CB Radio Advice

Topic 33149 | Page 2

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Harvest's Comment
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Ok, I know I’m exposing my ignorance here, but what is SWR?


Standing Wave Ratio

There is a setting on the radio where you are able to see what the SWR is when keying the mic. This is a measure of the power output reaching destination in ratio to the power reflected back to the transmitter. The higher the number, the more potential there is to damage the radio. Get that number up to 3 or 4 and it will fry the radio before long.

I bought a fire stick still using factory coax. Could only afford to currently get one until I get my first paycheck. Took the antenna off the other side. I got the SWR down to 3.5, I assume I will get better performance once I get another antenna for the other mirror.

It was more frustrating of an operation than it should of been. I had to buy a adjustable wrench from Pilot, THEY WANTED 12$ for is 🤬. Brought it out to the truck to take the factory antenna off. The base for the antenna came with it and it had me stumped for a minute. Didn't know how to put the firestick on since it was a male connector I was seeing on the mirror. But then I remembered that the base for the antenna was still on the factory antenna. I tried for 10 minutes to get it unscrewed with a single wrench but couldn't and I wasn't about to buy another 12$ wrench. So I walked into the Pilot with the wrench I bought and the factory antenna. Went to the tool wall and just *borrowed* another wrench to get leverage to unscrew 🤣nobody said anything. Add that to the list of things I need for the truck when I am home, a tool set.

I am wondering if having no antenna mounted on the other mirror is negatively affecting performance since a coax is still running to that mirror. Until I get more funds, 3.5 should be okay for now right?

I also bought another power cable for my CB so I didn't have to have the 12v plug coming down from the CB. The one that came with the radio wasn't working it seemed when I wired it. So I thought it was defective and bought another one. Only to realize it wasn't powering on because you need to have the key turned to accessory or on for it to power the CB 🤬was a frustrating time lol

The question also about the firestick. I see the top is adjustable to tune it. However, I see that the lowest position of the firestick is what gets me the lowest SWR. Should I have gotten a smaller antenna? I think I got the Firestik 2 version.

Debating getting a Stryker 447HPC2 because it is easy to convert to a CB. But I need to do more research about powering the thing before going that route. I really do find the CB to be allot of fun and at times useful. Reminds me of game chat when playing Call of duty sometimes lol

Davy A.'s Comment
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The coax is designed to have two antenna. The stock are 4' on the mirrors for the t680. I would run both, even if one is a factory and the second is aftermarket. That swr shouldn't be that high, it makes me think there's a short or a ground issue in the coax.

Dan67's Comment
member avatar

Great advice. I’d also like to chime in on the advice to take it to a cb shop. The radio isn’t the issue, it’s the coax and possibly the antenna but even stock antennas will work fine so long as they’re set up properly. The antenna and coax get tuned to the truck, if it’s off, it won’t matter what radio is in it, it’ll act up. The SWR meter on the radio is pretty unreliable and the external is preferred to get an accurate reading.

Every good CB shop has the right equipment and skill to help troubleshoot the high swr problem you are having. We know its not the radio thats causing the high swr. It could be a bad cable, or a connection point, or a grounding issue, or even a bad antenna. By taking it to a shop they might be able to diagnose it. I was having issues and for me it was my cable and antenna length.

Doug S.'s Comment
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Hi, I have a 2017 T880. I had the same trouble. Theres a lack of ground. The wrong wire. And several fittings between the antenna and the radio.

I ran a new harness for two antennas. Took the antenna mount and sanded the inside underneath and ran a ground wire to the firewall.

Installed two new antennas. It was a pain.

If you don't own your truck just run one antenna on the driver side and get the mount from wolcott. Run a new coax without all the extra fittings.

I would just call Wolcott and tell them what you have and ask their advice. They told me to just run the one side with a new wire and mount but i wanted to use the factory routing and dual antennas. It took me a while and you have to take half of your plastic stuff off inside the truck.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Side note about the Coax, are you the first driver of this rig? Think you're not. My point is check the coax as thorough as possible. 1 of the old school tricks back in the day, was run a straight pin thru someones coax to fry their finals in the radio, next time the keyed the mic !....Maybe last guy was ****ed off when he left oi.....Something to ponder

Harvest's Comment
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I almost forgot about this thread, but to update I bought another firestik. But accidentally bought a 4 foot when the one I already had was a 3ft 🙃 but surprisingly it still works really well. I had still a high swr at first. But I think I was over tightening the antenna. I instead hand tightened it and now reading 1.5 SWR when keying up on 19.

Do you think it would be worth it to get another 4ft or another 3ft antenna so they actually match? Lol. I want to someday get a Stryker radio to reach out farther, I find the cb to be really entertaining and useful (rarely) lol

I also picked up on “Mud duck” he seemingly hijacked the entirety of channel 19 when I was in Florida. I had no clue who this was, I posted on the truckers Reddit asking. And people filled me in who this was and happening to them too. He is based in New Mexico running a super powerful cb, annoying all us truckers by overpowering channel 19 making it seemingly useless.

Also ran into “Lucky star, Atlanta Georgia” same deal, runs a super powerful home setup reaching hundreds of miles. I just want a Stryker to reach out a bit further than what I can with 5 watts. But I need to do research on if the standard 12v power would even run it.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I'd recommend matching antenna for sure. When possible, 4' same brand.

My late pops was a ham op. W6IXP. Amateur radio might be something you want to investigate some. I used to know about 10 meter rigs and SSB, but I've long since forgotten.

One of these days I'll add it to my list of things to do.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Strykers are 10 meter ham radios. You legally need a ham license. My brother has been a ham operator since 1968. W0TDH.

You can take a cobra 29 have it peaked/tuned by a good cb shop for about 30-40 bucks. It will be about 20 watts. Put a Ranger mic on it. Plenty of power for what we do.

I have dual antennas but the right on is a dummy. I ran a single coax to the left one. I have 3’ which are mostly found on dump trucks. Since I go in and out of places with low trees it works better for me.

Harvest's Comment
member avatar

Strykers are 10 meter ham radios. You legally need a ham license. My brother has been a ham operator since 1968. W0TDH.

You can take a cobra 29 have it peaked/tuned by a good cb shop for about 30-40 bucks. It will be about 20 watts. Put a Ranger mic on it. Plenty of power for what we do.

I have dual antennas but the right on is a dummy. I ran a single coax to the left one. I have 3’ which are mostly found on dump trucks. Since I go in and out of places with low trees it works better for me.

I know it’s technically illegal, but I wonder how enforced it is. Mud Dog and Lucky star are running modified home CB setups broadcasting literally thousands of miles away, mud dog location is public since he owns a cb shop. If the FCC hasn’t taken him down yet, I wonder if they would really care about me reaching 5-10 miles.

I got my SWR down to 1.5 with now duel 4 inch firesticks. Also bought a cobra powered mic, not sure how much of a difference that makes but I like the talkback being louder.

I am just so tired of hearing others kinda far away on the cb but they can’t hear me at all. Can only have a good convo if they pretty close and lose signal pretty quick. I did notice running out west with vast emptiness I got allot further of a signal, interesting that when it was cloudy, the range was insane.

I can easily see this turning into a little hobby for me. I wish more drivers still talked in the cb, but I do find it really fun and sometimes useful. Gives me a good laugh every few days too.

PackRat's Comment
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A few weeks ago I was way, way down south near the Mexico border in Texas, someone had a base station going on the Southside. Imagine Techno-Mariachi fusion. I had the squelch on maximum and it still was coming through for at least 20 miles.

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