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|Make It "Short and Sweet" When using your CB radio, get on and off the air as quickly as possible. NEVER USE PROFANITY "WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW" and subject to heavy penalties. Follow the FCC rules outlined in Part 95.
· USE CHANNEL 9 in EMERGENCY ONLY Emergency channel 9 is designated for this purpose and this purpose alone. The FCC has given public safety agencies various "CALL SIGNS" including "0911" numbers, coinciding with the "911" phone numbers these agencies use in telephone communications. The call signs for state-level agencies use 3 letters and 4 numbers, with the second and third letters being the official Post Office state abbreviation, e.g. "WA" for Washington ST.
· MUSTS and MUST NOTS of CB usage.
You mustn't carry on a conversation with another station for more than 5 minutes at a time without taking a 1-minute break, to give others use of the channel.
YOU MUSTN'T blast others off the air by overpowering them with ILLEGAL transmitter power or illegally high antenna.
YOU MUSTN'T USE PROFANITY.
YOU MUSTN'T play music on your CB.
YOU MUSTN'T use the CB to Promote illegal activities.
FACTORS AFFECTING EFFECTIVE CITIZEN BAND RANGE
Essentially, they're the same influences that optimize or limit AM, FM and other kinds of performance in moving vehicles.
· TERRAIN : Hills and Valleys naturally interrupt and shorten CB signals.
· OBSTRUCTIONS : Inside a tunnel, covered parking garage or viaduct, CB sending and receiving capability may be cut off altogether. In short, you can expect to maintain maximum transmitting / receiving performance in flat, open country in stable "not necessarily clear" weather conditions. Should effective range be limited in these conditions, check to see that your CB is connected properly and your antenna adjusted correctly. It may be necessary to consult your CB dealer's service department.
· Transmission in city : usually less than 5 miles.
· Transmission out of city : usually more than 5 miles.
· Transmission on water : usually greater than 15 miles.
· Transmission with a Properly Mounted Base Station antenna : more than 15 miles
· NEVER TRANSMIT WITHOUT ANTENNA HOOKED UP TOO TRANSCEIVER *
· NEVER USE AN ANTENNA NOT DESIGNED FOR CB "27 MHz" *
*CAN and WILL CAUSE DAMAGE TO CB and SHORTEN LIFE SPAN of CB RADIO.
The Phonetic Alphabet
A Alpha J Juliet S Sierra
B Bravo K Kilo T Tango
C Charlie L Lima U Uniform
D Delta M Mike V Victor
E Echo N November W Whiskey
F Foxtrot O Oscar X X-ray
G Golf P Papa Y Yankee
H Hotel Q Quebec Z Zulu
I India R Romeo
Freebanding- what is it? Freebanding is the use of the frequencys above and below the normal 40 CB channels. The range of freebanding operation is between 25 and 30 MHz. This is totally illegal and I don't encourage the act of freebanding but, I never have heard of anyone getting caught by the FCC while using these channels. To find out who and what are useing these frequencies click here. Many operators use these frequencies to escape the congestion of the regular 40 channels. You can really hear this in times of high skip. Also from time to time you will also hear international DX on these frequencies because they are the normal operating frequencies for many other countries.
Who has these channels? Most "export" radios do and other people who have installed "extra frequency" kits into their radios. The "export" radios have much more frequency coverage than the frequency expander kits. The frequency expander kits usually give you an extra 40 to 80 A.M. channels. These frequencys are also in some popular upper end radios and just need to be activated. Two radios that are good for expanding are the Uniden Grant XL and Cobra 148 GTL. Not to mention most base radios and even the Cheroke handhelds have extra frequency capeabilites. These kits are available from many retailers for most domestic radios. Thomas Distributing carries these kits. They are called Expo 100 Expander Channel Kits. Their prices range from $14.50 to $29.90. The price of them depends on the type of radio you have. It is not illegal to have these kits in your radio as long as they are used for listening purposes only.
RADIO WAVE PROPAGATION
As you use Citizens Band radio and become a more skilled radio operator you will probably promote your own interest into the mysterious world of radio frequency and radio waves. The following information is designed to provide you with a basic working knowledge of the Radio Frequency Spectrum and its components.
