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Some history first: A few weeks ago I installed a CB in my new FJ. I had wanted a radio that was 'good enough' for use on trails to stay in touch with the group during a run. I bought a Midland 1001z for $26 because it was a popular radio. After installing it with Firestik cable, 3' antenna and mount I adjusted the antenna to a low SWR of 1:1.25. While outside my garage about 2 miles from I-10 I tried several times over 20 minutes to get a 'radio check' from a passing truck on channel 19. No one answered. I tried on other days; no answer. A short time later I helped another member install his CB and when he departed we talked until he was about 2.5 miles away but it was very weak and broken. The radio worked ok on a couple of runs but I was told it sometimes sounded weak even not far away. I decided I needed a better radio.

Galaxy CBs have always had a well respected reputation with truck drivers and I liked their many features. I ordered the Galaxy DX-929 from Amazon for $128 total. There are similar and more expensive models, one with a frequency counter (LCD with actual freq. of channel; '27.155') or some with additional sidebands, but I wanted a basic radio of good quality. I installed it today. While still parked in my garage I turned on the radio and asked for a radio check on channel 19. I got an immediate answer from someone that sounded nearby. He said I sounded good but 'a little tinny'. I turned down the gain control for the microphone and he said I sounded better but still a little weak. I backed out of the garage and told him I had just installed a new radio. He replied "I don't know what you did, maybe you're closer now, but you sound much better than before". I asked where he was, expecting him to say he was passing my location on the freeway to the south. He replied he was near the Phoenix International Raceway 4 miles south of I-10 and 9 miles further east of me. He commented that I had a very good radio if it was 'barefoot' (stock). I kept talking to him until he parked at PIR. He was more than 12 miles from me in a straight line. Two other truck drivers also commented I sounded good.

The Midland had been mounted in the bin at the rear of the console but the Galaxy was slightly too large to fit there. I didn't want to attach it to the rear of the console, out of my direct sight and possibly interfering with folding the rear seats. Since my wife often carries her own gear, handbag and crochet goodies, I didn't want to take up any of her space. I decided to mount it on the driver's side of the console. My leg doesn't normally touch the console so it's not in the way and my leg can comfortably rest against it if desired. Rather than put holes in the console for the mount I used strong velcro tape, one strip at the top and bottom edge of the radio. The surfaces were flat so it holds very tightly. Seriously, it's not going anywhere even off-road. The Midland had been mounted with just one strip of velcro and never moved. Even the microphone clip is attached near the fan control with velcro and stays put with repeated removal of the mic.

The radio has some nice controls besides the usual Squelch, RF Gain and PA. It has a very nice, detailed meter showing Signal Strength, Modulation, Power output and SWR. There's a control for Microphone Gain that allows you to talk without the mic being right near your mouth. The faceplate is backlighted to easily see all controls at night and has a variable Dimmer control. A Power control allows you to tailor transmit power to your needs; less for close contacts or more for distant communications. For noisy situations it has a Noise Blanker and Automatic Noise Limiter. A Talkback feature allows you to hear your own voice from the radio, most useful if you have a powered microphone or one with an echo function and need to know how you sound. There is also the common Red light to indicate you are transmitting and Green for reception. Also, a red light to warn you if your antenna is far out of tune, above an SWR of 1:3.1.

I highly recommend the Galaxy DX-929 (or similar 939/959..more $$) if you don't mind spending over $100 for a quality radio. :cheers:
 

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Congrats! I had no doubts :)
 

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Lol, oops! I'd confused you with dougla. We had a conversation about the Galaxy radios on my info page. I run the 959. Yes it's big, but it's a high quality unit!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lol, oops! I'd confused you with dougla. We had a conversation about the Galaxy radios on my info page. I run the 959. Yes it's big, but it's a high quality unit!
Yes, I was tempted by the DX-959, it's loved by many. But, I didn't need the sidebands or the freq. counter and I really wanted the lighted face-plate. The specifications and other features were similar so I opted for the 929. You can really see and hear the quality of these radios. I spent 20+ years working commercial vehicle enforcement and talked to drivers daily, so the sound and reputation of Galaxy radios is well known to me. They used to cost a lot more, too, that's why I never owned one before now. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
wonder which car that truck was hauling to PIR.
Actually, I got the impression he was not a typical truck driver, seemed more willing to talk than most drivers. So, he might have been pulling a race car, but once he got to PIR he mentioned it was time for some beers. That made me think he was there to watch.
 

