CB range? GL1500

Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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CB range? GL1500

Post by ghostvet » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:19 pm

For those of us who use the CB, what kind of range are you guys & gals get?

I just made a disastrous trip and had very short range- only a hundred feet or so.

My family had a handheld in the car as we traveled together. I was not happy at all so I put up a magnetic mount external antenna. There was virtually no difference between the antennas.

So, I contacted a trucker I was driving right next to, and I lost her a few hundred feet away. Is this normal?

How do I fix this? I should be able to reach out about 5 miles on the interstate.

Before I left on this trip, I checked with a local CB shop and was able to talk several miles away. I was also about to talked to another driver 3-4 miles away when my bike was parked in my hangar.

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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by redial » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:21 pm

As far as range goes, a good receiving (RX) antenna, should also be a good transmitting (TX) antenna. The main cause of mobile antenna problems is that the Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) too great. You need the signals being produced by the CB to exit the antenna as cleanly as possible. If the length of the antenna is not electrically correct, then there can be a build-up of signals (like a queue waiting to get into a football game) and they become standing room. (This is not quite correct, but good enough for this purpose.)

If the antenna is the correct electrical length, and 5mm (0.25 inches), can make the world of difference. The antenna for Very High Frequency (VHF) is longer than one for Ultra High Frequency (UHF), because as the frequency gets higher the radio waves get shorter. What you are aiming for is an antenna that is set for the middle of the frequencies being utilised, or else provide a means of electrically adjusting the antenna if there are going to utilise a wide range of frequencies.

Mobile radios are always a compromise. You cannot put an antenna on a motorcycle, that is truly perfectly tuned for the CB. But you can use means to make it think it is the right length. If you have been to the movies, and joined a queue (line) for tickets, sometimes you look at the queue and it is hanging out the door, other times it looks a lot shorter, because the movie house has utilised a snake procedure, to give the impression of a shorter queue, but the same number of people are being processed in a smaller amount of space. Hence, you find that some antennas have coils inserted into them, which gives the sensation of a longer piece of wire to travel through to get to leave, and provide a more closely electrical length to travel that suits the radio wave.

Antennas that are efficient are fed from the centre (center), and are called "dipoles" - meaning two poles, and these are generally cut to half the physical length of the radio wave. But it is impractical to have an antenna of combined length to have half the length of the radio signal. So they only have one half of the dipole, and that is called a quarter length. The other quarter, (to make a half), is made up of a ground plane. For a car, it is easy, because you can use the turret roof as the ground plain, and that is why police cars, taxis, and other professional users mount it on the roof. (When I had a rental car, and tried to put the magnetic mount antenna for the CB on the trunk, I found that the Ford Taurus has a plastic trunk and bonnet covers.) The roof also gives you height, which will give you greater distance - eg if you talk to someone on top of a mountain and they are on a different mountain (but within range), you can get a good range from the radio.

On a GW, there is no real metal around to act as a ground (meaning an earth type connection) plane. With all that tupperware, there is very little metal to form a ground plane, so you are fighting the lack of a ground plane, only a quarter length antenna, and only a about a metre (meter) (about 3 feet) above the ground. So, unless your antenna has no SWR distortion, you are fighting a losing battle.

The thing to do is to get the SWR measured by someone that has a meter designed for this purpose, and adjust the electrical length to suit the signals being generated. Once it is set, you should not have to reset it for a long time. If you have to actually cut some off, do so carefully and in very small increments, because if you cut too much you will be back to where you started.

And here endeth my lesson on antenna theory. I have left some bits off, but that is enough to convey the reasons why you should get your antenna and its connections tested.
Len in Kapunda

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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by WingAdmin » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:52 am

Depending on the terrain, I can get between 1-2 miles on my bike. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.

First thing I would do is get an SWR meter and check your SWR, as redial mentioned. Have a look at How to tune your CB antenna SWR - it's written for the 1100, but the procedure is almost identical on the 1500.

