FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

1.) Why are all the new CB radios 80 channels? My old one was 40 channel?

   

Answer: 40 Channel UHF CB radios are no longer manufactured any more. The old 40 channel radios and the new 80 channel radios use exactly the same part of the radio spectrum. The new 80 channel radios use exactly half the bandwidth per channel (narrow band) than the old 40 channel radios (wide band). This allows double the amount of channels to fit into the same amount of room on the CB radio spectrum.


2.) Can I install a marine radio in a land based vehicle?

   

Answer: No. This is illegal. Large fines can be given to those who do this.


3.) If my antenna snaps, can I transmit, even for a short period of time?

   

Answer: No. You could severely damage your radio if you transmit with a damaged or missing antenna.


4.) Does fitting a big antenna mean I can transmit and receive further?


Answer: No. The actual length of the antenna is directly determined by the frequency and wavelength of the channel you are transmitting and receiving on. However placing the antenna higher may help with increasing the range slightly on a mobile vehicle installation, to greatly on a base station or repeater that would allow a mast to be used elevating the antenna many metres from the ground. This is greatly improved by placing the mast and antenna on top of a large hill or mountain.


5.) What do the dBi ratings on an antenna mean?

   

Answer: Officially dBi is the amount of gain of an antenna with respect to an isotropic radiator. In lay mans terms, this means that the higher the dBi rating the further the antenna will transmit. So the best antenna should have a high dBi rating? Not necessarily. A high dBi rated antenna tends to squash it’s field of effectiveness into more of a pancake shape than a spherical omni directional shape. This is fine in flat country, but in hilly country or in rough off road driving, as the vehicle bounces around at all angles, the field of effectiveness moves with the car. For example as you are moving up a steep hill, your antennas field of effectiveness may be aiming at 45 degrees from the horizontal and totally miss a receiving radio close by at a lower angle than where the antenna is aimed. In these cases a lower dBi rated antenna will be better as it will still allow reception for radios in close proximity, due to its rounder more spherical omni directional pattern. Conversely in flat open country a lower dBi rated antenna will have less range than a higher dBi rated antenna. Basically all antennas are a compromise. A realistic assessment of future driving conditions will allow a proper choice of antenna.


6.) Does my antenna need to be tuned to the correct length?


Answer: Yes. The length of antenna is determined primarily by the wavelength of the radio spectrum that the radio will be used at. Having a wrong length antenna could ruin the effectiveness from a slight degradation to a complete lack of functionality. Having a completely wrong length of antenna could also damage the radio.


7.) Can I just cut my antenna coax and rejoin it when I install it again in my new vehicle?

   

Answer: Coaxial cables should always use the minimum amount of cuts. Ideally, it should have no joins and be one piece from the antenna to the back of the radio. This is because every joint produces significant resistance to the RF signal, and possible areas of leakage before it reaches the antenna. A comparison is a garden hose with 10 or 20 joints in it. Each connector is a weakness and potential leak and each connector restricts flow.


8.) Can I say anything when I transmit on a two way radio?


Answer: No. Offensive language is actually illegal on radio transmissions. Remember that CB radio transmissions are not private messages. Anyone can be listening in, even young children.


9.) I reversed the polarity on my radio when I installed it and now it doesn’t work. What now?

   

Answer: This is one of the most common mistakes made by backyard or untrained installers. Basically the radio has been seriously damaged. It might be fixable, or it might not be. This is not covered by warranty.


10.) I have a 24V electrical system in my truck and the radio runs on 12V. Can I just connect it to one of the 12V batteries?


Answer: It may appear that just attaching to one 12V battery in a 24V system is a good way to hook up a 12V radio. But if there is any mismatch between the two batteries, the radio may be getting way too much voltage and damage the radio. Use a 24V-12V convertor instead.


11.) Is it OK to touch an antenna when transmitting?


Answer: No. If you do this you will get RF burns. Do not touch a transmitting antenna as it will hurt or in powerful installations cause serious burns.


12.) Can I purchase a commercial radio with bushfire channels if I’m not a valid member of a bushfire brigade or emergency services group?


Answer: No. Commercial radios with emergency channels programmed in are only allowed to be sold to those in emergency groups as they have the relevant ACMA licenses to operate on these channels.


13.) Why can’t I hear anything on my police scanner anymore?


Answer: WA police no longer operate on the analogue network and use a fully encrypted digital system. Analogue police scanners no longer work. There is no such thing as a digital police scanner due to the encryption used.


14.) Can I use a mobile phone antenna for my CB radio?


Answer: No. The mobile phone network is a completely different part of the radio spectrum to the CB radio channels. The mobile phone antenna is not tuned correctly for the CB spectrum. Use a CB antenna tuned for the CB channels.


15.) I dropped my handheld Icom radio from the top of a wheat silo and then a truck ran over it. Can you repair it?


Answer: Time for a new one.



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