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Uniden Off-Road CB Kit Performance Review

Here is where it all comes together and we see how well everything works as an off-road CB communication system.

The Uniden name has been around for quite some time and is prevalent in both commercial and consumer communications.  The Pro 510XL is a good entry level radio in my opinion and might very well be all you'll need for your off-road adventures.  In the day and age where some manufacturers provide 1 year or sometimes just 90 day warrantees on electronics, you get a 2 year warranty on the 510XL. 

The audio output from the 510XL is pretty good.  The manual rates the speaker at 3 watts and unit is capable of 7 watts of audio output (there is an external speaker on the rear panel) so hearing it should not be a problem.  The downward facing speaker is optimally located should you decide to mount the radio on the upper portion of your sports bar or roll cage (as I did).

Front panel controls include Volume/Power control, Squelch control, and ANL (Automatic Noise Limiter).  Sometimes the ANL will help reduce (I did not say eliminate) vehicle generated RF interference.  This usually comes at the price of loosing some of the desired signal as well.  You can experiment with it (turning it on and off) to see if/when it works on different noises that you might encounter as you are driving.  The Channel Indicator is easy to read and is changed via the Channel Selector control.  The range of the Squelch control covers a useful operating range.

I've not had the TJ out on the highway for testing yet but I managed to spin through the channels while it sat in the driveway during the antenna adjustment.

I heard a good signal on Channel 6 and came back asking for a radio check.  I received an excellent report and the guy I was copying was crystal clear and pegged out the meter.  He told me I sound as though I were in his back seat.  A quick check indicated he was a half mile away.  OK, so it's not a record breaker but it is an indication of what kind of performance I expect to see on the trail.  Trail communications yielding solid copy at a half mile should keep anyone happy. 

I'll add more to this section as I get a chance to try the Uniden around town, on the highway, and on the trail. 

For the time being, the Uniden Off-Road Kit has more than met my expectations for performance.  The fact that the installation was clean and easy and the antenna adjustment was done in just a matter of minutes with excellent results was just more frosting on the cake, in my opinion.

I don't see how anyone could be disappointed with this off-road kit for just $99. 

Stop by Right Channel Radios online CB Radio and Antenna Shop for a large selection of radios, antennas and, of course, Jeep CB Kits.


Update:  4/28/2008

While running some errands today around town, I turned on the Uniden.  Channel 19 showed some activity so I listened for a bit.  Found a truck stop, about 5~6 miles away, giving out information on their local truck wash prices.  In a couple of minutes, the same truck stop started chatting with a trucker that was more than 8 miles from my location.  He was weaker than the truck stop but I could copy him without any problem as I drove down the street in my TJ. 

The Uniden's ANL takes the bite out of the static (sounds like ignition noise) without hurting the desired signal very much at all.  So that is working better than I was expecting it to.

As far as audio punch, I had no problems hearing the conversations while I was running about 45 MPH in city traffic.

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