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Author Topic: C.B. Radios  (Read 4005 times)
Iver
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« on: April 28, 2011, 12:10:31 AM »

Just wondering how important is a c.b. radio in a coach?  The P.O. of our coach installed one and I have never used it.  (Ok, I haven't used the coach much yet either)

Are they now antiques?  Are they necessary?  Can I live without one? 

Actually mine is in the way of installing my new driver's seat and I need to either move or REmove it.

Thanks,  Iver.    Oh, also the tree branches keep knocking off the antennas........
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 01:12:52 AM »

I would not be without mine.

In addition to hearing about conditions ahead, and particularly when traffic stops completely (we've been able to bail off and route around more than once due to information we got on the CB), it is absolutely essential for knowing just what the truck drivers are saying about us.  ("Dang, did you see that?  That driver's @$# is right on the ground.  If he hits a deer he's in trouble." Etc.)  I don't know why they think we are not listening.

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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 01:26:32 AM »

I would not be without mine.



We are still running ours.  Most of this new breed of truckers' prefer cell phones over the C.B. and I don't believe they share the popularity of what they used to have.  As with all technology, there are good points and there are the bad.  Now days, a few truckers are still using them and as Sean has pointed out, and they are a useful tool to have in the coach.  

One drawback is the profanity levels have increased and most of the time they are rather offensive to listen to when you have youngsters in the coach (when the bucket-mouths have at it, it can get nasty real quick).  Our last two weeker (a little over 3,000 miles) with the grand-kids we didn't even turn it on.  

I also know of people who have gotten on the radio and asked for assistance, and then someone has showed up to their location and robbed them.  So it would be wise to make sure you know of; who, what, where, when and why when you are using the thing.

It works both ways .....

BCO
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 01:50:28 PM by boxcarOkie » Logged

Gary '79 5C
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 01:26:49 AM »

Sean, I do not think truckers much care if we listen, Ha Ha,,,theirs is a close fraternity...

I do agree of the benefit of the information afforded. Trucking is much more difficult & competitive than years past. To your point, they must be most efficient to make money.

I find the din of the BS, boasting, profanity is a distraction & difficult for me to tune out, and I listen less & less. I do get burned on traffic as a result.
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 02:00:26 AM »

 You can get one with National Weather Service Channels, this is very handy, I use mine in the big truck a lot and it is nice to have, a lot of the trash talk is when you are in or near a big city and I think a lot of that is from some nut sitting in a basement somewhere, when I get close to a city I turn mine off.  Out on the road away from the cities I don't hear a lot of bad language.

 If you are traveling with someone and you both have one remember there are channels other than 19 you can go to..

Rick
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 03:21:18 AM »

Rick said it right! Big cities bring out the trucker wannabees. Heck we used to have guy that lived on his while riding a bycycle and was the loudest radio ever heard to mankind here locally. After he got hit and run over by a semi, resulting in death, it was later found that on his bike was a whip antenna, a cb, a 12v battery in a basket and a linear.
As for mine? Travelling with friends, I use it to chat, cut up, and know when and where were going to stop or in case of an emercency, such as a mechanical failure, each of us knows rather than one running off without knowing.
We always use channel 3. Almost private!
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 03:38:38 AM »

I have moved over to channel 9 it is very quiet over there and it allows me to moniter for emergencys.

People are confused about this frequency.

It is not illigeal to use this frequency. When you do use it ya just have to brake for assistance during emergencys.

You can moniter and carry on a conversation at the same time. Just likw walking and chewing gum at the same time. don't be scared.

In fact, I have decided talking on it helps others in need hear someone on it and allow them to call out with more confidence someone can here them and help.

We started doing this a few years back when trucking locally in Chi. The profanity on 19 abounds and there is never no quiet. Additionally it seemed like any and evey time you go to 9 nobody is EVER on it to help. So all the drivers made 9 the company frequency. It was a win win

Sure every now and then we get a Natzi giveing us grief for using it but I simply reply "We are monitering and we break for emergencys do you need assistance.

The week link on the radio is the mic cord ends. Talk back is very nice to install, it will notify you when that cord has gone south because it allows you to here your own broken transmission.

Since moving over there I cant tell you the number of folks we have been able to help but most inportantly it is quiet quiet quiet.

Try it you will likw it.

