" hole in the roof. Plus we are talking about a fairly beat up almost 20 year old car here. I have nothing to lose in this alteration.

I have already established that I can run the cable jack down the passenger front window pillar and pad it into the glove box area. For those of you who might not be familiar with these cars, the glove box is a pretty solid plastic box that simply unscrews from the dash once the door is open and can easily be removed for out-of-car drilling for the antenna and power cable cords as well as installing the mounting bracket.

As far as antennas go with the 3/4" NMO, I would like something no more than 3' tall so that the antenna can be removed and concealed in the rear hatch portion. The simpler the antenna the better. When the antenna is not installed on the NMO mount I will put one of those black plastic caps on it for protection. As far as antenna placement goes, I understand what is being said about the magnetic mounts being easier to move around for optimum use, but surely there is a way to establish optimum position for a permanent mount, isn't there?

Thanks again for any feedback and further antenna suggestions. I see what you mean about the NMO to 3/8" adapters that does seem like a lot of weight for a small base.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
49
you are wrong I have done it many times with my Uniden pc68xl
Why would you even need to do this? If the CB didn't have 12v power already in plug form I don't see any reason as there are many different power options already. Also I would assume this would cause lots of feedback in your AM radio signal while the CB is under power / load.

Years ago I had a friend with an 80's Camarillo who was running divers switches, relays and heat sinks off of one main alternator, while powering another alternator which ran power to a switchboard for other devices. His AM radio signal was greatly compromised , but I'm not sure exactly why
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
10,929
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
1. To power the CB, I intend to relocate the rear 12v power socket from the back of the rear console to just below the glovebox. There is enough wire to do this, as the wiring extension that leads to the rear console is split off of the shift area, being routed from front to rear. I could just cut the 12v plug from the back of the radio and hardware it to the car though. I like the idea of not cutting into the cars wiring and would like to have the option of simply rerouting the 12v outlet back to the console again if I sell the car at a later date. Will running the CB off of the 12v outlet be less optimal as apposed to hardwiring directly to the car? I will have to do some tests before I make anything permanent, but please let me know what you think as well.
Ideal solution is to power the radio directly from the battery. Since some accessory circuits inside the vehicle can be noise sources, using the existing stuff can be a real headache. It'll take some extra work, but if done right, you'll have a robust install and you'll reduce the chances of having interference issues. Professional 2 way radio installers will never power a radio off any existing vehicle wiring. Partly that is because of amperage draw, partly because of interference.

2. Antenna mount and cable: i live in an older apartment complex and I have an underground parking space. The clearance is very low, so most of the time I will not have the antenna mounted. This is why the NMO mount appeals to me, as it is easy to keep the antenna in the car and simply mount it before a rod trip and unmount it when I get back. Some people have said that NMO style antenna mounts won't work with CB but maybe I'm not hearing that from knowledgeable people. And I am not knowledgeable enough myself. So any advice on this would be helpful.
That's a good solution. Install the 3/4" NMO mount as close to the center of the vehicle roof as you can. Since CB frequencies require a big ground plane, this will provide the best possible. anything else will be a compromise.

When you have the antenna removed, use one of the NMO rain caps to protect the mount.

As for the NMO mounts and antennas, they work very well. There is a good reason that the de-facto standard in the two way radio industry is the NMO mount.

3. Antenna itself: I am leaning toward installing an NMO to 3/8" style adapter to the car and then either buying a Firsticl or some other 3-4' antenna. Does this combination of antenna, NMO mount and radio seem like a good combination?

Thanks for any help!
I'd strongly discourage this set up. It's a recipe for trouble. The stiff fiberglass antennas put a lot of stress on the mount, and this will quickly damage the sheet metal.

Use a Larsen NMO-27. I used those for many years with excellent results. They are a professional grade antenna that will match the NMO mount. They are about 4 feet long, nice thin whip that will easily flex if you meet a parking garage or low tree branch. I've got one that's over 20 years old. They'll cost a bit more than the consumer grade CB antennas, but it will easily outlast your car.
Larsen NMO-27 antenna with a properly installed NMO mount right in the center of the vehicle roof with a radio properly powered from a good power source, followed up by proper adjustment of the antenna with an SWR meter will give you an ideal solution.
I guarantee you that doing a proper job of this will give you excellent results. Cutting corners, using shortcuts, or taking the easy solutions will lead to a poor installation. While it will probably work, it won't be as good as it could be. Since CB's are limited to 4 watts AM, you really need to pay attention to the antenna set up! Don't cut corners there. Do it right and tune the antenna. You won't be sorry.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
10,929
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
you are wrong I have done it many times with my Uniden pc68xl
Depends on the type of plug and how it's connected. Most cellular phone chargers have a voltage regulator inside the cigarette lighter body that takes the 12 volts DC out of the lighter plug and steps it down to around 5 volts DC for the USB type connections. A CB radio will not run on 5 volts DC.
If you bypass/remove the 5 volt regulator, it will work.

