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Old 11-05-2006, 06:54 PM   #1
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I recently purchased a "all in the hand" Citizens Band radio from Camping world. My Winn Journey was CB ready. I connected the antenna/ground/12v to the juuction box per the instructions. When I turn on the radio ... I don't hear anyone. Years ago I remember the channels being jammed with CB'ers... and truckers. I have successfully talked to one person who was about 1/4 mile away. I live near highway 50 in California and would expect significant trucker chatter. I have an old standing wave ratio meter which indicates that when I key the transmitter I am generating a signal. I have checked the obvious.. e.g. continuity of the antenna connections, and made sure there is no short in the antenna wire. Have things changed so much that the CB channels are now quiet?? Or have I got a CB problem? Any thoughts would be welcome.
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:54 PM   #2
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I recently purchased a "all in the hand" Citizens Band radio from Camping world. My Winn Journey was CB ready. I connected the antenna/ground/12v to the juuction box per the instructions. When I turn on the radio ... I don't hear anyone. Years ago I remember the channels being jammed with CB'ers... and truckers. I have successfully talked to one person who was about 1/4 mile away. I live near highway 50 in California and would expect significant trucker chatter. I have an old standing wave ratio meter which indicates that when I key the transmitter I am generating a signal. I have checked the obvious.. e.g. continuity of the antenna connections, and made sure there is no short in the antenna wire. Have things changed so much that the CB channels are now quiet?? Or have I got a CB problem? Any thoughts would be welcome.
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:29 PM   #3
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Scottster welcome to irv2
I have found with same CB on my coach if on a highway no problem picking up truckers or talking to them. I'm 1/4 mile from highway and can just make them out but can talk to people on lower bands without a problem. Not sure its the CB or just where I'm located at the time.
Someone may have a better answer while we wait enjoy the forums and post often.
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Old 11-06-2006, 05:43 AM   #4
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Scott,

I have the CB as you that I purchased from Camping World and have found that it is a real quiet radio. It has a filter in it that keeps weak transmissions from coming thru I was told.

But I also found that on the road the truckers do not seem not to be talking as much on them as they did back in 70's and 80's. Back them it was constant chatter.

Guess they are all too busy talking on the cell phones.

Did you try the weather stations on the radio to see if they come in okay?

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Old 11-06-2006, 05:56 AM   #5
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Your antenna may be the culprit - it may be poorly placed or need tuning. Or maybe the coach is just sitting in a dead spot with poor radio reception.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:10 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick responses. Sounds to me like 2 of you are experiencing the same "quiet" operation I have experienced. I guess we are showing our age when we remember when CB was the only game in town in the 60's/70's and you couldn't get a word in edge wise. I will try the weather channels ... that is a good suggestion to check antenna function. Also, I should have shared that I pulled out my 20 year old Radio Shack standing wave ratio meter and it was registering a margin 2.8... could not tune it any better. Another friend of mine who is a long time ham operator suggested last night that I verify that I have a good ground (e.g. could be a Winnebago problem with ground on coax sheilding or ground wire pre-installed by Winnebago) as the only ground plane is going to be the entire chasis of my MH since the top and sides are all fiberglass. I don't remember checking the continuity from the antenna shield to ground so I will check that too. Will post when I have done these tests for the benefit of others. MH currently sleeping and powerless as the starting batteries are out of it and charging in my garage... and I am thrilled to find the answer to my other problem ... starter batteries draining in 3 weeks on this forum... elegant and inexpensive solution is the Trik-L-Start which should arrive on Wednesday. Then I will go and continue with my tests. Glad I found you guys/gals... sorry to be so wordy. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 11-07-2006, 06:34 AM   #7
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Did you add the antenna or was it part of the Winnie's "CB ready" package? You need a "no ground" antenna for a fiberglass coach.

But I put a quality, marine-type, no ground plane antenna on mine and still get crappy performance. But we rarely use the CB anymore anyway - FRS radios generally fill our communications needs.
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:46 PM   #8
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Some have mentioned these:

A) Most CB antennas need a ground plane. Even a 3x3 sheet of sheet metal will suffice. With boats and RV, a no-ground plane antenna is needed.

B) There is no such thing as a no-tune CB antenna. Get or borrow an SWR meter and tune the antenna. Other radios and bands have no-tune antennas, but CB is such a long wave length compared to the actual antenna length, that the installation environment greatly affects the antenna.

