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New Ideas Have a new idea for your Ford Ranger? General discussion of new ideas for the Ford Ranger.

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  #26  
Old 03-04-2012
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ok thanks,
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  #27  
Old 03-04-2012
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I ordered the Pro520, today, Dad has an antenna, (not sure of brand) in the garage I am going to try first and see how well it works, and will probally upgrade later, Need to find a mount like in the pics on 1st page for my tool box. Or I need to make one, I have enough metal lying around I will probally just make one, but I got the firestick 18ft cable, (not the firering connection, just the normal pl259 ends) because I didnt see any 12ft and was not sure if a 9ft would be long enough.

Will go to radio crack and "borrow" their swr tuner when I get everything in to get it tuned. Thanks for yalls help.
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  #28  
Old 03-05-2012
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The PRO 520 will be a great radio, no extra *****, just what you need.
Did you get a Stud mount for the antenna mounting to the the bracket ?

The mount is just a 90 degree piece of metal, should be an easy make or buy any good quality 90 mount. Just go thick enough on the metal to keep it in a 90 not a 135 degree mount when the wind hits it driving at speed.

[quote=SteelDirigible;[/quote]


On the coax, when you decide on the routing, cut off the left over and tune the antenna. Do not coil up the left over and stuff it under the seat.
The only problem with the PL259 on both ends is that the hole required to get the coax and connector through the grommet is going to be bigger than if no connector was there. With Ring Lugs the hole can be minimum and self-sealing and the Ring Lugs can be attached after the coax is run to the antenna mount.

Good luck with the install, make sure to get the antenna tuned after the system is installed and make sure there is a good ground from the antenna mount to the FRAME, not just to the bed or box. The bed is not always grounded well enough, a lot of dirt and corrosion gets in between the bed and the mounts causing the ground to go bad or weak and in turn reducing the ground plane for effective communicate with a CB.

Last edited by Scrambler82; 03-05-2012 at 07:11 AM. Reason: spl chk; added comments
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  #29  
Old 03-05-2012
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Ya I got the same setup minus antenna as that pic ordered.

Actually ordered the ring lug cable not both pl259. Would it hurt it if I just ran the cable along the frame to take up the slack so it's not coiled up?
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  #30  
Old 03-05-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warlocke View Post
Ya I got the same setup minus antenna as that pic ordered.

Actually ordered the ring lug cable not both pl259. Would it hurt it if I just ran the cable along the frame to take up the slack so it's not coiled up?
OK on the mount, should work out well. I know a lot of people will disagree but the Ring Lug are in the long run a better application. The PL259 Connector is “NEAT”, if you will, but corrosion always gets in unless you seal it up.

On running the coax along the frame, IMHO and through the years of communication work I have never use more coax than the amount to run from the CB to the antenna with a little extra for strain loops/ drip loops, and for no sharp corners.
Some people like to keep to 3 foot increments, you can try it out and see.
Yes, tie the coax to frame to keep it out of the way not just to tie up the excess.
What coax did you buy ?
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  #31  
Old 03-05-2012
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If you have extra and don't want to cut it, you can loop it, but don't make a coil.
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  #32  
Old 03-05-2012
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http://amzn.com/B000X39TCY



That's what I got.
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  #33  
Old 03-05-2012
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Originally Posted by SteelDirigible View Post
If you have extra and don't want to cut it, you can loop it, but don't make a coil.
Loop it and see what happens, if the SWR is too high when tuning the antenna and you can not get it to drop then eliminate the loop(s).
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  #34  
Old 03-05-2012
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From the firestik website, 18 ft is a good length for the reasons as listed below. Also read their take on what to do with the extra cable

Quote:
About the length: This is a testy subject with many engineering types. They have argued with us on many occasions regarding this matter. They say that if your system is set-up properly that the length of the coax is irrelevant. We agree! However, mobile installations have so many variables that a perfect set-up is the exception, not the rule. One guy has a pick-up and another has a fiberglass motorhome. One wants the antenna on the bumper, another on the hood and a third on the roof. Few people want to drill holes in their vehicle so quality grounds are always a consideration. Because of the imperfect world, we almost always recommend 18' (5.5m) when our products are used. We do so with good reason too! At 18' the voltage curve has dropped back to the zero voltage point where the cable meets the antenna which reduces the reactance within the cable itself (a null cable if you would). It has been our experience that if the antenna location makes it somewhat out of sync with its surroundings, cable lengths that are not multiples of our 18' suggestion adds to the problem. To that, our complaining experts say, "Then the antenna should be moved!" to which we say, "You tell the guy with the $30,000 vehicle that he must drill a hole in his roof so he can use a 9' cable". We solve problems in the best way we can given the boundaries that the customer establishes.

