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Friday 28 June 2013

Scooter CB... the theory

I plan to purchase a 50cc scooter/moped in the not too distant future as I am starting to find bus fares are costly and am spending £15 a week and I'd spend less than that on riding a scooter a week, and I plan to fit it with a CB radio.  I have identified a few issues already that have to be overcome, these are:

  1. Lack of a suitable groundplane, without which a standard mobile antenna will not work, so an antenna designed to be fit to fibreglass vehicles would be needed, at least two have been identified as suitable though it is possible to buy an EGP kit, however I cannot buy this until I have the scooter.
  2. A suitable power source.  My understanding is that most modern scooters have a 12 volt electrical system, so simply fitting a cigarette lighter socket to it should be no problem, this will then accommodate the car adaptor supplied with current handheld CBs such as the Intek H-520 and Midland Alan 42 Multi (I have both radios and bought the latter specifically for this).  The supply would also be fused on the socket's positive line to avoid any fires or other such issues, and possibly ignition-switched
  3. Headset.  A standard CB radio cannot accept an Icom type headset connection (as found on PMR446), except on some very expensive radios that putting onto a scooter would not be wise to do and would not be removable as readily.  As all handhelds currently on the market are Icom headset compatible this makes them usable with motorcycle headsets which simply are fitted in the rider's helmet and have a PTT on the handlebar to allow transmission, handheld CBs do not have VOX either so this may be solved already but I need a motorcycle helmet first.
  4. Mounting the radio.  This will depend on the scooter, the handlebars themselves are a no-no for obvious reasons, it would need to be mounted so it can be accessed easily yet not interfere with my operation of the scooter, the planned mounting location may also dictate the location of the cigarette lighter though I may use the same socket to charge my mobile phone.
  5. Ease of removal.  I decided that the Intek H-520 Plus is quite a cumbersome radio for this task, as is the cheaper H-512 as it uses the same basic case, so instead I chose the Midland Alan 42 Multi. Also the car kit supplied with the Midland slides onto it in place of the battery box, the Intek radios use a small screw to hold it's car kit in place on the underneath of the radio and requires the user to remove one of the batteries before using it on a cigar lighter socket.
  6. Waterproofing.  The antenna connection can be waterproofed with self-amalgamating tape, in particular the connection at the antenna itself as this will be permanently connected, the radio itself however is something I will have to look at at install time.
  7. Security, as the radio is quick to remove this should be no problem, when I am not using the scooter I simply remove the radio and return it to the house.
I am not the first person to fit a CB radio to a scooter/moped, I know of at least one other that has done this, though they used a different radio, a Midland 38, I suspect this was for static mobile use rather than actually on the move given the radio used.

I will post an update once I have a scooter and put this theory into reality. I will also include photos of the installation.

73 de 26CT730

Saturday 22 June 2013

Another 446 gateway update

It has been a while since I've been able to get on air as the last few months have been VERY busy for a variety of reasons.

The PMR446 gateway computer failed again but I may have solved the problem.  The current 80GB hard disk was not being detected, I have, however, replaced the power supply, which was just out of a theory I had, and the hard disk was detected and the gateway computer booted successfully, the gateway is now operating on it's usual channel and CTCSS combination, it has also been up for a week without a fault, I am keeping a reasonably close eye on it though I'd need to keep a radio on me at all times to be absolutely sure and I would not be able to do so.

I am happy that the gateway is back on air, this means I can hopefully restart work on the CB gateway again, and hopefully that will be on air before the end of the year.

73 de 26CT730