CB Radio - Handheld or Mounted & Hard Wired?

Which CB Radio?


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agarber5687

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I have a CB radio and mic pulled from my old TJ that has been siting in my garage for the last decade. I hooked it up this past weekend in my new JL to make sure it still worked and it does.

However, I am now questioning if I should spend the money and time to install the one I have, or keep things simple and buy a new handheld CB radio?

Details:
- To install the existing radio, I would still need to buy a mounting bracket for the radio and antenna, and a new antenna
- I plan on mild off-roading, attending trail events 2-4 times a year (the events I am looking at highly recommend bringing a CB radio)

Thoughts?
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Token

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It's not like CB technology has "come a long way" in the last 10 years.
It has remained the same, so just use your old radio.
The range will be better than any handheld.
 

MacombRoger

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I really think the conversion away from CBs is happening. But JJ still requires them and many clubs rely on them. So I have the Cobra 75, with the "box" under the passenger seat. I know a lot of people are either getting licensed or running illegal VHF radios, but I was very impressed with the Midland MXT275 GMRS radio. I have one of those installed under the passenger seat (Michigan Jeep Group uses GMRS). I have them both connected to the antenna with a Y-adapter. I don't ever have both "handheld" parts connected at the same time, as I expect a backfeed of power could ruin the other radio.

Both the CB and GMRS radio work the same way, with a handheld all-in-one unit, and can be clipped to the dash. (Links are in my signature).

Recently tried the CB to another stationary vehicle, and it was cutting out right about a mile away. I was transmitting better than I was receiving, so the other vehicle might need some tuning. But then we switched to the GMRS... mine hardwired and communicated to a hand held cheapie... got 3 miles before I was having trouble receiving, still broadcasted great (Had a Cell phone call going too).

I always recommend a hardwired unit, you will get better sound, range, and it won't be knocked around off-roading. I also carry a handheld Cobra CB that I can lend out, or hand to a spotter.
 

prerunner1982

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I really think the conversion away from CBs is happening. But JJ still requires them
Actually they are only "strongly encouraged".
https://jeepjamboreeusa.com/trip/32nd-palo-duro-2020/

And MidlandUSA is the official communication sponsor for this year providing some micromobile and X-talker GMRS radios so it might be interesting to see if JJ swings away from CB in the future...
https://midlandusa.com/midland-radi...0-communication-partner-of-jeep-jamboree-usa/

So I have the Cobra 75, with the "box" under the passenger seat. I know a lot of people are either getting licensed or running illegal VHF radios, but I was very impressed with the Midland MXT275 GMRS radio. I have one of those installed under the passenger seat (Michigan Jeep Group uses GMRS). I have them both connected to the antenna with a Y-adapter. I don't ever have both "handheld" parts connected at the same time, as I expect a backfeed of power could ruin the other radio.
What antenna are you using that accommodates both CB and GMRS?
 

MacombRoger

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jeepdriver99

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Just the same firestik I had for the CB; under the passenger seat I added a splitter and two short pieces of cable. Then re-tuned the SWR for the CB.

Splitter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CVSNF4M
Jumpers: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KYYU1YW
Did this work on GMRS?

A CB is in the 27 MHZ range where the GMRS is in 462 MHZ range. The size of the antennas is very different. The higher the frequency, the shorter the antenna.

A 1/4 wave GMRS antenna is about 6 inches long. A 1/4 wave CB antenna is about 102 inches.
 

MacombRoger

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Did this work on GMRS?

A CB is in the 27 MHZ range where the GMRS is in 462 MHZ range. The size of the antennas is very different. The higher the frequency, the shorter the antenna.

A 1/4 wave GMRS antenna is about 6 inches long. A 1/4 wave CB antenna is about 102 inches.
Seems to work fine, maybe I am sacrificing range or something. Maybe its only the 3' length of the antenna ;) I gave it a shot before adding a 2nd antenna, and it seems to work fine. The Midland Radio did come with a little magnet mount antenna, but it kept cutting out (bad connection someplace inside it). I am no radio expert and was getting confused by all the options. If I added a separate antenna, some sites were suggesting a "puck antenna" like a Repeater antenna on police cars. I would go that route if someone could point me the right part. :) Anyone? :)
 

MacombRoger

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Hudson

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I have the Uniden CMX760 with mic mounted controls, and a fire stick. Also have the Midland MXT275 with mic mounted controls, on a Comet antenna and NMO mount. Both control boxes are mounted in the glove box, and both use a Uniden mic extension cable (comes with the Uniden but I ordered an extra one for the Midland as it uses the same interface)

You can’t use a fire stick CB antenna with the GMRS, you need one tuned for GMRS or HAM frequencies. Fire stick will transmit but will do long term damage to your head unit. I mounted the GMRS antenna on the hood using the mount (tension clamped to the hood) and brought the cable in through the clutch grommet on the drivers side firewall (I have an auto). For the CB, I mounted the Firestick on the rear of my enhanced tailgate.

The GMRS is far superior in range. I get very little range on the CB, just enough to talk to the Jeeps in front behind short distances. But handy when you need it, and the footprint of both of these brains is so small they can both sit in the glove box and still have room for the owners manual.