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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 05:45:50 AM »

When I bought my bus out of Nashville the PO came back to Houston with me to teach me about the bus. It was a big help to have the CB when it was time for fuel. He just asked where the next truck stop was from a mile marker and in 5 seconds we knew how far we had to go. You can hear anything from porn rental to speed traps but the best part is even if your phone wont get signal you will find someone on the radio for help if needed. You don't have to listen to it but it is a staple in my bus.
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Eagle Andy
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 05:47:56 AM »

I put mind that I had in my big truck in the Eagle I hard wired it and iam picking up interfearence, Do I need to have a filter in there somewhere? It work fine in the truck and I was just plugging it in to the 12 volt outlet.
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 07:05:49 AM »

Monitoring the CB saved us from losing our temporary licence plate in Tennessee, on the way from New Hampshire to Dallas.  One paper plate on the rear, and it had lost one nut - so it was flapping in the breeze.  A trucker called us - in case we were listening - and I was able to pull off and fix it before it spun off into the puckerbrush. 

I wouldn't have wanted to drive that distance without any license plate -- even before I got a prescription for blood pressure pills.  The profanity is annoying, and I did have to turn it off several times on the trip.

Arthur
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 07:34:36 AM »

I have an old CB...... it belonged to my father when he was alive and a trucker. I want to hook it up for my bus but I havent researched this stuff yet. Im pretty sure it is 12 volt. Does it need a fuse in line? There is no documentation to be had for hooking this up...... but because of the sentiment value, it is a must have for me
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 07:46:46 AM »

I have one in the bus.  I have turned it on but never heard anyone talking.  Maybe it doesn't work.  I'm sure it could be useful but I have not reached that on the list yet.
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 08:03:48 AM »

I have an old CB...... it belonged to my father when he was alive and a trucker. I want to hook it up for my bus but I havent researched this stuff yet. Im pretty sure it is 12 volt. Does it need a fuse in line? There is no documentation to be had for hooking this up...... but because of the sentiment value, it is a must have for me

Most come with an inline fuse (10 amps) and you need to use it.  Take it to just about any truckstop, they usually have a CB Guy around and he can install it, SWR the antenna's and make sure it is up to snuff.  Usually less than $50 to do the entire thing.

Then all you need is a "super-secret-CB-code name" and you are in business.

BCO
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 08:27:46 AM »

  Rick, we live in Arkansas, not quite so much trash talking around these parts as other parts of the country. But yeah, big cities spawn much more. I actually got "the finger" for the first time since moving here almost two years ago. But I had to drive through Little Rock eight times to get one. I almost felt honored.

  Regarding the CB, it has saved us running into traffic tie ups numerous time, by "seeing" what was going on miles ahead by listening to the chatter on 19, and I wouldnt want to be without it for that reason. We got off 35 through Des Moines after hearing of traffic stopped for miles, after a skid loader fell off an overpass onto the freeway. Without a CB we would have been completely in the dark. And while the CB is not what it once was, its much quieter and less used today, sometimes you can still pick up a trucker and chat away the miles. Takes away some of the boredom when driving through desolate, uninteresting, or perhaps "swine odorous" country, or what my dad politely refered to as Dog ___ country. 

  I honestly wish the Carter Administration had not deregulated it. When the FCC was watching over it, when it was licensed, it was a very good and useful system and was well policed, not only by FCC officials, but by licensed operators ourselves. And cussing or swearing, or any other abuses, were rapidly addressed, and not suprisingly, often by physical force, ie; ripping your antenna down. I for one wish licensing it was reinstated.
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2011, 08:54:03 AM »

If you ever see us underway we monitor channel 9.

We have a radio that you can toggle between ch9-19-and a third chosen channel of my choosing without having to change the knob it is a seporate 3 position toggle and I have found that to be a very useful and convenient feature.

Another thing that is built into our radio, that incidentally I was unaware of when I first put it in, is a "WARNING SERINE" that I think could raise the dead it is so loud and shrill. After the innital shock the first time it goes off you quickly realize the desire to have such a device in a RV or boat. Even with the radio off any severe thunderstorm or tornado alert (and every Tues morn at 10am) its going off.

This is worth thinking about in the middle of all this bad weather. Sometimes it OK for a rude awakening and I do like this feature a lot.

Its a common deck night watch weather ban I'm sure others out there are using one.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 08:56:06 AM by Joe Camper » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2011, 09:02:14 AM »

Another thing I always do is mount the antenna above the drivers window and then set the tip (height) at 1 inch higher than the highest point on the roof.

