the only thing i can hear on my CB is SCHREARASHCASHDC..... - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Interior Semi-Tech General discussion of interior for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 01-19-2005
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Your instructions might tell you how to tune your cb. If not and you don't want to buy an SWR meter you can take it to a CB guy and have it tuned. This is a process of shortening your antenna so it performs at its peak with your radio. You need to do this anytime you get a new CB or antenna or change the location of your antenna. I do not know a whole lot about it I'm sure someone else can give you more detail, but I have 2 great guys in the business around here that tuned mine and helped me out when I knew nothing. Hope this helps
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2005
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the only thing i can hear on my CB is SCHREARASHCASHDC.....

i recently hooked up an antenna to my cobra cb, and i can't hear one thing!! just a whole bunch of white noise....i did the instal per instructions....and i've tried it in city and rural areas....i live in between two major interstates, so i figure there'd be plenty of tractor trailers to talk to or whatnot, plus in my neck of the woods, all the hunters use them to talk and etc....so why am i not being able to get any sound? i actually got a semi-clear signal fromt wo guys talking, and i tried to say hi, but i dont think it even went thru....

i figure N3elz will probably hop on this one, since he's got Air Force One's electronics in his truck....

just incase it makes any difference here is.....:
my CB=here
my antenna =here
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2005
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Dude mess with the squelch
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  #4  
Old 01-19-2005
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did you tune the antenna to the CB?
does your radio have an SWR meter built in?
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  #5  
Old 01-19-2005
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is the radio grounded properly? I'v seen that with a bad ground before
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  #6  
Old 01-19-2005
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my cb is grounded to the same place my amp is, so i know its a good one

and i tried the squelch, unless its turned all the way up, i cant hear anything...i can hear slight mumbling.... maybe the signals just arent strong enuf

and how do u tune the antenna to the cb? and i dont think theres an SWR on there
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2005
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I tried to reply to this earlier and it went nuts. Let me try this again.

First, your CB needs clean 12 volt power. Sounds like you have a good ground. Where is the positive side going to? Does the sound change with the engine running vs the engine off? If so, you should get an inline noise filter. They go on the power leads and will filter out alternator and ignition noises. Noisey electrical feeds will cut down on your radio's performance.

The single most make-or-break item in any 2-way radio is the antenna installation. Unfortuantely, a simple fact of life is that magnet mount antennas suck. Couple that with it most likely having cheapo coax and you get a poor performing antenna. That will cut down on your radio's performance.

You should turn the squelch **** just past the point where the noise stops and leave it there. That will make it quiet when there is no one within range talking. Try driving around near the highway and see if it improves. The wavelength of CB radio is not conducive to bouncing around urban settings. 4-5 Miles is about average without the urban factors.

-edit- I don't know why my replies are getting placed in between others.

Last edited by FireRanger; 01-19-2005 at 07:41 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2005
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if no one is talking around u, u wont get anything barrow a friend with one and try to talk
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2005
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do u know how far the range is on it? i figure that me being in the city would give me a lesser signal due to building and etc.....but just a ballpark.

i dunno...i was just thinkin that i'd be able to pick up conversations from far if not semi far away.....
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2005
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In the city are MANY noise sources. CB uses AM modulation, which picks up just about every possible noise in the vicinity.

The range depends. It's seldom more than a few miles for local communications. Sometimes atmospheric conditions cause "skip" where you can talk hundreds to thousands of miles away -- but you still won't get more than a handful of miles locally from a mobile setup to another mobile setup. Usually mobile to mobile is only 2 miles or so under most conditions. Beyond that it gets quite noisy often, depending on terrain, and local "noise".

Check the CB with the engine running and off. If the noise is only there with the engine on, it's engine based. The fuel pump in the Ranger and Explorer is famous for having a noise problem.

A CB with a noise blanker is a must in my opinion. If it's not a selectable one, that's okay (my Maxon has it on all the time) -- but without it you're going to get some ignition noise on weak signals, no question.

