Citizens' Band radio (CB) is a common way for people to talk with others while travelling or around town. Home base radios are always nice to have in case of emergencies. The home CB is also a great way to meet new friends from everywhere. To set up a home base CB and antenna is easy enough to do. You must have somewhere to mount the antenna so it is higher off the ground, but this doesn't need to be a rooftop. The coaxial cable must run inside the house to the radio and can be run through a window or through the basement and up through a wall or floor to the CB.
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Things you need
- Stick antenna (commonly called an Ugly Stick)
- Home base CB
- Standing wave meter
- Length of coaxial cable to reach from antenna to CB base with connectors
- 20-foot hollow steel pole or longer
- Two U-bolts
Buy an antenna that is simple to put up. The Ugly Stick is the best antenna and has a good range for distance. There are also Moonraker three-element beams, Stardusters and other larger antennas. The Stick is common because you do not need much room to mount it outside.
Mount the Ugly Stick on the 20-foot steel pole. Use U-bolts to attach the antenna to the steel pole. This steel pole can be mounted from a back porch or from a tripod on the roof. For easy installation, just mount the antenna off a back porch. Where the antenna is mounted will determine the length of the steel pole. Make sure to get above some of the housetops close by.
Attach the ground wire to the mast on the antenna, run it down to the ground and attach the other side of the wire to a rod in the ground. This will be the grounding wire.
Attach one side of the coax to the antenna, and run the remaining coax to the inside of the home. How you do this will depend on where you want to run it. Follow the same technique used to run cable or TV antenna wires into the house.
Attach the coax to a standing wave meter and the coax coming from the standing wave meter to the CB. This allows you to check the standing wave before using the radio. Because you are using an Ugly Stick, the standing wave will be set already, but it is a good idea to check it. The standing wave should be in the white and not in the red.
Disconnect the coax from the standing wave meter and attach it to the home base CB. The set-up is complete and ready to talk.
Tips and warnings
- The standing wave on an Ugly Stick should always be set already; if it is not, return it and get a new antenna.
- The Ugly Stick is omnidirectional and does not require turning to talk in different directions.
- Make sure the steel pole and Ugly Stick are secured and grounded.