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I've been thinking about a Galaxy too but wondering if it was really worth it for trail use. I think you convinced me.
 

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I've been thinking about a Galaxy too but wondering if it was really worth it for trail use. I think you convinced me.
I would say it's well worth it. My original thinking was that I only needed to talk to people spread out on a trail, maybe a half mile. But stuff happens. On the last run someone didn't show up at the meeting place so after an extra 20 minute wait we left without him. Having a radio that could reach out 10-20 miles for transmit/receive would allow reaching that guy and telling them how to find you. Later, another member of the group had to temporarily leave while the rest of us kept searching for more trails. Having the ability to talk a greater distance might have been the difference between that person being able to rejoin us. Luckily, we had stopped near a main road and were able to reach him within 3 miles upon his return. And of course if there's ever an emergency you'll want all the distance possible. It should be noted, I'm using only a 3' Firestik antenna, so anyone using a well matched longer antenna will benefit from the increased gain...no doubt adding extra miles.
 

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Yes, I was tempted by the DX-959, it's loved by many. But, I didn't need the sidebands or the freq. counter and I really wanted the lighted face-plate. The specifications and other features were similar so I opted for the 929. You can really see and hear the quality of these radios. I spent 20+ years working commercial vehicle enforcement and talked to drivers daily, so the sound and reputation of Galaxy radios is well known to me. They used to cost a lot more, too, that's why I never owned one before now. :)
The 959 has a button that you can push to dim the lighting. The sound is really much better then the Cobra I had before. It's like 8bit vs. 16bit. I too appreciate all the fine tuning abilities. The price is really not significant when you factor in life of service of these units.
 

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AZFJTOY, What kind of antenna mount is that??? One of the few that is not bandi.....
Jax':wave:
 

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Still looking for a new CB here, appreciate the posts from you guys about real world results. After agonizing over the legal/moral/ethical aspects of installing a radio that is 'peaked and tuned' and is very likely running over the 4 watt limit, I have given in and will install one. This is a hard decision since I have been a ham for quite a few years and understand why the 4 watt limit exists. 2 meter radios are simply better too, so I am going to install both, a nice Icom mobil 2 meter and either a Galaxy or a Magnum CB. Drilling a hole in the roof of the FJ will be the hardest part of the process, but that sweet spot on the roof is where the antennae really belong.

I signed up for the DP Dual Battery Kit Group Buy going on now, and plan to connect both radios to the aux battery along with the extra lights and outlets. I like both of the radio mounting locations that you guys are using and will probably put the Icom up by the mirror and the CB down in the footwell, where it won't be looking at me with an accusing glare quite as often. I traded a couple messages with cruiserlarry about CBs and he mentioned the possibilty that a CB with high output could interfere with the vehicle's electronics, a very astute and logical observation. So, if your engine dies whenever you key down, it might be a sign that the output power needs to be turned down.:eek:

If everyone would just get the amateur radio license and go with a 2 meter radio the whole range/interfence issue would be solved. I picked up the book at Radio Shack (Now You're Talking), read it in the parking lot in less than an hour, walked in and passed the FCC test and walked out as a licensed operator. If you compare an Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood rig with the typical CB equipment, well, there is no comparison. And the costs are similar. Please talk me out of getting the 'tuned' CB that I want.:mecry:

Anyway, I am looking at this Galaxy, so I'll probably take ideas from both AZFJTOY and FJAMMING to do my comm install. Thanks for the info! Galaxy DX 979 AM SSB CB Radio Review

:cheers:
 

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Nice write up.

Where did you get that spring for your antenna?

That is the one i am looking for.

KyFJGuy
 

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Discussion Starter #15
AZFJTOY, What kind of antenna mount is that??? One of the few that is not bandi.....
Jax':wave:
It's made by Firestik, they call it Vertical Door Jamb Mount, Model SS-204A . The local CB shop had it for about $25. The Firestik site shows an MSRP of $20.99 though.

Does your antenna bend at all going into the garage? Or do you have a taller garage door than the standard?
No, doesn't touch. That's why I decided on the 3' Firestik. The tip is 94" high and my garage opening is 95". If I ever replace this antenna I'll probably get a 4' or 5' flexible type and bend it over to a hook when not being used. Or, I might look into a permanent mount in the center of the roof.

Nice write up.

Where did you get that spring for your antenna?

That is the one i am looking for.

KyFJGuy
Amazon, as well as the Firestik antenna and cable. It will bend enough to save the antenna but is firm enough that it doesn't flop around in the wind or off-road.
 