Radio waves surround you! Signals are transmitted and received by millions of stations. AM and FM radio stations, television, mobile business radios, fire and police radio systems, amateur radio stations, cordless and cellular telephones, pagers, nursery room monitors, garage door openers, and of course your personal Citizens Band Radio Station! Radio waves travel at the speed of light. The invisible radio wave consists of an electrostatic field and a magnetic field traveling at right angles in the direction of their transmission..
To help you to visualize the behavior of invisible radio waves imagine the effect on the surface of the water when you toss a small stone into the air and it lands in the water. Tiny ripples radiate in all directions. If you increase the size of the stone the size of the ripples will also increase and the distance between the peak of each ripple will increase also.
If you could count the number of times the peak of each wave went past a specific point over one second, you would know the waves' frequency and wavelength. In radio waves, we measure frequency by the number of wave cycles per second. The more waves that pass a specific point in one second, the higher the frequency. And the distance that the wave travels in one cycle is the wavelength..
The unit for measuring frequency is hertz (Hz). It is named after Heinrich Hertz, a German physicist who discovered electromagnetic waves. The frequencies that human can hear are audio frequencies and range from about 20 Hz to about 18,000 Hz or 18 kHz. A dog can hear up to about 20 kHz or possibly even higher. The radio frequency spectrum starts at around 10 kHz and ranges up to 300,000 Megahertz (MHz). A frequency of 10 kHz means that the wave cycles 10,000 times per second. Similarly, a frequency of 300 million hertz (300 MHz) means that the wave cycles 300 million times per second.
In mobile radio communications we use the ranges of frequencies in the medium frequency (MF), high frequency (HF), and very high frequency (VHF) range..
Guess where the FCC assigned the short-range citizens band (CB) service. They allocated 23 channels - ultimately expanded to 40 channels - at 27 MHz. Is that below the magic 30 MHz dividing line? Sure is, and the planned short-range unlicensed CB radio service instantly turned into an undisciplined sky-wave free-for-all! Although intended to fulfill the need for personal short-range communications, regular high-frequency sky-wave skip signals blasted in from the ionosphere, causing short-range channel chaos.
During periods of reduced ionospheric- activity, the short-range capabilities of CB can be realized. But when the skip is active, a CB radio transmitter with only a few watts of output power can put strong signals into receivers thousands of miles away. This is commonly referred to as ‘DXing’. DXing has taken on a very active part in the CB world and continues to promote the use of Citizens Band use and operation.
Many well-established CB radio operators are strongly dedicated to the ‘art’ of DXing. Although skip is mainly unpredictable, DXers spend many long hours studying and charting the activity of skip signals. Some have even come very close to an established pattern that reveals some level of reliability. However, the pattern of skip is solely chance. Most DXers are satisfied to make distant contacts wherever and whenever the ionospheric skip permits.
MOBILE RADIO WAVE RANGE
Different radio frequencies travel over the surface of the earth and into space in many different ways. Sometimes the bounce, sometimes they are refracted (bent) by the ionosphere. Some radio frequencies easily penetrate the thickness of a forest, yet other radio frequencies can be blocked by a single leaf.
Every radio transmission travels out from the antenna over two paths: the ground wave and the sky-wave. Ground waves are the real work horse for vehicle mobile communications up to 100 miles. Ground waves normally are vertically polarized signals that travel out in all directions from an omni-directional antenna and are usually strong enough to be detected up to 50 to 100 miles away.
In rural areas, land mobile radio systems may use frequencies in the VHF and UHF spectrum to maximize the potential of ground wave propagation. VHF signals propagate best in areas of rolling hills and over water. UHF signals become quite reflective, and are best propagated in the downtown area of cities with huge skyscrapers. When VHF and UHF signals require a range of more than 100 miles, repeater relay stations and satellites may have to be used to get these normally "line-of-sight" signals to go a lot further.
The second component of a transmitted radio signal is the sky-wave. In VHF and UHF mobile radio bands, sky-waves normally travel out into space and keep right on going. UHF and microwave sky-waves have traveled millions of miles to earth from space probes sent out into deep space.
