Midland CB Radio Install on Motorcycle

low rider ready for CB installment

In this third installment of this story I am going to show you how I installed the Midland 75-822 on my Harley-Davidson Low Rider using the Midland’s mobile adapter (part# 18-821). The mobile attachment has a cable with two leads coming off it. One ends in a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug and the other is a coaxial CB base antenna coupling.

Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2

First I put my magnetic map holder on the gas tank and removed the seat. I attached my backrest with chrome luggage rack. I used the handheld CB’s belt clip to attach it to the map holder on the gas tank. I met someone at the DE/MD State HOG Rally who had a handlebar mount that holds the CB on the handlebar. She said the handlebar mount was sold by Radio Shack. I would like to try this out and see if it works better than the map holder set up.

mount midland cb to magnetic map holder

remove seat to place antenna cable under

I coiled up the twenty feet of coaxial cable coming off the magnetic mount antenna and put it under the motorcycle’s seat. I attached the coaxial couplings from the mobile adapter to the antenna cable. I put the seat back on and mounted the magnetic base antenna on the luggage rack. I plugged the 12 volt cigarette lighter plug into one of my 12 volt cigarette lighter adapters from www.Shop.RoadCaptainUSA.com and attached that to my battery tender quick connect cable (pigtail also available at our online store). I used a few black tie wraps to neaten up the wiring.

magnetic cb antenna with 20? of cable

20? of coiled cable under seat

magnetic mount antenna on luggage rack

seat and antenna installed

plug 12 volt cigarette lighter plug into battery tender

close up of 12 volt cigarette lighter plug for motorcycle

neaten up the wiring with tie wraps

complete installation of midland Cb on low rider

This set up didn’t work well and from the advertising propaganda of CB parts and conversations found at online forums I summized the following three problems:

1. Magnetic mount antennas do not provide a good ground. I needed to replace with a traditional CB whip antenna with a ground lead.

2. You should not coil up the excess coaxial cable. I replaced with a short 2′ cable which seems to be a rare item to find as most people need more lead to run through a truck or automobile.

3. The antenna should be held away from the vehicle by a few inches by using an antenna mount.

After picking up a new antenna and mounting it to the luggage rack using a CB antenna mount bracket and gounding it to the screw that holds the seat in place the system was working. I was able to communicate successfully with Diana who was using the J&B handlebar mounted CB. I didn’t take any pictures of this set up.

A problem I experienced several times after that was the cigarette lighter plug would vibrate inside the plug and the quality of the electric contact would worsen causing decreased radio performance. I never did adjust the second antenna’s SWR using an SWR meter. It is possible the 2′ coaxial cable was not of high quality. There is also the possibility the headset was also not the best quality. The ground connection I had to the seat screw may not have been affective. Those possibilites could all be part of the poor performance on the CB set up using the Midland’s mobile attachment to make it into a motorcycle compatable communication device.

I finally put 6 low quality AA batteries into the battery compartment, attached the short 7″ antenna and ditched the mobile set up. Surprisingly this worked better! I wasted about $75 trying to power the radio off the bike’s battery and using a base antenna.

Firestik makes CB antennas that have a great reputation. They make two kinds: GP and NGP. GP (Ground Plane) antennas have a ground lead and need to be grounded to the vehicle’s metal chasis. NGP (No-Ground-Plane) antennas are built for vehicles such as boats where the vehicle chasis is not conductive. I would have liked to keep trying different combinations of antennas including the no-ground-plane antenna to see if this resulted in better performance. However I can’t keep spending money on this project.

The Firestik website which is full of information indicates a poor quality radio with a great antenna will work better than a high quality radio with a poor antenna. In other words the antenna has more to do with the performance than the radio itself. I believed that until the antenna on Diana’s motorcycle came off during a ride. Her J&B CB radio still outperformed my Midland hand held CB with no antenna at all! It suffered very little in performance when the antenna was lost.

I am happy to get rid of the base antenna set up because I like my T-bag attached to my backrest on the luggage rack.

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5 Responses to “Midland CB Radio Install on Motorcycle”

  1. Hey J- Question- I cannot determine excatly which headset and PTT plug for the midland 75. Some sites have said the S1 will work and others say the S2 will work. Seems the manufacturer is not clear either. HELP!!!!!

    THanks,

    Jerry

  2. Jay- Can you help me to determine exactly which connector plug (for the speaker and PTT) works for the Midland 75-822. Some sites say the S1 works whie other sites say the S2 works.

    HELP!!!

    Thanks,

    Jerry Green

  3. Hi Jerry. Since we must be related I will try to come to your side and help you out here. This is the third post on this subject. In the previous post I had this tidbit of information: “I purchased a special motorcycle RiderComm-S1 headset that worked with the Midland at $89.95 from http://www.HiTechWireless.com

  4. Extremely interesting piece of writing

  5. Terrific critique, I enjoyed the this image part

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