My First Do it Yourself CB Setup


Recommended Posts

Gerowen

So I just set up my first in-house CB radio. I needed something to talk to my wife with when I'm away because we get zero cell phone service at the house, and I couldn't bring myself to pay another phone bill just to get a land-line, so I stopped by our radio shack and dropped about $250 on equipment and wound up surprising myself.

I got a Cobra 148 GTL mobile radio, a 120V-AC to 13.8V-DC transformer, an actual transformer that regulates and cleans up the power to eliminate interference. I got 50 feet of coax and soldered my own connectors on and a SolarCon A-99 antenna that looks to be 18-20 feet long and mounted it onto my back porch.

I did a radio check and a guy 10 miles away told me I was blowing him out of the water easily, so that tells me I'll be more than capable of talking to my wife anywhere I decide to go locally using the mobile CB (Cobra 19 Ultra III with a 36 inch whip) that I've had in my car for several years now. Well at least she'll be able to yell at me, not sure how well my little mobile Cobra 19 will compare.

Anyway, this was the first time I'd actually soldered my own wires and everything so I was really proud of myself when I got a response from 10 miles away telling me I was crystal clear at that distance, so I thought I'd share for other people who do CB for work or for fun, and maybe get some pointers from those more experienced individuals. I'm not using any linear amps or anything illegal, and would prefer to avoid using them. I don't necessarily want to talk to people in Hawaii, I mean it would be nice if I could do it with legal hardware, but my main goal was just to talk to my wife when I'm out and about and to talk to people around the county when I'm at home in the evening.

I'll take a photo of the antenna tomorrow when it's light out. It's dark and raining outside and I can't get a good shot of the whole thing because of how far away I have to stand.

post-125978-0-61314900-1351657621.jpg

post-125978-0-56421400-1351657626.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Gerowen

Pretty impressive!

Thanks, I put a lot of effort into working it into the house. I painted the cabinet and tried to make it blend in with the rest of the house. I didn't want it to stick out like a sore thumb and throw everything off. The coax has cable ties holding it next to the ceiling and I used weather stripping to buffer a window sill so the window can still be closed and sealed to keep out cold air, but the coax at no point comes into contact with the metal of the sill or of the window itself, thereby protecting my antenna wire.

Link to post
Share on other sites
+hedleigh

Oh the memories, CB radio. If I remember correctly, the aerials are combinations of 9', could be wrong though. I think I used to use an 18' dipole aerial and was able to chat with people all over the planet when the conditions were right. As you suggest, a good setup makes all the difference and I can remember chatting with someone in Queensland and he was astounded at my location as I was "pushing high 9's"! :)

Have fun with it anyway, shouldn't matter where your wife is! :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
HighwayGlider

Thanks, I put a lot of effort into working it into the house. I painted the cabinet and tried to make it blend in with the rest of the house. I didn't want it to stick out like a sore thumb and throw everything off. The coax has cable ties holding it next to the ceiling and I used weather stripping to buffer a window sill so the window can still be closed and sealed to keep out cold air, but the coax at no point comes into contact with the metal of the sill or of the window itself, thereby protecting my antenna wire.

Nice job man, really. For me, doing these kind of things is impossible for me (no skills/knowledge+the availability of equipments&parts in my country for these kind of things is close to none), and I'm always amazed when seeing such thing being done at home.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Gerowen

Nice job man, really. For me, doing these kind of things is impossible for me (no skills/knowledge+the availability of equipments&parts in my country for these kind of things is close to none), and I'm always amazed when seeing such thing being done at home.

Yeah I know the feeling. Everything I know I learned from relatives. My grandmother used to have a 30 foot tower with an 18 foot antenna on top of it and she talked on it all the time, it's how she communicated. When I lived in Washington state CB radios and accessories were very rare and hard to come by. I was looked at as unique because I had one mounted in my car. Sometimes Wal-Mart would throw one tiny radio with a window-mount antenna on the shelf for $30, but nothing really worth much. The Radio Shack stores there carried computers, printers, ethernet crimping tools and gear, but nothing radio related. The one here in my little hometown of 2,000 people serves as a pharmacy/drug store, a gun store, and a Radio Shack all in one building. So you can walk in, pick up your meds and a mountain dew to take them with, ammo for your pistol and printer ink all in the same place, lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Dan~

It looks so old but awesome at the same time.

