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Setting Up First CB - Please Help

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TXWELD92

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Oct 14, 2016
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17
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Fort Worth TX
Hey guys! So, I'm super new to amatuer radio but excited about my new hobby. I've setup a base station here at my house, hoping to be able to listen to/talk to traffic on the highway, which is 3-4 miles as the crow flies from where I live. Given the general flat landscape (Fort Worth area) and that I live in a rural area, this doesnt seem like it should be all that hard, which makes my current issues a little frustrating.

My setup is as follows:

Cobra 29 LTD (Chrome, if it matters)
102" Stainless Steel Whip antenna
~6' tall antenna mount which bolts to my porch beam about 6' off the ground. The first 2-3 feet of the antenna are above the crest of my houses's roof, and my house is in between the antenna and the highway. I grounded this thing by wrapping a copper wire around the base of the antenna (literally the antenna, not the ball mount, not the spring, the bottom of the antenna, where it screws into the spring).

All I can hear is some extremely faint voices on channel 19! I can tell they're there, but I cant even come close to understanding them. I also had an old ~3' car mount antenna which I tried before I got the 102, and this is more than I could pick up with that.

Where the coax cable meets the antenna, I stripped away the insulation and the center cable is crimp-connection attached to the antenna itself. The outer copper jacket is grounded to the same wire as the antenna grounding I described earlier, and thats wired to a 2' steel pole that goes into the ground by my house.

What am I doing wrong here? What should I try?

Thanks in advance guys. P/S I unhooked the ground and there was no noticable difference in performance, but the red antenna warning light on the radio is not illuminated unless I key the mic.
 

KevinC

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Somewhere other than home :(
Hey guys! So, I'm super new to amatuer radio but excited about my new hobby. I've setup a base station here at my house, hoping to be able to listen to/talk to traffic on the highway, which is 3-4 miles as the crow flies from where I live. Given the general flat landscape (Fort Worth area) and that I live in a rural area, this doesnt seem like it should be all that hard, which makes my current issues a little frustrating.

My setup is as follows:

Cobra 29 LTD (Chrome, if it matters)
102" Stainless Steel Whip antenna
~6' tall antenna mount which bolts to my porch beam about 6' off the ground. The first 2-3 feet of the antenna are above the crest of my houses's roof, and my house is in between the antenna and the highway. I grounded this thing by wrapping a copper wire around the base of the antenna (literally the antenna, not the ball mount, not the spring, the bottom of the antenna, where it screws into the spring).

All I can hear is some extremely faint voices on channel 19! I can tell they're there, but I cant even come close to understanding them. I also had an old ~3' car mount antenna which I tried before I got the 102, and this is more than I could pick up with that.

Where the coax cable meets the antenna, I stripped away the insulation and the center cable is crimp-connection attached to the antenna itself. The outer copper jacket is grounded to the same wire as the antenna grounding I described earlier, and thats wired to a 2' steel pole that goes into the ground by my house.

What am I doing wrong here? What should I try?

Thanks in advance guys. P/S I unhooked the ground and there was no noticable difference in performance, but the red antenna warning light on the radio is not illuminated unless I key the mic.
Welcome to Radio Reference!

I moved your post to the CB forum since it didn't pertain to Amateur Radio.
 

mdulrich

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You are grounding the actual antenna. No ground goes to the actual antenna, the ground goes to the mount, not the antenna, not the spring, not the center conductor. Actually, once you correct your ground issue, your setup will be marginal at best. You really need a ground plane with radials. The best way to accomplish this would be with a regular base antenna.

Mike
 

krokus

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You are grounding the actual antenna. No ground goes to the actual antenna, the ground goes to the mount, not the antenna, not the spring, not the center conductor. Actually, once you correct your ground issue, your setup will be marginal at best. You really need a ground plane with radials. The best way to accomplish this would be with a regular base antenna.

Mike
Or an antenna that does not require a ground plane, such as a 1/2 wave antenna.

Sent via Tapatalk
 

TXWELD92

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Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
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Location
Fort Worth TX
You are grounding the actual antenna. No ground goes to the actual antenna, the ground goes to the mount, not the antenna, not the spring, not the center conductor. Actually, once you correct your ground issue, your setup will be marginal at best. You really need a ground plane with radials. The best way to accomplish this would be with a regular base antenna.

Mike
Okay, I'll re-ground it this afternoon and see if that helps! Can you recommend an antenna of this type? I was under the impression that the 102 was a good type of antenna...
 

