Saturday, August 23, 2014

Did CB Radio Die Or Is It Just Quiet

  It's funny when I have the CB Radio on, which is all the time I hear quite a few people out there talking. Mostly I either hear the truck drivers talking or people traveling on the thruway. I am 2 to 3 miles away from the thruway, so I hear them all the time. Now if I go to the other channels other than channel 19 it does seem quiet most of the time. Of course I do hear the skip coming in from other states. They seem to sound just like they did when I was about 18 years old and living at home in Irondequoit New York near Lake Ontario. Alot of the of the older folks that I used to talk to have either retired long ago and moved away or have passed on as silent keys. They were in their 40s and 50s then and I am in my 50s now. Of course it was always quiet when I would go to my Aunts cabin in Prattsburg New York. There just were not that many people on the radio out there and people were somewhat scattered around. Now if I had a nice big Moonraker four or Moonraker eight on a nice 40 or 50 foot tower I might have heard more people.
  I also think that alot of people got tired of all the limitations in power and how far you could talk. They also most likely got tired of all the garbage talk and fighting that seemed to always go on. I have a feeling that they may have moved into the Ham Radio Hobby  just as I have. Some of those reasons are why I have gone to Ham Radio. Did I give up on the CB Radio. The answer to that is no, I have it on right next to my Ham Radio. I never know if someone out there is going to need some help with directions, land line or an emergency of some sort. Maybe they will just need a radio check.
  If you look around the internet you will find quite a few dealers and resellers out there selling lots of CB Radio Equipment . I have a feeling that most of the people using the CB Radio are in the south. I say that just because monitoring frequencies I hear southern stations the most. Alot of distance hearing is limited by propagation, sunspots and the changing of the seasons. Another factor in the CB Radio not being as popular locally is the use of cell phones. Cell Phones have come down in price and there are some pretty good cell phone plans out there. Plus the cell phone reaches longer distance, runs on a battery and is easy to carry.
  So is CB Radio dead and gone, absolutely not. It's just that back in the 70s and 80s we had all the trucker movies like Smokey And The Bandit with Burt Reynolds. This movie as well as others made CB Radio extremely popular. People loved it and wanted to be just like the characters in the movie. Lately we also have other methods of communication such as facebook and twitter. Friends and Family's now have other methods of communicating. Basically technology has advanced and gave us more choices on how we communicate with each other.
  I do wonder if the FCC maybe made the power limitations to say maybe 100 watts to 250 Watts total output power would people be attracted more to CB Radio . Another thing that could be changed is to drop the limit on how far we can communicate with each other. If these things were changed then I do think that in order for us to use the CB Radio 11 Meter Band we should have to go through a course on the 11 meter band and obtain a CB Radio License . We would also have to use our call sign just as in the Ham Radio Hobby. I remember back in the late 70s I had to send in to receive my call letters and I had to say them before communicating. I do believe if things are done properly the CB Radio 11 Meter Band could become a respectable band of frequencies and may become much more popular once again.
  Thank You For Reading from Dan KC2YTI  73s.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Plastic Storage Containers To Keep Your CB Radio Accessories In

  Do you need a place to keep all your CB Radio tools and accessories in. I would recommend using some kind of a Plastic Storage Container. If it is for electronic components keep the integrated circuit chip in a esd foam or in an esd static bag to protect the component from static electricity. I know I have collected more tools and equipment over the years for my CB Radio Hobby. There were time when I did not know where to put them. When I was younger I kept some things in old metal toolboxes or any kind of box I might have come across. I also used my dresser drawers to keep things in. When I got further into Electronics I did find a metal storage container with 25 little plastic drawers. This came in very handy for holding the small components such as resistors, capacitors, transistors and many other parts and components. I never knew when I was going to have to fix anything. I also had all my noise generators that made lots of different sounds.
  Today things are a little bit different. There are all kinds of different PLASTIC STORAGE CONTAINERS  in a wide variety of different sizes. Some are in a three drawer style that have wheels on the bottom. I my self have a couple of those. I use them to keep some old swr meters, wire, cable, switches and other items I have hung on to for years since I was 18 years old. They do have plastic wheels on them so you can move them easier if you have to. My only advise is do not put too heavy of items in them, because they get difficult to move and the plastic is not that strong. I ended up taking the wheels off and keep them in one place.
  There are also many different storage bins with different size drawers in them. This comes in very handy to keep your assorted screws, washers, nuts and bolts in. I keep these kinds of things in for my antenna building projects. I also have my dremel tool in a drawer. I keep all my various coaxial cable connectors such as the common pl259 connectors in these plastic bins. My storage bin has 30 small drawers and 9 larger bins. It comes in very handy for storing all my things or as some will call it junk. That's okay because I know my kids will build up their own junk as their life's go on. So I just sit back and grin, because what goes around comes around and it does.
  There are many different manufacturers of the various plastic storage containers. There are many different PLASTIC STORAGE TOOLBOXES  to choose from. They can handle small tools as well as larger tools. Some have wheels and handles to make it easy for transportation. Some of the popular ones are Tupperware and Rubbermaid. There are small storage containers with and without drawers. There are even large storage containers the size of a shed. So whether you want to store Dacron Guy Rope, small antennas, meters or other CB Radio Equipment you will have a wide variety of choices to choose from. You do have quite a few different places to look for these items. You can go to your local stores such as Target and Walmart where they do a good choices. I myself have found that there is a much wider selection going through Amazon or Ebay. Just be sure to check out the seller for any good or bad reviews.
  Well that's all for now so Thank You for reading from Dan KC2YTI  73s.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Antenna Analyzers For Building Antennas And Troubleshooting Your Set Up