On that note, when you have 18' of coax going to a radio that is only 8' away, what should you do with the other 10'? We recommend that you serpentine it like a skein of yarn so that it is 10-14" long and tie it in the center with a wire tie then tuck it away. Do not roll it up in a tight circle as this can cause it to act like an RF choke, which often times will cause system problems.

Other ways to wreck your coax: Wear holes through it, slam it in the door a few dozen times, attempt to splice it as you would a wire going to your taillight, tie it in knots or make real sharp bends in it.

For your information, all of our Fire-Flex coaxial cables have stranded center conductors, polyvinyl insulation and bare copper shielding in the 95% range. Even though we offer some cables that are not 18', we do so for the knowledgeable installer, who knows that if a problem shows up, he must exercise the 18' recommendation. All of our mini-kits and complete kits are packed with 18' cables.
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  #35  
Old 03-05-2012
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I'm also installing a CB in my truck. I just bought the Firestik FS-5'. I'm mounting it via their extended stake-hole mount (part# SS-194A). From my past experience, 18' is long enough for running the antenna on the very back of an SUV. I probably end up ordering the same cable you are though. I went out and measured the distance from the approx. mounting location to the top of the cab. It's about 21 inches and with multiple sources saying you need at least 2/3 of the antenna above the top of the vehicle. That's why I went with the 5 foot. Also, if you are running an antenna over 3 feet, use a spring. On my last car, I lost an antenna to a tree because of not having a spring. Oh and seriously, follow the others advice to ground the antenna mount to the frame. I once grounded straight to my battery, helps out a lot, but that was on a Honda Element...

Follow the advice and get heard for miles :) Good luck with your install!
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  #36  
Old 03-05-2012
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Ya I am using a spring, The one dad has is an old Firestik and I believe it has the tunable tip.

Last thing I need to figure is where to mount it at though. I am leaning towards above my right knee, since when I am driving, my knee has alot of room there (I dont like being crunched up against the dash lol). Also thinking of infront of the center console, mounted vertically, just infront of the stupid change deal.
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  #37  
Old 03-05-2012
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remember that the mount has to be grounded. alot of tool boxes arent.
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  #38  
Old 03-06-2012
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Right. I'm going to run a frame ground to the antenna.
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  #39  
Old 03-06-2012
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Not sure how old you are talking but chk where the fiber rod goes in the threaded portion of the antenna; they get loose there.
Also, the older the Fiberglass antenna the more brittle it becomes.

Mounting the CB is more of where you want it.
I like in front of the console but mine is too big with my Expo center console.

Pic when installed.

On the grounding of the antenna mount, use a 3/8" or 1/2" Braided Strap.
Run it from the mount using ring lugs, use a external tooth lock washer and get to bear metal.
Use a good quality anti corrosion paste over all.

Last edited by Scrambler82; 03-06-2012 at 03:09 AM.
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  #40  
Old 03-06-2012
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Ya, The antenna is fairly old but dad said he didnt use it much, I looked for any signs of damage to the antenna but didnt see any. everything was nice and tight.

I Planned on using some 10ga wire i have here for the ground, is that not enough? It is machine stranded wire.

I am leaning towards mounting the radio just above my right knee, And I bought a piece of angle iron, that is going to get rustoleum painted then drilled, and going to mount it on the drivers side of my tool box, (didnt think of mounting it there until the other day at lunch, I looked in the mirror and saw it there lol.)

I def will get pics as I get it installed.
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  #41  
Old 03-06-2012
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CB's are limited (legally speaking) to a 4 watt maximum output. Most come out of the box dead keying 3.0 to 3.5 watts. A good shop can coach a bit more wattage out of it if you don't mind paying the fee.

The VOX (voice) output, or modulation, is a different matter. Basically the modulation "runs" on the tracks of the output wattage. Most truck drivers (I used to be one) will invest in a power mic to squeeze the most out of driving the modulation. I used an RK-56.

A properly tuned antenna is a must. Truth told, a radio dead keying 2.5 watts with a properly tuned antenna will talk further than a 4.25 watt "tweaked" radio will talk with an antenna that is reflecting wattage (not properly maximizing output). Basically, think of "tuning" the SWR as assuring the antenna has as little resistance as possible as the signal exits.

On a vehicle with a properly grounded antenna the entire vehicle radiates as the vehicle itself becomes part of the ground plane. This was more true back when auto bodies were mostly metal. A part of the problem with modern vehicles is that aluminum and fiberglass do not radiate like metal. Thus the need to ground the mount to the frame.

Personally, I am not a fan of mounting the antenna on the leading rail of the truck bed because it puts the antenna proper too close to the cab, which causes SWR problems.

So assuming everything is properly grounded and the antenna is not touching nearby metal, your options for more output are:

Up the wattage.
Up the modulation.
Tune the antenna.

And that's it.