But I agree with the others, since we don't know what the condition of the wiring is in the car, and the cigarette lighter wiring could be shared with other accessories, it's often a source of noise, especially with the AM modulation used by CB. There are instances and vehicles where it will work, but it's not an ideal solution. If SonicAdventure is going through the process to do a proper antenna install, they might as well put the extra effort into doing the power feed correctly. It'll pay off in the end.
 

lucky43113

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
377
Location
Central Ohio/Pickaway County
Depends on the type of plug and how it's connected. Most cellular phone chargers have a voltage regulator inside the cigarette lighter body that takes the 12 volts DC out of the lighter plug and steps it down to around 5 volts DC for the USB type connections. A CB radio will not run on 5 volts DC.
If you bypass/remove the 5-volt regulator, it will work.

But I agree with the others, since we don't know what the condition of the wiring is in the car, and the cigarette lighter wiring could be shared with other accessories, it's often a source of noise, especially with the AM modulation used by CB. There are instances and vehicles where it will work, but it's not an ideal solution. If SonicAdventure is going through the process to do a proper antenna install, they might as well put the extra effort into doing the power feed correctly. It'll pay off in the end.
True, it's not the best solution but I was just saying in a pinch it can work I mainly used that method to test radios I use to buy a lot of used radios so no since going through the install without checking the radio first.
 

jonwienke

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
9,280
Location
PA
you are wrong I have done it many times with my Uniden pc68xl
CB radios run on 12VDC, and require more power than a cell phone charger is capable of providing. It's also stupid to put a phone charger in the radio power supply line when the radio can (and should) be directly connected to 12VDC power.

You're the one who doesn't know what he is talking about.
 

lucky43113

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
377
Location
Central Ohio/Pickaway County
CB radios run on 12VDC, and require more power than a cell phone charger is capable of providing. It's also stupid to put a phone charger in the radio power supply line when the radio can (and should) be directly connected to 12VDC power.

You're the one who doesn't know what he is talking about.
say what you want but it was a blackberry charger and I used it for almost a year before I gave the radio to my dad
 

jonwienke

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
9,280
Location
PA
That doesn't mean what you did was wise or smart, or anything you should ever recommend to anyone else. In most cases, it won't power the radio, and will burn out the phone charger.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
49
Thank you to everyone who has chimed in so far.

So, I've moved a few steps closer to completing this project and I wanted to get a few more pieces of feedback.

I've determined that I am able to fish a PL-259 connector down the passenger side front window pillar and down into the dash where I plan to mount the radio. This is a good thing; I really didn't want to have to money with that too much.

1. I measured the distance along the logical wire routing path from the center of my roof to the rough area where the radio will be mounted, and came up with about 9-10 feet. My question is this: if I buy a nice NMO mount with the PL-259 already attached but its 15' feet of antenna cable, what should I do with the extra wire? Some have said to loop it out across the headliner; some have recommended looping excess out under the carpet of the car and running what you need back up to your radio.

2. Does antenna cable length really make a difference? IOW, is buying a 15' cable and dealing properly with the extra 5 feet in my case BETTER than buying a 9' cable that pretty much leaves no excess to play around with?

3. Center of Roof: My car is a base model, so no sunroof - just a big flat ground plane! I measured a point today that within 1/4" is the exact center of the roof of my car. Just how exact does finding the center have to be? I used to work in cabinets, and I am certain I can find the center of the roof to a 1/16", but accommodating for any wiggle roof while drilling / punching the NMO hole I just want to know how exact the center point has to be.

4. Powering directly to the battery: you all pretty much sold me on the hardwire idea and not taping in to anything in the car's electronics. I intend to remove the 12v plug from my radio, solder and sleeve an 14-16 gauge extension wire onto the positive and run that to the battery + terminal. I will move the inline fuse to the extension piece as I'd prefer to have the fuse easily accessible in the engine bay rather than tucked up under a hard to reach location under my dashboard. For the negative wire, I have heard that the closer you ground it to a chassis point near the radio the better. Any thoughts on this?

5. SWR meter: I am looking at these on ebay. I don't want to spend a ton but since I will likely do some other installs down the line I want to at least get a good one.

6. Larsen: pretty much sold on this Larsen 27 everyone is mentioning. With a Uniden ProXL510 and a good NMO mount cable powering a Larsen 27, how far will I get out there, roughly, under optimal conditions.

Thanks again for all your help.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
10,929
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
Thank you to everyone who has chimed in so far.

So, I've moved a few steps closer to completing this project and I wanted to get a few more pieces of feedback.