  If you are thinking of building an antenna for your cb radio base station I would recommend buying a SWR Antenna Analyzer . It can be an extremely helpful tool for building antennas. Generally it is used in the Ham Radio environment, but will work for the 27 MHz cb radio band. You can test, troubleshoot and adjust your antenna without a connection to the radio. This is not a solution for tuning the swr of your base station radio and antenna or your mobile radio and antenna on your vehicle. For that you will still need to use your swr meter and the proper tuning method from the manufacturer.
  •  MFJ 259C (New Model)
  • * Instantly read SWR and Antenna Impedance from Any Antenna!
  • * No Transmitter or Radio hookup needed, Built-in Frequecy Counter!
  • * 2 Line LCD Display! Dial in your Freq & it displays the SWR instantly!
  • * Great for Amateur Ham Radio Antennas, CB, Two Way & other uses From 0.53-230Mhz!
  • * New MFJ-259C with HF / VHF / 220 Frequencies, Replaces older MFJ-259B model!



The SWR Analyzer has quite a few different functions. Obviously it can be used to test the swr of the cb radio antenna itself. You can read the exact frequency of your antenna as well as the complex impedance. If you suspect your coax cable of having a short or open you will be able to measure the distance to the problem. It basically is a complete ham radio test station with frequency counter, RF signal generator, SWR/Resistance/Reactance/Coax Analyzer, Capacitance/Inductance Meter and with other features as well.
  • Commercial Grade SWR/Impedance Analyzer
  • Range: 1.8 - 500MHz (including 222MHz band)
  • Check antenna installations in seconds
  • Determine SWR and resonance of an antenna instantly
 

 I have used my MFJ 259b antenna a few times when I was designing a dipole antenna for my ham radio shack. I am presently using it in the designing and building of a 6 meter quad antenna and a moxon antenna for the 17 meter band. The nice thing is that these types of antennas as well as others can be designed for the 27 MHz CB Radio band. There is nothing like building your own antenna and having someone tell you it sounds really good. These are the types of things that may lead you in a certain career path.
  As far as brands go I like the MFJ brands even though some individuals shrug their shoulders at them. The newest model like mine is the MFJ 259C Antenna Analyzer . Another brand that I like is the comet brand. They make a nice antenna analyzer model CAA-500 . Here is a link to their webpage with information on it http://www.cometantenna.com/products.php?CatID=1&famID=10&childID=20  . RigExpert also makes a very nice antenna analyzer as well. My advise is to buy one of the antenna analyzers through the internet at one of the dealers, amazon or ebay. No matter which way you go make sure to check out any reviews on the seller. If you are looking for reviews on the various antenna analyzers check out Eham.net. There is an abundance of valuable information from fellow Hams that have owned, used or own one of these.
  Well that's all for now so Thank You for reading.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Power Supplies For Using Your Mobile CB Radio As A Base Station

  Since these days we do not see very many new base radios for the cb radio band it may be a good idea to use the mobile cb radio as your base station. If you are going to go this route then I would suggest using a good power supply. Power supplies come in many different makes and models. They also vary in the amount of voltage and current they can supply. I myself in my ham shack run a diamond gzv4000 that can supply 40 amps of continuous power. It has quite a few different connectors and can power more than one device. I also have a kenwood kps-15 that can power my kenwood  ts-2000 ham radio. I generally use it as a back up supply in case something goes wrong with the diamond power supply.
  There are quite a few different manufactures to choose from. Some of them are Alinco, Diamond, Kenwood, Icom, Pyramid, Jetstream, Aston, Daiwa, Samlex and MFJ as well as a few others. Each one of them does a very good job. Some power supplies will have one meter or two meters for reading the voltage and current. They also will vary in the connectors on both the front and rear of the power supply. They may have the binding post or Anderson Power connectors. Some of the power supplies may even have a cigarette type of connector that will generally see in your automobile.
  Power supplies will usually come in two different styles. The first is the Linear Power Supply . These are generally a heavy type of supply due to having a large transformer in them. For example the MFJ 4035V has a 19.2 pound transformer in it. Generally the linear type of power supply is noise free. This may be due to them being around for may years. So if you like to lift weight and have a good strong bench to sit it on go with the Linear Power Supply. The two manufacturers I can think of are MFJ, which I already mentioned and Jetstream makes a Linear Power Supply. Both of them have good reviews and do a good job.
  The second type of power supply is called the Switching Power Supply . There are quite a few more switching powers supplies available on the internet these days. My best advise is to search amazon or ebay and check out any reviews of the seller before buying. I would suggest checking out reviews on the eham.net website. There is a multitude of excellent information and many different pieces of ham radio equipment. Now the nice object of switching power supply is the size and weight of the power supply. Due to this type of power supply being built of solid state components the power supply is generally small in size and very light. Both of my power supplies are very light and do not take up much room on my ham radio bench. I have an old small radio shack power supply that weighs more than the diamond and kenwood power supplies. The switching power supplies are about 80% to 90% efficient, which gives a good advantage of saving energy. The price of this type of power supply has also come down in the past few years as well. I would definitely recommend using a switching power supply unless for some reason you need the linear power supply.
  Thank You for reading from Dan KC2YTI 73s.     

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