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Author Topic: 11 meter rig  (Read 4045 times)

Offline RST111

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11 meter rig
« on: April 30, 2017, 2229 UTC »
OK, I have to admit I have a soft spot for 11m (CB).   Any recommendations for an 11m base rig?  I don't need a modifiable 10m with 400 watts inside, just really clean signal out of the box and SSB.  I.e., no splatterboxes.

If I accidentally forget to flip the antenna switch and it goes through my linear amp, well, mistakes happen.

The Galaxy DX-2547 looks interesting, though I see some complaints about quality control.  https://www.amazon.com/Galaxy-DX-2547-Station-Counter-Talkback/dp/B002LMIQQU

I'm not against a mobile that I run off a power supply, though.  Having a "base" radio is mainly for aesthetics.

Any recommendations?

Edit:  Also looking at the Bearcat 980  https://www.amazon.com/Uniden-BEARCAT-Sideband-WeatherBand-980SSB/dp/B007B5ZAES

« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 2232 UTC by RST111 »
QTH: 30mi East of Seattle  Staticbox / "RST111 WA" on 11m. I will eQSL

HF: IC-R75, Afedri SDR, Stridsberg HF Multicoupler, MFJ-1020C, Palomar CMNF-6, 100ft N/S longwire

VHF/UHF: Pro-2006, BC-XLT70, BR330T, BC-780XLT, BCD536HP, BCT-8, RTL-SDR, Stridsberg Multicoupler, Diamond Discone

Offline Looking-Glass

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 0832 UTC »
There were some really great 27MHz base stations about in the good old days from mid 1970's through to late 1980's, my pick, in order of performance and preference is as follows:

Communications Power Inc (CPI) big dollars for great quality!

Ranger RCI 2995DX...value and great looks.

Cobra 142GTL base...trusted name and quality product!

Excalibur
base...good for price paid.

President (Uniden) Washington
...economical and very basic, good price for good performance.

Pearce-Simpson Bengal base MK-II
...another good value and basic product with less frills than big names.

All of the above would now be consigned to the annals of history and would probably turn up at amateur radio or radio hobby club flea markets or trash & treasure sales...those were the days! 8)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 0842 UTC by Looking-Glass »
Hermitage Flat, NSW.

Grid Square:  QF56dm.

Yaesu FT-2000D, ICOM IC-736 HF/50MHz, ICOM IC R75 & Tecsun S-2000 to 450 feet of wire, and a multi band vertical of dubious reliability.

Offline RST111

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 1542 UTC »
Thanks!  Some of those I can find on eBay (several listings for the 142GTL at $50-$100), but I'd probably have to re-cap them sooner or later.  The 2995DX is still in production (not sure it's the same one, this is a 10m rig).  I looked at that, but it's running about $650 new so that's probably a later upgrade for me assuming I get good use out of whatever I start with.

Yeah, I miss all the great base CBs they had when I was a kid.  I think there's a lot of us that feel that way.  I was reading the other day about how a lot of REACT chapters are just closing down because no one uses CBs even for emergencies these days due to cell phones.

Maybe CB will make a resurgence out of nostalgia!  I'll try to convince some hipsters that CBs are retro cooler than cellphones and start a trend, lol.
QTH: 30mi East of Seattle  Staticbox / "RST111 WA" on 11m. I will eQSL

HF: IC-R75, Afedri SDR, Stridsberg HF Multicoupler, MFJ-1020C, Palomar CMNF-6, 100ft N/S longwire

VHF/UHF: Pro-2006, BC-XLT70, BR330T, BC-780XLT, BCD536HP, BCT-8, RTL-SDR, Stridsberg Multicoupler, Diamond Discone

Offline Josh

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 1632 UTC »
You can find a TS570 or similar class HAM rig for $500 or so and it will clean the clock on any cb trash as far as cleanliness of signal and rx ability. Spending that much money on a cb is throwing it away.
Conveniently located near Vincennes Indiana.

Offline R4002

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2017, 1924 UTC »
I have an older-generation (made in the Philippines) Superstar 3900 (clone of the famous Superstar 360FM, it itself a clone of the Cobra 148 GTL-DX) and it is surprisingly solid on SSB.  I know these radios have a rep as splatterboxes but if they're not hit with the golden screwdriver, they're excellent radios.  I can't say that for the newer 3900s.  Running a stock or mildly-tuned 3900 with a quality aftermarket microphone will give you quality AM audio and not compromise your SSB capability.  Don't buy a new (built in China) Superstar 3900 radio, I've read some horror stories about the Chinese ones.  

If you're looking at modern equipment, I recommend the CRE 8900.  I operate that as my primary SSB radio with the Superstar 3900 and Galaxy 959 as backup SSB 11 meter radios.  It has been sold under several other brand names, including Alinco DR-135CB and Alinco DR-10.  This radio performs as well as modern amateur radios on SSB and doesn't suffer from the drift issues of older Ranger/RCI radios.  If you're looking for a "traditional" SSB radio, Looking-Glass' list is excellent.  I've used the President Grant (aka Superstar GR, Uniden Grant in some markets) mobile, which, if can be found, is highly recommended.  

