*CB Radio upgrade & various lessons learned*
By: Blackjade
09 July 2007

Here it is, my first article for submission. This will lightly detail the trials and tribulations of my CB Radio fiasco. I was inspired by War's article in the electronics section, Bring It In. I am in the process of studying for the technician license for ham radio. Something I feel is a necessity when TSHTF and cell phones are paperweights. One will need to know how to operate and send and receive info on one of those things as well as getting in touch with the rest of your core group.

So I decided to start with CB radio. The reason being that they are cheap and readily available….or so I thought. I started with the old standard. A Cobra 29LTD Classic. It is the trucker's classic radio. From what I read, this is a great all around radio that is upgradeable. I lucked out and found one at a local pawn shop for $15.00. It had no microphone and no power lead. No problem. I fashioned a power lead and fuse and hooked her up just to see if it would even come on. It did. All lights seemed to function. I got an old 4 pin microphone from my brother in law and plugged it in. Uh oh. No sound. I know better than to key up a CB with no antenna attached so I went to a website for info and fashioned a temporary dipole antenna made from coax to see if the thing had deeper problems. Go here for killer DIY antenna info: Antenna Fabrication.

Ok, so I got the quickie antenna made to protect the radio when I key it up. So I gave it a shot, keyed it up. No sound. Double uh oh. Then I realized after some research that not all mics are wired alike. And older microphones like the one I was given are for "relay switching" not "electronic" switching like my cobra radio has. Ok, so here we go with Microphone wiring 101. I learned a lot here: Microphone Wiring and here: Tips on Microphone Wiring. Your rig will vary.

I got the thing wired correctly and now I see the meter pegging when you key it up, TX light comes on, looks good. I have one problem, still no sound. Well, after a bit of tweaking around and many lost hours, I found that the volume pot is shot. I de-soldered it off of the board and now I have a potentially good radio, but I have no idea where to get a replacement pot, and If I did, how would I neatly and successfully re solder it back on. Help with that would be great to salvage this old radio.

So, I went and bought a new one. Yee Haw. $150.00 at Radio shack. Cobra Model 29 WX NW ST.

I keep it with my scanner inside my studio out in the back yard behind our house as a base unit. I am using it with an old K40 whip. The thing is SWEET!!!!

This bad boy is essentially the same radio as the 29 classic only with 7 weather bands and a cool green tint…and it's new….and It works. It gives me something to tinker with and learn with while I'm studying for the test.

So for those out there who love tinkering as much as I do, I hope this article will help or at least lead you to some info to be on the air again.

I will be building an antenna for this thing next. I will definitely include that article as well.


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