C) Make sure the radio controls are set correctly. In particular:

i) Many radios have a noise switch. This helps reduce noise but will also hurt weak signals.

ii) If the radio has an RF gain knob, turn it all the way up for weak signals. The RF gain controls the sensitivity of the receiver. If you don't have one, don't worry about it.

iii) The squelch knob. This is a noise gate. It basically mutes any signal that is not above a certain volume level. You can see how this would hurt weak signals. A good way to hear nothing is to turn the squelch all the way up.

In short, get the right antenna, tune it for SWR, turn off all noise reduction, set the radio for maximum sensitivity and listen away. Of course after getting a signal, you will want to adjust the sensitivity and squelch for comfortable listening.
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:49 PM   #9
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alvinc has it right. ALL ant's need to be 'tuned' to the frequency you want to use. An SWR of 2.8 is not real good. There is nothing wrong with using the coach chassis as a ground plane. Problem is getting a good connection.

I just bought an used Damon Daybreak. I'm going to be outfitting it with several radios, but I don't know if CB will be one of them. As a ham, I prefer to setup 2m/440 dual band, hf-20m/40m , and a cell-ph booster for DW. You really want to think about studying the amateur-radio(Tech class) manual, take a test and switch. CB is power limited (legally) and as far as I know there are no CB 'repeaters' in operation.

Jusy my $.02 worth
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Old 11-08-2006, 05:52 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">There is nothing wrong with using the coach chassis as a ground plane. Problem is getting a good connection. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Connection??? I'm no radio guy but I must be missing something here. A "ground plane" is different than an electrical "ground". There is no electrical connection to a ground plane and I don't see how the chassis, which is probably several feet away from the antenna base and certainly not a plane, can act as an effective ground plane.
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:07 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Roamer:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">There is nothing wrong with using the coach chassis as a ground plane. Problem is getting a good connection. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Connection??? I'm no radio guy but I must be missing something here. A "ground plane" is different than an electrical "ground". There is no electrical connection to a ground plane and I don't see how the chassis, which is probably several feet away from the antenna base and certainly not a plane, can act as an effective ground plane. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>A good chassis ground is absolutely required. In fact to avoid noise from the other vehicle systems the best plan is to route the radio power connections directly to the battery (both ground and power). This way you can use the battery as a big filter.

A ground plane is something that is usually very close to the base of the emmission point. In this case the base of the antenna. The RV chassis is too far away to serve as a ground plane. The roof, hood, or trunk of a metal (steel or aluminum) car are ideal ground planes. A rubber or fiberglass roof is not.

The most efficient antenna will be one with a ground plane, second will be a no-ground plane antenna, one of the worst is a glass mount.
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:18 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Scottster:
Also, I should have shared that I pulled out my 20 year old Radio Shack standing wave ratio meter and it was registering a margin 2.8... could not tune it any better. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>An SWR of 2.8 is pretty bad. The typical maximum acceptable SWR is 1.5. Besides with CB you only have 5 watts to work with, this means there is a 1 watt loss in power before you even consider the feed line (coax cable).

There could be two reasons for the poor SWR.

One is that you have no ground plane. Just as a trial, temporarily put a 2x2 or larger piece of sheet metal (industrial cookie sheet) under the antenna. Retune the antenna and you may find a much lower SWR.

Two is that you have a poor antenna (cheap). I have helped others try to tune CB antennas on metal cars and been unable to get a reasonable SWR. This is one reason that I like the Firestik antennas (www.firestik.com). I have been able to tune every one I have encountered.

Note: I am not related to Firestik. The two no-name antennas purchased a Bi-mart were untunable.
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Old 12-09-2006, 07:34 PM   #13
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I just posted a response to a similar query on the Winnebago owners forum. I would suggest that you adjust the antenna by using the cb receiver to tune for maximum noise or chatter on a mid channel like 19. The adjusting ring on the Winnebago supplied roof CB antenna has a critical adjustment point for best match. Your tuning will flounder over a large range of the adjustment and you will suddenly hear a significant increase in received chatter when you hit the "sweet spot". Proper matching means maximum received signal as well as maximum transmitted signal. You can fine tune from that point with a meter but I doubt you will see any major additional improvement
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:13 PM   #14
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Belated welcome roadfolks to irv2
Thanks for all your tips they will come in useful.
Enjoy the forums and post more often.
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