HAM is the way to go but need to pass the exam and the head units are more expensive.

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jeepdriver99

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Seems to work fine, maybe I am sacrificing range or something. Maybe its only the 3' length of the antenna ;) I gave it a shot before adding a 2nd antenna, and it seems to work fine. The Midland Radio did come with a little magnet mount antenna, but it kept cutting out (bad connection someplace inside it). I am no radio expert and was getting confused by all the options. If I added a separate antenna, some sites were suggesting a "puck antenna" like a Repeater antenna on police cars. I would go that route if someone could point me the right part. :) Anyone? :)
I am sure you're sacrificing range because the radio is looking for a specific impedance (50 ohms) at the end of the antenna wire. That is where tuning the antenna comes in and using a CB antenna can't give that impedance. The result will be damage to the radio.

The first 2 links are for the NMO (I have no idea what those letters stand for) antenna mount. The first is a permanent mount and the second is a magnetic mount. A permanent mount gives a better ground connection which is my preference. The third is the antenna. I don't have any experience with that particular one but I would not hesitate to try it. I like the idea of putting it on the sport bar.

I am a ham operator and have ham radio in the Jeep as well as GMRS. My antenna is a dual band for 2 meter (144 - 148 MHZ) as well as 440 -460 MHZ.
 

Frezski

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NMO is the acronym for New Motorola Mount. (or for me: the screwy deal that mounts to the chingadero that the other thing threads to)

The third one LP450 NMO requires a ground plane. I was trying to do research last year because a buddy and I decided to go GMRS. Long story short, I have stuck with the "no ground plane required" type of antenna. More traditional in regards to what one would think of when they hear the word antenna. From what I remember, I didn't want to add the ground plane portion in case the roof didn't act as one. Instead I use this type of antenna in different lengths, the link below is an example that I purchased for my truck. Short on my truck, and longer on the Jeep because its mounted lower in the tail gate region.

https://www.arcantenna.com/shop-ant...-antenna-with-black-nmo-base-450-470-mhz.html
 

MacombRoger

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I have the Uniden CMX760 with mic mounted controls, and a fire stick. Also have the Midland MXT275 with mic mounted controls, on a Comet antenna and NMO mount. Both control boxes are mounted in the glove box, and both use a Uniden mic extension cable (comes with the Uniden but I ordered an extra one for the Midland as it uses the same interface)

You can’t use a fire stick CB antenna with the GMRS, you need one tuned for GMRS or HAM frequencies. Fire stick will transmit but will do long term damage to your head unit.
I am sure you're sacrificing range because the radio is looking for a specific impedance (50 ohms) at the end of the antenna wire. That is where tuning the antenna comes in and using a CB antenna can't give that impedance. The result will be damage to the radio.

The first 2 links are for the NMO (I have no idea what those letters stand for) antenna mount. The first is a permanent mount and the second is a magnetic mount. A permanent mount gives a better ground connection which is my preference. The third is the antenna. I don't have any experience with that particular one but I would not hesitate to try it. I like the idea of putting it on the sport bar.

I am a ham operator and have ham radio in the Jeep as well as GMRS. My antenna is a dual band for 2 meter (144 - 148 MHZ) as well as 440 -460 MHZ.
Thanks guys, that is the type of advice I needed. I will get on replacing the antenna for the GMRS. Need to learn more about NMO mounts. Also need to go check the clearance around the sport bar, I run both hard and soft tops. I know the soft-top has clearance, need to go peek at the hardtop in a bit.

I do prefer a permanent mount, if I can drill the metal of the sport bar and route the cable. I don't understand the length of the mount pin, and its base connection, like I saw this: https://www.breedlovemounts.com/ring-terminal-nmo-mount.html
And then a ring terminal (like this: https://www.wearecb.com/cb-coax-cable-rg8x-ring-terminals.html) is all you need?

Any helpful links you guys have?

Won't fit on the sport bar, but maybe down lower?
https://www.ebay.com/p/1822908641
and this mount: https://www.ebay.com/p/540083400 (I am confused by the hole size needed, Assume those threads shown are for the NMO mount, or is the NMO mount a quarter turn like old K40 Antennas? Reading further, looks like 3/4" hole, this is very low profile, might be the right mount to get.)

Oh and I hear the HAM answer a lot, but my goal is trail communication and matching what other people have, Michigan has not moved towards HAM yet.

I extended the mount point for the Midland MX275, all I needed was a CAT5 dongle. No fancy parts need. "handhelds" connect to their dongles poking out of a hole in the carpet right below the passenger seat. You can fit a lot under there, the ARB air compressor is also under there. :)
 

MacombRoger

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Okay just checked the jeep, The hard top makes it a "no go" on top of the sports bar by the driver. It looks like I could do it on rear bar that starts to slope down. Not sure the access into the middle of the bar for wiring though, so it might need to be a surface mount. Need to find something that fits the bill there.

Looking around, I don't see many other places to add one. I am okay with the side of the hood like @Hudson, but would like a bit more permanent looking mount. I also have a hoop on the front bumper, but yes, I assume that the metal of the jeep would create a "blind zone" for signal reception.
 

prerunner1982

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