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Mobile Set up problems

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nfernaays

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I recently upgraded my mobile set up and cant seem to transmit over 1/4 a mile or so. Her is what i have and how it was all put together.

Firestik 2 antenna 5 ft - on extended front stake hole mount, 2/3 is above the cab.

Fire Ring Coax-18 foot of coax running to kicker

Kl-203P kicker- Coax in seems tight but pin not soldered yet, power cords (red and Black) direct to battery

Uniden 980 SSB connected on 3 foot coax to kicker and power cords (Red and Black) direct to battery.

Also have an external speaker hooked up to the Uniden

Did a road test and my base station at home can only hear me out about 1/4 of a mile. I was hoping for much more with this set up. Do i have something hooked up wrong? I can receive fine with it.

The Uniden 980 SSB has a diagnostic function and shows the my antenna is mismatching but not sure how to fix it.

I would like to make this set up work, so all comments about just getting a 102' whip will not be helpful.
 

jonwienke

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First off, get rid of the "kicker", at least until you get your antenna issues sorted out. You should be able to go several miles with a barefoot radio if your antenna is set up right.

Do not use cables with solder-type connectors if you haven't soldered all of the connections. It's a guaranteed bad connection.

Post a pic of your "extended front stake hole mount". If it's raising the base of the antenna above the top of the truck bed, then you're compromising your ground plane, and performance will be horrible at best. Having the antenna partially obscured by the cab just makes a bad situation worse.

Even optimally installed, a stake hole mount's performance is going to be unimpressive at best. The side of the bed is not a good ground plane, even if the base of the antenna is flush with the top of the stake hole. And having any part of the antenna below/behind the cab will compromise its performance, and produce an undesirable directionality to your radiation pattern.

The best place to mount an antenna (especially a CB antenna, which requires a large unobstructed ground plane to work properly) is in the center of the vehicle roof. Mounting anywhere else compromises antenna performance significantly.
 

movinon

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Yup no kicker till you get it working barefoot. Your problem is one of three things. Ground, ground, or ground. Good luck.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

nfernaays

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I am wondering now if if should have went with a no ground plane antenna from Firestik for this application.
 

movinon

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Hmmmm please take a close pic of just the mount.

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jonwienke

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It's never going to perform as well as a center roof mount, but it's OK. There is some clearance between the antenna and the cab, but the cab is going to block some of the signal that would go to the front right of the truck. The first thing to check is that there is a good electrical connection between the mount and the truck body. The next is to solder the coax connection you referenced as not having been soldered yet.

With the coax connected to the antenna, you should get a low-resistance connection between the shell of the radio end of the coax to the vehicle body, and between the center pin and the antenna spring.

Once you've gotten that verified, then you can look into tuning the antenna.
 

nfernaays

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It's never going to perform as well as a center roof mount, but it's OK. There is some clearance between the antenna and the cab, but the cab is going to block some of the signal that would go to the front right of the truck. The first thing to check is that there is a good electrical connection between the mount and the truck body. The next is to solder the coax connection you referenced as not having been soldered yet.

With the coax connected to the antenna, you should get a low-resistance connection between the shell of the radio end of the coax to the vehicle body, and between the center pin and the antenna spring.

Once you've gotten that verified, then you can look into tuning the antenna.
Please tell me there is a you tube video showing me how do do this?
 

jhooten

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Your 980 cannot tell you your antenna is mismatched with the amplifier inline. It is telling you there is a problem with the jumper or the input section of the amp. Bypass the amp and jumper, taking the coax straight from the 980 to the antenna and see what happens.
 
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Pull the amp out of line and run barefoot. Check the coax for solid connections. See if what the VSWR is and tune the antenna accordingly (looking for 1.5:1 or less ideally, anything under 2.0:1 is acceptable).

A properly tuned (quality) antenna and decent receiver should provide 15-20 miles reliably when mounted on the roof.

Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk
 

mmckenna

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As others have said:

1. Take the amplifier out of the system until you get this resolved.

2. Solder the antenna connection. You shouldn't be trying to run without a good connection.

3. Once that is done, you should do some continuity tests on your cable:
- Disconnect BOTH ends of the coaxial cable.
- Using a test light/continuity tester/multi-meter (if you don't have one, get one) test for continuity from the center pin of one end of the coax to the center pin of the other end of the coax. There should be continuity. If there isn't, there's an problem with your connections or the cable is broken.
- Check for continuity between the outer shield of one coaxial connector to the outer shield of the other connector. There should be continuity. If there isn't, stop and fix.
- Check for continuity between the center pin on one end of the cable and the outer shield of the connector. There should NOT be continuity. If there is, you have a short circuit between the center conductor and the outer shield. Usually happens in the connector. This needs to be fixed.

Once that is all sorted out…

Connect the coax to the antenna mount and install the antenna. Connect the coax to the radio. Power up the radio and use it's internal SWR meter to see how it checks out. You need to have at the most 2:1 SWR, lower is better, and you really need better, 1.0:1 would be ideal, but you probably will not get that on all channels. Follow manufacturer directions on how to tune your antenna.

Then, and only then, put the amplifier back in and try it. Honestly though, I'd say try it without the amplifier and see what your coverage is like.

Also:
There is no shame in buying pre-terminated coaxial cable. Terminating coax takes some skill, but now is probably not the time to experiment. Don't hesitate to buy a pre-made cable if you are more comfortable with that. A store bought cable is better than a poorly installed connector.

Also, don't fall for the "coax has to be 18 feet long" thing that CB'ers like to claim. That's an old wives tale. Just use the length of coaxial cable you need, no more, no less.
 

mmckenna

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And, if you are comfortable, post where you are located. Who knows, maybe one of us is nearby and can assist you...
 

nfernaays

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Thank you everyone for the tips. Looks like i have some work to do but i do like tinkering around. I am in WNY between Buffalo and Rochester
 
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Don't think the spring is helping, the antenna is designed to operate at a fixed length adding the spring will cause the antenna to resonate at a much lower frequency. The majority of CB problems are antenna related.
 

jonwienke

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Don't think the spring is helping, the antenna is designed to operate at a fixed length adding the spring will cause the antenna to resonate at a much lower frequency.
It depends on whether the whip was designed to use the spring or not. Some are, some aren't. The instructions/user manual for the whip should specify somewhere.
 

Ravenkeeper

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Glad that I stumbled across this thread. My setup is similar, but I used the right forward stake hole. It's been about 20 years since I've had to tune an antenna. Googled how to do it, and they said something about holding the microphone in the same spot/distance from your SWR meter. WTH?!! What does the microphone position have to do with all of it? Their picture shows the microphone right next to their meter.
 

nfernaays

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As a follow up, I did end up getting my mobile set up to work properly. Firstly i soldered the coax properly to get a good connection on my antenna coax. I don't believe this alone corrected my issues but needed to be done. Ultimately, i believe my main issue was the grounding of the antenna. When I first installed the stake hole mount i mounted over the bed rail liner. This time around I cut a small square off the bed rail liner to the mount would have metal on metal contact with the bed. Before reinstalling i took a dremel to the paint just under the mount create a direct contact with no paint beneath. I then reinstalled the mount cranking the screws the best i could without stripping the heads. Since, i had the solder out already i put a large bead of solder from the mount to the bed. This step may have been unnecessary but I figured it would cause no harm and i like playing around with the solder gun anyway :). This seemed to work and i can get out 15+ miles on my rig and this about what i expected with my gear. My biggest advise would be to get a multi meter and check the antenna out and the set up with this to make sure all connections are where they should be. My firestik antenna came with instructions on this.
 
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