Sky-waves on medium frequencies and high frequencies take a remarkable skip off of the ionosphere that circles our planet at altitudes of 50 to 250 miles. 'When a medium or high frequency radio wave enters the ionosphere, the radio wave is refracted back to earth (see drawing). Just as a prism refracts sunlight into different color bands over a range from blue too red, radio waves refracted by the ionosphere may skip back to earth over a range of 200 to 3000 miles away from the transmitter. If the hop back to earth is strong enough and lands in the very conductive ocean, that medium frequency or high frequency wave takes a double hop - sometimes a triple hop - and literally skips around the world.
Ham radio operators regularly take advantage of this sky-wave excitement on their specific frequencies in the medium and high frequency spectrum. Same thing with ocean voyaging mariners - they chose their bands carefully to bounce their signal back to shore to stay in touch with their mobile marine station hundreds and thousands of miles away. On a hot summer afternoon, 30 MHz is the usual dividing line between sky-wave communications that come back to earth and sky-waves that simply keep on going into outer space. For frequencies below 30 MHz, the sky waves bounce back to earth. Above 30 MHz, skip usually is not a problem..
HOW IMPORTANT IS POWER OUTPUT?
The output power of a mobile transmitter, which might be as low as I watt or as high as 1000 watts, has very little to do with the maximum distance that the signal may travel. Although signal strength varies inversely with the distance, a major increase in power output will have little or no effect in establishing communications to a distant point that couldn't hear the ground wave or sky-wave at the original power setting.
Out on the oceans, mariners use 25-watt radios for short-range communications on the VHF band. Up to about 100 miles, the sea water has little effect on VHF waves, but on the worldwide lower frequencies, the high conductivity of sea water causes the signal strength of the ground wave to vary inversely with the distance. When operating on these frequencies, mariners require more power and rely almost entirely on sky-wave propagation to get their signals received hundreds and thousands of miles away.
CHANNEL - FREQUENCY ASSIGNMENT
In the 1950's, the FCC established the Citizens Band (CB) radio service. They intended to provide a group of channels so short-range communications could be conducted with inexpensive, low power radio sets. The FCC envisioned a "catch all" radio service for people to stay in touch from home to car, small business to delivery vehicle, and hunters and fishermen to use inexpensive hand-held sets to talk over short distances.
The FCC chose the frequency around 27MHZ, which is located at the top of the high-frequency spectrum. They first assigned 23 channels, but the service became so popular that in the 1970's they added channels 24 through 40. The frequency assigned to each channel is listed below.
Things Every CB'er Should Know
Every industry has its bottom dwellers. We can not protect you from them. Consumers who make decisions based strictly on price, or on what someone says instead of what they can do, will often fall prey to the bottom dwellers.
Beware of information from "experts" (real or self-proclaimed). There is antenna theory and there is antenna reality. We have yet to see a vehicle that simulates a lab. While theory is a good starting place...experience is invaluable when it comes to real problems. The knowledge gained from the best book on theory will not necessarily produce the best antenna design.
Some "experts" may "claim" 5/8 wave mobile antennas are not possible because they would need to be 23 feet high. They are wrong! Physical length and ground wave performance are not the same. If you ever hear someone make that claim, ask them how a handheld CB can have a 1/4 wave antenna 8 inches long and mobile 1/4 wave antennas can be anywhere from 12-60 inches long in spite of the fact that a physical 1/4 wave is 108 inches.
Never key up or attempt to operate your CB without a working antenna or "dummy load" (non-radiating antenna simulating device) connected to the radios antenna jack, unless you have extra money to buy another radio, or know a good repairman.
All mobile and base transmitting antennas need counter-poise, more commonly called ground plane. The antenna is the reactive unit, the ground plane is the reflective unit. Neither is more important than the other. In mobile installations with standard antenna systems, the vehicle metal (body, frame, etc.) acts as the ground plane. In "no-ground-plane" systems, the coax shield is used for counterpoise.
Most, but not all, manufacturers pre-tune their mobile antennas on a test bench. To protect your radio's circuitry and achieve optimum performance, mobile transmitting antennas (CB, cell phone, amateur, etc.) need to be tuned on the vehicle.
Before transmitting, you should check your antenna system for shorts or opens. If you have continuity between the center pin of the connector and the outer threaded housing, you may have a short. Don't transmit! If you do not find continuity between the center pin of the coax and the antenna base, you have an open. Fix it. (See "Testing Continuity") Exceptions: Some base loaded antennas use a center tap design and there will be continuity from ground to center conductor. Also, Firestik "No Ground Plane" antenna kits will have coaxial center pin to ground continuity.
