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Old 03-20-2014, 04:41 PM   #15
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That picture is showing a swr of over 3-you want to get it to 2 or less.
It's showing RF over 3. You can see S/RF illuminated on the left. The SWR is on one of the earlier posts which is three bars from the leftmost mark.
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:43 PM   #16
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Be sure to run a good ground cable to your antenna base. I used the braided shield of some old coax for mine on the old truck I had mirror mount brackets on a 03 ford f-250 with plastic mirror arms. This truck I'm waiting on a headache rack to mount my cb and cell phone antennas on or I'll mount them to my tool box/fuel tank but prefer the headache rack for the additional height that it would provide.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:17 PM   #17
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If you properly calibrated the SWR, then the SWR looks pretty good. I really don't think it's a good idea to completely remove the tuning screw, but I suggest you contact Firestick to see what they say. It also looks like you're getting out to, but not great. I think it's primarily due to fact that the top of your antenna is too just low. Additionally, you will probably miss a lot of signal because of that.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:33 PM   #18
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I received my side mount Firestik 4' NGP antenna and need to install it. I know that ideally I want to install it with as much as the antenna over the roof line. I've never had to drill a hole that deep between the outer fiberglass and the interior stuff and I'd hate to do it anyway. I was thinking of installing it low in front of the front driver's wheel well. I can drill straight through and then feed the coax up through the firewall. Problem is that in that location all of the antenna will be below the roof line. I don't plan on using it for long distance...more for chatting with other RVs and truckers close by. Will it give me too many problems with SWR tuning?
I'm by no means a CB expert but have had a few in trucks over the years. The CB in our Beaver gets very poor reception. The Firestik NGP is a no ground plane antenna and they are supposed to work on fiberglass such as a MH, but I would still mount it as high up as possible. Is there a place like above the driver where there is a cabinet that you can get behind so you can mount the antenna and run the coax.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:50 PM   #19
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I have attached a pic of the same antenna you have, only installed on my rig. The antenna HAS to be installed with at least 2/3 of the mast above the tallest object near it. Where your antenna is, whenever you key up, the signal is being broadcast from the antenna and then hitting your coach and bouncing back into the antenna. That is a recipe for disaster. Having it like it is now, will for sure burn your radio transmitting parts up.

The SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) should be below 2.0, ideally around 1.1 or 1.2

I'm not sure I trust the SWR meter built into a radio. I have (2) external SWR meters that measure great. On my meters, you have to calibrate the meter by keying he mic and turning a knob to the "set" mark. Then while still keying the mic and not talking, you flip the switch and it gives you the reading. Do NOT add a ground strap to the NGP Antenna from FireStik. It will not help anything. I have a stock Cobra 18 and can talk to people about 5-6 miles away depending on outside conditions and area.

With your antenna where it is, you'll be lucky to reach the next camp site.

This link speaks to UK channels, disregard that. The principals are the same here in the US.

SWR Meters & Readings Explained

Here's another link straight from FireStik

Measuring SWR
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:46 AM   #20
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If you properly calibrated the SWR, then the SWR looks pretty good. I really don't think it's a good idea to completely remove the tuning screw, but I suggest you contact Firestick to see what they say. It also looks like you're getting out to, but not great. I think it's primarily due to fact that the top of your antenna is too just low. Additionally, you will probably miss a lot of signal because of that.
With the screw on I kept getting a CB antenna warning message on the radio even with the screw all of the way in. I had to remove it to get the message to clear. From what I understand, the screw just makes the antenna longer/shorter, so by removing the screw I made it short enough for the radio to like it and the SWR is within specs...I think! I agree with it sitting too low, but as it is the coach already hits branches and stuff and I didn't want to have anything up there. As long as I can receive and get out enough to contact other RVs and truckers within a few miles I'll be happy. I have two other hand held CBs. One of them has a portable long antenna. I'm going to have to get DW to take it out a distance to see if she receives my signal.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:38 AM   #21
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First you should not "Fold" coax. Coil it in a coil at least six inches in diamater but do not fold. .Avoid sharp bends as much as possible.

Second, The Firestick, as I recall is a very short antenna, And short antennas tend to exhibit very "tight" bandwidth.. So yes, you will see higher SWR at the low/high channels and flat in the middle.

A full length antenna (not practical) will have wider bandwidth. My NGP antenna does fairly well but it is about 2x the length of the firestick.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:43 AM   #22
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My understanding of the two pictures is picture #1 is showing a very respectable Stand Wave Ratio, under 1.5 to 1. Picture #2, is showing power out. Also with all the congestion on CB, it has been my experience unless you are in site of one another, asking for a radio check is a moot point.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:54 AM   #23
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First you should not "Fold" coax. Coil it in a coil at least six inches in diamater but do not fold. .Avoid sharp bends as much as possible.

Second, The Firestick, as I recall is a very short antenna, And short antennas tend to exhibit very "tight" bandwidth.. So yes, you will see higher SWR at the low/high channels and flat in the middle.

A full length antenna (not practical) will have wider bandwidth. My NGP antenna does fairly well but it is about 2x the length of the firestick.
Oh no, I didn't fold it like that. I think the better term is bundled it in a sort of number 8 pattern. The Firestik I got is a 4 footer. This is the second one I've used with the same radio (first one was on my Jeep) and have never seen high SWR. Right now SWR will fluctuate between 2 or 3 bars in my 29 LX. I'm guessing that's 1.2 and 1.3
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:02 PM   #24
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My understanding of the two pictures is picture #1 is showing a very respectable Stand Wave Ratio, under 1.5 to 1. Picture #2, is showing power out. Also with all the congestion on CB, it has been my experience unless you are in site of one another, asking for a radio check is a moot point.
Thanks for your input. When I initially installed the radio in my Jeep last year I had the same issue with truckers, but I finally got a radio check on the emergency channel. Probably from the local police or fire department.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:05 PM   #25
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The Firestick antenna must be mounted 2/3 of it's length above the roof line if you want any kind of decent reception. To keep from drilling holes I mounted mine on the ladder, keep in mind, do not alter the tuned cable that came with the antenna set, any extension coax you add (with barrel fasteners don't splice} needs to be in increments of 9 feet.

BTW "decent" reception/transmission is variable to the user
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:12 PM   #26
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The Firestick antenna must be mounted 2/3 of it's length above the roof line if you want any kind of decent reception. To keep from drilling holes I mounted mine on the ladder, keep in mind, do not alter the tuned cable that came with the antenna set, any extension coax you add (with barrel fasteners don't splice} needs to be in increments of 9 feet.

BTW "decent" reception/transmission is variable to the user
That's what the manual said, but I didn't want anything sticking out that much. Being where it's mounted I should get at least 180* of reception. I'm guessing the rest will be attenuated by the fiberglass body.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:23 AM   #27
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Oh no, I didn't fold it like that. I think the better term is bundled it in a sort of number 8 pattern.

Absolutely correct, coiling the coax has the ability to create a choke. The more coils the greater risk.
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:22 PM   #28
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Well, the antenna was a bust for this trip. Right off the bat when we hit about 40 mph I heard this whipping and come to find out the antenna came off the top hanger and was flapping all over the place hitting the side of the coach. I removed it and figured that on the next stop I'll put some zip ties on the hanger. Well, that kept the antenna coming off the hanger, but the mid section was wagging like crazy making all kinds of noise. Once again, I removed it. Need to figure out how to secure it or make it more aerodynamic.
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