CB radios and The Ground Plane

I suffered with CB radios in my Jeep. No matter what CB or antenna I used I suffered with poor performance. Noise, inability to hear, and even engine electrically problems. My Jeep would literally shut off when I would key the mic. After some research I realized I new nothing about CB radios and antennas. Like anything else involved with a Jeep – nothing comes easy except the need to refuel or fix something.

The ground plane and the Jeep’s lack of one
Since the jeepfan.com CJ-5 has a fiberglass body there isn’t any surface (ground plane) for the radio signals to use to move outward from the antenna. Also, the fact that I am mounting the antenna on the rear of the Jeep makes things worse. The optimal mounting location for an antenna (a single antenna system) is on the roof of the vehicle, hard to do on a CJ with a soft top. The lack of the ground plane plus and an un-tuned antenna was the cause of so much radio interference to cause my Jeep’s fuel injection controller to go haywire.

Enter the Firestik “No Ground Plane” antenna system
Firestik manufactures an antenna system that is specially designed for vehicles with little or no metallic surface available to serve as the ground plane. The system consists of a special antenna, mount, and matching coaxial cable. A particular oddity of this system is that the antenna is not grounded to the vehicles ground surface.

Firestik makes several models available in various colors.

Installation
The system is installed in a usual manner like most antennas taking care to use the isolated bushings to avoid contact with the vehicles ground surface. I installed a spring mount at the bottom of the antenna and a quick disconnect for easy removal.

Tuning
After installation the antenna (all CB antennas) must be tuned using an SWR meter of one kind or another. See this article on offroaders.com for tips on SWR tuning.

Performance
After all the above I can now use my CB without fear of a stalling Jeep. I also can now hear and participate in CB conversations. Shows a little research and knowledge can always lead to improvement.

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