Correct me here but there is 1 specific combination of coax and antenna length and it is 15ft of coax and a 3 ft antenna or is it 18 ft coax and 3 ft antenna I forget but thats important too.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 09:06:16 AM by Joe Camper » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2011, 10:45:02 AM »

Thanks Guys... you just added another item for my "to do list".  We've had the bus for 3 years and it came with a CB radio that mostly produced static the few times I turned it on.  Either I wasn't patient enough to listen for chatter or the thing doesn't work.  I think I'll test it by just leaving it on Ch. 19 and see what I get.

Bryan
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« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2011, 03:23:49 PM »

From what I remember, the coax can be any length as long as its divisable by 3.
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« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2011, 04:47:29 PM »

Coax length is irrelevant, however the longer the cable the more attenuated the signal will be.  For longer runs, use better cable.

The antenna length must be the wavelength divided by a power of two.  So 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 etc.  Antennas with load coils have different formulas.  Tune the antenna on channel 19, as it is the mid-point of the band.

For best results the entire antenna should be above the roof.  Otherwise the coach itself blocks the signal in some directions.

-Sean
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2011, 06:28:49 PM »

I found this info pretty informative and easy to understand!



http://www.stu-offroad.com/misc/myth-1.htm
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« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2011, 09:29:40 PM »

  Stuff I remember from the 70's? Boy does this make me feel old...

  The antenna(s) have to be adjusted for wavelength, usually around the middle channel, using a meter that measures the standing wave ratio or SWR. I dont know how much it matters with todays radios, but back in the day if the SWR was too far off it could fry the finals in your radio...no more transmit. So would a pin through a jerks antenna coax.

  Longer antennas work better than shorter antennas, and you want it mounted as high as reasonably possible or practicle. Full length antennas have more physical power, and taller antennas reach out farther and draw in stations from farther away. IIRC the correct antenna length is something like 39 feet, but whatever it was thats what I had on the roof. Smaller antenna's are fractions of that length and IIRC that is what the "base load" in a shorter base loaded antenna is for, to correct the load to mimic the 39' length? At least thats how I remember it.

  The body of the vehicle effects the antenna by creating a "ground plane" that changes shape depending on where the antenna is mounted. The best way to imagine it is to think about a magnetic field. Wherever you place the magnet on the car, you have more magnetic field in the opposing direction. So antennas mounted at the front have more power and reception capability to the rear, antennas at the rear have more power forward, and so on. On a Bus, the best mounting location is likely at the rear with twin antennas as long and tall as you dare. The reason I would mount them near the back is so I could better hear whats going on farther up ahead in the direction im headed. You will still have range to the rear, but not nearly as far as forward. On a Bus with twin rear mounted antennas I would estimate forward range at some 5 times farther than to the rear, possibly farther. Probably farther. With good stuff you may have 20 miles or more range.

  A power mic will boost the modulation of your voice, youll be heard louder and clearer, farther away. But they dont need to be cranked full bore, ask people how you sound

  I wont mention linear amplifiers, but they were around then, and they are around now. Please dont use one. 

  I had a big antenna on our house as a kid with an old tube type Kris 23 channel radio and power mic. This was before the 40 channels came out. By "tuning" the base and load screws on the back of the radio I could tweak it up to around 13 watts, and used to talk regularly with people 3-400 miles away on clear nights, and often much farther. Then that one Christmas of 1978 every bonehead 12 year old and moron got a radio and turned it all into a noisy useless mess almost overnight. The radio started spending more time off than on, and one day I sold the antenna and then the radio and that was that.

  Today, the channels are crystal clear, there is no one out there on any channel other than 19, and even that is very quiet unless your around a lot of truckers. Ive driven for hours flipping through channels and not heard a single peep. Just quiet static. While there is some language around some citoes, generally I see people taking turns and being polite and courteous. Perhaps it could see a resurgence again?

  KAXC9973. 10-10 and on the side.
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Iver
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« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2011, 11:42:31 PM »

Okay, all good information.  Thanks for that.
I guess I'll keep the C.B. and find a spot to mount it.........just in case.
  Thanks,  Iver
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« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2011, 06:40:30 AM »

My old bus had a CB.

It could be on all day in Canada without hearing a word. Or calling with no answer. A lot of truckers have gone to different frequencies, FM?.

