102" whip vs top load for cascadia

Discussion in 'CB Radio Forum' started by JerseyBarrierRacer, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. JerseyBarrierRacer

    JerseyBarrierRacer Bobtail Member

    38
    95
    Feb 25, 2021
    0
    Would a 102" whip work well on a 2019 cascadia? I've been experimenting with different antennas and I want the clearest receive I can get as well as a good 10 mile or so range.

    I started with a sirio bull trucker 5000, and then after some reading (and a lot of static on receive) I decided to try out a couple different 4' top load antennas. The k40 was utterly crap, couldn't manage to get a workable swr rating after hacking together all kinds of configs to raise it higher so more of the antenna was above the cab. I actually had better SWR readings with a cheaper 4' "trucker spec" brand top load I bought at a TA.

    If you're not familiar with the cascadia mounting options, they are really limited to either a bird perch or lower mirror adapter mount (not on top of the actual mirror, but using the bolts that a bird perch uses on the mirror assembly)

    Height is not a concern for me as I maintain a pretty consistent route. I've read the thread about using the 7' skip shooter, but afaik they aren't in stock anywhere that ships, and they aren't in stock at the one place I could go to on my route (andersons radio supply off 85 in sc)

    I understand that a tall enough top loaded antenna would put a good portion of the antenna above some of the cab, but would a 102" whip be an improvement?

    Also I've not really grounded the antenna because I don't know what I'm doing in that regard. I have a few short braided grounding straps, and one 12" one that I wired to some metal inside the engine bay (close to teh firewall) but when I hook it up I get the red light on ANT on the cobra unit when txing and it throws my swr off. I know I need a good ground plane, but I don't quite understand how to get it, and reading about grounding a cb is a nebulous topic that usually brings up a very basic explanation of what a grounding plane is, but nothing contextually specific for my application. Other results simply tell me to daisy chain pieces of metal until you reach the frame, but that is not a grounding plane, but actually just a ground afaik. Mind you, a lot of online resources are specific to 4wheelers as well, so that makes it difficult to figure out exactly what I need to do. Is it possible this area could be giving me crappy rx?

    I'm also not sure it isn't the radio itself. Its a walcott "tuned and peaked" ltd 29. What are the odds that they rushed it and did a half-assed job? Can tuning/peaking a radio to their supposed 30 watt output rating cause you to get very staticy rx's? Everyone sounds like garbage... --very noisy. I just want decent rx distance and clarity. I can hardly understand anyone. I generally keep the squelch at around the 9/10 o' clock position. Is this a high amount of noise? Anyone have an example of how a nice cb setup should sound?

    I also wonder if maybe everyone has a crap setup, and its all on their end. Either way, I can hardly understand people and I question how far I'm receiving because of how rare it is to hear anyone ever use the cb.
     
  2. Truckers Report Jobs

    Trucking Jobs in 30 seconds

    Every month 400 people find a job with the help of TruckersReport.

  3. JerseyBarrierRacer

    JerseyBarrierRacer Bobtail Member

    38
    95
    Feb 25, 2021
    0
    Yeah, just not sure about this radio or my grounding setup. I opened the hood and as far as I can tell, the grounding strap from the mount is connected to metal that should be conductive to the frame, but I added another grounding strap lower in the engine bay to connect to a bit off the frame as well. I can tell no difference in noise output or any audible sign that anything changes when I disconnect or connect either strap.

    My SWR meter reads 1.2 on 1 and 1.6 on 40. The thing that bothers me though, is that whenever I key down with dead air, the db meter jumps all the way up to the beginning of the red, like I have no head room whatsoever. I can't hear any noise on the talkback circuit but there is barely any swing when speaking. The speech sounds relatively clear on talkback, I can hear audible echo, etc. I toyed around with the modulation pot (vr4) and lowered it and it just lowered the needle a bit, with still no real major swing, so I cranked it back all the way up and then set it back just a hair like it was.

    Ordered a skip shooter as well as a new untouched radio. Maybe the tech at walcott biffed the peak and tune, or perhaps the radio meters are just off completely. Despite my eagerness to try the skip shooter, I don't think its the antenna. My ant light comes on very lightly when speaking, but I can reduce/eliminate that altogether simply by lowering my dynamike to the point where the needle doesn't swing slightly into the red from dead keying to speaking. That very minimal swing and the really high dead key output on the meter have me thinking this thing is cranked up way too high in some way or another, but I don't know enough about what they did to it to know if that is normal or not when a radio is pushed and tuned up as much as this was advertised to have been.
     
