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Seting up a CB radio
11/12/2008 20:43 by rob



Getting set up for the first time.

  To get started on the air you will need a CB radio, an aerial, a PSU (power supply, power pack), SWR meter, coax
cable and some connectors. Setting up a CB radio is very easy and very cheap if you compare it to mobile phones,
internet etc. here is a brief description of the equipment needed.
  CB RADIOS

  There is vast selection of CB radios on the market today and prices go from around £50 to well into the 100’s.
The cheaper radios obviously have fewer features than the expensive ones but they do have everything needed to
transmit and receive just as good as any other legal 4 watt expensive CB radio. The general rule with electronics is
expensive = better, but not with CB so don't think an expensive CB will send your signal to the moon!. The old type CBs
have just 40 channels where as the newer ones have 80, 40 UK FM and 40 CEPT FM. Multi region CBs which also
have other European country's channels in FM and AM are available. The benefit of these is you can take them on
holiday for example and set them to the country you are in.

  POWER SUPPLY

  With the exception of home base CB radios and handhelds. Your CB will have a power cord on the back that you
connect to a power supply or battery, in most cases one red and one black, positive and negative. The PSU converts the
240v AC from your plug socket to the required 13.8v DC. If you’re using a CB in your car you need to use the car
battery for power, car batteries are 12v DC which is within a CB radio's operating range
  AERIALS

  The aerial is the most important peace of equipment you buy for your setup, the aerial you choose will have the most
impact on how well your CB performs. The wavelength of 27MHZ where CB is located is large at just over 11m. An ideal
aerial is the same size as the radio wave, however with the nature of CB that is generally not possible. Lucky for us you
can use aerials that are fractions of the actual wavelength, the most common aerial is a 1/2 wave Silver Rod, 1/2
meaning is it half the size of the actual wavelength. Silver Rods give excellent performance and are also very cheap.
There are many other aerials at various wave lengths, DO NOT believe marketing quoted performance one example of
which is the Antron a99, how they work out these figures is beyond me, ill just say this Arial is a 1/2 silver rod with a £60
price tag… gulp.
  COAX

  Coax is cable you use to connect the aerial to your CB radio. For CB radio you need at least 50 ohm coax. The most
basic is RG58. And is fine for short runs of cable such as in a car or a patch lead, RG58 A/U is very good coax, and
very flexible.RG213 is about the best, but is some times not very practical as it is 9mm and not very flexible
  SWR meter

  I don’t think I nor can anyone stress enough how important the SWR meter is. It is an absolute must that you
have one as well as a short coax patch lead. It is the difference between a happy radio and a broken radio. It enables
you to get the length of the aerial exactly right to match the wave length, it is worth remembering that a SWR meter will
in no way tune you’re aerial for you, you do that by lengthening and shortening the aerial you’re self the
meter is just a checking tool. If not tuned correctly some of the signal gets reflected back down the aerial through the
coax and back into your CB.where it causes havoc. Here's the procedure for an standard 80 channel CB             Connect
the coax from your aerial into the SWR connection labeled ANT or Antenna.           Connect one end of the patch lead to the

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remaining socket and the other end to the CB. Set the switch on the SWR meter to FWD or forward. Go to channel
1 on the CEPT band. key the microphone and turn the CAL or calibrate knob on the SWR meter until the needle
reaches SET De key On the SWR meter set the switch to REF or reflected. key the microphone and write down
the reading on the SWR meter. Stop transmitting take note of the reading and repeat on channel 40 UK Disconnect
your meter when it is not being used If the reading is lower on channel 1 CEPT/EU, the aerial needs to be shortened.
 If the reading is lower on channel 40 UK, the aerial needs to be lengthened.

 A reading under 1.5 is ideal. If it's 2 it should be ok to use but I would recommend further fine tuning. If the needle is in
the red then there is something very wrong, old coax, incorrectly fitted coax plugs, broken aerial.and so on




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