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Base. Antenna help for new guy

Help with installing an Antenna, or just choosing the right antenna to go with your radio, or your mobile.

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Chrisnick
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Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by Chrisnick » Tuesday, 03 January 2017, 22:22 PM

Hi all. Looks like a great site, I look forward to learning from all of you.

I am newish to CB's and I have a base antenna question, if you may.

I have a Uniden PC78Elite that has seen a little tune. About 18 watts dead key. I am using this as a base for now.

Problem is that I live in an apartment. On the middle floor. I have a balcony with an aluminum floor and a balcony above me that's the same way. I went out and bought a cheap Radio Shack mag mount antenna to stick to my a/c housing
(Horizontal) and it works. Low SWR and it talks, but it can't hear at all unless my buddy 2 miles away turns up the heat.
In fact other than my buddy, I haven't heard anyone on any channel in two nights. My question is, if I got a better antenna like a Wilson 500 or 1000 will that help me out? Or is my problem the mounting to the a/c or the antenna being very close to my brick building?

I want to keep mag mount if I can so I can take it in and out as needed, don't want the condo cops complaining.
I really don't want to go the dipole route either. So will a better antenna help me out or am I SOL because I live in an apartment? Thanks for any info that you can share to help me out!!!


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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by sonoma » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 3:57 AM

my brother-in-law has the same problem. he can only talk about 3 or 4 miles using a 4 foot no ground base antenna from his apartment building. he 1st tried a mag mount then went to the 4 ft base antenna and it helped him some. just does not get out or hear much over 4 miles away.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by jessejamesdallas » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 4:33 AM

your SOL because you live in a apartment...

Wilson 1000 or 5000 probably is not going to make a difference one way or another in your case...unless you can figure out a way to get your antenna on the roof, away from the building, there's not allot you can do to improve the signal...

Got any tree's near by you could poke a pole up in?
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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by Chrisnick » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 5:39 AM

I looked and researched those NGP antennas. They say they need at least 50 feet of special coax, which seems impossible to find in those longer lengths.

No unfortunately I live over the entrance on the parking lot side, no trees or anything I can hide an antenna in.

Thanks for the replies, the last thing I want to do is spend money before I find out if something will work. If I can't get some sort of antenna to work I will just toss my Uniden in my work truck and use it on the road. But I was hoping to get a base going for something to do...

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by MDYoungblood » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 15:08 PM

I'm not sure which NGP antenna you were looking at. The mobile NGP comes with coax that is designed for it, if you need to be longer you can just add regular coax to it. With having an aluminum deck above you I'm not sure how they would work but Sirio makes a balcony antenna and a dipole that you might want to check out. Look at our DNJ sponsor for those antennas.
I see you are a new member, could you post a intro in the "Welcome to the Forum" topic, viewforum.php?f=89" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , so others can say "Hi", thanks.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by Chrisnick » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 17:05 PM

Thanks for the reply. I am talking about a mobile antenna that I could use as a base. Reason being I cannot use a permenant
Attachment. Or a small base antenna such as the workman NGP. My buddy today made me a dipole to try. Not much better
Signal than with the cheap RS mag mount.

Anyways I will try to figure all this out.

I will follow the link that you provided and introduce myself.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by DresserDan » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 18:44 PM

I am in the same boat. I was told to use a mag mount on a cookie sheet. I even tried it out on my old truck. I got a SWR meter but I still am having trouble getting out or receiving. My meter doesn't work on my Cobra but the SWR shows that it is getting out, but I never get any one to answer. I live about three miles off of a interstate. I guess I am going to have to put up a antenna of some kind.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by Chrisnick » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 19:48 PM

The cookie sheet made my SWR go haywire

Well let's get out boat together.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by jessejamesdallas » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 20:13 PM

Guy's...just because your not getting anyone to come back to you doesn't necessarily mean your set-up is not working using a mobile antenna as a base antenna. Mobile antenna's at best are only good for maybe 4 or 5 miles, unless your also running some power. Granted, "sometimes" you can get out farther than 4 or 5 miles with one using a basic factory radio, specially if the channel is quiet, but that's more of a exception rather than the norm...

These guys that you hear about talking across the country are doing so when conditions are just right, and if they are doing so using a mobile set-up, most will also be running power, or talking on SSB...People with base set-up's I can guaranty are not using mobile antenna's to shoot-skip.

Another thing with mobile antenna's, is when used on a vehicle, the vehicle becomes part of the antenna. If your using a mobile antenna on a cookie sheet, then the cookie sheet becomes part of your antenna which is not the same as a full size car...Does that make any since? In other words, your probably not going to get as good of results using a mobile antenna as a base antenna, vs. using the same antenna on a vehicle...Now will a magnet mount antenna work as a base antenna "Yes", but a 3-4' mobile antenna sitting on top of a AC unit, or cookie sheet is not going to reach out as good as a 20'+ ground plane or beam 30 feet up in the air...just ain't happening.

