thcamper
Welcome to Toad Hall
Home of the WxToad

Installing A CB Radio

We had ordered our first LD with a CB radio installed. When we bought our used RB last year, a CB was about the only thing missing that I would have liked to have. So after a year I decided to install one. I decided to go with a Cobra 75 WX ST, a hand-held radio. For an antenna I selected a Firestick non-ground plane model

 rb159 Here's the final result. The radio is convenient to see and use when driving. 
 rb161

 Let's start with the hard part: mounting the antenna and getting the cable inside (the REALLY hard part).

The white antenna with the red cap is the FirestikFG2-648-W Non-Ground Plane CB antenna. Last year, while mounting something else on the roof, I had amazingly had the forethought to mount a heavy aluminum bracket for the CB antenna.

 rb151 I used half of the Firestik's universal mount with matching holes drilled through the roof bracket. I also included a small clamp to prevent stress on the cable connection at the base of the antenna. 

 rb147

 

The biggest challenge of this project was getting the antenna cable from the roof to inside. Our rig came a factory-installed manual satellite dish, and as a result LD had also included a vent stack for cable entry. The problem was that the vent was packed full of that famous LD sealant. This is what I faced after removing the vent cap. 
rb148   Here's the progress after about an hour. I used pliers to rip out small pieces, bit by bit. In the other hand I wielded a utility knive.....very carefully so as not to cut into the satellite dish cables.
 rb149 I finally dug my way down to roof level and was very happy to find the hole as large as I had hoped. While installing the CB antenna, I also wanted to route my wi-fi and cell phone antenna cables through the vent. There was just enough room for the USB connector on the end of the wi-fi cable to fit through the hole. That went in first, followed by the cell phone and CB cables. 

 rb150

 

I gathered the cables together and wrapped a good amount of electrical tape around them. Time to reseal the opening with some polyurethan sealant. 

rb157  While I was at it, I made a higher sleeve to fit around the stack, using some aluminum flashing. It fits tightly up under the vent cover and I put some of the sealant around the bottom. 
 rb162 This shows where the cables come through the roof into the interior. The hole is right at the forward end of the driver's-side overhead compartment. Behind the other side of the wall are shelves for satellite receiver, DVD, etc, , and the hidden area where I have tucked most of my electrical components. 

 rb163.jpg

 

I made a new false end to the compartment to hide all the wires. It's merely a press-fit and the hole at the top serves two purposes: It provides access to the end of the USB cable from the wi-fi antenna and it serves as a finger-hold when it's necessary to remove the panel. Minwax Golden Pecan stain is a very good match to the original LD wood color. 
rb155  The power source (the white box in the center) for the hand-held unit is mounted under dash just to the right of the steering column. This view is looking up from the brake pedal. I first wired the CB into the dash radio circuit and grounded it to the dash - this resulted in a lot of ignition noise on the CB. I rewired it, both positive and ground, into a dedicated coach battery circuit shared by nothing else, which solved the problem. 
 rb156 There's a short lead from the power box for the hand-held unit to plug into. 
 rb160

 I mounted the clip to hold the CB on the dash above the 12V accessory jack, which we never use. Before drilling the mounting holes for the screws I felt around behind the dash in that area and was satisfied that I wouldn't be drilling into something.

One final task to get the radio to perform properly was to tune the antenna using an SW meter.