It is a little more used in the US. But certainly not an essential thing for me. Especially with the bad language and the useless chatter which gets annoying really quickly. Occasionally, I was able to start a conversation with a trucker following me, me telling him "sorry I am slow, that's as fast as I can go", and the answer would usually be "don't worry, I'm not in a hurry, I'm loaded and couln't get by you anyway". Followed by questions about the bus and "thank you, drive safe" when I was able to let him by.

Travelling with an other bus, you can use a pair of FR walky talkies. They work just as good as CB.

I don't have a CB in the new bus, and I don't miss it.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2011, 10:33:08 AM »

I've used CB radios for many years and continue to do so. Most of the truckers, up here, have gone to vhf radios, which aren't as affected by atmospheric conditions and generally have longer range. These vhf setups cost considerably more than CB, but if you make your living driving, it's worth the extra cost.....Bill
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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2011, 12:50:48 PM »

Gawd, finally!  Artvonne logs in with something that makes sense. 

"Artvonne:  The antenna(s) have to be adjusted for wavelength, usually around the middle channel, using a meter that measures the standing wave ratio or SWR. I dont know how much it matters with todays radios, but back in the day if the SWR was too far off it could fry the finals in your radio...no more transmit. So would a pin through a jerks antenna coax."


Where all this "measuring this and measuring that, and checking the girth of the what-you-ma-call-it" came from I don't know. 

Check the SWR and then hit the road. 

We used to carry ours (radio's) in a briefcase, with a 500 watt Palomar right next to it, the antenna was welded to a pair of vice-grips which we clamped to the top of the mirror post on the pass. side on an old Fruitliner or KW and run 3500 miles and never missed a lick.

We never measured squat and it worked just fine.  Shot skip with it one night from Clovis New Mexico to the West Everglades of Florida.  Whatever you guys are smoking, I want some for the weekend. 

BCO
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« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2011, 08:38:27 AM »

Most of the Interstates still have the old road running parallel near by.  As Sean said, with the CB, you can hear of warnings of traffic jams and get off the main road onto the old road and just simply go around.  When I was driving truck, I did that many times-strangely not many others did it-I guess it is the old sheep mentality.  Always have a CB-sometimes cell phones don't work and can get through with the CB-so much so it could save your life (especially in winter).  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2011, 01:47:13 PM »

We used to carry ours (radio's) in a briefcase, with a 500 watt Palomar right next to it, the antenna was welded to a pair of vice-grips which we clamped to the top of the mirror post on the pass. side on an old Fruitliner or KW and run 3500 miles and never missed a lick.

BCO


  I dont know where length of coax came in either, I think once an antenna is SWR'ed to a particular radio, coax length wouldnt have much effect unless it was significant, but I dont know. I know we hooked up more than a few without checking anything and dont recall blowing up any radios, but I did check SWR whenever I had a "good" radio, I think it helps to have it matched if nothing else. One thing I remember, is a good antenna will always make a bad radio look good, and a good radio isnt any better than a bad radio if you have a bad antenna. Once again, get the tallest antennas you can live with, and put them up as high as your comfortable with. Most OTR trucks have them up where they just clear freeway overpasses. But they also have them up front, and with that long trailer most of their radio power is behind them. On a Bus, if they were mounted in back and set to clear 11-12 feet, or at least as tall as your AC's, you should be good.

 
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2011, 01:59:58 PM »

I can hear all the BS I need with a walkie talkie type CB why do all the plumbing for dash unit lol
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2011, 02:01:09 PM »

  I decided to go do a lil reading to refresh some brain cells, and found the following.

  Cool Trimming the length of my coax will lower my SWR.

Wrong. Trimming the length of your coax will trick your SWR meter and you in to believing your SWR is lower. SWR is the ratio of the impedance of your coax to the impedance of the antenna. Standard CB coax is rated at 50 ohms. It has a 50 ohm impedance regardless of whether it is 3 feet long or 1000 feet long. To get a Standing Wave Ration of "1 : 1" both the antenna and the coax must have an impedance of 50 ohms. If the antenna has an impedance of 100 ohms and the coax has an impedance of 50 ohms then your SWR is 2:1, or put another way the impedance of the antenna is twice the impedance of the coax. Likewise an antenna impedance of 25 ohms and a coax impedance of 50 ohms is STILL a 2:1 SWR because the coax impedance is twice the impedance of the antenna.

