ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL INSTALLATION

TUNE YOUR ANTENNA

Tuning your antenna is a MUST if you want your CB installation to function correctly.

GROUND YOUR ANTENNA MOUNT

If you’re using a standard CB antenna (i.e., anything except a no-ground-plane (NGP) kit), it’s crucial to ensure your antenna mount is solidly grounded to the vehicle’s chassis. A poor ground can lead to an untunable antenna and extremely high SWR levels.

To secure a good ground, verify that your mount has a direct metal-on-metal connection to your vehicle’s frame. If paint or powder coating is obstructing this connection, you may need to scrape off a bit of the coating. Alternatively, you can run a short grounding strap from the mount to a grounded part of the vehicle, keeping the strap as short as possible. If you’re able to properly tune your antenna, you almost certainly have a good ground, as tuning a non-grounded antenna is impossible.

ENSURE AMPLE ANTENNA HEIGHT

For optimal antenna performance, aim to have two-thirds of your antenna above the roof line of your vehicle. This positioning helps ensure efficient transmission and reception. At a minimum, the tip of the antenna should be above the roof line, or you may encounter significant performance issues.

ROUTE AND DRILL AFTER TUNING

If you plan to drill holes in your vehicle for coax installation or bring it into the cab via a difficult route, test the SWR of the antenna before permanently installing the cable. Sometimes, an antenna can’t be successfully tuned in certain locations on a vehicle. If you run the coax through an open door to initially test the SWR, you can avoid the hassle of uninstalling your carefully routed cable if the antenna isn’t tunable in that location.

DON’T PINCH THE COAX

Since the coax carries the signal from your radio to your antenna, this cable is critical to your system’s performance. Ensure that the coax isn’t overly crimped or compromised at any point. If you’re routing the cable along a door frame, make sure there’s enough space and perhaps a soft rubber gasket to protect the cable from being pinched by the door.

STORE THE EXTRA COAX PROPERLY

If you end up with a lot of extra coax, make sure to store it properly. It should be wrapped in a long and narrow loop, similar to how you would store an extension cord. Use zip ties at each end to keep the coax neatly in place. Be careful not to coil the excess coax into a tight circle, as this can cause RF (radio frequency) issues that interfere with your signal.

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