My primary AM 11 meter rig is a modified Galaxy DX 959 with an Astatic 636L or Astatic M6B amplified microphone.  Regardless of which radio you get, look at getting an aftermarket microphone.  The Galaxy 959 is a classic "trucker radio" and really screams on AM.  When running the Galaxy with an amplified microphone, I have to drop the mic gain down to 50-60% to prevent the radio from overmodulating.  Once warmed up, it holds its own on SSB.  I've talked all over the USA on 27.385 LSB and all over North America on the high band (27.415-27.855 MHz) on a Galaxy DX 959 with the 120 channel frequency kit.  That's a lot of money to spend on an 11 meter radio though.  If you live in an area where AM operations are popular, I recommend getting a "loud" AM radio, or a standard radio and an amplified microphone.

Even with a general HF ham rig, many people want to have a dedicated CB or 11 meter rig.  I'm one of those people.  

Short version:

The Cobra 980 radio is great.  Look at the President Grant II, it is the open-banded version of the Cobra Bearcat 980 SSB radio.  

My recommendations:

-older Superstar 3900 and similar radios (literally dozens of brand names / model numbers) EPT3600-series main board radios built by Ranger
-CRE 8900
-Yeticom Optima
-Galaxy DX 959 w/ modifications (if you want a loud AM radio)
-President / Uniden Washington (base station with classic style and AM/SSB)
-President / Uniden Grant / Superstar GR (classic style radio, the Superstar GR is about as rare as the radios Looking-Glass mentioned)
-President Jackson / Superstar JA (classic style radios)
-President Jackson II and President Grant II (modern SMT style radios, same quality as high-end Cobra and Uniden offerings)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 1937 UTC by R4002 »
U.S. East Coast, various HF/VHF/UHF radios/scanners/receivers

Offline moof

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2017, 2349 UTC »
Not a whole ton of experience with CB rigs but I had an opened up Galaxy 33HML that did 1-4-7 watts bareback.  I first tried it with a Pyramid 225 (I believe) hi drive.  It was a splatter linear.  I talked to my first contact half the country away though with a Wilson 5000 magnet mount on the van.
The only CB I have now is a Cobra 148GTL.  People seem to like them.  Not too expensive.  Paid for the 'peak and tune' from a big name but it doesn't seem to have any more output than a stock one.  I bet it would be great SSB with a linear.  I have not tried that yet.  I only tortured truckers with robot voice and eccccccuuuuuhhh ecccucuuuu ecccccuhhh with the Galaxy years ago.  Oh my god how they hated me.  "Brown van mile marker 267 talkin all that shit 10-4"

Offline Josh

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 0253 UTC »
I've had a few pc122 unidens that would go to 18w or so on ssb. I'd adjust the alc for max and then back it down to just where it started to cut back so it wasn't completely distorted. With a 4khz ssb filter they have nice ssb audio.
Conveniently located near Vincennes Indiana.

Offline ThaDood

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Re: 11 meter rig?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 0257 UTC »
        Yeah, I guess I've got to ring in on this as well. I still have my Uniden Washington that I bought new in early 1986 and a Silver Eagle D-104 mic. The Washington had the best TX audio bandwidth at 3kHz, where most rigs limited to 2.5kHz. Nice RX specs on that rig as well. Other rigs to check out are the Uniden Madison, which is really a Washington with more bells & whistles. 30 years ago, everyone wanted the Cobra 2000. I liked the Realistic Navaho bases as well. GE had the Super Base, (But try and find one of them. Anymore, almost as hard to find as a Tram base.) Not just 40CH rigs either, I still like farting around with 23CH ones. Although, you're not likely to find anyone whom remembers the old SSB channel of 16LSB. Check out this CB page for rigs past & present,      http://www.cbtricks.com/radios/index_all.htm     OK, I'm goin' 10-7 now.
From DC to light, I take a huge spectrum bite!

Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2017, 1655 UTC »
COBRA 148. That is -- if they still make them.

I got mine in the late 1980's and it still works well.

Awesome radio. Great 'ears'.

Had a Uniden PC122. The audio fried. Couldn't fix it -- it's a doorstop now.

The Uniden PC244 had a good rep, but they're probably as available as hen's teeth.

Good luck. CB Sideband is quite fun when the skip is rolling, even on the legal channels.
An AM radio Boombox DXer.
+ GE SRIII, PR-D5 & TRF on MW.
The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).

Offline RST111

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2017, 1809 UTC »
Thanks again for all the suggestions!  I went with the Uniden 980SSB.   I figure the frequencies / power will be close enough out of the box (especially looking at the 11m band with my SDR and seeing all the off freq and spatter).  The older CBs look interesting, but I don't have the time to recap something right now.  Given the price and new components (and decent reviews) this seemed the most cost-effective solution for me.