I remember when I was a bit younger I'd tune into channel 9, police frequency hehe

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Gerowen
      FreqLength is just a very simple little tool I wrote for myself partly just as a hobby/project, and also so I'd have a portable wavelength calculator.  I just posted a new version of it yesterday and thought I would share in case any of you are interested in it or might find it useful.  It takes a given frequency as input and then spits out the wavelength of that frequency.  You can get wavelengths either in open space, or if you provide the velocity factor, it will give you those same wavelengths in a cable with that velocity factor.  This might come in handy for people such as Ham/CB radio operators, or others who deal with radio transmissions and make their own cables.
       
      It's just written in Python, so if you don't trust me (I don't blame you for not trusting some noob on the internet), you can just download and extract the tar archive and then read the "freqlength.py" file with your favorite text/code editor.  The Windows executable is just the python version compiled against Python 3.4 with py2exe, then bundled into an installer with InnoSetup.  Since it's just Python, the version in the tar archive should run on any system with Python installed; Linux, Mac OS, etc.  There is a Linux installation batch script that you can use if you'd like, although it's not necessary to use it; all it does is move the files into /opt/freqlength and stick some icons on the desktop and in your applications menu.  The source files are also installed as part of the Windows installation process, so if you install the Windows version with the .exe but still want to see the source code, just browse to the installation directory and you should see the freqlength.py file in there.
       
      I no longer own any 32 bit machines to compile on (and haven't bothered setting up a 32 bit VM), so the Windows executable version will only run on 64 bit machines, so if you're running a 32 bit version of Windows, you'll have to have Python 3 installed and use the tarball version.  If you're running 64 bit Windows and you don't care about reading the source code, all you need is the Windows executable.
       
      Link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/freqlength/
       



    • By Gerowen
      I recently re-recorded a review of the Cobra 148 GTL CB Radio, and thought I would share it since this is the "Hobby" section of a site centered around technology.
       
      http://youtu.be/PGICNICk7Zs
    • By Gerowen
      So during daylight hours for CB radio operators there's usually tons of skip, which is basically radio waves bouncing off the ionosphere.  It can happen at night if there's good cloud cover during inclement weather, but generally speaking as the sun goes down, skip dies out and the airwaves get quieter.

      Anyway, I live in eastern Kentucky, and I heard this guy riding skip in from the Mojave desert, right at 2,000 miles away, and he was louder than a lot of the local guys from around here.  His station sounded amazing so I just had to record a video of it to show other people.
       
      Just for a reference, when the sun goes down I can talk out to about 50-60 miles around here and that's about it, so hearing somebody skip in from over 2,000 miles is pretty sick.
       
      http://youtu.be/FzaUNrX7e0s
    • By Gerowen
      So yesterday I took my CB radio apart to check a connection because I was having issues with a factory made coax.  Upon closer inspection I noticed it was just a crappy soldering job on the factory made cable, so I dabbed some extra solder on it and rounded it off with some sandpaper to fix the issue.  However, in the process of opening up my radio, I managed to blow the bulb in my meter.  I went about the house looking for a replacement bulb small enough to fit.  I tried to cannibalize a broken old NES to take the red bulb out of it, but apparently you need a 12V resistor because it blew up in my hands when I tested it.  After searching around though I found a friend at a local parts store who had a blue LED with an in-line resistor already in place and he let me have it for free, and after installing it I think it looks pretty sharp, so I thought I'd share, :-)
       
      The only downside I've noticed is that my brightness control no longer affects the brightness of the meter, only the channel display, I'm guessing because LEDS function differently than conventional bulbs.  This is an indoor radio though, so the brightness is hardly ever touched, and with the lights turned off, the blue seems easier on the eyes than the white/red did anyway.
       
      For anybody who is curious, I'm running a Cobra 148 GTL with an 18 foot Antron A-99 antenna.  I'm barefooted, just doing 4 watts cause' I'm in a decent spot so I can reach pretty far without messing with amps and such.


    • By Gerowen
      I'm kind of a CB radio guy, and I've finally perfected a method to install your CB radio. I chose this method because it keeps your cables protected from being pinched such as in a situation where the cable is just ran through a door. By following this method I've been able to successfully install several CB radios in a way that keeps the wires protected and out of the way of the driver and passengers.
      I recorded a YouTube video of me showing variations of my method on my two vehicles.