SWR that pegs the needle on all channels almost always indicates a short in your antenna system. Do not attempt to tune the antenna until the short is fixed. Operating with high SWR will probably damage your CB's internal circuits.
Make sure that the antenna you are using is the right antenna for your application. Don't use a TV antenna or an AM/FM antenna for your CB. Do not operate your CB without an antenna or dummy load.
Transmitting antennas are sensitive to objects in their "near field of radiation." Tune your antennas in an open area. Never tune inside or next to a building, near or under trees, near or under power lines, and never with a person holding or standing next to the antenna. Try to simulate normal operating conditions.
If you mount two or more antennas close to each other, you will alter the transmission patterns of each one. The affect may be either positive or negative. We recommend that a minimum of 12" exist between your CB antenna and other types of antennas.
Your radio cannot tell one component from another. As far as the radio is concerned, the coax, stud mount, mounting bracket, antenna and vehicle is ONE unit. Don't be too quick to fault your antenna until you are sure that all of the other components have been given equal consideration.
Of all antennas returned to Firestik for warranty service, 75% show no signs of being tuned to the vehicle. All antennas should be checked prior to use. Most will require some adjustment. Less than 3% of all returned antennas have actual performance causing problems. Of those, half of the problems are user or installer created. High SWR and other performance problems are 20 times more likely to be caused by bad coax, bad connections, shorted mounts, poor installation location or faulty test meters.
In almost every instance, once you get the same SWR reading on channels 1 and 40, further antenna tuning will not improve the readings. If the SWR is still over 2:1, you have other problems to conquer. Exception: There are rare occasions when the ground plane is so small or large that the system is way out of phase (especially with high-performance antennas). If you have high SWR on all channels and have confirmed that you have no opens or shorts in the feedline, try making a small tuning adjustment in the antenna. There are times when the SWR will drop equally across all channels under unusual ground plane conditions. If you find this to be the case, carefully adjust the antenna.
SWR that is high on all channels (over 2:1 but not pegging the needle) after the antenna has been tuned normally indicates a ground plane or coax cable problem.
The doors, mirrors, spare tire racks, luggage racks, etc. on many vehicles are insulated from a good ground with nylon or rubber bushings. This also stands true for fiberglass vehicles. Make sure that your antenna mount is grounded, even if it entails running a ground wire to the vehicle chassis. Bad hard ground at the mount generally equates to less than optimum performance. Exception: No ground plane antenna kits do not require a grounded mount.
If you are hearing whining noises from your radio while your vehicle is running, it is probably due to "dirty power" being supplied to the radio. Under dash power may be more convenient, but the "cleanest" power will be found by running the radio's power leads straight to the battery.
You can never buy coax cable that is too good for your system. Never compromise quality for cost when purchasing coax. Your best bet is to stick with coax that has a stranded center conductor and 90% or higher shielding.
Most manufacturers of high performance antennas recommend a specific length of coax cable. If your antenna manufacturer suggests a specific length, give priority to that recommendation.
If your ground plane is good, your mount grounded and, your antenna favorably located, coax length rarely becomes an issue. But, if one or more mismatches occur, you may find high SWR. This can often be corrected by using 18 feet lengths of high quality coax.
Excess coax between your radio and antenna mount should never be wound into a circular coil of less than 12" in diameter. Doing so can cause system problems. Your best option for handling excess coax is to serpentine the cable into a 12 to 18 inch yarn-like skein. Secure the skein in the center with a wire tie and tuck it away.
Single antenna installations require coax with approximately 50 ohm's of resistance (RG-58/U, RG-58 A/U or RG-8X). Dual antenna installations require the use of 72 ohm cable (RG-59/U or RG-59 A/U).
Coaxial cables with foam (polyfoam) center conductor insulation should be your last choice for use on mobile (vehicle) installations. Even though it will work initially, it has limited life and does not stand up to the conditions encountered in the mobile environment. Choose coax with polyvinyl insulation when doing mobile installs.
Coax cables should never be cut and spliced together like common electrical wire. Line losses will occur.
Coaxial cable with holes in the outer insulation, severe bends, or door, trunk or hood caused pinches will cause performance problems. Treat your coax with care.
