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Discussion Starter #1
Any ideas?
Everything is wired directly to the battery. Voltage doesn’t drop when I key the mike.
The s&b relay is powered from the battery and gets its on signal from a tail light plug. It does this if the engine is running or not.
 

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Does s&b restart when you un-key the mic?
Where and how are ground wires for s&b, radio, antenna, and/or intercom connected?
Are they all clean and secure?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
All ground wires go directly to the battery. The antenna is ground to the cage. All connections are clean. I contacted s&b and got this back.
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Interesting. I can pop GFCI breakers with a five-watt handheld radio. My digital coffee scale will freeze up if I key the handheld near it as well.

RF can definitely play havoc with unshielded electronics.

Moving your antenna to a “side fender” is an absolutely ridiculous suggestion.

Does your radio have a low-power setting? Is it a dual-band radio? If so, do you get the same result regardless of power level and VHF/UHF setting?

When you key the radio, does the relay disengage? Have you checked power coming from the relay when the filter stops running?

There are a lot of ways current could be injected into a conductor, especially if it’s a resonant length to the frequency you’re transmitting.

If there is some common mode current causing this, you could solve that with a balun. If it’s RF messing with some sensitive electronics in the unit itself, you might need to get creative and shield them somehow.

Interesting problem.

Edit— does the tail light triggering the relay go out when you key the radio?

Edit edit— how is your SB mounted? Is it above the roof? Do you have a metal roof? Do you have a picture showing the mounting location of the antenna and the SB?

Really, you antenna should be mounted square in the center of a metal roof. If the SB were mounted beneath the roof, that would shield it from RF if that were the problem.


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Discussion Starter #5
I removed the antenna from the base and pushed to talk. It didn’t shut off. Tried 10 times. Put the antenna back on and first push the separator shut off. I bent the antenna over and tied the tip to my rack (without touching metal) and it wouldn’t shut off. I didn’t check if the relay was loosing power. It’s 3’ from the antenna. The separator is less then a foot away. I noticed it on channel 5. Weatherman. I will test the relay and see if it’s losing power and try a different frequency. It clearly has something to do with the antenna. I would have never guessed that.
 
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Don’t key the radio without the antenna, you can roast it.

Sounds like you just need to block RF from the antenna to the filter with a metal shield of some sort. Try moving the Filter if you can. It’s getting blasted with RF and it can’t handle it.


I’m betting it’s not the relay.


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Any ideas?
Everything is wired directly to the battery. Voltage doesn’t drop when I key the mike.
The s&b relay is powered from the battery and gets its on signal from a tail light plug. It does this if the engine is running or not.
I had the exact same thing happening. In most installations there is a bunch of extra slack in the antenna cable. Just have someone hit the PTT button while you move around the antenna. You’ll find a sweet spot. I only had to move mine a few inches and it quit interfering with the S&B.


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Curious, did you have any luck solving this? Honestly, I’m surprised the don’t better shield their electronics!


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Discussion Starter #9
Curious, did you have any luck solving this? Honestly, I’m surprised the don’t better shield their electronics!


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None yet that I am happy with so far. I have to relocate the antenna and I'm not happy about that. My antenna is tuned with the location it is in now. I am told it broadcasts louder, farther and clearer then any other in the group and I don't want to change that. Relocating the separator is not an option. Nowhere in the directions does it mention anything about placement next to an antenna or interference but the first words out of her mouth were "it will do that" like its common knowledge. Did I mention I'm Not happy.
 
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Have two friends with the same setups. One has his antenna mounted away from the S&B with no issues, the other.. is mounted close and it kills the fan same as you. We tried to get around the issue by installing some RF chokes, but it did not help. Changed the radio to low power and it still killed the fan.

You could try some EMI wrap on the cables, but I doubt the fan is intenrnally shielded and could be be a waste of money.

If I key up in the garage it makes my LED lights glow a bit brighter.
 

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I’m still curious where the separator is mounted. My antenna is mounted in the center of my roof, which is optimum. You’re using VHF frequencies, which require about a 19” diameter ground plane with a 1/4 wave whip antenna (also about 19”). If you are using a 1/2w whip, you can get away without the proper ground plane, but I don’t see a benefit to that. Ideally, I’d use an NMO Mount right in the center of the roof, a 1/4w whip, and mount the separator below the roofline.

This configuration would yield optimum range and use the roof as an RF shield for the separator.

Besides, if your antenna is mounted lower on the cage, you’re blasting you and your passengers with VHF radiation, which is readily absorbed by flesh.

Mounting on the roof will keep RF out of everything.


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@Katnapper Any ideas?

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Rugged has a new spring replacement antenna that is an ungrounded option, wondering if that would make a difference?