Changing the length of the coax will neither change the impedance of the coax, nor will it change the impedance of the antenna. It will trick your SWR meter in to a false reading.. In reality the impedance mismatch between the antenna and the coax will remain, and so will the accompanying power loss. It does not matter whether you have a Bird SWR meter or a Radio Shack SWR meter. SWR meters are not perfect, and they can be fooled.

If you can change the SWR reading on your SWR meter by changing the length of the coax then you can be sure of only one thing. You do not have a 1:1 impedance match between your antenna and your coax.

Signal Engineering has a more detailed explanation of coax and various CB myths on-line at

  http://www.signalengineering.com/ultimate/coax_basics.html

 
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2011, 03:06:06 PM »

Ours came with a CB installed.  We never run with it on for all the reasons already mentioned - foul mouth truckers, constant banal chatter, white noise, among others.  If we come over a hill and see a parking lot ahead of us I may turn it on to see what is happening.  Sometimes that helps - often the truckers are just as clueless as we are, just more vocally so.  As far as missing traffic jams goes, I couldn't be bothered.  We've got the kitchen and the couch along for the ride.  If we get stuck on the road we can pull over, make lunch and wait it out, which we have done on occasion.  L.A. is another matter altogether but I don't think the CB is going to get me through there without hassles either.

If the bus came with a CB I wouldn't bother pulling it out but if ours ever quits working I sure won't replace it.  Not a prayer I'd install one.
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« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2011, 05:22:43 PM »

I can hear all the BS I need with a walkie talkie type CB why do all the plumbing for dash unit lol

   A good radio with a good antenna could pull in signals 20 or more miles out, base stations possibly out to 50 miles or more in good conditions. Even in rugged hill country you could get out a few miles with a good radio, where a walkie talkie may only work 1/4 to 1/2 mile, and sometimes less.
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« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2011, 08:20:23 PM »

Quote from: luvrbus
I can hear all the BS I need with a walkie talkie type CB why do all the plumbing for dash unit lol

Quote from: artvonne
  A good radio with a good antenna could pull in signals 20 or more miles out, base stations possibly out to 50 miles or more in good conditions. Even in rugged hill country you could get out a few miles with a good radio, where a walkie talkie may only work 1/4 to 1/2 mile, and sometimes less.

I think Clifford's point is that if it ain't within that short of distance, it ain't none of his concern to talk or listen to or about it!
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2011, 03:10:16 AM »

We used to carry ours (radio's) in a briefcase, with a 500 watt Palomar right next to it, the antenna was welded to a pair of vice-grips which we clamped to the top of the mirror post on the pass. side on an old Fruitliner or KW and run 3500 miles and never missed a lick.

BCO


  I dont know where length of coax came in either, I think once an antenna is SWR'ed to a particular radio, coax length wouldnt have much effect unless it was significant, but I dont know. I know we hooked up more than a few without checking anything and dont recall blowing up any radios, but I did check SWR whenever I had a "good" radio, I think it helps to have it matched if nothing else. One thing I remember, is a good antenna will always make a bad radio look good, and a good radio isnt any better than a bad radio if you have a bad antenna. Once again, get the tallest antennas you can live with, and put them up as high as your comfortable with. Most OTR trucks have them up where they just clear freeway overpasses. But they also have them up front, and with that long trailer most of their radio power is behind them. On a Bus, if they were mounted in back and set to clear 11-12 feet, or at least as tall as your AC's, you should be good.

 


We are running a short antenna in our coach, just barely above the AC's as you point out, it is a magnetic jobbie, if the need arises, it can be laid down if we have to do it.  It is also hooked up to a 500 watt Palomar which on a good day, gives it a range of about 35-37 miles, which is okay in my book.

Remember the good old days, KKV-5865.

BCO
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Joe Camper
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« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2011, 05:02:51 AM »

As antenna go obviously the higher the better. Just like the truck I put it at the drivers window and 1 inch higher than the next highest point on the vehicle. That way when approaching a close low clearance you can use that stick as a height gauge to verify if you should procede under or not.

IMO duel antennas look cool and sometimes preform slightly better but very slightly and are a royal PITA.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 05:09:55 AM by Joe Camper » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2011, 07:14:07 AM »

IMO duel antennas look cool and sometimes preform slightly better but very slightly and are a royal PITA.

The little short ones look cool, I agree, but I have never had any degree of success with them.  I tried them a couple of times and they are like you say ..... not worth the aggravation.

BCO
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