I've determined that I am able to fish a PL-259 connector down the passenger side front window pillar and down into the dash where I plan to mount the radio. This is a good thing; I really didn't want to have to money with that too much.

1. I measured the distance along the logical wire routing path from the center of my roof to the rough area where the radio will be mounted, and came up with about 9-10 feet. My question is this: if I buy a nice NMO mount with the PL-259 already attached but its 15' feet of antenna cable, what should I do with the extra wire? Some have said to loop it out across the headliner; some have recommended looping excess out under the carpet of the car and running what you need back up to your radio.
Do not loop it up in a coil, that can create a choke and will cause issues. Route the cable so you use up the excess. Do NOT lay it under carpet as this is a common place for damage to happen. It gets stepped on, abraded, etc.

Use up the extra 5-6 feet in your routing. It is true that there is a bit of signal loss in the cable, but it's pretty small at CB frequencies. I wouldn't worry about it. Ideally you do want to cut it to length, but unless you have terminated coaxial cable before and have the right tools, it's not easy. You could pay someone to do it, but what you'd gain would be negligible.

2. Does antenna cable length really make a difference? IOW, is buying a 15' cable and dealing properly with the extra 5 feet in my case BETTER than buying a 9' cable that pretty much leaves no excess to play around with?
Again, ideally you just want to use the amount of cable you need since that reduces feed line losses. However, at CB frequencies, the amount of signal loss you'd see in the extra 5 to 6 feet of cable would not be noticeable unless you had some very expensive test equipment. Your ears will not be able to recognize the difference in that extra cable.

As a purist and a radio guy, if I was doing this install, I'd buy the mount with unterminated cable. I'd route the cable and cut off the excess leaving maybe an extra foot. I'd install my own connector and test it.
What does that gain? Not really a whole lot. Where this makes a difference is at much higher frequencies. For CB, it's only a convenience thing.

Now, If you had 30 feet of extra cable, I'd say cut it to length and pay someone to install a connector for you, but tat isn't the case.

3. Center of Roof: My car is a base model, so no sunroof - just a big flat ground plane! I measured a point today that within 1/4" is the exact center of the roof of my car. Just how exact does finding the center have to be? I used to work in cabinets, and I am certain I can find the center of the roof to a 1/16", but accommodating for any wiggle roof while drilling / punching the NMO hole I just want to know how exact the center point has to be.
It's purely looks and how comfortable you are.
Likely you'd not notice a 1/16th off either side. It's not going to make a difference to the radio.

Get it as close as you can for aesthetics, nothing more.

4. Powering directly to the battery: you all pretty much sold me on the hardwire idea and not taping in to anything in the car's electronics. I intend to remove the 12v plug from my radio, solder and sleeve an 14-16 gauge extension wire onto the positive and run that to the battery + terminal. I will move the inline fuse to the extension piece as I'd prefer to have the fuse easily accessible in the engine bay rather than tucked up under a hard to reach location under my dashboard. For the negative wire, I have heard that the closer you ground it to a chassis point near the radio the better. Any thoughts on this?
Yes, you want it grounded close to the radio. In addition, there is benefit to running an additional ground from the radio chassis to the vehicle body. This helps with reducing noise.

5. SWR meter: I am looking at these on ebay. I don't want to spend a ton but since I will likely do some other installs down the line I want to at least get a good one.
It's a good idea. The antenna cut charts will get you pretty close, but an SWR lets you get more exact AND test for other types of faults. It's a good investment if you plan on keeping this setup for the long term. No point in spending money on a good antenna and not optimizing it for your install.

6. Larsen: pretty much sold on this Larsen 27 everyone is mentioning. With a Uniden ProXL510 and a good NMO mount cable powering a Larsen 27, how far will I get out there, roughly, under optimal conditions.
No one can really tell you that as there are way too many variables involved. The big on is local conditions, atmospheric conditions, noise floor, who's listening, etc.

Under some conditions, CB might be good for a mile. Under others, you may be able to talk around the world.

Thanks again for all your help.
Always happy to help out how ever I can. I think this will be a good setup and you'll be happy with it.
 

jonwienke

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
9,280
Location
PA
Do not loop it up in a coil, that can create a choke and will cause issues.
I disagree. Coiling the coax will have no effect on the RF signal; it will only affect common-mode currents which you don't want anyway. Coil the excess coax as close to the antenna as possible to eliminate any possibility of RF radiating from the coax and interfering with vehicle electronics.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
10,929
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
I disagree. Coiling the coax will have no effect on the RF signal; it will only affect common-mode currents which you don't want anyway. Coil the excess coax as close to the antenna as possible to eliminate any possibility of RF radiating from the coax and interfering with vehicle electronics.
That's a good point. I'm not much up on HF, so is there a size loop that works best?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top