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Author Topic: Best basic CB (serious question)  (Read 725 times)

Posts: 12

« on: July 21, 2006, 11:54:14 AM »

I need a basic, LEGAL, AM only radio for one of my vehicles.  Does anyone have any experience with the new small CB radios that they could share ?  I am not interested in any freeband nonsense, and the radio is going to remain fully Part 95 legal.  I want to buy new.

Who has the best receive section ?  Midland and Cobra have new small rigs-any advice appreciated.



Posts: 6252

« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2006, 12:28:42 PM »

Uniden has a good small set as well, and they are available at most Wal-Marts for about $40.  These sets are good basic sets with no bells or whistles, only an on/off/volume control, a squelch control and a channel selector.  I've had one in my tractor alongside my ham rig for a long time now and it works very well indeed.

You need a good antenna for the rig as well, a through the glass antenna just will not do it, neither will one of the 'cell phone look alike' ones available at Wal-Mart.  I would recommend Radio Shack for the antenna, one with a good mount, not a magnetic mount, either.  A trunk lid clamp or a mirror bracket mount is the best choice.

Good luck.

Posts: 1490

« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2006, 12:52:23 PM »

The noise levels on CB will make sensitivity the least of your worries.  Good audio and perhaps adjacent channel rejection are of more value.
I look for sales at Radio Shack and get something as small as possible so it will fit in the pocket in my console (I drive a Golf - pretty small).  I also have one of their $15 special mag mounts (I know ... mag mounts are a danger in an accident) and ... I'm a road warrior.  
Good luck and drive safely.
73 de kt8k - Tim

Posts: 9930

« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2006, 09:09:02 AM »

you pay more for the features on a "better " cb, but they seem to hel on the reception.  and since you are running only 4 watts output get a good antenna.  a bumper mount , hitch mount or a ball mount and a 102 inch steel whip will get out best, then a hamstick (about 6 feet tall including tuning whip), then a hustler then a shortened antenna. smaller antennas are less capture area and lower signal out in general.  

and use csome good coax, at least 8x and better if it will fit in the car. and a good power from the battery on like #12 wires fused of course from the battery to the radio. and ground the radio to the chassis ( self tapping sheet metal screw and some braid into the floor near the radio ), and ground the shield side of the antennas too. as with any radio, installing it is all important.  they all work the same just the frequency is different.

good luck

BTW I like the cobra brand  from my CB days ( 1970'S)

Posts: 358


« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2006, 12:13:28 PM »

just a note for you..
cobra is made by uniden.


Posts: 14491

« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2006, 03:55:32 PM »

use some good coax, at least 8x
I submit that coax type is not a big deal in a car for 27MHz. Assuming a 2:1 SWR for worst case and a 15-foot cable run the losses are:

RG213 - 0.209dB
RG8X  - 0.288dB
RG58  - 0.379dB

Note that the difference between RG58 and RG213 is only 0.17dB in this application. Not worth worrying about so use whatever you have available.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 1790

« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2006, 11:43:33 PM »


Depending upon how long and how serious your use for the CB systems is, I would suggest picking up an antenna at at truck stop... typically, a good truck stop has a good selection of decent antennas. You just have to choose how much you want to invest, relative to your need. A tuneable antenna is the best if you are trying to maximize things, but if your need for the CB is casual and short range, then one of the wound fiberglass whips will work fine. Obviously, a longer antenna is better than a very small one.

In most conditions the range of a legal CB set is limited by the usually high background noise; and it can be VERY high if propagation is good. Selectivity and adjacent channel rejection are a BIG deal in the CB service. A CB set with a manual RF gain control is very handy and often quite helpful in some conditions and situations.

73,  K0ZN

Posts: 362

« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2006, 04:14:47 PM »

Don't know why you want one but if you are like me I like to have one in car when I take a trip. I like having the two different antenna's on my car when I am going down the road. I have had experence with the Cobra, Uniden and even the R/S mini radio. 4 watts out is 4 watts out so that doesn't matter much. They all have decent receivers in them. I haven't seen a CB yet that if a guy is close to you on another channel that they will reject them. I really don't think all thoses knobs on the high price ones do much except impress people who don't have a lot of knowlege about radios. As for as antenna's of course the 102 inch quater wave is the best with the ham-stick type coming in second. If you don't have room for one of them any name brand base coil antenna will do. The real short ones just don't work. Like I said before if this is just something you are going to use once or twice a year then I would just get a cheap radio, a plug for your cigerette lighter, a decent mag mount antenna and go for it.

Posts: 80

« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 10:47:52 AM »

I know this thread has been silent for a few days, but I had almost every CB model Radio Shack currently offers in my offroad truck (hate 11 meters but good to have to call the guy with the winch!). Every one failed. Finally bought a cheap-o Uniden at Walmart and haven't had a problem since. Not sure who's doing the QC at RS anymore.. then again, the last time I was in there the "we've got answers" people didn't know what coax was. But don't get me started on that.. Smiley

Anything you buy for no frills AM will be pretty much the same, the real factor is the antenna. A good 3/8-24 mount will let you swap on some Hamsticks when you get tired of 11 meters Smiley
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