If you live in an area where rain and/or sleet is common, wipe your antenna down with a rag that has been coated with WD-40, Armor-All, Pledge, light oil, etc. This trick prevents ice build up that can overload and cause your antenna to break. In an emergency use butter, cooking oil or anything else that will repel water.
When tuning your antenna(s), make sure that you do so with the vehicle doors, hood and trunk closed. If left open, they can cause inaccurate SWR readings. Try to simulate actual operating conditions.
Mobile antennas, for best performance, should have no less than 60% of their overall length above the vehicles roof line. For co-phased antennas to perform optimally, the space between the top 60% of the two antennas needs to be unobstructed.
Remember, all transmitting antennas need ground plane (counterpoise). Base antennas, much like "no ground plane" antennas, build it in. Do not use mobile antennas for base station applications unless you know how to build your own ground plane.
If you are installing a single antenna on one side or the other of your vehicle, best on-the-road performance will be realized if the antenna is on the passenger side of the vehicle.
Co-phased (dual) antenna installations create a radiation pattern that favors communication directly in front and back of the vehicle. This is why co-phase systems are popular with people who do a lot of highway driving. Co-phase antennas must be center or top loaded. Top loaded antennas are the best.
Some people believe that co-phased antennas must be separated by a minimum of nine (9) feet. We have successfully used co-phase antenna systems with spacing as little as four (4) feet. Space alters the pattern and not always negatively. Each vehicle will be different.
Co-phase antennas can improve performance on vehicles that lack good ground plane characteristics (fiberglass motorhomes, trucks, etc.). Instead of using available metal to reflect the radiated energy, the antennas use each others field.
When tuning co-phased antennas (dual), it is best to adjust both antennas an equal amount to maintain equality in their individual resonant frequency.
On a co-phase system, if you try to tune each antenna independently using RG-58 type coax and then connect them to the co-phasing harness, you will almost always find that they will appear electrically short as a set. We recommend that you first assemble the entire system. Take all measurements and make all adjustments with both antennas in place.
If you are experiencing SWR that is high across the entire band and have eliminated shorts, opens, groundless mounts and coax as potential problems, suspect lack of ground plane. Try adding a spring or quick disconnect to the antenna base. In some cases, the repositioning of the antenna relevant to available ground plane will solve the problem.
One of the greatest benefits of the FS series (patented tunable tip) antenna is noted when there is lack of available ground plane. If the tuning screw reaches its "maximum out" position before satisfactory SWR is realized, a common 1/4-20 threaded bolt or screw of a longer length can be used to replace the supplied tuning screw. If the vinyl cap is too short to remain in place, the user can disregard it or clip a hole in the top for the longer screw to pass through.
In rare instances, like antennas mounted in the middle of a metal van roof, excess ground plane can cause a problem. This usually shows up as high SWR across the band. In these cases, a tunable tip antenna may not be the best choice. The reason being, the antenna is too long and the tunable tip cannot adjust down far enough (see line 40). If you suspect this, an antenna that wire can be removed from will usually fit the bill (i.e. KW or RP series).
There may be situations when a tunable tip will bottom out before optimum tuning is achieved. If this happens, try removing the knurled jam nut and finger tighten the tuning screw against the o-ring. If still too long, remove the tuning screw altogether. If total removal causes the antenna to go short, cut the tuning screw in half and re-insert it into the tuning extender and re-test. The following items on the FS Series "tunable tip" antennas, when removed, will have an effect on SWR (in order from least effect to most effect). O-ring, jam nut, tuning screw mass (cutting off length), vinyl cap, tuning screw complete.
The vinyl cap on any "tunable tip" Firestik antennas is optional. However, your antenna needs to be tuned as it will be used . . . with or without the tip.
Magnetic mounts should be used in temporary situations only. If you leave them in the same spot for a long period, the paint will not age like that of the uncovered areas and/or moisture will be trapped between the mount and vehicle causing rust or discoloration. Periodically lift the magnet and gently clean off the underside of the magnet and the vehicle surface.
It is a bad idea to use magnetic mounts and amplifiers together. Magnetic mounts rely on capacitance grounding. This situation can literally cause the paint under the mount to bubble or discolor due to excessive heat build up.
