Episode-2264- Expert Council for 8-3-18 — 5 Comments

  1. While listening to the gun list question, I recalled something I heard listening to the NRA tv podcast, so I looked it up and found out that there are 2 more possibilities for what the caller was talking about. While the answer is correct for the majority of the USA, Connecticut is one of those states with a bunch of draconian gun laws. One of these is that in order to purchase a handgun in CT, you have to go in and apply for a purchase permit which includes going to the local pd and doing paperwork, fingerprints, training requirements, and a background check (in addition to the background check required by federal law at the FFL when you actually make the purchase) before you can go and purchase a handgun. It would not surprise me at all, given the the anti-gun climate of CT for there to be a list of people maintained at either the state or local level, of people who have obtained a handgun purchase permit. CT also requires registration of “assault weapons”. Either of these could be what was being checked.

  2. Setting up fixed pole antennas for a CB:

    If you are going to build an antenna, I highly suggest you pick up an SWR meter and learn to use it. This will not only help you tune the antenna, but possible save your radio too. You can damage your radio!

    Is there such a thing as a “gun owners list” for local LEOs:

    In NY and other states I am sure, there are registration lists for handguns. In NYC I believe ALL guns are registered. AND YES – NY has and does confiscate weapons.

  3. A couple of clarifications on John’s antenna answer. First I completely agree with the use of CB radios for local communication, but I think some of the things John said could be misconstrued.
    John is correct that CB has a 11m wavelength, or in non-metric terms about 36ft.
    There are many thick books written on antenna design so I will give just the barest basics here.

    An antenna can be any wire and that wire will radiate out perpendicular to the wire.  What that means is that any antenna is directional as it radiates least in the direction it is pointing.  The question mentions vertical antennas which are called omnidirectional as they radiate evenly in any direction but up, so are good for short range communication as long as you are not trying to communicate with someone directly overhead.

    An efficient antenna is one that is tuned to the frequency that it is using.  For a transmitting antenna, that tuning is important because without it you can hurt your radio as that power has to go somewhere.  This is why I will second the suggestion that you get a SWR meter to tune your antenna, as a cheap antenna ceases to be cheap, if it breaks your radio.

    Antennas usually have multiple members which are used to shape how the antenna radiates.

    The first antenna mentioned in the response is the J-Pole, which if oriented vertically is omnidirectional.  It has two members, a 3/4 wave and a quarter wave arranged next to each other forming a narrow J, thus the name. Since CB has a 36’ wavelength, the J-Pole is placing a 27’ conductor next to a 9’ conductor.  This is commonly done with copper pipe as you have to have a pretty wide pipe to stand up 27’ without falling over and copper is a good conductor.  The J-Pole is slightly directional as there is a slight gain in the direction of the shorter section.

    The second antenna mentioned is the dipole, which is sometimes called a half wave dipole because it is two ¼ wave members inline, fed from the center.  This is also omnidirectional, if mounted vertically.  So you just need two 9’ wires fed from the center at least 9’ off the ground.  This is commonly done by hanging the system from a tree, but you could do the same thing with two 9’ copper pipes and a PVC center section.  You also want to keep the whole system away from the tree, as living trees are conductive so can affect the antenna. If you do a horizontal dipole it will be very directional and will not transmit well in the direction of the wires. i.e. If the wires go north and south, then it will work well only to the east and west.

    For these reasons, I would think the cheapest vertical antenna if you don’t have a tree handy is a quarter wave antenna which as the name implies is ¼ wave tall (~9’ or 105” to be exact) and then has four radial members going out from the bottom.  So all you need is one 9’ pipe (copper is a better conductor, but conduit is cheaper) and then four cheap wires to be used as radials.  This is basically what many automobile CB antennas are, but the radials are replaced by the metal of the vehicle.

    But I guess it all depends on how windy it is where you are and whether you have a tree or similar structure handy.  Then there is performance.  Longer antennas usually work better, so the 1/2 wave is better than the 1/4 and the J-Pole is a bit better than the half.  Also higher antennas work better, so if you can get a cheap antenna up high you may be better off than a expensive antenna down low.