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Old 12-04-2009, 03:51 PM
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Default CB Antenna Wattage?

I have a couple questions:

1.) The CB Antenna's wattage is it's strength, correct? Like how powerful it is in giving and receiving?

2.) How much mileage can you get out a CB Antenna/CB radio -- like the Uniden 510xl?

3.) How big is the difference between an antenna that emits 650 watts compared to one which is 300 watts?

4.) The height of the antenna too effects it's strength too, right? Despite it's wattage?

Thanks!

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Old 12-04-2009, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by RN M OVR View Post
I have a couple questions:

1.) The CB Antenna's wattage is it's strength, correct? Like how powerful it is in giving and receiving?

2.) How much mileage can you get out a CB Antenna/CB radio -- like the Uniden 510xl?

3.) How big is the difference between an antenna that emits 650 watts compared to one which is 300 watts?

4.) The height of the antenna too effects it's strength too, right? Despite it's wattage?

Thanks!
1. An antenna radiates a signal produced by the radio. A CB is limited to 4? watts on AM. There might be a limit on how many watts the antenna can handle.
2. YMMV. It depends on how well the antenna and radio is installed and cared for. My radio and antenna (Ham) is more than 10 years old and still working.
3. Cost. See #1.
4. The height of an antenna improves how much of the signal gets radiated into the air vs how much gets radiated into suroundings.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:45 PM
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Yeah, Jeff is correct. CB is limited to 4 watts AM/12 watts SSB (which is very rare nowadays).

Last edited by SiliconTi; 12-09-2009 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RN M OVR View Post
I have a couple questions:

1.) The CB Antenna's wattage is it's strength, correct? Like how powerful it is in giving and receiving?

The rated wattage of antenna has noting to do with how good it transmits or receives. When they say an antenna is "rated" say for 100 watts, all it means is that it can handle the 100 watts of power coming from the radio without damaging the antenna.


2.) How much mileage can you get out a CB Antenna/CB radio -- like the Uniden 510xl? It all depends on how you take care of them. There are HAM radios that are still on the air for 50 years or more. But most CBs typically aren't near the quality that HAM radios are. Some/most of these cheap CBs are built now to be disposable because it's pretty much not cost effective to fix them if anything major happens.

3.) How big is the difference between an antenna that emits 650 watts compared to one which is 300 watts?
Again, the radio supplies the RF power/watts, all the antenna does is radiate it. But an antenna that is rated for higher output, say up to 1000 watts is going to be built far more heavy duty, so it will cost quite a bit more.


4.) The height of the antenna too effects it's strength too, right? Despite it's wattage? Kinda.....an antenna has no strength per say "of it's own" the "strength" comes from the radio. How high (above ground) and how well tuned the antenna is determines the amount of "strength"/RF output from the radio that gets radiated through it. Many HAM radio operators choose to get the largest antenna as well as get it up as high as possible rather than get an amplifier because it's almost like doing the same thing. But, some with smaller antennas, as well as not being able to get it up very high, compensate by adding an RF amplifier. Which of course is only "legal" if you are a HAM. Simply put.....the biggest and highest antennas perform the best if tuned properly.

Thanks!
Hopefully I understood your questions enough to give the answers I did.......
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by SiliconTi View Post
Yeah, Jeff is correct. CB is limited to 4 watts FM/12 watts SSB (which is very rare nowadays).
I'm sure that you meant to say 4 watts AM. You have a callsign, so I know that you know the difference - I just wanted to avoid any confusion for the OP.

AK4Dave has done an excellent job of answering the OP's questions. The only thing that I would add it that if "mileage" in the original post was referring to range, here's your answer.

With a poorly tuned antenna or a bad mount, you'll be lucky to get a 1/2 mile of range.

With both you and the person you are talking to having good quality antennas and mounts, and being tuned properly, 2 miles is perfectly reasonable, even in terrain that is less than perfect. Understand that this range will increase or decrease because of the terrain you're in.

When the conditions are good (weather and terrain) there's no reason that a CB won't work over 5 or 10 miles...but don't count on it happening all the time.

CB's can certainly work over VERY long distances (hundreds of miles), but that starts getting into subjects like sky wave, tropospheric ducting, and sporadic-E propgation. This is way beyond what the OP is asking. If this sounds like something you'd like to learn more about, a HAM license is the way to go.
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:16 AM
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Thank you, all. This really helped out a lot!
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by w squared View Post
I'm sure that you meant to say 4 watts AM. You have a callsign, so I know that you know the difference - I just wanted to avoid any confusion for the OP.

AK4Dave has done an excellent job of answering the OP's questions. The only thing that I would add it that if "mileage" in the original post was referring to range, here's your answer.

With a poorly tuned antenna or a bad mount, you'll be lucky to get a 1/2 mile of range.

With both you and the person you are talking to having good quality antennas and mounts, and being tuned properly, 2 miles is perfectly reasonable, even in terrain that is less than perfect. Understand that this range will increase or decrease because of the terrain you're in.

When the conditions are good (weather and terrain) there's no reason that a CB won't work over 5 or 10 miles...but don't count on it happening all the time.

CB's can certainly work over VERY long distances (hundreds of miles), but that starts getting into subjects like sky wave, tropospheric ducting, and sporadic-E propgation. This is way beyond what the OP is asking. If this sounds like something you'd like to learn more about, a HAM license is the way to go.
Hmmmm.....I never even thought about when he said "mileage" to mean range. Guess I was just thinking like in "car terms"......ie, "Hey how many miles do you think you can get out of that engine/tranny???".....lol. But I bet you're right now that I look back at his question...........lol
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SiliconTi View Post
Yeah, Jeff is correct. CB is limited to 4 watts AM/12 watts SSB (which is very rare nowadays).


Oops, AM, not FM.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:25 PM
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Distance is really iffy with CB. When I was a kid I had a cb in my room, 50' of coax, antenna hooked to the swamp cooler on the roof and could talk to guys on the highway 10+ miles away. No idea if it was tuned right, originally put it up to talk to my friend who lived a block and a half away.

I had a lot of fun with the CB when I was a kid but now I get a lot more enjoyment out of my ham radio. I have been so busy the last few years I haven't done much of anything with my ham radio either. I honestly think CB is almost not worth having. If your club uses it to communicate then great but most I go with use GMRS for convenience.
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