On wire-wound antennas that require wire removal for tuning purposes, best overall performance will be achieved by keeping the loose end of the wire pressed down tightly against the wire coil. If you use power amplification on top loaded antennas and do not process the end of the wire load so it can dissipate its heat into other adjacent coils, you can melt the tip of the antenna.
Generally speaking, center loaded antennas perform better than base loaded antennas, and top loaded antennas perform better than all. For any given antenna design (base, center or top loaded), the taller the antenna the better. With length comes a wider bandwidth (lower SWR over more channels), more power handling capability and overall performance increases.
When ultimate mobile performance is desired, function should be given precedence over mounting location convenience and appearance.
Don't confuse SWR with overall performance. You should seek SWR of 2:1 or lower on channel 1 and 40, but keep in mind that best performance may not be found at the lowest SWR readings. For the most part, if you get your SWR below 2:1, on both ends of the band, don't be overly concerned about using meter tricking procedures that bleed off energy.
The SWR meters built into CB radios are okay for general readings, but are rarely sensitive and/or accurate enough for fine tuning of antennas. Use them mostly to indicate serious high SWR problems only.
Firestik has tested literally hundreds of SWR meters. A large percentage of these have shown to be off by 0.3 to 0.7 when compared to a piece of certified equipment. There is no standard among production meters. However, unless a unit is defective, most will indicate the most serious problems that you might encounter
Aside from cost, the type of wire used in or on antennas (copper, silver, aluminum, gold, tinned, etc.) has negligible effect on antenna performance. The antenna must be designed to resonate with the wire type and gauge chosen by the designer. However, larger wire gauges will normally increase the bandwidth and heat dissipation abilities of the antenna.
Copper is 55% better than aluminum, 27% better than gold and 578% better than tin insofar as conductivity is concerned. Silver will conduct AC/DC current less than 2.5% more efficiently than copper, but the cost to performance is generally unjustified and any gain, insofar as RF transmission is concerned, is negligible.
If devices other than an SWR meter are going to be used between the CB radio and antenna, always tune the antenna system first without that device in line. If SWR is high with the other device in line, you will know where the problem is.
In "no ground plane" systems, it is best to choose a system that terminates the coaxial ground at the radio end of the cable. These systems are far less reactive to cable routing errors and will almost always outperform systems that are terminated at the antenna base or antenna end of the coax.
Cables and antennas from standard & no-ground plane kits are not interchangeable. The "No Ground Plane" antennas from Firestik have a yellow band near the base.
Wire wound antennas with a plastic outer coating will greatly reduce audible RF static when compared to metal whip antennas.
If you leave your antenna on your vehicle permanently, remove the rubber o-ring that is found on the threaded base of some antennas. Tighten permanent antennas with a wrench. Add a lock washer if you want.
If you use mirror mounts and often find yourself in areas with overhead obstructions, tighten the bolts just enough to keep the antenna vertical at highway speeds. If the antenna contacts something overhead, the mount will rotate on the mirror arm and protect your antenna.
If you use long antennas and find that they bend too far back at highway speeds, tilt them forward if possible. When under a wind load, they will end up in a relatively vertical position.
On antennas that are topped off with a vinyl tip, make sure that you take your SWR measurements with the tip in place. If you tune your antenna with the tip off and then reinstall the tip, your SWR will change.
Without advocating the use of power amplifiers or unauthorized channels, take note that the Firestik II tunable tip antennas have a fairly large metal tip that broadens the bandwidth and dissipates a considerable amount of heat.
It is illegal to use power amplifiers with CB radios. It is illegal to "tweak" the radios internal circuits to increase output power. The transmitter power of a legal, FCC certified CB radio is 4 watts AM.
If having one antenna for CB/AM/FM is appealing, use a CB antenna and a splitter that allows it to be connected to your AM/FM radio. Devices that let you use your AM/FM antenna for CB use will leave you disappointed.
On a budget? Buy a cheap radio and a good antenna. Aside from added bells and whistles, all CB's are FCC regulated to transmit no more than 4 watts of power. A good antenna on an inexpensive radio will almost always outperform a bad antenna on an expensive radio.
