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Was part of a charity ride to raise money for Relay for Life yesterday. I was pulling the snack trailer so I brought up the rear. We used our CBs to communicate with the leader and several others mid-pack. The terrain is mostly flat here in eastern NC, but the roads we traveled were somewhat curvy with a few small hills. Any time I lost sight of the leader or some of the bikes in the middle we could not communicate effectively on our CBs. I had squelch as low as possible without constant noise, but still heard broken and non-understandable traffic. Is there a product that will boost the power of the CB on my GL1800, or something else I/we can do to increase the power? Thanks
 

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We know that the cb's in these wings are not the greatest. We also know that the ground plane needed to make them work is not very good either. heck with Pete at www.bikemp3.com. If any one can help it might be him.

Wayne
 

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There is nothing available legally. The FCC limits the output of the CB to 5 watts. Under ideal conditions, that's enough to "reach out" a pretty good distance. The GL1800 is anything but ideal. The best you can hope for is making sure the SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) is optimized. Outside of that, switching to FRS or GMRS radios radios is the best, least expensive option, but that would require others to be using the same radio. On top of that, GMRS requires a license from the FCC.
 

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There is nothing available legally. The FCC limits the output of the CB to 5 watts. Under ideal conditions, that's enough to "reach out" a pretty good distance. The GL1800 is anything but ideal. The best you can hope for is making sure the SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) is optimized. Outside of that, switching to FRS or GMRS radios radios is the best, least expensive option, but that would require others to be using the same radio. On top of that, GMRS requires a license from the FCC.
Actually its worse they now only allow 4 watts I second your suggestion on GMRS its $75 for a family license for 3 years and far better than CB
 

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You are describing a reception problem on your end. There is nothing to boost in the receiver, since the receiver portion of a CB does not put out any power.

It's possible you have an open antenna, which would affect transmit and receive. But it's always possible that one or more of the guys you were riding with have transmit problems on their end.

CB receivers rarely fail. It is not much different than the AM tuner in your car. Transmitters are much more prone to failure, and are highly dependent on the antenna, while the receiver will receive with a coat hanger attached to it.

I think the Honda CB works just fine considering the application. You can't expect communications more than a mile to a mile and a half because of the size of the bike. There is just not a good ground plane there.

You have to remember that CB is an old format, so you have to keep expectations in check. Losing line of site should not be too big of a problem, but large hills will decrease range significantly. What would normally be a 2 mile range can get reduced to a half mile with a large hill.
 

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There is nothing available legally. The FCC limits the output of the CB to 5 watts. Under ideal conditions, that's enough to "reach out" a pretty good distance. The GL1800 is anything but ideal. The best you can hope for is making sure the SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) is optimized. Outside of that, switching to FRS or GMRS radios radios is the best, least expensive option, but that would require others to be using the same radio. On top of that, GMRS requires a license from the FCC.
4 watts
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, all! As to the receive vs. transmit part, it seemed to be common among all the CB users. So I guess I'll chalk it up to the terrain, because we were never more than a mile from beginning to end. Thanks again for everyone's knowledge share and comments.
You are describing a reception problem on your end. There is nothing to boost in the receiver, since the receiver portion of a CB does not put out any power.

It's possible you have an open antenna, which would affect transmit and receive. But it's always possible that one or more of the guys you were riding with have transmit problems on their end.

CB receivers rarely fail. It is not much different than the AM tuner in your car. Transmitters are much more prone to failure, and are highly dependent on the antenna, while the receiver will receive with a coat hanger attached to it.

I think the Honda CB works just fine considering the application. You can't expect communications more than a mile to a mile and a half because of the size of the bike. There is just not a good ground plane there.

You have to remember that CB is an old format, so you have to keep expectations in check. Losing line of site should not be too big of a problem, but large hills will decrease range significantly. What would normally be a 2 mile range can get reduced to a half mile with a large hill.
 

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Thanks, all! As to the receive vs. transmit part, it seemed to be common among all the CB users. So I guess I'll chalk it up to the terrain, because we were never more than a mile from beginning to end. Thanks again for everyone's knowledge share and comments.
If everyone was experiencing the same thing, then yes, I would blame the terrain. Ground to ground communications is tough with hills. It's when everyone else seems to be communicating fine, but you are having troubles with transmit or receive that you need to look into checking out your setup.
 

