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Cobra 18WXSTII & 19DXIII CB Radios

By Mike "TXJEEPER" Cohn

Let me say something right from the start here. There are probably a whole lot of readers out there who know a who know a lot more about CB radios than I do. I've owned a ton of them, but I've always been an "off-the-shelf" kind of guy who uses what he buys as-is. In other words, there are many people who buy CB radios and tweak them until they can talk to their friends in Timbuk 2 and everyone within 20 miles can hear their conversations over their favorite cable tv show. Tweaking CB radios is against the law. The FCC says so. So what I'm going to write about in this column are two of Cobra Electronic's hottest new radios on the market, which are the 18WXSTII and the 19DXIII and how they work in their off-the-shelf fashion. I'll also touch on Turbo City's windshield CB Radio Mounting Plate and a few things to think about when buying yourself a new radio.

When shopping for a new CB radio, one of the biggest questions you can ask yourself is "how and where am I going to mount this thing?" You basically have several options, which include:

  • Under the dash
  • In the dash
  • On the dash
  • In a center console, such as a Tuffy box
  • Over your head on a roll bar or CBrack
  • Mounted to the windshield frame
Turbo City CB Mounting Bracket
The Turbo City CB Mounting Bracket is about as simple as can be.

That's a lot of prepositions, but it's also a lot of options. Each option has its own merits and its own problems and concerns. For example, if you want it under the dash, where does the speaker aim? Most-likely, at your feet. If it goes inside a console, then you're really out of luck. Fortunately, many CB radios have external jacks and you can wire in an external speaker. Oh, but then where do you put that?

I used to have my radio attached to the sport bar behind me and over my head. It was attached with a mounting bracket that was held on by hose clamps. Talk about fancy-schmancy fabrication! OK, I admit it. It was ugly and my riders often bumped their noggins on it when they climbed in. It did work, though, and I kept the wires nicely hidden by running them under the sport bar's padding and through the soundbar.

Using the radio, however, was a chore. I had to either turn around to look at the controls, feel around, blind for them and use them backward, or look in the mirror and do the same. Lame operating ergonomics, at best. I decided to try the Turbo City CB Mounting Bracket. Again, let's talk about some simple fabrication. Basically, they take four pieces of steel, weld them together, and punch a few holes through it. Simple, but it works great!

Uniden

This old Uniden radio had seen a lot of action. We leave the top off for most of the summer, so it had been toasted quite well and was plenty dirty. It worked just fine, though, and we used it for a couple years, until we got the new Cobras this Spring.

In order to mount a CB on the Turbo City bracket, you have to drill through the top of the radio. Now don't be lazy! Take a minute to remove the cover and make sure your screws aren't going to zip right through the radio's circuit board! I chose some small, self-tapping screws to make life easy.


Turbo City Installation
The mounting bracket uses the existing holes from the windshield frame's footman loop. If you like to lay your windshield down, you're out of luck. You will need to mount your CB to the bracket and then to the windshield.
Turbo City Installation
When you drill the holes in the radio's top, be sure not go so far back that you can't fit the antenna wire into the rear of the radio. You will need a flexible screwdriver extension with a Torx bit in order to get to the odd angle of the screw inside the bracket.

Once you have the radio mounted on the windshield frame, the rest is basic radio wiring, which we won't get in to here. You will need to run several wires, including the antenna wire down and to an electrical source and the antenna. It's not the neatest way to go, but it's not horribly ugly, either, if you use run the wires down the plastic side channels (TJ only).

 

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