Beware of the wire wound mobile antennas mentioned in ads that claim them to be "full-wave" or "wave and a half". At best, you are being deceived by the misleading association of wire length to actual performance characteristics. Wire length, for all intents and purposes, is irrelevant. With "very" few exceptions, antennas must function as a 1/4 wave or 5/8 wave to be useful on mobile installations. For example, Firestik and Firestik II antennas between 2 foot and 5 foot have a radiation pattern similar to a 5/8 wave reference antenna. However, wire lengths range from 20 feet to 32 feet (0.6 to 0.9 of a full wave length). If wire length was relevant, each antenna would need 22.5 feet of wire.
How to physically operate a CB radio
Some CB radios have several controls on the front panel, while some have very few. They all share the same controls mostly, and some have digital numeric displays for channels and others don't. Some have signal meters using a needle and text background, while others use little LED's (Light emitting Diodes), and some using Liquid Crystal displays. Their is really a whole range, and this page is dedicated to explaining in great detail what each function does and what its purpose is. I hope this information is of benefit to the reader, as it's no real benefit to myself! I already know this stuff!
Volume: This controls the output volume of the speaker inside the CB. It would also control the volume of a speaker plugged into the back of the CB.
Squelch: When there is nobody transmitting on a channel all you hear is noise, to get rid of this noise you increase the squelch until it has cut off. However, you will still receive all other stations. If you turn up the squelch even more, distant stations will also be cut out, if you turn it up to maximum only very strong or local stations will be heard.
RF gain: This is similiar to squelch but it does not cut out the noise. The RF gain attenuates incoming signal. It only reduces the signal strength of which you are receiving them at, so very strong station will be slightly affected while distant stations will not be heard. This does not actually affect their output signal, it only affects the signal you receive.
Mic Gain: This controls the output loudness of your voice that other stations will hear. This is normally left at maximum, the more you reduce it the quieter you will be. It does not effect the carrier wave of the radio, only your speech. If you turn it to minimum you will not be heard, but your radio will still transmit and empty signal. On AM only your carrier wave will exist, on SSB however, there wont really be any evidence that you are transmitting at all.
ANL & NB: The ANL stands for Automatic Noise Limiter and that's exactly what it does. Your voice will be carried over the airwaves by a carrier wave if using AM/FM or similiar. However, in heavily populated areas a lot of noise is generated into the airwaves. This noise comes from power lines, machines, computers, cars & the earths atmosphere. Therefore, when trying to sift through noise and intelligeble signals the noise can be too strong. Therefore, the ANL will aid in reducing this noise to clarify incoming voice signals. It will filter out the audio frequencies that the noise can be heard at and leave the frequency area of voice communication open for use.
PA/CB: This switch simply switches the CB off when switched to PA and diverts all audio output to a loudspeaker plugged into the CB instead of transmitting it via airwaves. PA = Public Address. When it is switched to CB the radio will operate as per usual.
Clarifier or 'delta tune': This variable control alters the actual frequency of which you are receiving. This is only used on SSB mode. It will generally let you go 2.5kHz below or above the actual channel you are operating on. On SSB, the transmitted signals may drift slightly and the person you are receiving might not be exactly on 27.305MHz, but actually on 27.3049MHz. This is a fairly significant drift off the desired frequency, so you turn the clarifier until their voice is clear. Otherwise, their voice will either be high pitched and squeky, or deep/muffled.
CH9 or CH19 switch: This switch only makes the radio switch to channel 9 (Australia) or 19 (America) to quickly access the emergency channel/road channel.
Duplex: This button exists on UHF CB systems which simply puts the radio into the mode where it transmits on 20 channels higher than what it is receiving so you can speak through a repeater. (Repeater information in the UHF CB booklet section)
10 SWR Mistakes
Poor, or no chassis ground on the antenna mount.
Broken, pinched or kinked coax.
Antenna has not been tuned on vehicle.
Loose or corroded connections.
Short or open connections.
Antenna tuned without tip, and then tip installed.
Antenna tuned with tip installed and then removed.
SWR checked with door open.
Excess cable wound into small coil...creates a "choke" effect.
Improper cable length. If in doubt, use 18 ft.
Those are the people who use the (uppers and lowers) channels outside of the regular 40 channels allocated by the fcc for cb use. Generally speaking these are the extra channels. They can be heard on a good shortwave reciever or by (illegally) modifying your existing cb equipment. These are usually right above or right below the regular 11 meter cb band.
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