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Another CB Radio Installation

May 29, 2001 COG digest 2658
From: "C.L. Tedrick"

I've been watching the list for some time and talking to fellow COGGERS, and it seems that several folks are trying put a CB on their rides for not too much money (aren't we all?).  I ride a 98 Concours most of the time and a 98 Goldwing when the princess (wife) wants to take a cruise on the land yacht.

But, on to the cheap (relative to the 'wing anyway) CB solution for the Connie.  First, the motorcycle is small and provides virtually no ground plane for the CB to transmit properly.  So, I went to the local 'Shack', and bought the no ground plane antenna that fits over the top of the car window and stays in place when you roll the window up. Next, I removed the left side helmet lock gizmo from the back of the bike.  This left a couple of mounting holes on the bracket that was holding the helmet lock. Then, I hooked the antenna bracket over the helmet lock bracket (as if it were a window, albeit a thin one), and marked one of the existing holes onto the antenna bracket.

Next, I drilled the bracket so that I could put a machine screw with nylon locknut through the antenna bracket and the existing hole in the helmet bracket.  I had to remove part of the back side of the antenna bracket to get it to fit properly. Next, I routed the coaxial cable under the seat, along the frame, and then out the front from underneath the fuel tank.  I left enough slack to reach my magnetic tank bag. You CANNOT cut the coaxial cable, or it will not work.  It MUST remain the same length as it arrived in the package. Don't coil it up either.  Make large loops then squeeze them down carefully and tie wrap them into place on the frame of the bike.  The type of loop that you need is similar to what you see in the original bubble packing when you buy the antenna.

If you have a CB radio lying around, check the mic connector and see how many pins it has.  If it has 5 pins and a standard DIN connector, it will probably be difficult to use on the motorcycle as the microphone switches the mic audio, the receive audio, and it also keys the transmitter on when you want to talk. 

It will also probably have a condenser type microphone.  Most motorcycle headsets use dynamic microphones which are not compatible with radios that want to see a condenser microphone.   If your CB has a 4 pin mic connector, you are probably in business.  What you want, for simplicity, is a CB that will receive signals and make receive audio through the speaker WITHOUT having the microphone plugged in.  Typical candidates are some Uniden, Cobra, etc.

I happened to have an old Uniden model 122 single sideband mobile unit in the garage, so I used that.  The SSB mobile units are great for bikes (assuming that they are fairly compact) because most of them have a NOISE BLANKER circuit. This is critical for most bikes as the noise blanker practically eliminates impulse noise.  The ignition system of almost all motorcycles makes lots of impulse noise as it fires the spark plugs.  The cheaper CBs have an ANL (automatic noise limiter) circuit that helps, but the noise blanker is the best.

Since I ride both a Connie and a 'wing, I wanted to use the same helmet and headset on both bikes.  So, I bought a 5 pin DIN receptacle that I could plug my helmet directly into. This receptacle was wired back to back with the 4 pin mic plug that plugs into the radio mic jack.  If you are not technically inclined, you may want to find a good friend or technician that is so that he can do the wiring.  By looking at your existing microphone and the diagram for your helmet headset (if you have one), a good technician should have no problem making the connections.  I did my own, and it actually works, so it can't be too difficult.

Next, I used a 1/8" miniature phone plug to tap the receive audio from the external audio output jack at the back of the radio.  This is wired into the 5 pin DIN receptacle to bring the audio into the helmet headset.   The 5 pin DIN receptacle handles the receive audio and the microphone audio so that you can talk and hear with your helmet on  (assuming that you have a helmet in the first place).

Finally, I mounted a small toggle switch to the left side handlebar mirror mount hole with a small "L" bracket and brought the wire into the tankbag.  There are three cables that go from the motorcycle into the tankbag.  They are 12 VDC power, the antenna cable, and the wiring from the toggle switch on the handlebar.  The antenna cable unscrews from the radio, and I installed in-line connectors on the other two cables.  That way I can easily unplug the CB, and take it with me if I need to leave the bike.  When the CB is off of the bike, I route the cable ends into the right fairing pocket and carefully lock the cover to hold them in place, being sure to leave enough slack to let the handlebars turn without binding.

I chose a toggle switch for the transmit button, because I don't have to hold pressure on it constantly while I talk. This is handy around town with a lot of stop and go traffic.  I flick it up to talk, shift if I need to, and then flick it down to listen.  This would be a real boon for my wife who would much rather talk anyway :o)

If you don't have a CB handy, there always seems to be an endless supply that are up for auction on E-bay.  I have a buddy who rides an airhead that we are going to fix up next with a mobile CB unit.  We will probably try our luck at E-bay and see what we can get.

I elected to use a mobile unit in a tankbag so that I could keep it dry in bad weather and keep it zipped up when I park the bike (away from prying eyes).  I first tried a portable CB mounted to a handlebar mount, but the Connie buzz shook its innards apart in about a month.  And, it didn't have the features (noise blanker) of the mobile unit (nor was it SSB).  I have talked a long way on channel 37 on SSB with the setup that I have now.  Works great.  I can't wait to get a similar unit on my buddy's airhead so that we can try out the SSB to see how far it will talk bike-to-bike.

I apologize for the long winded post, but I hope that this might help those of you who are looking for a cheap and fairly easy solution to your CB needs on the bike.

One last thing: be sure to get someone who knows how to check the SWR on your antenna when you are done.  High SWR can damage a transmitter in short order.

Good luck, Chuck  #4314
98 Concours "Desert Rat"
98 Goldwing "Dessert Rat"
Las Cruces, N.M.

Article By: C.L. Tedrick 

August 2001 

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