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Would that mount work mounted down lower? I only have a 7ft garage door so if I mount the antenna on a bandi or at the same height, I can only fit a 2' antenna. Will I be able to get an acceptable SWR with a 2' antenna?
 

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AZFJ- I second or third your opinion on Galaxy. I have several radios and I have used more than a few over the years. The Galaxy is by far the finest talking radio I have ever used. Mine is the 979 version.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Still looking for a new CB here, appreciate the posts from you guys about real world results. After agonizing over the legal/moral/ethical aspects of installing a radio that is 'peaked and tuned' and is very likely running over the 4 watt limit, I have given in and will install one. This is a hard decision since I have been a ham for quite a few years and understand why the 4 watt limit exists. 2 meter radios are simply better too, so I am going to install both, a nice Icom mobil 2 meter and either a Galaxy or a Magnum CB. Drilling a hole in the roof of the FJ will be the hardest part of the process, but that sweet spot on the roof is where the antennae really belong.

I signed up for the DP Dual Battery Kit Group Buy going on now, and plan to connect both radios to the aux battery along with the extra lights and outlets. I like both of the radio mounting locations that you guys are using and will probably put the Icom up by the mirror and the CB down in the footwell, where it won't be looking at me with an accusing glare quite as often. I traded a couple messages with cruiserlarry about CBs and he mentioned the possibilty that a CB with high output could interfere with the vehicle's electronics, a very astute and logical observation. So, if your engine dies whenever you key down, it might be a sign that the output power needs to be turned down.:eek:

If everyone would just get the amateur radio license and go with a 2 meter radio the whole range/interfence issue would be solved. I picked up the book at Radio Shack (Now You're Talking), read it in the parking lot in less than an hour, walked in and passed the FCC test and walked out as a licensed operator. If you compare an Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood rig with the typical CB equipment, well, there is no comparison. And the costs are similar. Please talk me out of getting the 'tuned' CB that I want.:mecry:

Anyway, I am looking at this Galaxy, so I'll probably take ideas from both AZFJTOY and FJAMMING to do my comm install. Thanks for the info! Galaxy DX 979 AM SSB CB Radio Review

:cheers:
dougla2,

I fully agree about the quality of HAM radio and always wondered why CB's aren't made to perform better. I've talked at least 45 miles from a 2 meter HT (hand-held radio) to a mobile unit. I got a HAM license over 20 years ago and actively used it locally and with a large group of 4-wheelers who met for four 4-day excursions each year, and often a cross country road trip. After about 7 years I was no longer using the 2 meter, 220 and 1200Mhz systems on a regular basis. When the 10 year expiration came around I totally forgot about getting it renewed. I still have my radios and it appears no one has picked up my old call sign, so I need to take the exam again and try to get it back.

Do you plan to use the sidebands if you get the DX-979? If you buy a good quality CB maybe you won't feel the need to peak/tune it and can sleep at night. I drove 200 miles on I-10 today and heard an abundance of drivers with powerful rigs; sounds like a voice from Heaven, loud and clear transmissions. Often that power comes with the attitude that they can/will walk on everyone else as they please.

Let us know which radio you choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Would that mount work mounted down lower? I only have a 7ft garage door so if I mount the antenna on a bandi or at the same height, I can only fit a 2' antenna. Will I be able to get an acceptable SWR with a 2' antenna?
You could mount it lower, but I wouldn't. A 3' antenna would barely 'see' over the top of your roof, and having so much of the antenna alongside the vehicle body is not good for performance.

Use the Bandi, or the Firestik mount like mine, and get a 4' or 5' Wilson flexible fiberglass antenna. It will stand well above your roof and when it's not being used you can bend it over to a non-metallic hook to get in/out of your garage. If you forget to hook it, don't worry, it's flexible enough to survive the garage.

AZFJ- I second or third your opinion on Galaxy. I have several radios and I have used more than a few over the years. The Galaxy is by far the finest talking radio I have ever used. Mine is the 979 version.
I've talked and listened to thousands of truck drivers in the past 30 years. Often when I'd hear an impressively clean, clear sounding radio I would ask what the operator was talking on. "Galaxy" was by far the most common reply. I've never heard as much praise about any other brand but I know others have strong opinions about their favorites.
 

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I run a Little Wil magmount on the TOP of my roof. It's always taken down when now in use. I can park in the garage AND get good transmission when I'm wheeling.
 
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