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:agree: CB's are considered "line of sight" transmitters, as are most radio systems. When you see the claims on the FRS radio boxes of 12 or 20 or whatever mile ranges, that pretty much means over open land, no hills, no trees, no cats or dogs inbetween the two radios. The hills you were riding through have a lot of iron ore in them (hence the reddish-rust color of the rocks) and act as a radio wave sponge.

I've lost trasnmission from others just from going around one bend, let alone a mile's worth down there. You can somewhat improve your groundplane effect by connecting a sheet of metal laid in the trunk to the antennae's ground strap, it will help but not a huge improvement for the hills down there. And you still have the other's CBs with the same issue.

End result, what you encountered I would say is normal for down there. If y'all can hear fine on the straightaways, it's not the CB.
 

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You can make sure your antenna has a good ground. We have a few wing where the antenna ground was bad. Cleaned it up and it worked better.
My wing I can hear 10-15 miles.
 

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You can make sure your antenna has a good ground. We have a few wing where the antenna ground was bad. Cleaned it up and it worked better.
My wing I can hear 10-15 miles. Two wheeler or trike.
 

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GMRS maybe is better. But FRS is limited to 1/2 watt so it probably won't outperform CB unless you have a real antenna fail. Don't get me wrong, I've used and like them (GL2Way has a nice adapter), but not much punch with them.

Good clarification that this is a matter of boosting the effective power of the transmitter, there is next to nothing you can on the receiver side.

FYI, what I saw from a good bit of looking around regarding ways to get the most from the power you've got:

-- good ground
-- good SWR
-- longest antenna you can manage, i.e. 4' will be lots better than 3' **
-- the dual antenna setup has a negative impact on your signal propagation, you will get a better transmit out of a single antenna (folks will nay-say it, but all other things being equal, it appears to be true)

Even with all that tuned, terrain is going to interfere quickly.

I backed into looking at all that because I have a low overhead garage and needed to either ratchet back down to a 2' antenna, or fold every time I came and went. I opted for the short antenna and figure if I'm ever going on a ride where range really matters, I'll just buy another long one. I'm still shaking out some CB issues from my own install issues, so I'm not sure I've got it dialed and am not preaching. But don't leave anything on the table -- all those things will get you a little more oomph in your transmit.
 

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Was part of a charity ride to raise money for Relay for Life yesterday. I was pulling the snack trailer so I brought up the rear. We used our CBs to communicate with the leader and several others mid-pack. The terrain is mostly flat here in eastern NC, but the roads we traveled were somewhat curvy with a few small hills. Any time I lost sight of the leader or some of the bikes in the middle we could not communicate effectively on our CBs. I had squelch as low as possible without constant noise, but still heard broken and non-understandable traffic. Is there a product that will boost the power of the CB on my GL1800, or something else I/we can do to increase the power? Thanks
I noticed that your bike is a 2001. The early bikes had problem CB's for the first 3 years. Honda fixed the problem and the newer CB's had a round green sticker on them. High squelch numbers was one of the problems if I remember correctly. I went throught 3 different CB's on my bike back in '02 & '03 before I got a good one. After that my range was always in the 1 - 2 miles. You might want to look at the CB to see whether it has the sticker or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'll take a look to see if green dot is there. Maybe I'll get lucky. Thanks
I noticed that your bike is a 2001. The early bikes had problem CB's for the first 3 years. Honda fixed the problem and the newer CB's had a round green sticker on them. High squelch numbers was one of the problems if I remember correctly. I went throught 3 different CB's on my bike back in '02 & '03 before I got a good one. After that my range was always in the 1 - 2 miles. You might want to look at the CB to see whether it has the sticker or not.
When you say a sheet of metal, what would you suggest? Something like a 1/8" piece of stainless plate, maybe 8" x 8" or what? Thanks
:agree: CB's are considered "line of sight" transmitters, as are most radio systems. When you see the claims on the FRS radio boxes of 12 or 20 or whatever mile ranges, that pretty much means over open land, no hills, no trees, no cats or dogs inbetween the two radios. The hills you were riding through have a lot of iron ore in them (hence the reddish-rust color of the rocks) and act as a radio wave sponge.