  4. jdchet

    jdchet Light Load Member

    224
    285
    Sep 3, 2012
    NE Ohio
    0
    First thing you should do is figure out where the noise is coming from. Disconnect the coax, if the noise disappears it's coming through the antenna. If the noise remains, it's coming through the power leads on the radio. There are some filters that can handle power lead noise. If the noise is coming from the antenna.....well the hunt has begun! Today's trucks have a host of RF noise sources! Refrigerators, phone chargers, inverters, aftermarket LED headlights are just some of the most likely culprits. LED signs at retail establishments and toll booths are another! Grounding the antenna can help some but might I suggest looking up @craig_sez on YouTube for some antenna install help.
    As far as getting a taller Skipshooter, look up Effingham Radio on eBay. Another suggestion is get yourself a decent external speaker. The internal speakers on most radios leave a lot to be desired! I have found the Cobra HGS 100 or HGS 500 to be nice and decently priced. I myself use a West Mountain DSP CLRspkr but at $200 is bit pricey for most folks. It does do wonders for background noise!
    Another thing to consider is selling the peaked and tuned Cobra and getting a box stock untouched Uniden PC78LTX. I have one of these, untouched, and it does a great job with a good antenna system. It is not the same as a Cobra 29! Looks and operates the same,but has a different smt board in it.
    JD
     
    JerseyBarrierRacer Thanks this.
  5. JerseyBarrierRacer

    JerseyBarrierRacer Bobtail Member

    38
    95
    Feb 25, 2021
    0
    Thanks! For the external speaker I'm using a wilson -> Wilson Electronics 305600 Black Steel CB External Speaker

    I was messing around with a noise filter that goes inline between the antenna and the radio, but I noticed it was not sensitive enough to distinguish between some radio signals and the actual noise so some people were being reduced in volume when trying to speak. The likely reason for this, is most people I hear sound very scratchy... --their tx's are very noisy to begin with. So thats basically what I'm trying to fix.

    As for the stock radio I ordered, it is this one: Amazon.com: Texas Ranger TRE-797 Professional 40 Channel AM/SSB Mobile CB Radio: Automotive
     
  6. jdchet

    jdchet Light Load Member

    224
    285
    Sep 3, 2012
    NE Ohio
    0
    Nice radio! Ranger just came out with that! It is the same board as the Galaxy 979F. Just keep it stock and work on the antenna and you should be fine.

    JD
     
    handlebar and JerseyBarrierRacer Thank this.
  7. Night Stalker10

    Night Stalker10 Heavy Load Member

    956
    490
    Jun 26, 2017
    0
    First of all, the radios swr function is worthless. I've checked a couple of my companies cobra 29 radios and they showed 1.2 for swr. But I knew that wasn't correct, because the old Wilson 2000 antennas were rusty at the base. When I used my external antenna analyzer the swr reading was over 5.1. Basically a dead short. Always use an external swr meter to check your antenna.
    Also, I always cringe when someone pays good money for a so called peak and tune. Especially when they claim 30 watts out of a radio that's designed to put out 16 to 20 watts PEP at the most, without turning it into a splatter box.
    Don't get hung up on the lots of swing thing. A little forward modulation needle swing is normal. As far as bonding goes, look up this website k0bg.com. it has a lot of great info about antennas. Also there's a great thread on the casscadia antenna problem by Mike5511 here on this forum. I would recommend you read it. It will be a great help for you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
    handlebar and JerseyBarrierRacer Thank this.
  8. JerseyBarrierRacer

    JerseyBarrierRacer Bobtail Member

    38
    95
    Feb 25, 2021
    0
    Yeah, I'm super excited to try it. Theres a really in depth video on it here Exclusive New out of the Box Texas Ranger TRE-797 AM and SSB 40 Channel CB Radio. - YouTube

    I've only ever used 29s so it will be interesting to try something different. Couldn't find a galaxy and I like the simple, clean interface of this one which is similar to the 29

    Yeah, I'm using an external SWR meter, but its an el-cheapo one so being that I'm a cb newbie I wasn't sure which I should really trust. Good to know the radio meters are generally off and that I should trust the external one instead.

    And I'll probably be avoiding the peak and tune from here on out. I've learned from this that its probably better to buy stock and if its not good enough THEN you can look into modifying it to suit your needs. I'm probably savvy enough to figure out some of the basic mods if I need to in the future, but being that I just want a good clean rx/tx with decent range I probably won't need much more than what I can get stock.