TheSpaceMann

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Turn that 102 inch whip into a ground plane by adding 3 or 4 102 inch radials, angled down at 45 degrees! Just do a search online for an "11 meter CB ground plane" antenna!! :)
 

TXWELD92

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Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
17
Location
Fort Worth TX
Turn that 102 inch whip into a ground plane by adding 3 or 4 102 inch radials, angled down at 45 degrees! Just do a search online for an "11 meter CB ground plane" antenna!! :)
That sounds nice - but I bought what was supposedly a very good antenna to use with whats supposed to be a quite good system - over a distance that I was told was doable. This thing doesn't work at all, and I'm having very serious doubts about any effectiveness this whole CB thing has period - I dont think this technology is nearly as good as I was lead to believe. I'm about to send all this junk back and quit wasting my time on this. Its very frustrating and leads seemingly no where.
 

ermin

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Delray Beach Florida
That sounds nice - but I bought what was supposedly a very good antenna to use with whats supposed to be a quite good system - over a distance that I was told was doable. This thing doesn't work at all, and I'm having very serious doubts about any effectiveness this whole CB thing has period - I dont think this technology is nearly as good as I was lead to believe. I'm about to send all this junk back and quit wasting my time on this. Its very frustrating and leads seemingly no where.
The problem is you are trying to use a mobile antenna as a base antenna. Therefore, you are missing part of the antenna. You need to go back on line and look for a base antenna. what you have now uses the car as the other half . So technically you only have half an antenna that you're trying to use. Just Google cb base antenna.
 

TXWELD92

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Oct 14, 2016
Messages
17
Location
Fort Worth TX
The problem is you are trying to use a mobile antenna as a base antenna. Therefore, you are missing part of the antenna. You need to go back on line and look for a base antenna. what you have now uses the car as the other half . So technically you only have half an antenna that you're trying to use. Just Google cb base antenna.
But that directly contradicts what a bunch of people have said online in print and youtube form, about how they've gotten great results with this same exact setup, or even a shorter antenna. No one here even seems to know which antenna I should get, obviously just naming a type doesnt help, as i bought one based on its type and it doesnt work at all.

Anyone want a million dollar idea? Make a plug and play CB system, designed for a particular use, that ships as one box with all the wiring and good instructions. Unless you have some sort of engineering degree, sorting out all this seems impossible for the average person, and source of great frustration.

Also I tried grounding it as recommended which also made zero difference.

Planning to send all this junk back on monday. I've now spent 3+ days working on this, am hundreds of dollars into it and have gotten absolutely no where.
 

jonwienke

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PA
That sounds nice - but I bought what was supposedly a very good antenna to use with whats supposed to be a quite good system - over a distance that I was told was doable. This thing doesn't work at all, and I'm having very serious doubts about any effectiveness this whole CB thing has period - I dont think this technology is nearly as good as I was lead to believe. I'm about to send all this junk back and quit wasting my time on this. Its very frustrating and leads seemingly no where.
It's not junk, you just didn't install it correctly. Mobile antennas are designed to be mounted on vehicle bodies so the vehicle body acts as the ground plane. Because you didn't mount the antenna to a large flat plane of metal perpendicular to the whip, it's not going to work. Your problems are your fault, not that of the equipment.

If you're setting up a base, get an actual base antenna. Base antenna designs include the ground plane needed for the antenna to work correctly. Mobile antennas are designed to use the vehicle body as the ground plane, and work best installed in the center of the vehicle roof.
 

TXWELD92

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Fort Worth TX
It's not junk, you just didn't install it correctly. Mobile antennas are designed to be mounted on vehicle bodies so the vehicle body acts as the ground plane. Because you didn't mount the antenna to a large flat plane of metal perpendicular to the whip, it's not going to work. Your problems are your fault, not that of the equipment.

If you're setting up a base, get an actual base antenna. Base antenna designs include the ground plane needed for the antenna to work correctly. Mobile antennas are designed to use the vehicle body as the ground plane, and work best installed in the center of the vehicle roof.
Okay, I'm trying to keep up. If thats the case, then how do all these base antennas without ground planes work?

https://www.amazon.com/Solarcon-99-Base-Station-Antenna/dp/B0017J7NQ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476564415&sr=8-1&keywords=cb+base+antenna

https://www.amazon.com/Patriot-PAT12-Station-Radio-Antenna/dp/B002QWYXCQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1476564415&sr=8-3&keywords=cb+base+antenna

Theres dozens of them, all with good/very good reviews. If these work, why wouldnt my setup?
 

jonwienke

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The ground plane kit for the Solarcon is sold separately, and you need it for the antenna to work optimally.

Some of the antennas have ground plane radials, but crop them out of the photo.

Some of them don't have ground planes, are crappy, and get good reviews because the users don't have a really good antenna to compare to.

Also, half-wave designs don't use a ground plane--they use two 1/4-wave elements running opposite polarity instead of a single 1/4-wave element acting against a ground plane. But those designs are twice as tall as a 1/4-wave with a ground plane--approximately 18 feet tall. And they require an impedance matching to coax.

You bought the wrong tool for the job.
 

TXWELD92

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Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
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Location
Fort Worth TX
The ground plane kit for the Solarcon is sold separately, and you need it for the antenna to work optimally.