When all those things are equal, a properly tuned CB keying 4 watts will talk around 20 miles with an "unobstructed" view. Otherwise most users are looking at a 8 to 10 mile range at best. On my Gold Wing, I have talked 5 miles but never any further. The only metal on the Wing is in the frame and wheels -- everything else is PVC plastic.

Regarding tuning the antenna -- when you go to tune the antenna get somewhere outside and away from buildings and power lines. Nearby metal or solid structures, and things that radiate energy (power lines) will impact the SWR reading. I've seen guys cuss and swear while trying to get a radio right - all while doing the tuning six feet from their metal barn.

On a shelf in my basement I have an old President John Q, and a Cobra 29. Both have been tweaked and tuned and dead key 4 watts or better. The John Q is a leftover from the 70's and for years I used it as a base station. As I recall it has 3 ***** plus the channel selector -- just a basic unit. I used a D104 power mic with the President and most people thought I was talking on a high dollar base unit.

The Cobra is leftover from my truck driving days. I keep a magnetic base mount antenna in the truck so occasionally stick the Cobra it in the Ranger when I'm traveling. On those occasions I stick it up on the roof of the truck. The Cobra 29, by the way, boasts an onboard SWR meter in the CB itself. The RK (Road King) 56 is hooked up to the Cobra.

Whatever you do the CB will be useful. Just go for it and enjoy!

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  #42  
Old 03-06-2012
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how exactly do I tune the tunable tip on my antenna..?
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  #43  
Old 03-06-2012
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Tunable tip, means it has a sort of scre top, right, you just twist it to adjust the length, rather than cutting it down. You still need an swr meter. It's just reversible, as opposed to antenna that you actually have to cut to length to get the proper swr.
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  #44  
Old 03-06-2012
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So how do you know whether to screw it up or down? I'm new to this clearly..
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  #45  
Old 03-06-2012
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You use the SWR meter, and adjust the screw, if it goes higher, turn the screw the opposite way.
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  #46  
Old 03-06-2012
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With the Firestik FS series, there are two things that allow you to tune your antenna. You need to remove the plastic tip off and that reveals a bolt/screw running down into the antenna. First there is a nut holding the bolt on "lock-down". Second, you need to loosen the nut in order to turn the bolt to tune the antenna. Oh and if you want to keep your antenna tip on the ant. when it's on your truck, you need to tune it with the tip on there. I know it's a hassle, but it won't throw your SWR off.
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  #47  
Old 03-07-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warlocke View Post
You use the SWR meter, and adjust the screw, if it goes higher, turn the screw the opposite way.
This works, just don’t cut anything until you know which way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger4.0XLT View Post
So how do you know whether to screw it up or down? I'm new to this clearly..
Here is a Tech Article that reads ok and may help in tuning the antenna.

http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs/Setting_SWR.htm

There are other articles to read at the FireStik Library:

http://www.firestik.com/Tech_Docs.htm


Most SWR Tuning instructions tell you to tune by checking the SWR on channels 1 and 40, and tune for the middle of the band around channel 19 or 20, this way all of the channels have a chance to be close.
My tuning is done for the lowest SWR on the channel I will be using most, then let all of the other channels get in there where they may, they will be close enough.
Unless you think you are going to use the whole band (every channel) then there is almost no reason to tune that way.

Before you start tuning make sure all in install correctly, the CB has power, the Mic is installed and the antenna mount has a good ground.
It doesn’t hurt to check the coax for shorts using a multimeter on resistance, you should get a full meter reading. Check from the center pin to the outer shield or the outside of the PL259 Connector, if you get a reading in this test then there is a short in the line and it needs to be addressed before you go further.

To check for a ground at the Antenna Mount, using the multimeter check for a full reading when you put one of the probes on the mount and the other on the frame, there has to be a reading to the frame to get the most out of the CB System. Some say this isn’t necessary but believe me just do it !

Start checking and good luck, take your time and do it right, some antennas can be a bear to get at the lowest SWR but a lot of the newer Tip-Tuners, can be setup quickly and some of the antenna are very close from the get-go.

Oh ya, one more thing, unless you have a reason to get your CB “Tuned” DON’T; some CBs do not adjust well to tuning even though the Seller may say they will be OK and once tuned the seller may not take them back if there is a problem.
If they offer to “Open Up” the receive section of the CB remember if you can receive more then there will be more noise coming in too.
The hardest part of CB Radio Communications is transmitting so get the antenna setup properly and tuned to the lowest SWR and all should work out for the best.

Last edited by Scrambler82; 03-07-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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  #48  
Old 03-07-2012
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Got my Coax and stud mount today, waiting on the spring and the radio. The radio should be here sat. not sure on the spring mount.
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  #49  
Old 03-07-2012
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Can I take it to someone to be tuned?
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  #50  
Old 03-07-2012
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any local cb shop should be able to do it. From what I have researched in my area its like 40 bucks
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