I wanted a CB for trail rides, every time I go out wheelin there are people with CB’s to communicate and I like the idea. Besides once the folks at AT&T can’t work (because they are Zombies), CB’s and short-wave HAM radios will be all there is to communicate. I don’t know how best to divide this since it was a symphony of small projects, so I’m going on my timeline. Fair warning it’s better to have all your ducks in a row first, so as not to take 3 months to put in the radio. Here is a quick overview –
Several months ago – yes months, Trucker friend of mine gave me one of his old CD radios (Thanks Jon!). We talked about how to hook it up and went to several Radio Shacks and got a mount, antenna, Power & Coax cables, and a few other odds and ends. When I finally got the motivation to do something with it, and as is the case anytime I ‘DIY’, frustration ensued, but it ended up all working out. Didn’t have much of a plan at first, but after too long sitting in the garage I decided to give it a go. I started with the Antenna, then installed a PA horn under the hood, then hooked it up in the seat to get it working. After that I decided I wanted an overhead mount, I settled on the Smittybilt G.E.A.R. overhead console. Figured I have the tools I can MOD anything and I was right, but it was a bit of extra work.
First I decided to install the antenna. We’d picked up a 102″ steel whip, because that what I was told would work the best. I got a right angle mount and drilled and bolted it to the Rear bumper with some 1/4 machine screws. The 3/16″ steel rock bumper was a pain to drill into and I broke a bit trying to step up to the right size ole for the tappers…crap happens.
I had got a cable with the small end with the adapter, THIS IS A MUST, the CB connector comes off and there is a little end you can poke through holes. I can’t find a picture or link to it, but ask at the CB shop. I pulled out the plastic panel under the tub at the back passenger panel and the carpet inside and poked the cable up through a factory hole in the side of the cargo area. Pulled out the rubber plug, cut a hole in it and fit it back in for a grommet/bushing to keep the cable safe.
It was at this point I hooked everything up in the passenger seat. Some SWR calibration and everything was working good. Then I hit the big question – where to mount it. I’ve seen dash mounts, and several ideas in the console or under seats, but didn’t see anything I really wanted. I really wanted it overhead so I could use the knobs and it wouldn’t be in the way. I looked at several overhead consoles, even dabbled with the idea of building one out of wood like >this guy< but in the end I wound up settling on the Smittybilt G.E.A.R. overhead console.
The local 4Wheel Parts store had them in stock and I decided it was better to just go get one than pay for and wait on shipping. The guys there are great and it’s close-ish to the office so I stopped by after work and picked it up. Excited I unpacked it immediately and started putting it together. Here is another historic moment in laziness, it was a bit chilly and had to drive to work in the morning so I opted to not take the windows ant top down. The bracket lined up nicely on the mirror retention clip holes, and the metal body pretty easily slipped in over the roll bar and attached with the included hose clamps. Notes: trimmed about 3″ off the second hose clamp, and the nylon sheaths they included to cover the clamps were trimmed about 4″. Got the plate installed and managed to velco on the MOLLE cover before bedtime – called it a success. (still no CB hooked up).
At this point called it a night – had to get ready for work the next day.
Sat morning rolled around and I decided to make it installation day. I ran the antenna wire that was coiled in the rear floorboard up from the hole it come in, under the carpet, and under the top lip of the body, pulling carpet loose then tucking it back in as I went. Came down once i cleared the passenger seat and out at the base of the roll bar by the passenger seat belt. From there I just zip tied it to the roll bar (I though about putting it in the padding, but I’m lazy)
Finally it was CB mounting time. At this point I had made the leap and taken the top down and doors off – which would have been very good idea from the get-go, but I drug it out over several days so I suffered some set backs. I took the bracket and held it up to the GEAR rack and realized with the way the metal plate was curved I’d have to space it down so it didn’t mess up the canvas MOLLE cover. For a spacer I cut a short piece of pine 1×2 i had lying around and drilled holes so it could sit below the metal plate and space the bracket down.
Then it was time to void some warranties!!! I had determined where I wanted the CB on the GEAR rack by measuring the length of the radio with the cables attached (so there was room to plug them in). Turned out it was right where the small hole was already located on the GEAR plate. I undid the first couple of straps holding on the canvas GEAR cover and laid the bracket on on top of the Smittybuilt support plate and marked the holes with a silver sharpie. Then out with the drill. Mounted bracket on spacer with some 1 1/2″ Phillips head bolts and nuts then stretched cover back into place. Where the sides of the bracket came through I cut two small slices with my pocketknife. I kind of wanted them to be between the nylon webbing strips, but it ended up hitting right on one, so I sliced that too. to “pretty up” all the cuts I briefly hit them with the flame from a small butane pen torch to melt the nylon content and hopefully prevent fraying of the ends. Thne pull the cables through and screwed in the radio and – FINISHED!
I used one of the small round pouches to put the mic in – the big rectangle one at the very back for the extension speaker which is right over my ear for optimum listening, and then the flat map pouch (with the plastic map pouch removed) right in front of the radio because I wanted to use the pouches and still see the CB display. The power cord is all I have left to deal with and I don’t exactly know how best to hook that up so I can turn it off and on.
I forgot to add the pics of the PA horn, and essential part of this project was the ability to yell at other drivers, and get my kiddo back into the Jeep – he wanders off every time we stop. Got a PYLE PSP8 5″ trumpet from amazon for $12 15watt 10′ cord. Installed it under the hood on the drivers side under some round thing with wires on it. I had to unscrew that thing to wedge the horn in there, then used a couple short tapcon screws to attach the mounting bracket to one of the gussets on the inside of the body. Ran the cord through one of the pre-made holes in the firewall – cut a hole in the rubber plug – and ran the wire up the outside of the dash and made a wrap around the sun-visor arm before going over to the back of the CB.
Thanks to anyone who’s read this, please feel free to leave a comment and correct my mistakes, still a little hung over from Halloween party last night.