FireRanger's comments are all right on the money. Especially the part about a good antenna, and the antenna needs a good ground at it's base unless it's a 1/2 wave type -- which would be about 16 feet long at CB frequencies and not exactly practical. I will not use a mag mount for any long term use. It's inefficient at these frequencies and a waste. I ALWAYS drill and mount a permanent antenna mount on my trucks/cars. The only exception is the glass mount 1/2 wave for VHF I use for APRS. It's reasonably efficient for that purpose, and only about a yard long.

So, to break it down:

1. Is the noise only present when the truck is running? If yes, it's your truck.

2. Does the noise go away or change when you take the truck elsewhere, particularly away from power lines, traffic lights and such? If so, it's environmental noise.

3. Is your antenna tuned? You need it to be so, but the noise level goes DOWN with a mistuned antenna, not up!!! However, it will make a big difference in your effective range to get the SWR tuning where it needs to be. A CB shop can help you.

4. Do a test with someone else with a CB -- it's the only way to know SOMEWHAT for sure if your signal is adequate; subject to the limitations of the other CB.

Do it systematically, and report your results.
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2005
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ok, my ground is def. good, and i have the positive hooked up to a fuse in the fuse panel....one that stays on all the time, for instance, the only way i can turn off the cbis to actually turn it off, instead of just removing the key.

noise happens when truck is off, a LOT of white noise....

if i'm in the city, it makes no difference, city/rural all sound the same....i mite peak and ge a half way clear signal when i approach the top of a really tall hill or something. but it does make a slight squeel when i am under a lot of power lines or a bridge (which i expect)

the antenna is not tuned, i only opened the package and installed....and i have no idea of how to go about this anfd i doubt there is a CB store here, and if i took it back to radio shack to get them to do it, they'd give me the craziest look ever.....

and i dont know personally anyone else with a cb, i'll have to make a friend really quick though....
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2005
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The white noise is normal. Many use channel 19 as a test since the truckers are there.

But 19 is SO noisy because of the incredible power of tens of thousands of CB's operating on it all over the country. 19 is the WORST channel to really test on. You can only receive the strongest of signals over the background noise, and you need to turn the squelch up so far most days, just to kill the white noise.

I believe that if you set the squelch to where it just kills the noise, you're fine. It's beginning to sound as if your installation is functioning normally.

If you want to talk long distances from your truck without using a cell phone, get a ham radio license. CB gives you one band, with limited power, and even with an amp there are days that particular band is useless, where others are still usable.

I was having a conversation with a guy 18 miles from me from my truck on VHF (146.52 mhz) with no problem. More distance than that is possible, and 30 miles to fixed stations is not uncommon. The rig is FM and has 50 watts and costs only a bit more than a really good CB. The hitch is you need the license or no one will talk to you and if you persist, they'll find you and turn you in!

On HF, there are several bands and 10's to 100's of miles are ALWAYS possible in the absence of rare solar flares. 1000's of miles are usually possible from my truck on SOME band, though sunspots figure heavily in the useable range (as does CB).
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2005
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awesome, thanks!
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2005
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I guess it all depends on what you want the CB/radio for. Me, I used them in HS for communciating w/ friends around town. Back then the car was the quickest and most affordable way out of the house and away from the folks. But then cell phones were too expensive and/or unaccessable. CB was a cheap alternative.

Now I only use CB when in a convoy w/ other cars/trucks, like we did in Centralia. For that infrequent need I have a hand-held CB tranceiver w/ a cheap-o magnet mount antenna. I run the wire out the ex-cab door and onto the roof and power the handheld off a cigarette lighter 12VDC adapter. At the end of the weekend it all comes out of the truck and goes into storage.

In my mind cell phones really are the most cost effective point to point communicators now. But in a convoy type setup a CB is a better deal because it's broadcast (everyone hears at once). But then in that application who really cares what kind of range you've got. W/ my setup in Centralia if I could get 1/2-1 miles out of it then I was more than happy..
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2005
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True that. I did a full antenna install for the CB because I'm obsessive, not because it was necessary, lol! MY CB use profile matches yours: except for offroading it scarcely ever gets turned on!
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2005
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All I was really trying to point out is that your radio use in general is a little more.. shall we say extreme.. than most of us. W/ the exception of the 1-2 times a year I could probably never own a 2-way radio and be perfectly happy.