    Thanks for linking the site, I'll check it out, and yeah I've had a glance through that thread and a few others here that are specific to cascadias. Gonna try that 7' skip shooter
     
  9. craig_sez

    craig_sez Road Train Member

    4,796
    2,269
    Sep 5, 2013
    novascotia,Canada
    0
    Part of the issje is grounding as has been said..Ant needs metal mass under it and thats supposed to represent its send half....Now unless you wanna get into the dipole solution the next best thing is bonding....Bonding is basically connecting metal pieces with (as short as possible)flat braided ground straps..By useing these your help your set up a big deal because cars,pick ups and big trucks all use different things to piece together its parts...Ex,plastic door hinge bushing,push pins made of plastic,cheap metal bolts that are likely alumium and or steel and in some cases glue.....So by bonding your connecting together to help the ant see it as one big piece..Its the closest fix we have..When bonding,be sure there is no thread lock or corrosion on the two points you need to connect or on the bolts used or even in bolt holes..Area MUST BE DRY and even a lil paper thin coat of dialectic grease on the points surrounding the point of contact..Then a lil bit of that coax tape around the edges to keep water out of that area....So when bonding do not go with your typical electrical type wire and do not go direct from ant bracket to anywhere...What you wanna do is start with door hinge..Undo a bolt from door side of hinge replace after cleaning with one side of your flat braided strap and then do same and connect to cab side of same hinge....I happen to have 3 (2 on top hinge and 1 on bottom hinge)on my drivers door..Ill be attempting to do more throughout the truck when temps are better...
    As for ant choice,im gonna stick with a 7ft skip shooter but i am useing a 102" on a 10" riser for the moment..Im thinkin i would preferr the ss....No matter what you use i also suggest you figure ojt ways to try and stabilize the ant to..Such a long ant wobbles alot in higher winds and can over time break the lil wire in the base of the ant..
    Noise...1st prob is that wallcott got into your radio...They are a well stocked store and even nice to go see but unless your buying you get the feeling from staff that your bothering them..
    Anything that hooked up,plugged in can be a source of electronic noise..Could be inverter,cell chargers,gps,led lights fridge in your truck...Best bet is to kill everything in the truck and start from there one at a time..More than likely you may get a lil noise from front wheel bearing static,electronic throttle every time you pull off or on the peddle but jjst for an instant..
    If your useing a factory wire harness in the truck that could be an issue so a fix for that is to build a thicker harness and run power direct to battery..
    What i would do is kill all power to truck with the switch down by your left hip on the floor..If you still have radio power just listen(if not just on a temp basis run power to fuse box)..Now start truck,if for example you do have noise now we gotta figjre if its the power to the radio or another source from ant side,jjst unhook antenna and if it is still there we know is power supply...Now we should get the power from direct source(battery)..If its ant related the bonding should help alot....Now plug in gps n listen,same for gps,and trucks fridge but just do one at a time.....
    Im sure there is points i wanted to respond to but its all i can think of at the moment....
    Power wire mod if needed
     
    JerseyBarrierRacer Thanks this.
  10. JerseyBarrierRacer

    JerseyBarrierRacer Bobtail Member

    38
    95
    Feb 25, 2021
    0
    This is the source of my confusion. Am I still trying to get a ground from the frame when doing this? Or am I just trying to connect as much mass of metal to the antenna as possible? Right now I have a 12" strap going from the mount to a bolt under the panel that covers the door hinges. This bolt is on a big black piece of metal just under the windshield that spans all the way to the other side of the truck and connects to the fire wall... --the fire wall appears to be some kind of aluminum but I may be wrong. There are tons of other metal bits connected to it, however, just about everything I see looks painted or coated with something.

    I've got 5 6" straps to work with, but can get more.

    Also, thanks for taking the time to explain your setup. It seems you prefer the 102" whip, but your setup probably a LOT more solid than mine. I have much more weaker links in my chain meaning I probably got a lot more work to do to do before I would be able to start comparing the 102 vs the skip shooter
     
  11. craig_sez

    craig_sez Road Train Member

    4,796
    2,269
    Sep 5, 2013
    novascotia,Canada
    0
    1st...Dont worry about the dipole and follow what i posted with just the hinge to cab for now with the braided straps..Keepem as short as possible....Then start sourceing the noise..
    Actually i plan on goin back to the skip shooter..
    Nothing from bracket itself cause its attached to the door via the 3 bolts..
     
    JerseyBarrierRacer Thanks this.
  • Truckers Report Jobs

    Trucking Jobs in 30 seconds

    Every month 400 people find a job with the help of TruckersReport.

  • Draft saved Draft deleted