I've lost trasnmission from others just from going around one bend, let alone a mile's worth down there. You can somewhat improve your groundplane effect by connecting a sheet of metal laid in the trunk to the antennae's ground strap, it will help but not a huge improvement for the hills down there. And you still have the other's CBs with the same issue.

End result, what you encountered I would say is normal for down there. If y'all can hear fine on the straightaways, it's not the CB.
 

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Ed brought up what is certainly another possibility. I didn't mention it because it didn't seem to fit this situation perfectly.

At this stage in the life of these bikes, you have to look for more than just the green dot however. Many people with 01 and 02 bikes installed CB's after the bikes were a couple of years old. Look at the manufacturing date as well, and make sure it is a Clarion CB, not a Radio Sound unit.

Honda did not give a serial number range for this problem, only that 01-02 bikes were affected.
 

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I'll take a look to see if green dot is there. Maybe I'll get lucky. Thanks

When you say a sheet of metal, what would you suggest? Something like a 1/8" piece of stainless plate, maybe 8" x 8" or what? Thanks
I followed a suggestion from another board member way in the past and used a small section of decorative vent trim from Lowe's. Bolt a pigtail onto the panel, then use a quick connect to an eyelet attached to the cb antenna ground strap. The quick connect is so it is easier to remove from the bottom of the trunk when you need to get into the cb cubby. The panel is only about 1/32 to 1/16 inch thick, very flexible. Will fit into the bottom of the trunk, I taped the edges to limit getting my hands gouged.

I'll try to find a link to the exact item I used tonight after work, otherwise I'll at least take a picture of it for you.
 

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Ed's post made me stop and look at some other possibilities for this problem. This may not match the symptom here, but it is hard to tell because the description is not specific enough. it might still be worth bringing it up. The original post does not mention whether all the bikes in question here were Goldwings or not, so this is a hit or miss suggestion.

1. All of the Clarion CB's, which were used up until about 2009, had a low modulation problem. It isn't really a defect, but rather a mismatch with the alignment parameters that Clarion used, and the microphones that most Goldwing owners use. The modulation alignment is set too low for our mikes. That means that most Wing CB's are only transmitting at about 50% modulation. This is nearly as bad as weak transmitter power. A CB that is operating optimally will modulate as close to 100% modulation as possible without going over 100%. Anything less is just wasted transmitter power.

To know if this is the problem, you first have to determine whether the bikes have adequate transmitter power to broadcast the distances we are discussing here. When you receive a strong transmitted envelope, the signal will break squelch on your CB's receiver, and background noise will diminish significantly. The farther away you are, or the weaker the signal, the noisier the background will be. Worst case, the signal will have a tough time breaking squelch at all.

If the transmitted signal breaks squelch easily, but you can just barely hear the voice of the person transmitting, then the transmitting CB has a modulation problem. This problem is at its worst with the old style J&M headsets, which had low output microphones. They supposedly are using higher output microphones now, but I have not comfirmed how much better they are.

Based on my experience with group riding, the GL1500's have as big of a problem with modulation as the GL1800 does. I have a re-alignment fix for the GL1800 Clarion CB's, but I have never worked on the GL1500 units. Every system has to be evaluated individually for this problem. Some people have booming voices that easily compensate for the low modulation. Those riders would not need the fix.

2. The 01-05 radios also have a microphonics problem that is caused by a design problem in the radio itself. It causes road and wind noise to be transmitted along with a person's voice at higher speeds. This makes it harder for people on the receiving end to hear and understand what is being transmitted. This problem also affects the use of the Intercom and rider to passenger communications to an even greater extent. I have a fix for the microphonics too, which elminates the problem on both Intercom and CB.

I can't discuss it any further than that in a thread. You would have to PM me for more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A world of knowledge we are able to tap into on this forum. Thanks to everyone for your help and for sharing valuable information! :bow:
 

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If you are running dual antennas ( CB on one side and AM/FM on the other ) the CB signal output will lobe across the antennas because of no real ground plain. Max power to the sides not fore and aft. A single antenna AM/FM CB will radiate even power in all directions.
 
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