I tried to use a mag mount antenna with a cookie sheet (this is going to be a base station), but that gave me the results I expected - deaf and and SWR of 2.0 across the band (cookie sheet isn't a big enough ground plane apparently).  Sigh.

I'll need to get a proper antenna up.  I'm thinking of making up a vertical dipole with some wire and PVC for now, and maybe a horizontal wire dipole for SSB.  If anyone has any base station antenna recommendations, they'd be appreciated.  This is just to mess around right now, so I probably wouldn't want to spend more than $50 for an antenna unless I get more serious about it.
QTH: 30mi East of Seattle  Staticbox / "RST111 WA" on 11m. I will eQSL

HF: IC-R75, Afedri SDR, Stridsberg HF Multicoupler, MFJ-1020C, Palomar CMNF-6, 100ft N/S longwire

VHF/UHF: Pro-2006, BC-XLT70, BR330T, BC-780XLT, BCD536HP, BCT-8, RTL-SDR, Stridsberg Multicoupler, Diamond Discone

Offline RobRich

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2017, 0102 UTC »
If you are wanting to talk 11m DX, go ahead with a half-wave horizontal dipole at height IMO. It is affordable, easy to build, and straightforward to tune. I suggest adding a modest 1:1 current balun at the feedpoint, or at minimum, roll your own "ugly balun" that is likely better for choking common mode currents than nothing at all.

If you want an affordable source for coax and operating at relative QRP power, you can actually feed a half-wave dipole with common RG-6 cable coax if desired. The antenna at resonance likely will be around 70-74 ohms anyway. Keep the RG-6 length a multiple of the half wavelength times the coax velocity factor. Tune the dipole for SWR as usual. You might not get a flat match, but being realistic, under 1.5:1 should suffice.

All that said, I worked most of my 11m DX back in the day with a half-wave, end-fed vertical. Different propagation conditions now, though, so YMMV.
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Kenwood R-600 + R-2000 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 | Si-Tex 200 | Soft66LC4 | Yaesu FRG-7
Ameco PCL-P | MFJ-784B | MFJ-901B | 2x MFJ-1020B | 2x Timewave DSP-9
148' "Shielded" Loop-on-Ground | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' + 31' Verticals

Offline RST111

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2017, 0217 UTC »
Thanks!  I might actually be able to do this tomorrow.  I have a big roll of RG-6 Quad Shielded since that's what I use for my HF Rx antennas, and I think I have some PVC that I could wind an ugly balun on

Do you think this would work OK in inverted V to make it more omni-directional, or am I pushing the capabilities of the antenna since I'm running barefoot?
QTH: 30mi East of Seattle  Staticbox / "RST111 WA" on 11m. I will eQSL

HF: IC-R75, Afedri SDR, Stridsberg HF Multicoupler, MFJ-1020C, Palomar CMNF-6, 100ft N/S longwire

VHF/UHF: Pro-2006, BC-XLT70, BR330T, BC-780XLT, BCD536HP, BCT-8, RTL-SDR, Stridsberg Multicoupler, Diamond Discone

Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2017, 1022 UTC »
A quad may be fairly easy to build and it will give you more gain than a dipole. I had one on a long wood stick 'cross' frame, it worked very well. Low SWR across the Sideband section. Received VHF Low band when I connected my multiband, VHF Low Band capable portable to it.

I used a plan from an old wire antenna book. You use regular coax and then there is an eight or six foot section of another type of coax that helps adjust the resistance of the antenna to match the 50 ohm input of the radio. I can't remember the details as it was year ago and the antenna was destroyed in a windstorm, but I'm sure there are plans online. You may not need the six foot section of coax.
An AM radio Boombox DXer.
+ GE SRIII, PR-D5 & TRF on MW.
The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).

Offline RobRich

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Re: 11 meter rig
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2017, 2104 UTC »
An inverted V is fine as well IMO. Just note the antenna impedance likely will be closer to 50 ohms as the V angle drops under 60 degrees and approaches 45 degrees. If you use RG-6, use a half-wavelength multiple times the (approximate if the exact spec is not available) coax velocity factor to find an usable length for the coax feedline, and the impedance at the antenna end of the coax should be closely mirrored on the radio end of the coax, thus ideally getting you a decent SWR match.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 2109 UTC by RobRich »
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Kenwood R-600 + R-2000 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 | Si-Tex 200 | Soft66LC4 | Yaesu FRG-7
Ameco PCL-P | MFJ-784B | MFJ-901B | 2x MFJ-1020B | 2x Timewave DSP-9
148' "Shielded" Loop-on-Ground | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' + 31' Verticals

Offline ThaDood

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        Here's a great antenna you can build that's great for talking local (Within 20 miles.), and great for skip talking. The Quarter Wave Ground Plane. Check this link,     https://www.pinterest.com/pin/205054589259242247/      It has a pretty high angle of radiation, so it makes it great for this Summer's Sporadic "E" propagation, (What CB'ers refer to as short skip.), and can do decent F2 skip when that opens back up during high sunspot peaks. Good luck!
From DC to light, I take a huge spectrum bite!