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  1. #1
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    Default CB Receiving Range

    I've read the stickied thread about half a dozen times and want to know a few things still.

    1.) Does a peak and tune and getting a boost in power output (watts) increase just your speaking range or does it improve you receiving range significantly as well.

    2.) What type of range can I expect to see on I-87 in NYS for those that know it with a Uniden Pro 520XL with a Wilson 1000 mag mount?

    3.) Any shops in the capital region that will do this "peak and tune" service for me? I could probably figure it out myself with a SWR meter, but I don't want to ruin a new CB.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    There are no easy answers to most of your questions. All of these things have to do with multiple factors, mostly centered around the antenna.

    Some things to consider:

    Antenna quality, length (thus, gain), mount installation, mount grounding, coax quality, and coax length.

    Radio quality, power source/adequate wiring, filtering (if needed), RF gain setting, squelch setting, speaker location, and overall condition of radio.

    Topography, proximity of surrounding vehicles, proximity of structures, and atmospheric/ionospheric conditions.

    Radios can fall out of alignment over time; a good shop will have an oscilloscope to see if it has any frequency drift on RX or TX. Then it can be aligned accordingly.

    To address your questions by number:

    1) If by "peaking" you mean getting the most wattage out of stock components, it would theoretically give you greater range, but in the real world it would probably not be very noticeable. Hopefully "tuning" would imply realigning the radio, as needed. I have found that most radios can be adjusted to be more sensitive on RX, however some are finicky and you could just end up breaking a component.

    2) See the top of my message. Way too many variables at work to be able to say for certain.

    3) I don't know that area. Any work I can't do myself, I send out to a trusted friend of mine who owns a Motorola shop and knows everything there is to know about radios. If you can find someone to trust and they treat you right, stick with that shop or technician.

    Best of luck!!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    Thank you. I guess I won't "peak" it but will tune it myself. You've answered my questions well. I'll keep looking around for shops in that area.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    No set answer. Oklahoma, mostly flat. Galaxy 919 paired with a LiL will antenna. For me NEVER over 5 miles on the highway.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    ^^^X2. I've got a "peaked and tuned" cobra 29 and a 4' wilson, almost perfect swr, no matter, 5 miles.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    Longest pickup I had was around 10 miles ON THE HIGHWAY not talking about those on the "super bowl" channel using 1000's of watts, and mind you the 10 mile pickup was with a special made custom cobra 25 LTD classic from Sparky's that was modified to boot and was as sensitive as could be, almost too sensitive sometimes as it would pick up just about anything electrical if you had the RF gain too high, it was that sensitive and yet 10 miles is the best I've gotten on it, so don't expect to be hearing things 20+ miles away. I wish but unless it's an excellent "skip" day probably won't happen. Realistically anywhere from 3-6 miles give or take depending on what the others above stated, and it also depends on the person who is talking what THEIR setup is also.

    My wife's grandfather drives a big rig and he said they are really start to crack down on things as far as trucking goes and I've also read online a lot of companies will not allow people to install CB's in their truck cabs, they have to use what the company provides them as a lot of companies ended up getting the "bill" from the FCC for violations as far as maximum wattage allowed on a CB goes.

    So yeah a lot of stuff comes in to play but the short answer: expect 3-6 miles give or take depending on conditions.

  7. #7
    Speed Demon
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    Another way to answer this is by comparing CD reception to radar detector range. Long, straight and flat = long distance reception. Short, curvy and hilly = short reception distance. And, as Cooljay mentioned, the transmitting power of the radio you're hearing has a huge factor. With 400 watts I can talk reliably over 2-4 miles in most terrain, with a maximim of 12-14 miles, but at this range both vehicles need to be up on higher ground to get good reception. That is, if were both rolling and end up in a low spot at the same time, we'll lose contact at 4 miles. If we are both on a hill, then range goes way up.
    Consider a CB to be a short range tool.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    Thank you all. I'm going to buy the radio/antenna/SWR meter all within the week. One ticket save from a CB pays itself off, and it's fun to just listen to chatter on long drives.

    Next question: Wiring (Keeping it all in this thread instead of making another, and the forum search is kinda ehhhh)

    1.) Direct to Battery Red to + , black to - with an inluse fuse? It's reliable and I'm good about turning off electronics in the car. What size fuse should I use?

    2.) Fuse tap into something using an add-a-circuit kit? Same thing what size fuse?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    Quote Originally Posted by Frenzy View Post
    Thank you all. I'm going to buy the radio/antenna/SWR meter all within the week. One ticket save from a CB pays itself off, and it's fun to just listen to chatter on long drives.

