CB Radio Info - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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CB Radio Info

Hello,
I am trying to get some info on Cb radios such as where people are mounting them and why they chose the brand they did.

Your help is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 10:53 AM
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Most people buy the compact ones and put them in their center console. The other popular option is cobra 75 and it's midland competitor.

I just bought a uniden pro520xl and will put it in the console.


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post #3 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsexton View Post
Most people buy the compact ones and put them in their center console. The other popular option is cobra 75 and it's midland competitor.
^^This.

There really isn't a good place to mount a full size CB. Some have tried the side of the transmission tunnel, in the door pocket, and on top of the dash.

There are compact CBs that will fit in the center console, but one loses the ability to see or access the volume, squelch and channel controls unless the console is open. [See, Uniden Pro 505XL, Pro510XL and Pro520XL; Midland CB1; Cobra 19DXIV (may be too deep for console mount).] You might measure the "cubby" under the heater controls to see if it will accept one of these compact radios.

A popular choice is an "all in hand" unit like the Cobra 75WXST or Midland 75-822. I have the Cobra. Although the performance is not quite as good as with a full size chassis CB, with a properly mounted and tuned antenna it is perfectly acceptable for group communications on the trail and has the advantage of being stored out of sight when not in use.

Cobra 75WXST


Midland 75-822


Midland CB1


Uniden PRO520XL



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post #4 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 11:53 AM
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Dang this thread was aptly timed, thanks for the info guys. Thinking about that midland and running a firestick.

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post #5 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsexton View Post
Most people buy the compact ones and put them in their center console. The other popular option is cobra 75 and it's midland competitor.

I just bought a uniden pro520xl and will put it in the console.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bills View Post
^^This.

There really isn't a good place to mount a full size CB. Some have tried the side of the transmission tunnel, in the door pocket, and on top of the dash.

There are compact CBs that will fit in the center console, but one loses the ability to see or access the volume, squelch and channel controls unless the console is open. [See, Uniden Pro 505XL, Pro510XL and Pro520XL; Midland CB1; Cobra 19DXIV (may be too deep for console mount).] You might measure the "cubby" under the heater controls to see if it will accept one of these compact radios.

A popular choice is an "all in hand" unit like the Cobra 75WXST or Midland 75-822. I have the Cobra. Although the performance is not quite as good as with a full size chassis CB, with a properly mounted and tuned antenna it is perfectly acceptable for group communications on the trail and has the advantage of being stored out of sight when not in use.

Cobra 75WXST


Midland 75-822


Midland CB1


Uniden PRO520XL



.
Thanks, yea The Midland "All in hand" you posted has better reviews on Amazon than the Cobra. And when you say almost as good as the Chassis cb's are you referring to range? If so do you have range estimates based of your experience?
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post #6 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 12:47 PM
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Too many variances to get an idea of range, plus the majority of the CBs are maxed out for power and it is the antenna that determines range


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post #7 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Yorkdiver View Post
Too many variances to get an idea of range, plus the majority of the CBs are maxed out for power and it is the antenna that determines range
Thats why I asked him for his personal experience not what he thinks it would be .
So if you have a system set-up I would gladly appreciate your input as well.
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post #8 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 01:56 PM
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If you're staying within the FCC limits of 4W tx output for CB, the limiting factor on range will be the antenna installation and tuning; which is all application (ie, a particular individual setup) specific.

I tend to be partial to a base or mid-loaded whip antenna (like the K40 lip-mount whip or the Wilson "Trucker" series) ... IIRC a full length (no load coil) CB whip is 100"+ long (like 102" or 108" ... too big for me), so the loading coil gets you down to a more manageable size.

Firestik fiberglass antennas are popular - and available in several colors and lengths to suit many different applications; also easy to tune if you get one that has the adjustable tip-screw ... but I'm not as much of a fan of their aesthetics, personally (too big and clunky looking). Wilson, K40, and Firestik (I believe) make a smaller diameter (and more flexible) fiberglass antenna, as well ... which may be a good option if you want something in the middle between a whip and a traditional fiberglass antenna.

Diamond has some 'standard' 3/8"-24 threaded mounts that give good adjustability for slope and rake, if you're not installing on a perfectly level/aligned surface or edge. The K400-3/8C and K400-3/8C2 are two different versions (with different cable lengths). You can also get whip antennas (like the K40 lip-mount whip) that have a mount built-in.

