CB install

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Cowboy
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CB install

Post by Cowboy » Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:17 pm

I've been meaning to put together a CB install write up for a long time, so here goes.

Parts required*


I'd suggest these for CJ/YJ/TJ applications (click on picture for link to specs/purchase):

Cable/Coax With Fire Ring and Stud - 18'
Image

Fire Ring adapter
Image

Mount (make sure you get the right one for "your" Jeep/top/cable" configuration)
Image

Spring
Image

Antenna
Image

Radio
Image

Of course there are other options, but these are a very popular set up, for several reasons, one of which is that they work so well.


I don't run a Cobra 19, because when I got it I wanted a radio with a front speaker (Cobra 18), so I could mount it under the dash...since then I've added an external speaker because I couldn't hear at anything over 30mph with the top off, Cobra makes external speakers too, but they are quite large for a Jeep application, I picked up a small one at the local truck stop.

*Note that at the time of this post the links worked, that may not be the case if you're reading this any moment after the submit button was hit on this post.


Install tips, tricks, dos, and don'ts:


First off, pick a good place for for the radio and antenna to be mounted. Don't put either of them in a location that something will be bouncing off of. i.e.:
-don't mount the radio where passenger or driver will be banging their shins, head, or other body part off of.
-don't mount the antenna where it will easily get ripped off by a passing tree.

Secondly, take your time, it would seem with as basic a system as this is it could be put in in very little time. In reality this is very likely a multi-hour job.
-don't do the install half assed with wires running all over the place that will get caught and ripped out, cut or crushed by people or objects in the rig.
-make sure any holes that need to be drilled are marked in the right locations before the drill gets turned on, make a paper template and tape it in place if you can't mark the holes while holding the part.

Coax cable, this is one of the most important part of the system, the length should be only what you need, with just a little left over in a "maintenance loop".
-did I mention taking your time and not doing this half assed? Run the cable from one end to the other finding a way to keep it tucked up out of the way all the way from back-to-front or front-to-back, and if possible away from other wiring harness components as they could inject noise in to the system through electromagnetic coupling
-protecting the cable, if you drilled any holes for the cable to pass through, either add some sheath protection or put in a rubber grommet so the cable doesn't get cut or worn through by the hole
-solder the PL-259 connector on, and make sure when that's done that it didn't cause a short or an open, you'll need an Ohm meter to check that. One little trick to getting the "braid" (outer conductor of the coaxial cable) laid back nicely, is to use a small wire brush (not some greasy /dirty brush, it needs to be clean & dry), and don't get out of control using the brush, thinking back to your days playing with your sister's dolls, the wire braid will start to break off.
-maintenance loop, you might need extra cable to be able to take the radio in and out, or to put on a new connector because you put the system in half assed and it got ripped off, you don't need a lot of cable for this maybe a foot or so, you can zip tie it in a small loop and have it hidden behind the dash.

Antenna mounting, you picked a good spot and are using a good mount, right?
-put the mount high enough on the vehicle so the base of the antenna will be even with or as close to as possible with the tub of the vehicle, this prevents RF reflection caused by the main body panels of the vehicle covering up half of the antenna
-the antenna needs a "ground plane", there are "no ground plane" antennas, we aren't getting into that right now. For the antenna to establish the ground plane on the vehicle, the antenna mount needs to be made out of metal, and be mounted on a piece of the vehicle that is grounded to the vehicle. If you mount it on a swing away tire carrier that isn't grounded to the vehicle it isn't going to work right, you will need the multimeter again to insure this part is working.
-the spring, you got one because I put it in the parts list, the reason you got one is because the top of your antenna might hit a passing branch above the vehicle and given enough of these "hits" it will break off, the number of hits could be one or thousands based on luck alone.

Antenna testing and tuning, you'll need both a multimeter and an SWR meter
-once the antenna and cable are installed, test to make sure your ground plane is established with the multimeter in the ohms position, put one lead on the outside shell of the PL-259 connector and one to a grounded metal piece of the vehicle, it should read a short, next test to the center pin of the connector to the outer shell, this time it should read open, last test from the center pin of the connector to the antenna spring, it should read short. If you got any readings other than what is posted you'll need to figure out where the problem is, these are crucial and with a short where an open is or an open where a short should be it could damage the radio.
- tuning the antenna, you'll need an SWR meter, follow the instructions for the meter and your antenna, you want as close to a 1:1 ratio as possible, with anything over 2:1 being unacceptable, at least for me, I don't do these installs half assed

I'm sure more could have been added to this initial post, more may be added later. Stu Olson has some good write ups on this and many other subjects on his website, scroll about 2/3 of the way down for CB stuff:
Clicky-->Stu Olson's Offroad<--Clicky

Edited to update current picture locations, links still work for supplies required.
Edited again, some links fixed. Can't locate tail light antenna mount or CB radio on Eric's site
Last edited by Cowboy on Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: CB install

Post by blueclaw » Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:27 pm

THANKS !!!!!!!!!