Although those FRS jobbies have my attention. They make kits for intergrating those into a motorcycle intercom system for bike-to-bike comm. On the bike the CB doesn't quite cut it because of the need for a large antenna. The FRS stuff is FM and higher frequency, so it gets by w/ a considerably shorter antenna that doesn't need to be hard mounted at all.. Plus, they're dirt cheap!
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  #17  
Old 01-20-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHBubba
The FRS stuff is FM and higher frequency, so it gets by w/ a considerably shorter antenna that doesn't need to be hard mounted at all.. Plus, they're dirt cheap!
They grow on trees! That's what we use instead of CB's when we go on a camping convoy.
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  #18  
Old 01-20-2005
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now what is this FRS? a cb? or like a walkie talkie?
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  #19  
Old 01-20-2005
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Usually in the form of a walkie talkie. It's a short range (generally doesn't "skip") VHF FM radio system that does not require a license. You can find them everywhere. I think 1/2 watt is the maxium power, but it's adequate for most short range communications duties.
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  #20  
Old 01-20-2005
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Family Radio Service.
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  #21  
Old 01-20-2005
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There are 14 FRS channels, they are limted to 1/2 watt and do not have detatchable or upgradable antennas. They can be very useful for inexpensive and convinient short range communications. You will NOT be getting 4 miles range out of them, but for short range stuff, it is very handy.

Now, if you are in a populated area, the band is loaded with kiddies playing games and making noises. Out in the boonies, you should be fine.
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  #22  
Old 01-20-2005
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Ha, again, it's a matter of perspective!

FRS is the Family Radio Something-or-other. Basically it's another band the FCC set aside for non-licensed use. Yes, you're limited in power, but the upside is that the range is (from what I understand anyhow) comparable to CB. It's VHF, so the antenna requirements are a HECK of a lot easier to cram into a little, usable package. Mostly you get FRS in handheld form, as that's how it's most useful, although I'm sure they make base stations as well.

I see them EVERYWHERE at ski areas. The problem is that they are SO popular that the band is quite crowded, at least at ski areas. I've never personally used a set, but I imagine they are less crowded elsewhere. One really neat application for them, which Dave and I were discussing over on ORR, is for motorcycle intercoms. Makers like Chatterbox have started puting FRS tranceivers on these intercoms for bike to bike communication. So basically you can talk to another rider while humming down a back-road. Quite cool..
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  #23  
Old 01-20-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireRanger
Now, if you are in a populated area, the band is loaded with kiddies playing games and making noises. Out in the boonies, you should be fine.
Yes, I've met several little kids (~8 y/o and younger) that received FRS sets as gifts from their parents. Most people think they are real toys, which is too bad. Still, I think they are pretty slick considering there is no licensing required and they are so innexpensive..
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  #24  
Old 01-20-2005
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Kids are easy to deal with. If you don't acknowledge them, they get bored really fast. Besides, the 929 can put them out of range very quick like.
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  #25  
Old 01-20-2005
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I made a set of 4 "pirate" 4 watt FRS radio's. They were Motorola business band units I reprogrammed for 6 of the FRS frequencies. Carl (Buckgnarly) has most of them now. We used them truck to truck for the first Ranger meet I ever went to: the Cape May meet in 2002 or 2003. They are technically illegal.

With 1/2 watt, 4 miles is a real smoke-and-mirrors specification. If you're in space, or hovering in the air with no obstructions between you and the other station, it's possible.

The lack of "gain" antenna's and what not is a disadvantage for sure. CB requires a larger antenna to be efficient, that's true, but I'd still rather CB for most trail stuff. I wish we were all hams because 2 meter 25 watt or greater rigs would be ideal.
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