Some of the antennas have ground plane radials, but crop them out of the photo.

Some of them don't have ground planes, are crappy, and get good reviews because the users don't have a really good antenna to compare to.

Also, half-wave designs don't use a ground plane--they use two 1/4-wave elements running opposite polarity instead of a single 1/4-wave element acting against a ground plane. But those designs are twice as tall as a 1/4-wave with a ground plane--approximately 18 feet tall. And they require an impedance matching to coax.

You bought the wrong tool for the job.
Okay, this is starting to come together! Thank you. Two quick questions:

1) Would this be a good antenna for a vehicle? If I can actually make one of these setups work, I'd like to put one on my truck. I know people have said this is designed as a mobile antenna, but since there's so much more to these than meets the eye, would you guys use this thing as a mobile antenna or is it just plain junk? Its a 102" Stainless steel whip on a 4" spring, mounted to one of those adjustable "ball" setups

2) If you guys were looking for a GOOD base antenna, what would you buy? I'd prefer to avoid fiberglass. If it'll actually work for a change, I'd be willing to spend some money on it. I like outside of town so size/homeowner association concerns are irrelevant.
 

TheSpaceMann

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Okay, this is starting to come together! Thank you. Two quick questions:

1) Would this be a good antenna for a vehicle? If I can actually make one of these setups work, I'd like to put one on my truck. I know people have said this is designed as a mobile antenna, but since there's so much more to these than meets the eye, would you guys use this thing as a mobile antenna or is it just plain junk? Its a 102" Stainless steel whip on a 4" spring, mounted to one of those adjustable "ball" setups

2) If you guys were looking for a GOOD base antenna, what would you buy? I'd prefer to avoid fiberglass. If it'll actually work for a change, I'd be willing to spend some money on it. I like outside of town so size/homeowner association concerns are irrelevant.
That 102" would work great as a mobile antenna! If you want a really good aluminum base antenna, I recommend the Maco Alpha 5! It's $99 at Copper Electronics, Inc. | Copper Electronics You can read a review of this antenna on CBRadioMagazine.com - The only online CB Magazine in the world
 
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KB0VWG

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489
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Lyford, Texas
Does your truck have a metal tool box?
If so you can mount your antenna to it as long as you are least a foot away from the cab.
You could use something like this.
https://www.google.com/search?q=Cb+antenna+mount&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJ85rZ7N3PAhUKWz4KHR3nBLcQ_AUICSgC&biw=1599&bih=785#imgrc=NT_DG_yC_i31iM:

or

https://www.google.com/search?q=Cb+antenna+mount&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJ85rZ7N3PAhUKWz4KHR3nBLcQ_AUICSgC&biw=1599&bih=785#imgrc=46DcLgrkt8SDrM:

Or just get a wilson mag mount antenna also. Wilson are good antennas a mag mount is ok but a permanent mount is better

When i was a teen I had a 102 inch whip mounted to my tool box and a very flat or near flat swr reading


kb0vwg
wqoi992
 

rwier

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Best CB mobile antenna I ever had (roof of a truck) was about a foot long, with a threaded collar about 4" above the base. The threaded collar was used to tune the SWR. Easy to nut it at 1.0. Wrapped chewing gum wad around the tuning collar to immobilize it.
 

TXWELD92

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Messages
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Fort Worth TX
Hey guys, first off Id like to thank you all for your exceptionally friendly and helpful assisiance here in my rage inducing initial setup haha. Okay, ive looked into the Maco Alpha, how does it compare to the Hy-Power (I think thats what its called, they say it was one of the best cb antennas ever, but Im on my phone right now and cant link to it. Supposedly really good, I found a place selling it for about $200)

Thanks for the suggestion!

Now onto the mobile setup, I drive a flatbed truck with a roll bar across the front of the flatbed. I was considering placing the antenna on the top center of the roll bar, would that work? Initially I thought about mounting it vertically off the vertical side posts of the roll bar, but as I start to understand this whole ground plane thing, I start to think thats not a good idea


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

TheSpaceMann

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Messages
1,302
Hey guys, first off Id like to thank you all for your exceptionally friendly and helpful assisiance here in my rage inducing initial setup haha. Okay, ive looked into the Maco Alpha, how does it compare to the Hy-Power (I think thats what its called, they say it was one of the best cb antennas ever, but Im on my phone right now and cant link to it. Supposedly really good, I found a place selling it for about $200)

Thanks for the suggestion!

Now onto the mobile setup, I drive a flatbed truck with a roll bar across the front of the flatbed. I was considering placing the antenna on the top center of the roll bar, would that work? Initially I thought about mounting it vertically off the vertical side posts of the roll bar, but as I start to understand this whole ground plane thing, I start to think thats not a good idea


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
"Hy-Power"? Do you mean Hy-Gain? What's the model number? Do you have a pic of the roll bar?
 
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