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Potential CB Damage

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hogcowboy

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My wife's CB began to cut out while she was transmitting. I didn't think too much of it but it got worse. Then it got to where I wouldn't hear her at all. So I started investigating it and found the antenna was loose. Very loose. I got it tight again but it still cuts out just like you might disconnect and reconnect. I've read years ago that transmitting without a antenna could blow the finals. I don't have any idea what that means other than it means damage the radio.

I'm assuming her transmitting with a really loose antenna would be like no antenna at all. Could the continued cutting out be a damaged radio or does this mean there must be yet another loose connection somewhere? This is yet another motorcycle CB so it's not the greatest set-up to begin with and anything and everything can shake loose. Not to mention the worlds worst ground plane.
 

jwt873

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A high SWR can damage the radio. But the symptoms would be no power out, or very low power out. It would be constant and not intermittent.

I would look at the microphone. It's very likely that there is a bad connection somewhere. Try talking while shaking the cord or bending it back and forth at the radio plug and where it enters the mic. Or, if you have a spare mic, try that and see if the problem goes away.
 

rescue161

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Place a Watt meter inline and check the forward/reflected power. If it shows high reflected, then check the radio by transmitting into a known good dummy load with a Watt meter inline. If the reflected and forward power is low, then start looking at the radio (loose/cold solder joint on internal antenna connection, open finals, etc.). If the output power is where it is suppose to be, then I'd focus on the coax/antenna. Remove the antenna and check the coax for opens/shorts with an ohmmeter. If you see an open or a short, then replace/repair the coax. If the coax is good, then investigate the antenna itself.

The final transistors can be fairly fragile in that it doesn't take much to make them burn up. If there is not a matched antenna system (50 Ohms), then the radio will try to compensate, which causes the final transistors to heat up. That heat will eventually become too much for the little transistors to handle and they'll stop working.

Depending on what type of radio you have, the transistors can be cheap or expensive. I have an older Uniden Grant XL that uses a no longer made transistor, so when you find them on the used market, they are either expensive or are clones of the original and don't work worth a crap. If you have a newer radio, then parts should be pretty cheap from places like Mouser or Digikey.
 

rescue161

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A high SWR can damage the radio. But the symptoms would be no power out, or very low power out. It would be constant and not intermittent.

I would look at the microphone. It's very likely that there is a bad connection somewhere. Try talking while shaking the cord or bending it back and forth at the radio plug and where it enters the mic. Or, if you have a spare mic, try that and see if the problem goes away.
Absolutely! I completely overlooked the mic/cord.
 

movinon

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It is a loose connection on the 12 volt power side or the coax.
On a mobile you have to constantly check those connections. A loose mic cord will do that also.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
 

hogcowboy

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Thanks everyone. Looks like I got a bunch to check. I too suspect the mic but the power supply might also be it because she sometimes doesn't receive my transmission. To me that points to power supply. Most likely not a actual connection but a break in a wire somewhere. On the right track?
 

movinon

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In a mobile environment the mic cord and actuator always take a beating. Yes you are on the right track.

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prcguy

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Listen on another radio while you talk on the suspect one. If the signal meter on the receiving radio shows the same level of signal when the voice is cutting out then the problem is probably in the mic area. If the signal goes away along with the voice then the transmitter may be cutting out for various reasons.

What does the suspect radio do during the transmission? Is it still lit up? Does the meter change or go to zero on transmit when the voice cuts out? Do the lights on the radio dim slightly when you transmit (most do) and when the voice cuts out do the lights get brighter, indicating the transmitter has shut down? Yada, yada.
prcguy
 

Rred

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Next time you are in an auto parts shop, buy a small bottle/tube of Loctite thread locker, blue (normal) grade. You put a drop or two (sparingly) on any (cleaned!) threaded part or connection before assembling it, and it will not vibrate loose again. Little bottle lasts a long time but should be thrown out after two years, it does have a limited shelf life. And an antenna connector should still make a perfectly good metal-to-metal connection on the threads, even with Loctite.

Its like finding out one day that wearing socks really will make your shoes last longer.(G)
 

movinon

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Good advice! I drove an 18 wheeler for 35 years. I kept blue loctite handy all the time. Over time I even had screws fall out of my radios and scanners.

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hogcowboy

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Listen on another radio while you talk on the suspect one. If the signal meter on the receiving radio shows the same level of signal when the voice is cutting out then the problem is probably in the mic area. If the signal goes away along with the voice then the transmitter may be cutting out for various reasons.

What does the suspect radio do during the transmission? Is it still lit up? Does the meter change or go to zero on transmit when the voice cuts out? Do the lights on the radio dim slightly when you transmit (most do) and when the voice cuts out do the lights get brighter, indicating the transmitter has shut down? Yada, yada.
prcguy
I honestly can't say. Radios are on motorcycles so can't really take eyes off road to check what little the meter might change if at all.

Next time you are in an auto parts shop, buy a small bottle/tube of Loctite thread locker, blue (normal) grade. You put a drop or two (sparingly) on any (cleaned!) threaded part or connection before assembling it, and it will not vibrate loose again. Little bottle lasts a long time but should be thrown out after two years, it does have a limited shelf life. And an antenna connector should still make a perfectly good metal-to-metal connection on the threads, even with Loctite.

Its like finding out one day that wearing socks really will make your shoes last longer.(G)

I had no idea you could use Loctite on the connections. I thought you had to keep the threads perfectly clean. I guess the key is, sparingly.
 

Rred

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I thought the same way, that an insulating material would, well, insulate. Until back in 2001 I was installing some instruments and the maker supplied high dielectric (high insulating) GREASE to go in the connections. Apparently, whether it is little wires or heavy battery terminals, the grease will be fully displaced where there is direct metal contact, so it just fills voids that normally wouldn't be part of the contact. Loctite works the same way. (The "throw it out it goes stale on the shelf" was another surprise.(G)
 
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