All of the above presumes, of course, that you're planning to provide the antenna with a good ground plane (like the roof or hood) ... which is a necessity for proper tuning and maximum range, given the low power of the (legal) CB output. If you can't (or don't want to) provide a good *isolated* ground, then you need to look at an NGP (no ground plane) antenna ... there are several available, notably from Firestik and Wilson, both; but I've seen others. This will be a tuned antenna/cable circuit that uses the feed cable as the counterpoise to the antenna and takes the vehicle's body out of the system. They're typically for systems where a metallic ground plane is unavailable (like on a fiberglass boat, a motorcycle, or a fiberglass RV body), but folks have put them to good use for an offroad CB many times as well.

Folks have made some good recommendations on radios, already, so the only thing I'll add is that some are available with access to the national weather broadcast bands ... traveling in the mountain west and desert southwest, I've found this to be a nice feature to have.

Were I putting together my system today, knowing what I've learned since I first did it five years or so ago, I'd probably get myself a Midland 1001LWX radio, a Diamond K400-3/8C or C2 (depending on the length of wire run needed), and a 4' Wilson Flex or a K40 SF-400 Superflex antenna. I'd mount the radio either on the side of the plastic center console that sits on the transmission tunnel, next to the shifter, or inside the center console and use an external speaker to get better sound from the (now buried) standard radio speaker. The antenna would then go either on the edge of the hood, or off the top of the back hatch.

What I've currently got is a K40 lip-mount whip, which has a built-in mount and attached cable, and a Uniden Pro 538W ... I have the antenna mounted on the edge of the hood (near the hinge), and radio mounted as described on the console next to the shifter (it barely works ... radio's slightly too big for that location). With that setup, properly tuned, I've gotten superb performance in ideal conditions (like miles) ... and have also been the mid-gun relay on a large trail run when the front couldn't talk to the back (and someone else who was *supposed* to be mid-gunner was having comms trouble due to tuning/setup and was unable to relay). BUT, I've also not been able to hit someone I knew was just outside the valley I happened to have stopped within ... it's more than just the tx setup (that determines the rf performance of a contact), it's also the rx setup of the person you're trying to reach, as well as the geographics and atmospherics.

Both Firestik and Right Channel Radios have detailed technical libraries on CB installation, tuning, equipment, and performance ... there are also many members here that have radio experience if you wind up with specific questions that need answering.
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post #9 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Yorkdiver View Post
Too many variances to get an idea of range, plus the majority of the CBs are maxed out for power and it is the antenna that determines range
Correct. All CB radios have a maximum legal transmit power of 4 watts. The general rule is that the antenna system (i.e., location, mount, adequacy of ground plane, length of antenna, and state of antenna tune) is much more important than the particular CB radio you choose.

Even with the "best" CB radio and the "best" antenna, the range of a CB will be limited by topography, atmospheric interference, etc.

What range do you really need? If occasional trail communications with your immediate group is your goal, the simplest CB radio with a quality magnetic mount antenna (properly tuned) may be sufficient.

For my purposes the Cobra 75WXST was the best choice. I have the microphone clip mounted on the dash so I can see the display without having to take my eyes off the road and can store the radio under the seat when not in use (leaving my console storage for other things).

One of the common criticisms of the Cobra 75WXST is the sound quality from the tiny speaker, however I have not found it to be a problem in the cab of an Xterra (it was an entirely different story in an open jeep). If reception sound quality/volume is an issue, one can can hide a remote speaker under the dash between the steering wheel and center console - a $12.95 fix.

MFJ-281



Another reported issue with the Cobra 75WXST relates to transmission sound quality. It is often stated that this unit cannot be "tweaked" for maximum transmission quality, i.e. adjustments to modulation, but this is not true. It is possible to increase modulation slightly to increase transmission voice quality as long as one bears in mind that an increase in modulation equals an increase in heat at the output transistor and heat is the enemy of these little units. Make only small adjustments and avoid excessively long transmissions and it won't be an issue. See these links for further information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ASM0MDrMvE (at 7:30+); http://www.cbtricks.com/radios/cobra..._alignment.pdf; http://www.cbradio.nl/cobra/Service_...5WX_ST_ENG.pdf


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post #10 of 84 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 02:13 PM
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