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Motorhome CB Radio   Advice for the First-Time CB user
About www.motorhomecbradio.info   |    CB Radio and The Law    |    Complete Kits and Starter Packs   |    General Motorhome CB installation advice   |    Introduction to CB Radio   |    Motorhome Links   |    PMR446 An Alternative To CB   |    Ways to successfully install a CB aerial   |   

This section's purpose is to give you a non-technical overview of what you will need to be able to kit out your motorhome with a CB radio.

We won't go into great depth in this section... we're easing you in here, but we do go into more detail in our General Installation Advice pages which you can read later, when you are a bit more familiar with what's going on!

Our Motorhome CB package deals and starter packs guarantee you everything you need to get it right first time - saving you the job of choosing compatible equipment - but PLEASE still read through this section & the General Installation section mentioned above, before you purchase. Click here to see our Package Deals

So what's involved in getting set up with CB?

CB radio has always been intended as a simple, short range, two-way band service available to the general public without the need for technical know-how and as such is (in most cases) easy to fit and simple to use.

To get yourself up and running you will need...

  • A CB Radio Unit (we mostly refer to the CB itself as the "set" but also known as the "rig")
  • An aerial fixed to the vehicle
  • A lead to connect the the CB set to the aerial.

Temporary Installation
If you just want to have the CB for when you go away and would prefer not to have it there normally, then you can have the easiest installation of all - the set plugged into your cigarette lighter socket for power, and a temporary bracket on your side mirror arm, roof grab rails, luggage bars or ladder, or magnetic mount on a metal panel.

Permanent Installation
If you prefer to have a permanent fixing, this can be almost as simple to do and gives you the benefits from having the CB every time you are on the road as well as being a neater, more convenient & reliable system compared to a temporary setup.

The CB set itself

Modern CB radios are quite small - many are around the size of a large paperback book, but we give exact dimensions in the descriptions of the units.

All our sets are supplied with a mounting bracket, power lead for connection to the vehicles' 12v supply, a hand-held microphone on a curly lead with a "press to talk" button to transmit, plus instruction book and a little bracket to hold the microhone conveniently at hand.

Unfortunately none are the same size as conventional car radios - all the CB's are deeper, the Maycom EM27 being the closest in size, and usually mountable in the space provided for a stereo.

When looking at the different sets we have to offer, it's true to say that "you get what you pay for" in terms of build quality and sheer performance, as with most electronics equipment nowadays... the cheaper units do the job, but not as well as a more expensive unit, and won't last as long!

Connecting the set to power

The best way to connect up power for your CB is to go straight to the battery - a second leisure battery is even better.

This means that you can use the CB whether the engine is running or not, and running to a secondary battery will reduce any chance of getting interference from any other electrics in the vehicle.

For temporary installations, power can be taken from a cigarette lighter socket (we do various extensions and adaptors for cigar lighter connections here) and in the vast majority of cases this is perfectly satisfactory apart from an extra lead to route around the cockpit.

The Aerial

The aerial is the part of the installation that can be more complicated in a motorhome than in a conventional vehicle, as the aerial needs a connection to earth - called a "ground plane".

Basically this is a connection to a large metal object - in a conventional steel vehicle this would be the roof or another body panel, but with most motorhomes, the GRP or coachbuilt construction does not include much metal.

The easiest way around this is a simple little thing called an "artifical ground" (Electronic Ground Plane) which can be fitted to a bracket which can go round a roof rail or rack, rear ladder, mirror arms or elsewhere around the vehicle.

As a general rule of thumb "the bigger - the better" in sheer performance, although there are some medium-sized aerials that perform very well See our reccomended equipment section

Routing The Aerial Cable

We advise running the cable along the underside of the vehicle, and bringing into the cabin via the engine compartment.

This keeps the integrity of the cabins' weather sealing and you will find this is certainly easier than trying to drill holes in the floor.

Some vehicles with awnings have the possibility of cable routing in this area, and sometimes different vehicles offer different "holes" here and there that could be used, but along the chassis rails (where there are often other wires also routed along there) is often the simplest way.

If you have your aerial on the roof, this will normally mean bringing the cable down the rear of the vehicle (we can supply white aerial cable, clear cable-ties and white stick on cable clips to help make the install as unobtrusive as possible).

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