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Thread: CB Exchange

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    105

    CB Exchange

    This will sort of be two reviews in one. I finally decided I needed to get a cb setup on my jeep. So I ordered a cb off of the internet, the Teraflex drivers side tail light mount off of the internet, and I bought a Wilson 4' fiberglass FLEX antenna from Apollo Communications at 4322 Northern Ave in Glendale.

    This is not a product review, but a customer service review. So I mounted all the equipment and went to Apollo to have it tuned (they charge 10$ to tune). They barely tuned my antenna. The fact is they couldn't get SWR down (CH 1 was at 2.2 and CH 40 at 3.5). But they only tried for ~2 minutes, and didn't offer me any solutions, and said that was as good as I could expect with these conditions. I kind of felt now and at the time that they just didn't care to help or simply didn't know how to help. So, I then spent approximately 10 hours trying various things with help from folks on the internet to get my SWR's down with no real luck, but I did get CH 1 down to 1.8 and CH 40 to 3.0)

    Finally, I just got frustrated and decided I needed to get another professional involved to figure out how to solve my problem. I called Rich at CB Exchange (480-844-7200, 6336 E Main St in Mesa), and he asked me a bunch of questions regarding my installation and equipment. He told me to bring it in, and he would check it out. I showed up, Rich checked my SWR's with his meter to verify my meter, and he made sure I had a proper ground at the Teraflex mount where I had removed its powder coating. Everything looked ok, so he was of the opinion that they sold me the wrong antenna for this application (mounted on the rear of a jeep, etc.) He said there was nothing wrong with the antenna, but it's just not what he would have recommended for where I wanted to mount it. So he tried a 4' Firestik and with minor tuning, my SWR was at 1.2 on CH 1 and 1.4 on CH 40. Of course he wanted to sell me something, but it worked and I was happy for that. Apollo didn't even bother to try a Firestik or any other solution even though they sell Firestik antenna's too.

    My problem with Apollo Communications was the fact that I told them where I wanted to mount the antenna, talked to them about Firestik antennas, and even said that was what I expected to purchase. So instead they recommend a Wilson flexible fiberglass antenna, which is great because it is so flexible, but when I had problems, they seemsed like they could have cared less since they already had my money. On the otherhand, CB Exchange was very informative and explained some more technical aspects of my system including the direction my signal would be strongest. Just all around better customer service.

    I strongly recommend going to CB Exchange. Rich really seems to know what he's doing, while the guy at Apollo either doesn't know what he's doing or doesn't care. I just hope this saves someone a lot of time and money because I spent quite a bit of both trying to figure the problem out on my own.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    7,138

    Re: CB Exchange

    What did Rich charge you for the service and for the antenna? Mine is not putting out a strong signal and is only good for about a couple of 100 yards.
    Don

    17 Oaks Ranch, Boerne, Texas

    www.savagesun4x4.com

  3. #3
    DsrtJeeper Guest

    Re: CB Exchange

    I had great luck with a Uniden 68XL modded from Mustang1. It was modded for 10 more watts output. I used the good woven coax cable from Apollo along with a 4' Wilson flexible antenna. Stu helped me dial in the SWR. Apollo convinced me to switch to the Wilson antenna after my frustration with such a stiff Firestick antenna. It wouldn't flex for crap and bent my antenna mount. I added a spring and then the stiff POS slapped my top contantly and eventually bent the mount again. I could talk to folks miles away. We dialed in the SWR to be it's best around channel 4. Apollo did me right in this case. I'd definately go back and will.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    105

    Re: CB Exchange

    He didn't charge me anything for service. But he did charge me 24.80 including tax for the Firestik. As far as the strength of your signal, I'd imagine it has a lot to do with where you have it mounted. From what I gathered in talking to Rich, it can be hard to get strong signals on a jeep simply because you can't mount to a roof which is really ideal for communicating in all directions.

    DsrtJeeper,

    That's strange that I had so much trouble with the Wilson Flex, etc. But with different mounts, jeeps, etc., you never know...

    They just seemed lazy at Apollo. Obviously, you had good SWR with that antenna, so why didn't they want to help me and why did they tell me that was typical for where I had it mounted. Maybe it is typical for that antenna on the rear, oh well... I did like how flexible that antenna was, but for some reason I just couldn't get the SWR down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Utah!
    Posts
    2,455

    Re: CB Exchange

    Great write up.
    Still liberal and still Jeep'n!

  6. #6
    DsrtJeeper Guest

    Re: CB Exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB View Post
    He didn't charge me anything for service. But he did charge me 24.80 including tax for the Firestik. As far as the strength of your signal, I'd imagine it has a lot to do with where you have it mounted. From what I gathered in talking to Rich, it can be hard to get strong signals on a jeep simply because you can't mount to a roof which is really ideal for communicating in all directions.