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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by cardinal » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:46 am

Did you check to see if the other party was receiving your transmission but you weren't responding? If that was the situation, you may have an issue with the squelch adustment.
You mentioned being able to contact distant radios from your hanger, so I'm assuming you are a pilot. Are you familiar with the old Radios that that had a squelch knob? They disappeard on the King 170 series, you may have had more modern radios. If you had the old models you know about checking squelch everytime you turn the radio on by turning the squelch knob until the static just starts, or just stops then reversing just a touch. That setting will give you the longest RECEIVING range. Range seems to vary each day, but generally it's over a mile.

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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by wjnfirearms » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:19 am

CB is on the AM band and is greatly affected by a lot of variables. The only advantage to AM is that it is less affected by line of sight than is FM. FM is blocked more easily by topography, buildings, etc. Differences in weather and general atmospheric conditions and even whether it's day or night screw with AM a great deal. Have you ever noticed that the noise level is much greater in the day than at night? The low power mandated for the CB service is also a great disadvantage to the radios. That is why during the heyday of CB radio in the '70s, linear amplifiers, illegal as they were, became popular. These amplified the modulation and audio output of virtually any CB and allowed one to talk virtually anywhere. The downside of these was that if you were relatively close to anyone using an amplifier, you pretty much couldn't talk on the channel they were using as they ended up monopolizing the band and the splash (bleedover to adjacent channels) screwed them up also.

Redial pretty much covered everything that I could have. He knows his CB radio. He is absolutely correct that any mobile two way radio system, CB, ham, business band, public safety, etc., does require some sort of ground plane effect to be truly effective in range. Motorcycles have no real ground plane, therefore aren't the most effective places to mount a CB, or any other type of radio for that matter. This is why portable radios (walkie talkies) have much more limited range than a vehicular mounted one even if they possess the same output wattage. He is also right about the antennas needing matched to the transmitter. The sine wave ratio (SWR) needs to be as close to 1:1 on as many channels as possible to operate at it's best. At a 2:1 SWR, you are losing much transmit power and are starting down the road of endangering the final RF transmit parts of the circuitry with damage. With a bad SWR, you do not endanger the circuitry during reception, but do so on transmission.

One commonly neglected item on mobile CBs is the coaxial cable running from the radio to the antenna. The covering must be intact. The connector to the radio must be screwed in tightly and not be damaged or corroded. The antenna end must also be intact and free of corrosion. Check yours out thoroughly. If there is a nut holding the antenna mast to the base, make sure it is tight and the mast is not moving in the base. This is important to both efficiency of the radio and to the SWR match.

Then again, you could have just been in a particular place where the atmospheric conditions were just plain terrible for AM radio transmission. This is entirely possible.
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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by robb » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:12 pm

I could'nt believe the clarity achieved by cleaning ti pivot point on CB antenna. Don't know how far but have talked with a friend from 5 miles away and listened to truckers many more away. Noticed in mountains about 1000' is a good safe range.

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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by Hawggy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:28 am

I have a hand held Cobra on our 1500 wired into the Bike plus a regular CB ariel on the rear. We can usually talk about 1 mile apart on level terrain..In the Mountains it is somewhat less.

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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by yamaha96 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:36 am

i currently talk over a mile away, depends on the weather, i have a 89 1500 , love the bike , my friend i ride with, has an 1800 , i am afraid to ride it , might have to buy one, don't need another , already own a 96 Royalstar Yamaha , another great ride, just enjoy what God has created, every time you set in the seat, Mike., ps Happy Holidays to all.

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Re: CB range? GL1500

Post by Bogator » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:33 am

DO you know any hams in your area????? if so, then talk to them, they should be able to help with your problem. ---heres what I would do-----clean all conections-- then set the SWR then see what it will do with a field strengh meter-might add a radial at the base of the antenna for a better ground plane.-------GOD BLESS----oh, I'm a ham, KK4KSN--


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