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I’d use an NMO Mount right in the center of the roof, a 1/4w whip, and mount the separator below the roofline.

This configuration would yield optimum range and use the roof as an RF shield for the separator.

Besides, if your antenna is mounted lower on the cage, you’re blasting you and your passengers with VHF radiation, which is readily absorbed by flesh.

Mounting on the roof will keep RF out of everything.
S&B doesn't shield their motors and Rugged's antennas pop a ton of RF based on power, wave frequency, and amplitude.

If you want the best of both worlds, as Wheel indicated, put a ground plane antenna in the center of your metal roof and your S&B below the roof line at least half the distance of the most used frequency band's amplitude.

Since that scenario won't play well for most people that I ride with because they have roof racks or other reasons for not wanting to or being able to mount their antenna there, you could get a non ground plane antenna and play with the slack in the cable to find a sweet spot where you can locate it as high as possible on the car nearest the desired location without interfering with the S&B. The "recommended" distance given the amplitude is 3 feet. YMMV. The down side is going to be you won't get the range you "could" with a center roof ground plane setup. But, unless you're going for the optimal setup that Wheel suggested above, you're looking at the best of the compromises available because you're fighting physics.

I had the exact issue you're having and found my solution by trial and error. I guide at the rallys and have had extensive conversations with Rugged. They know pretty much exactly what's going on. But, when I talk with S&B, the initial, front line people are either in the dark or claim ignorance. But, if you get to an engineer, they know exactly what the issue is, too. I asked them if given the increasing popularity of headsets if they had any plans to shield their motors from RF interference and they said "no."

The simplest fix, of course, is for S&B to just shield their motors or give the consumer an upgraded shielded option since both the S&B and antennas want to share the same real estate but can't do it effectively as currently constructed. But, for S&B to say that on a small car like a SXS that you need to put the antenna for your system that costs multiple times the cost of the S&B 3 feet away from the S&B motor is playing ostrich, if you asked me. (Yes, their position really "grinds my gears" ;))

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I’m still curious where the separator is mounted. My antenna is mounted in the center of my roof, which is optimum. You’re using VHF frequencies, which require about a 19” diameter ground plane with a 1/4 wave whip antenna (also about 19”). If you are using a 1/2w whip, you can get away without the proper ground plane, but I don’t see a benefit to that. Ideally, I’d use an NMO Mount right in the center of the roof, a 1/4w whip, and mount the separator below the roofline.

This configuration would yield optimum range and use the roof as an RF shield for the separator.

Besides, if your antenna is mounted lower on the cage, you’re blasting you and your passengers with VHF radiation, which is readily absorbed by flesh.

Mounting on the roof will keep RF out of everything.


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My separator is mounted on top of my rack rack. Hard to see it and the antenna behind it
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Got it. Well, you may not like to hear this but that antenna location is a poor choice to begin with. That 1/2w whip would work much better if it were mounted up on top of the rack rather than snaking it’s way through all those tubes and miscellaneous electronics. The radiation pattern has got to be all kinds of jacked up.

I see that you’ve got a difficult situation trying to get an ideal antenna location.

If I were you, I’d move the antenna to the front of your cage, or even mount it to one of the tubes on the roof rack, towards the front. I’d bet that would solve your problem, and improve radio performance as well. You may have the best radio setup in the group, that just tells me the rest of the group is severely handicapped with really, really bad antenna installs.

Personally, I’d prefer the radiation pattern of a 1/4w, you get a higher takeoff angle which helps throw your signal up and over rolling terrain. The problem with a 1/4w is that you absolutely need to mount the antenna to a proper ground plane (metal roof etc). A 1/2w can do without the ground plane, so you’re probably sticking with that. The downside of the 1/2w is that it’s twice as long. Whips are pretty bendy though, and with that spring base you’d probably be fine.


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I had to go out and try mine. I have always had helmets on so I wouldn’t have heard if the SB shut off. My antenna is mounted right above the sb filter and have the xtc wiring kit so I don’t use the harness. I can turn on and off the sb in the dash. I have a pci system also so I don’t know if that makes any difference but mine doesn’t shut off at all.
I have had the older rugged stuff and I would swear it never shut off either. I recently installed a brand new rugged system in a car and I can for sure say it’s a much cheaper quality wise. Everything was Chinese branded so I’m not impressed with that. I noticed that the older systems had laird coax and the new is some generic Chinese crap. Wonder if the newer cables aren’t shielded like the laird ones are?
 

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I have the pci radio and s&b and mine cuts off as well. I always thought it was my wiring.

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I’m certain it’s not the relay or the wiring. Your antenna is mounted up high above the separator, most of the RF is going right over the top of it. It seems the people having the problem are spraying RF directly into the separator, and that is the problem.


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