    DsrtJeeper,

    That's strange that I had so much trouble with the Wilson Flex, etc. But with different mounts, jeeps, etc., you never know...

    They just seemed lazy at Apollo. Obviously, you had good SWR with that antenna, so why didn't they want to help me and why did they tell me that was typical for where I had it mounted. Maybe it is typical for that antenna on the rear, oh well... I did like how flexible that antenna was, but for some reason I just couldn't get the SWR down.
    I ran my antenna just above the driver's side taillight. My SWR was never perfect either but was optimized for the channel range I used. Unless you're running a big $$$$ Galaxy radio with lots of output power; I don't think you can get much range out of a normal cb anyways. I suspect that Apollo was telling you that your SWR was good enough. They know that Jeepers travel closely in groups and need very little range. Heck; a $25.00 set of FRS radios will communicate well on the trail.

    It's true that the Jeep has very little ground plane. This is one reason why it is recommended to mount the antenna on the front fender, but isn't very practical. The important thing is that you're happy in the end.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Mesa
    Posts
    364

    Re: CB Exchange

    I have used CB exchange and Rich is very knowledgeable. I would recommend his shop, although you'll get an earfull about how Jeeps are terrible for CB signal strength.

  8. #8
    desertdawg Guest

    Re: CB Exchange

    Yeah Rich definitely knows his stuff. I have used his services a few times. Although, he can sometimes seem a little grouchy and kind of treats you like a dumb arse at times. If you don't pay attention to it, he will mellow out and be very helpful. He's sort of like the "CB Nazi."

    I have also done business with the guy at Mustang1. He is also very helpful and knowledgable. I figured he would have retired by now. When I was in there a few years ago he was getting offers from developers to buy land he had bought in Kingman years ago and said he was a millionaire over night.

  9. #9
    DsrtJeeper Guest

    Re: CB Exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by desertdawg View Post
    Yeah Rich definitely knows his stuff. I have used his services a few times. Although, he can sometimes seem a little grouchy and kind of treats you like a dumb arse at times. If you don't pay attention to it, he will mellow out and be very helpful. He's sort of like the "CB Nazi."

    I have also done business with the guy at Mustang1. He is also very helpful and knowledgable. I figured he would have retired by now. When I was in there a few years ago he was getting offers from developers to buy land he had bought in Kingman years ago and said he was a millionaire over night.
    Mustang1 sold out. Don't know when...

    Thanks for the tires by the way. I love them!

  10. #10
    desertdawg Guest

    Re: CB Exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by DsrtJeeper View Post
    Mustang1 sold out. Don't know when...

    Thanks for the tires by the way. I love them!
    He's probably enjoying the good life now.

    Glad you like the tires. I could use one of them now. I gouged another tire on Willow today.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Down in Maricopa
    Posts
    997

    Re: CB Exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by DsrtJeeper View Post
    I don't think you can get much range out of a normal cb anyways.
    Actually, you can get pretty good range out of a stock 4watt CB if you get it set up right.

    Quote Originally Posted by DsrtJeeper View Post
    I suspect that Apollo was telling you that your SWR was good enough. They know that Jeepers travel closely in groups and need very little range.
    It may be that the SWR was 'good enough' but the closer it is to 1:1 the better (but you probably knew that). If it is too far out-of-whack it can potentially burn out the transmit portion of the radio and then you are S.O.L. As for the Wilson antenna, it could have just been a bad unit. Maybe if CB exchange has one in stock you can try it out to see if a different unit of the same type gives you the same results.

  12. #12
    DsrtJeeper Guest

    Re: CB Exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by corwyyn View Post
    Actually, you can get pretty good range out of a stock 4watt CB if you get it set up right.
    Not in the mountainous regions we often wheel in. I should have clarified my statement better. It also depends on what you consider "pretty good." I can definately get better range on the highway. My whole point was that you often do not need 1:1 to communicate on the trail. We mostly travel in close groups. The newer units do not burn out like the CB's of old with undesireable SWR. They now have protection circuits built in.

  13. #13

    Re: CB Exchange

    cb exchange is great for donating to others pockets too.

    I bought my CB there for $140. Fry's electronics had it for $80. Oh, but I got to listen to the jeeps suck rant so that was a plus

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Chandler/Gilbert
    Posts
    937

    Re: CB Exchange

    is there a phone number or contact for CB Exchange?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Chandler/Gilbert
    Posts
    937

    Re: CB Exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by AZsilver View Post
    is there a phone number or contact for CB Exchange?
    Never mind...I found his phone number

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