    Next question: Wiring (Keeping it all in this thread instead of making another, and the forum search is kinda ehhhh)

    1.) Direct to Battery Red to + , black to - with an inluse fuse? It's reliable and I'm good about turning off electronics in the car. What size fuse should I use?

    2.) Fuse tap into something using an add-a-circuit kit? Same thing what size fuse?
    Depends on the car and what you want to do, most cars direct to battery is best as it helps get a cleaner electrical signal, in my car add-a-fuse worked better. Also need to consider if the radio will hold the channel if it loses power or if it will revert to Ch1 when it turns on and you've then got to go 19 clicks up the dial.

    There's also Radio Peak and Tune, which illegally boost the power (99% don't get caught but it's worth noting , and also help reassure that the radio is on correct frequency for receive and isn't deviated from shipping and poor QC on the manufacturer end. Then there is antenna tune, which ensures that the antenna is of a proper electrical length to not have the radios power returning into the unit. SWR on most antennas are pretty easy to work out on your own, tune it for best performance on CH19, near the middle of the band where the radio will likely spend 99% of it's time tuned to.

    Also as far as range is concerned, remember that a CB is a tool in a countermeasure setup and has no guarantee, the same as an RD won't protect you from LIDAR and a LJ won't protect you from radar. And while it may be of variable shorter range, it puts you in contact with drivers that have come from the other direction at 70+mph so you can have saves in the few hundred yards to few hundred mile range; the value of the tool exceeds the ability to talk and receive. Having run CBs coast to coast my experience has been a minimum of about 4miles and an average of 5-10 and in the summer regularly over 20 when the band conditions kick up during the day. And in more populated areas I'm always dialing back the RF gain because if I let too many signals in I get the high pitch AM doubling whine. But the range really only matters if you're trying to keep in contact with another specific vehicle (and I'd suggest staying off of Ch6,9 and 17-22 if attempting to do so.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: CB Receiving Range

    Quote Originally Posted by Motor On View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frenzy View Post
    Thank you all. I'm going to buy the radio/antenna/SWR meter all within the week. One ticket save from a CB pays itself off, and it's fun to just listen to chatter on long drives.

    Next question: Wiring (Keeping it all in this thread instead of making another, and the forum search is kinda ehhhh)

    1.) Direct to Battery Red to + , black to - with an inluse fuse? It's reliable and I'm good about turning off electronics in the car. What size fuse should I use?

    2.) Fuse tap into something using an add-a-circuit kit? Same thing what size fuse?
    Depends on the car and what you want to do, most cars direct to battery is best as it helps get a cleaner electrical signal, in my car add-a-fuse worked better. Also need to consider if the radio will hold the channel if it loses power or if it will revert to Ch1 when it turns on and you've then got to go 19 clicks up the dial.

    There's also Radio Peak and Tune, which illegally boost the power (99% don't get caught but it's worth noting , and also help reassure that the radio is on correct frequency for receive and isn't deviated from shipping and poor QC on the manufacturer end. Then there is antenna tune, which ensures that the antenna is of a proper electrical length to not have the radios power returning into the unit. SWR on most antennas are pretty easy to work out on your own, tune it for best performance on CH19, near the middle of the band where the radio will likely spend 99% of it's time tuned to.

    Also as far as range is concerned, remember that a CB is a tool in a countermeasure setup and has no guarantee, the same as an RD won't protect you from LIDAR and a LJ won't protect you from radar. And while it may be of variable shorter range, it puts you in contact with drivers that have come from the other direction at 70+mph so you can have saves in the few hundred yards to few hundred mile range; the value of the tool exceeds the ability to talk and receive. Having run CBs coast to coast my experience has been a minimum of about 4miles and an average of 5-10 and in the summer regularly over 20 when the band conditions kick up during the day. And in more populated areas I'm always dialing back the RF gain because if I let too many signals in I get the high pitch AM doubling whine. But the range really only matters if you're trying to keep in contact with another specific vehicle (and I'd suggest staying off of Ch6,9 and 17-22 if attempting to do so.
    Excellent post! I appreciate the input. I have gotten everything ordered except (SWR, coax jumper) the CB radio itself, which I can get in shipped in 2 days.

    Update: Going with an add-a-circuit. I'm drawing 4 Watts max, so I don't see a point of going through the trouble of direct to battery. (Saving firewall troubles for LI Dual install)
    Last edited by Frenzy; 06-22-2012 at 03:31 PM. Reason: Add a circuit

 

 

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