Now if it were me, and I lived in a apartment where there's no-way I could put up a half-way decent base antenna to make it worth my time and money to invest in a base set-up, then I would just put my money and time into a mobile set-up in my truck. Sky's the limit with what you can do with a mobile set-up...
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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by sonoma » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 20:31 PM

at one time I used a 102 inch steel whip with a 6 inch spring on a metal car port and could talk 10 to 15 miles on it local and skip some times. the antenna did not have a house or apartment in the way of the signal either. it worked good for me back then.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by jessejamesdallas » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 20:36 PM

sonoma wrote:at one time I used a 102 inch steel whip with a 6 inch spring on a metal car port and could talk 10 to 15 miles on it local and skip some times. the antenna did not have a house or apartment in the way of the signal either. it worked good for me back then.
If I were to consider using a mobile antenna as a base, it would be a 102" whip...least it has some height to it.
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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by Chrisnick » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 22:15 PM

JJD::

I agree with everything you say but even tho the mobil antenna is only good for 4-5 miles I still have a hard time hearing my buddy 2 miles away unless he turns up the heat.

So with a fiberglass fire stick, a RS crappy mag mount and now a home brew dipole, I get heavy static but no reception from other radios. So it's either a ground plane issue or to much interference from my building or surrounding buildings or stuff.

But it IS starting to frustrate me!!

Thanks.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by sonoma » Wednesday, 04 January 2017, 22:33 PM

I tried a 4 ft antenna and it was terrible . could hardly talk much over 4 miles.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by dougw181 » Thursday, 05 January 2017, 0:36 AM

Have you tried mounting your antenna in the vertical position on the AC unit. This might make a difference especially if your buddies antenna is mounted
vertically. It still won't have much range, but you might be able to hear him better.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by jessejamesdallas » Thursday, 05 January 2017, 4:43 AM

Chrisnick wrote:JJD::

I agree with everything you say but even tho the mobil antenna is only good for 4-5 miles I still have a hard time hearing my buddy 2 miles away unless he turns up the heat.

So with a fiberglass fire stick, a RS crappy mag mount and now a home brew dipole, I get heavy static but no reception from other radios. So it's either a ground plane issue or to much interference from my building or surrounding buildings or stuff.

But it IS starting to frustrate me!!

Thanks.
Higher the better....You have a couple things working against you...short mobile antenna...building blocking signal...and being less than 30' in the air.

Since the antenna is the most important part of the station, there's probably not allot your going to be able to do to improve your signal, as long as your current conditions stay the same...Your fighting a uphill battle...Check out "Balcony Antenna's", I'm sure if you put your mind to it you could figure out some way to stick one up on a temporary type pole that could be taken down each day... MaCo makes a balcony antenna, and I'm sure there's other base antenna's you could make work using something that's not permanently mounted.
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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by Bluerunner » Thursday, 05 January 2017, 6:17 AM

What is your noise level? How high is it in S units when there is no talking on the channel? Does the noise level stay the same during different times of the day?

A high noise level will plug up your ears. It is amazing how much noise common household devices make. Turn everything in the house off and see if there is any improvement. What are you using for a power supply?

A poor antenna setup can make noise worse by giving a bad signal to noise ratio. If you can't improve your antenna setup maybe you can do something about any noise that may be blocking your received signal.

If your buddy can hear you but you can't hear him, then maybe you are getting out better than you think, but just can't hear anyone who replies.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by sonoma » Thursday, 05 January 2017, 6:43 AM

there is a no ground plane 39 inch antenna that works pretty good for what you are wanting to do for about 30.00. I think workman and Tram makes them. I have one I use on a pole about 20ft up and it works for about 10 miles. but again it is away from buildings.

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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by jessejamesdallas » Thursday, 05 January 2017, 6:51 AM

Another thing you could try is get a telescoping painters pole and attach your antenna to it, then you could use something like bungee cords to strap it to the balcony... you can get painters poles at any Home Depot or Lowe's that can extend up to 20-25'... Then when not using it, you can lower it and take it down... Something like that with a A-99 antenna would work a whole lot better than that magnet mounted mobile idea.
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Re: Base. Antenna help for new guy

Post by Chrisnick » Thursday, 05 January 2017, 16:07 PM

Yeah well I might just hang up the mic as far as having a base unit in the apartment. Can't really set anything up that will work.

I just may get on the air while I am in my Freightliner at work.

Too bad.....

-- Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 23:10 PM --
sonoma wrote:there is a no ground plane 39 inch antenna that works pretty good for what you are wanting to do for about 30.00. I think workman and Tram makes them. I have one I use on a pole about 20ft up and it works for about 10 miles. but again it is away from buildings.

That's what I am thinking of doin next.


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