Drivers' Corner - Layover CB Shop

It was my hope to have a report of my meeting with Riley Hollingsworth from the FCC as the topic of this month's column. Due to scheduling difficulties, it will have to wait for another column.

In case you don't recognize the name, Mr. Hollingsworth is the Enforcement Officer for the FCC in regards to Amateur Radio. This includes CB radio as well. Now that you know who he is, I will tell you why I wanted to meet with him for a column subject. The FCC may be making a move for stricter enforcement of CB regulations. I will provide more information on the subject next month.

This month's topic is CB antennas. I know, I have written about this before. In the last week I have had at least 30 drivers ask if we could "tune their antennas to their radio." This is when I start to tell the customer that antennas are tuned to work with the vehicle. The radio can be used as a means of testing how efficient the antenna is working. Thus, you tune the antenna to work with the vehicle and then hook up your radio. As long as your antenna system is performing properly you can hook up the radio and get good performance--unless of course you have a radio problem. Sometimes I need to explain it several times. Even then they think I am fooling with them.

The next most asked question is: "Why, when I adjust the SWR on the radio, does my radio not work any better?" The SWR meter built into most CB radios will in no way affect how the antennas are working. It just tells you what the SWR is. You must do something with the antenna to make it work more efficiently. Not just turn the knob until it says what you want to see on the meter. The simple procedure for testing SWR on the radio meter is as follows. (Note: I will use the Cobra 29 Classic as an example.)

Go to channel 20 (this is so you do not disturb other drivers).
Move the slide switch down to the calibrate (CAL) position.
Key up the radio and adjust the calibrate knob to bring the indicator in the meter to the infinity mark (on the right side); this calibrates the meter to the amount of power the radio is putting out.
Un-key the radio and slide the switch to the center SWR position; this position will tell you what the SWR of the antenna is.
If it is working almost perfectly the indicator should just bump and drop back to the rest position when you key up. The further up the indicator goes the less efficiently the antenna system is operating.
Un-key and move the switch back to the SRF position. Then the meter will measure the incoming and outgoing signal strength.

Last note: Low SWR is very important. The lower the SWR number the more efficiently the antenna is operating. If you have a high SWR, the power going to the antenna will not be radiated off the antenna but will be reflected back into the radio. This situation is harmful to the radio.

Enjoy your radio as you drive up and down the roads of this great nation and stay safe.

We hope each and every one of our readers and their families have a happy and safe holiday season. You will note that the wording of this wish appears to be "politically correct." Sorry, that's not the reason. For our family we consider the time from Thanksgiving right through till the New Year as a time for us to enjoy, reflect and give thanks for all we have and to show those we love how much we really care.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to everyone!
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukah
And finally HAPPY NEW YEAR!