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noJeepshere

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I'm looking to install a 2 way radio in my 99 Yukon and know pretty much nothing about these. I'd like to get a CB radio, but it seems most people use FRS radio on the trails. Is there a unit that has both, that can be installed in my dash? Any input is appreciated.
 

GoGoGirl

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An FCC type-accepted ("certificated", if you hang out on the Zed) CB or FRS radio will not be cross-compatible with the other band. I don't even think there's anything on the grey "export" market that would do such things.

The antennae are also completely different, full wave being 11 meters versus roughly 70 centimeters.

See what your friends will be using and go from there.

I am a ham and also a CBer and not ashamed to admit either one :)
 

noJeepshere

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Well now I know, thanks. I'll probably install a cb in the Yukon then get some little frs radios if needed.
 

HankScorpio

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GoGoGirl

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Unless budget is a huge consideration, then I'd say go both CB and FRS.

Should be able to find a working FRS handheld or two, at a flea market for $5-20 I would say. Just make sure it has tone capability (CTCSS encode at least). Get one that takes AA batteries and invest in at least one set of batteries to use and one backup set, preferably Eneloops. AAA batteries have less capacity and will drain faster, and proprietary battery packs (we are talking for type-accepted "bubble pack" FRS, not Baofeng and the like) tend to be junk.

For a CB, better to spend $5 on a yard sale/flea market radio and $50 on an antenna, than $50 on a radio and then use a junk antenna. Performance (and thus your satisfaction) is all about the antenna. [Note: In case you're wondering, detachable antennae have been prohibited on type-accepted FRS for years, which is why I didn't mention this above.] At any frequencies, the longer the antenna, the better, however it's not always practical. With CB having such a long wavelength, if you think about an antenna for a higher frequency whose length may easily fit on your vehicle, that same length becomes a source of major signal loss if you use a short antenna for CB. You don't see 1/4 wave whips on vehicles just to look cool, rather they are for optimum performance. It's hard to word this in non-technical terms, but my point is that on CB frequencies, don't think you are going to get away with a simple and short little antenna like you may see on your local police cruisers, rather you are going to need something of much more length. Of course, none of this matters if you only need to talk for a few hundred feet or a 1/4 mile or something, in which case a tiny CB antenna will work just fine.
 

noJeepshere

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I want to be able to talk a few miles to communicate with truckers and be able to reach the tail gunner on a trail run, so a bigger antenna would be the way to go. Does the elevation of the antenna have an effect on range? (ie. mounted to a bumper v on the roof?)

FRS radios are fairly easy to find, but if I'm going to hard install a CB I'm going to find a decent one that matches my interior. I've used those baofeng radios before and have been impressed by them, so I think I'll get one of them.
 

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Actually the best spot would be in the middle of a big flat metal spot. Large ground plane that way. Metal roof with a big magnet works well. I know a couple guys with the antenna right in the center of the cowl in front of the windshield since they had fiberglass roofs.
 

noJeepshere

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I have a full roof, so could stick a magnet base in the middle of it, but I have an arb bumper with antenna brackets on it so was thinking of mounting one to that.
 

runamok151

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I have a full roof, so could stick a magnet base in the middle of it, but I have an arb bumper with antenna brackets on it so was thinking of mounting one to that.


That's what I'd do. Install a good CB in the truck that way you can use it on the road and trail. I, and the crew I wheeled with, preferred CBs on the trail,too. Modern walkies are relatively cheap and have decent range for use on the trail.
 

noJeepshere

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GoGoGirl

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Can’t go wrong with Uniden, that’s what I use. Cobra is just a name these days, in my opinion their quality has gone down the tubes since the early 90s. Ideally you’d find an older Uniden that’s not made in China. The best are from the Philippines. You can get deals on eBay on well-cared-for older radios.

I pursue the ones with DSC specifically because it is like having built-in DSP. In other words, the frequencies of the human voice pass through, but almost no static. The downside is, no matter what anyone says, I swear it cuts down on receive sensitivity. My favorite, and the most compact, model is the PC68XL. Your passengers will love you if they normally complain about hearing static.

FWIW, I run the squelch wide open and adjust RF gain to cut down on skip. Without DSC, that will help with static as well.

As far as antennas go, how will this be mounted? Firesticks are OK, but I prefer a Francis Hot Rod for a fiberglass antenna. They have more flex but aren’t top-loaded like the ‘stick. A ‘stick will rip your mount right off and possibly damage the vehicle if it is in a situation where it won’t flex anymore, whereas a Francis will just break, sometimes repairable with shrink tape if the center element isn’t broken.

As far as coax goes, cheap is bad!!! Trust me on this, I’m a lifetime radio nerd and learned long ago. The connectors will never be properly made and will wiggle apart internally after a year...sooner if you go off road a lot. Buy once, cry once as they say. Get something in the length you need from DX Engineering...which is part of Sunmit Racing. It’s among the best coax money can buy and the customer service is superior to anyone else. Call them if you need guidance or even ask me. I don’t work for them or have any connection to the company, I’m just a long-time very satisfied customer.
 
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blazinzuk

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I will say I like uniden also. But I have used cheap cable and antennas for years ( firesticks are cheapies right) Never really had a problem.

Riley you absolutely must run a spring on any kind of antenna you have. Off roading is super hard on em, get a heavy duty one. The lighter duty ones just bend. I am no lifetime radio nerd for sure and if you want it all the time best to listen to advice above.

My setup in my old blazer was super simple and not ideal at all. Going to Moab one year we had a guy get ahead of us and then behind us. He had a very nice radio cause he is a trucker. We tuned my firestick and built our own coax to help even more. I don't remember all the details but my setup was probably less than 75 bucks total. I could hit him at about 3 miles flat ground. Hilly stuff closer to 1-2 miles. Off road you don't need much range but we setup a cb relay one time in an emergency situation once and my setup had the most range by far.

If you want it good to go for sure I would probably talk to gogogirl and get her opinion on length of coax how to tune how to use the srw meter etc. I bet you could gain quite a bit of range listening to her advice and doing it truly properly.

I'm just a low budget guy so thats what I do
 
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