Under Reading: The “Screwdriver Expert’s” Guide (to peaking out & repairing CB radios)

The Screwdriver Expert’s Guide

A book by Lou Franklin — latest printing and revision March 1997
Available from CBC International, http://www.cbcintl.com
Preview at Google Books

The Screwdriver Expert’s Guide gives information needed in fixing some basic problems in CB/11 meter radios and antennas. The book contains a little less than a hundred pages of information written in terms that the average CB radio hobbyist — who might not have so good understanding of radio theory and the inner workings of CB radios — can understand.

Here is a short quote from the introductory words of the book:

“My personal experience working on over 2000 CB radios has shown that about 75% of all CB radio problems are in the microphone or antenna system, not the CB itself. Of that remaining 25% of internal problems, about 20% can be repaired by you if you carefully study the material in this book.”

At first, the book takes a look into what is needed in basic repairs, such as logical thought and tools & equipment like soldering iron, dummy load, VOM, SWR meter, etc. It also explains some things regarding their usage in everyday terms.

Then it goes beyond by looking into common microphone problems and how to cure them. There is also information on solving the microphone wiring if you don’t know which pin on the radio’s mic socket does what, or if you don’t know the wire functions on your microphone. After that, there is information on problems related to antennas and on coax cables and SWR. Some myths related to SWR are proven false by explaining the truth. There are about 27 pages (pages 14–41 of the book) with info related to antennas.

The book also contains some basic info about curing TVI (Television Interference) and ignition noise problems.

At the end of the book, there is some basic info on modifying PLL radios, info on unlocking the clarifier on SSB radios (to make it track transmit too), and some info on AM to FM conversions.

The last pages cover peaking data for many of the most common 40 channel PLL radios arranged by PLL IC type and listing the adjustment points that affect power output, modulation, and the additional controls (ALC, AMC, deviation, etc.) for AM/SSB and FM rigs.

Overall, the book is good reading for CBers and 11m DXers, it explains things in terms everyone can understand and clears up some myths and wrong conceptions you might have heard. Many common problems with antennas and radios are explained in the book in terms that everyone can understand. However, it is about the basic problems. So if you are already very familiar with radio theory and electronics it might not be the book for you.


This article has been written by 56FL001 and it was originally published in Foxtrot Lima memberlist 2005–2006.

There is also a comprehensive book on CB repair available from the same publisher. The title is Understanding & Repairing CB Radios and it has about 360 pages. They also have a book on PLL circuits called The CB PLL Data Book.