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Re: CB install

Post by blueclaw » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:23 pm

Hey Cowboy are you available before the 17 to help tune my Cb ? I installed it today and everythig went well but cant seem to recieve .It is a cobra 19 as suggested and it reads busy but no niose was hoping you might help me figure out whats up . thanks Patrick

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Re: CB install

Post by Cowboy » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:22 pm

You might have a short somewhere in the coax, if you can bring it up here I can help you out, I'm at Ft Meade.
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Re: CB install

Post by TJGreg » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:26 pm

make sure all connections are good. Did you solder the coax to the connector at the radio end?
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Re: CB install

Post by blueclaw » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:40 pm

I dont mind driving up to meade let me know when available as for soildering the coax i just installed a 18 foot one I bought at radio shack that had the ends . thanks for your help

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Re: CB install

Post by Cowboy » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:45 pm

Weeknights are best, but not all of them, so any Mon, Wed, or Fri evening, this week or next. Won't take long, I have a garage, so weather doesn't matter either.
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Past Jeeps:'14 JK-U Rubicon, '05 Deflowered TJ Rubicon, '87 YJ Laredo

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Re: CB install

Post by TonyTJ » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:25 pm

cowboy... i just ordered a new antenna. my old antenna was a trim style to tune and i hated that. so i picked up the one you have listed above.
would you be able to help me tune correctly? i pay in beers.
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Re: CB install

Post by Cowboy » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:56 pm

I could help ya, it's really pretty simple, you just need an SWR meter, can pick one up at Radio Shack....holy sh!t, just looked at their web site, when the eff did they start charging $50 for those things? Pretty sure I payed less then $20 for mine, but that's been 15 years ago...yeah sure Tony, bring it down here when you get the antenna.
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Past Jeeps:'14 JK-U Rubicon, '05 Deflowered TJ Rubicon, '87 YJ Laredo

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Re: CB install

Post by redbeard4x4 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:17 pm

Would ya like to help repair or tune mine? Not sure which is needed... It used to work and now doesn't receive. Anytome before next saturday would be optimal.
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Re: CB install

Post by Cowboy » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:41 pm

Are you still using that Cobra 75? If you want to bring it here, I'll look at it...standard: "will work for beer" applies.
'16 JK Rubicon
'16 JK-U Rubicon
'10 H-D Street Bob
Past Jeeps:'14 JK-U Rubicon, '05 Deflowered TJ Rubicon, '87 YJ Laredo

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.
- Frank Sinatra

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Re: CB install

Post by onatsky » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:00 pm

hi cowboy, what antenna / antenna mount can you suggest for an xj? thanks

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Re: CB install

Post by redbeard4x4 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:47 pm

Cowboy wrote:Are you still using that Cobra 75? If you want to bring it here, I'll look at it...standard: "will work for beer" applies.

I can deliver the Miller Light anytime this week... Maybe Sunday will work?
'05 Wrangler : 2" BB, 1.25" BL, 33" BFG MT’s
JEEP: J-just E-enjoy E-every P-path
JEEP: J-just E-empty E-every P-pocket
JEEP: J-joking E-evil E-elephant P-program
If it breaks and you just replace it,.......you lose! Happy Jeep-N Everyone!
Frankenjeeps wrote: Happy Life to everyone and to everyone a good Jeep
Accidents don't just happen, they are caused.
http://www.SmokinRB.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/user/RedBeardGoPro

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Re: CB install

Post by Cowboy » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:55 pm

onatsky wrote:hi cowboy, what antenna / antenna mount can you suggest for an xj? thanks
Same antenna, I'm not sure what mounts the guys running XJs use, maybe one of them can chime in.
redbeard4x4 wrote:
Cowboy wrote:Are you still using that Cobra 75? If you want to bring it here, I'll look at it...standard: "will work for beer" applies.
I can deliver the Miller Light anytime this week... Maybe Sunday will work?
Miller High Life, not Lite...I'm going climbing tomorrow morning, probly be home by 1pm or so, I was planning to just watch football in the afternoon, but if tomorrow afternoon works best for you I can accommodate.
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'10 H-D Street Bob
Past Jeeps:'14 JK-U Rubicon, '05 Deflowered TJ Rubicon, '87 YJ Laredo

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- Frank Sinatra

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Re: CB install

Post by dickyB » Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:15 pm

Cowboy, are you holding a CB tuning clinic tomorrow? I installed my cobra75 wx st today, but its in desperate need of tuning. Ive got all static and can barely hear the weather channels.
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