Thursday, January 13, 2011

CB Radio

Many LD owners choose the CB radio as an option when ordering their rigs. Or add one later. They can be very useful for monitoring traffic conditions when you come up on all those red brake-lights in front of you. They can be used to communicate with other LD'ers you may encounter on the road.....assuming you're both on the same channel. And some Caravan or rally events use CB as means of disseminating information.
Normally used channels
Ch 9 - highway emergency, usually monitored by law enforecement
Ch 19 - used by truckers for general communication
Ch 30 - often used by RV'ers
CB's are fairly easy to install, but care is needed with the selection and "tuning" of the antenna. An SWR meter is invaluable in getting maximum performance out of your CB. With the aluminum skin of the LD, it is necessary to select a non-ground-plane antenna, such as those made by Firestik.WxToad has provided some pictures and words on his installation of a Cobra 75 WX ST CB Radio.
Tuning your antenna
The Firestik antenna that comes on LD rigs has been used since at least 1993. It is tuned by adjusting the threaded metal ring at the bottom of the antenna around the plastic base. It is turned up or down while watching the SWR meter. Don't change it without the SWR meter. Adjust for minimum SWR, preferably below 1.5:1, but definitly below 2.0:1. For more info see: http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs.htm
Cobra 75 WX ST CB Radio
In recent years Lazy Daze has been installing the Cobra 75 WX ST remote-mount CB radio. It's a nice little radio that doesn't take up much space in the cab. It includes the ability to receive the NOAA weather broadcasts. Essentially what you see is about the size of a microphone, and there is a power supply module mounted under the dashboard. However, the sound quality from the hand-held speaker is not the best. Sound is greatly improved using an external speaker that plugs into the power module.
By the way, if you have large hands, it may be next to impossible to reach the Cobra module mounted under the dash to insert the speaker plug into the Cobra.
If you need any CB radios, parts, antennas, microphones, service, etc, then check out the following on-line sources:

http://www.radioactiveradios.com/

http://www.walcottcb.com/

http://www.cbradiosplus.com/

http://www.copper.com/

http://cobra.com/
Antenna Connections
A problem with the LD antenna is their use of exposed screw terminals for the
antenna connection. These do corrode over time and will affect range.
Firestik has adapters to convert to a "connecterized" and therefore better install. This may be all you need for the improvement you want.
Another approach is to seal exposed electrical fittings try using `Liquid Electrical Tape'. It is a fast drying liquid plastic that comes in a small can with it's own brush. It is available at many hardware stores or at: http://www.westmarine.com/. Part number 544171. It is available in several colors. To use, clean the connection and brush it on and let it dry. Apply several coats until a thick layer has developed. It holds up well to outside exposure. 

Contributors: Steve, Larry Wade, Steve T., Rollins, WxToad

Revised: 12 Oct 2013

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